By Sophiah Campbell, Okotoks Area Associate

children decorating for the holidays

Christmas in and around Calgary is a very special time of year. Holiday lights are twinkling, carolers are singing, snowflakes are falling. Views of the snow-capped Rocky Mountains are easy to spot and smaller towns outside of the city become winter wonderlands. Let’s check out this year’s holiday festivities and make this Christmas memorable!

CP Railway

The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train is making its special holiday appearance this year in Calgary. Tenille Townes, well-known country singer, and Aysanabee, an Oji-Cree songwriter, are both performing when the lit-up train makes its December 11 arrival at the Anderson C-Train Station Parking Lot at 5:45 p.m.

Legacy Christmas Light Parade

One of our communities, Legacy, might very well be one of the brightest spots in SE Calgary this holiday season! One of Calgary’s largest free light shows, Legacy will light up more than a million Christmas lights throughout the neighborhood. From November 21, 2022, to January 15, 2023, everyone is welcome to stroll through the lovely displays and enjoy the two nearby public skating rinks; one for recreational skaters and one for any hockey players out there.

Enjoying the snow in Fish Creek Park, located right near the community of Vermilion Hill

Calgary Zoo Lights

ZOOLIGHTS, presented by Olympia Trust Company, is back for its 26th year! Calgary’s award winning, magical holiday tradition will be glowing for seven weeks of festive family-friendly fun. Enjoy all the magic of ZOOLIGHTS while supporting wildlife conservation – it’s a win-win!

In addition to a brand-new story in Prehistoric Park, a brand-new Polar Wonderland, a multi-sensory experience in the gorilla amphitheater, the Nutcracker in the ENMAX Conservatory, brand-new Snow Globes for rent, and much more, this year’s Zoolights will feature exciting, themed areas and activities. Naturally, they’re bringing back all the beloved classic activities, including the “Tunnel of Light,” the skating rink, the firepits, and rival axe throwing.

During the evening, ZOOLIGHTS comes to life with over 200 light figurines, interactive light shows, and choreographed light displays. Every night at 5:00 p.m., the lights come on and stay on until 9:00 p.m. To take advantage of everything that ZOOLIGHTS has to offer.

Airdrie Festival of Lights  

Dec. 1 to 31st from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm, warm up next to the bonfires with some hot chocolate or ride a miniature train around the open paths with the whole family! You can visit Santa’s gift shop where elves will assist your children in selecting locally made, home-based gifts that cost less than $10.

European Christmas Village Market and Fireworks in Bearspaw

You and your family can spend the weekends participating in a variety of fun activities in Bearspaw. You can enjoy Mulled Wine, Brats and Beer while watching the entertainment around the fire pits, as well as enjoy Santa’s workshop and sleigh rides. There are so many different performers, including dancers, fiddlers, and yodelers. Fireworks and Santa accompany the festival on certain days.

Okotoks Community Event Calendar

So much to do during the holiday season in Okotoks. Check out their event calendar. Paint a miniature masterpiece just in time for the holiday season for art enthusiasts! This workshop will teach you how to paint a winter scene on a small canvas under the instruction of local artist Christine Walker. You can also visit The Chinook Honey Company to support the Foothills Country Hospice Society’s fundraising efforts while you’re in town or the Saskatoon Berry Farm for festive events. Meet the animals, sample some mead, and discover all there is to know about bees!