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7 Holiday Traditions Your Family Will Love to Keep

Here are some of Calgary’s classic holiday activities that your family can look forward to year after year.

International Christmas Market, Spruce Meadows

Take a stroll down Reindeer Alley (yes, complete with Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen) or peruse the shops in Candy Cane Lane. The Spruce Meadows Christmas Market has more than 250 vendors, as well as hourly entertainment on the Equi-Plex Main Stage. Find unique, hand-crafted gifts from the diverse array of exhibitors while enjoying the festive sounds of local choirs, carolers and combos. Did we mention the reindeer? (It’s worth repeating!)

Weekends from November 17 to December 3, 2017, sprucemeadows.com

Once Upon a Christmas, Heritage Park Historical Village

Crafts, caroling and a horse-drawn wagon? There’s an age-old enchantment to Heritage Park’s Yuletide activities, and a chance to engage every age and interest. Visit with Santa at Gasoline Alley, stock up on stocking stuffers at the Toy Shoppe, or enjoy the festive Christmas Breakfast Buffet. (Be sure to buy tickets in advance, as this often sells out). Don’t be surprised if Heritage Park’s display of historical Christmas traditions quickly becomes part of yours.

Weekends from November 25 to December 23, 2017, heritagepark.ca

The Polar Express Train Ride, Aspen Crossing

Channel this classic Christmas story as you chug along the express route to the North Pole (conveniently located just one hour southeast of downtown Calgary). Aspen Crossing’s incredibly popular train ride features a magical reading from the motion picture, onboard entertainment and delicious Christmas goodies. At the end of your evening journey, meet Santa at his home in the North Pole and receive some extra special sleigh bells. Grab your Golden Tickets early, don’t forget to wear your jammies, and most importantly, believe!

November 24 to December 24, 2017, aspencrossing.com

Zoolights, Calgary Zoo

It’s hard to imagine a better start to Calgary’s holiday season than the twinkling of more than a million lights. Bundle up and be amazed at the brightly-lit backdrop of The Calgary Zoo. Zoolights has something for the entire family, including ice-skating, interactive activities for adults and kids, and free visits with Santa himself. Between choreographed light displays, relax at one of the crackling fire pits with a rich hot chocolate in mitted hand.

November 24, 2017 to January 6, 2018, calgaryzoo.com

The Nutcracker, Alberta Ballet

When the lights begin to dim at the Southern Alberta Jubliee Auditorium, kids of all ages know that it’s show time. Let the timeless storytelling of The Nutcracker and Tchaikovsky’s legendary score lull you and your loved ones into an enchanted, elegant Sugar Plum fairy tale. The show features the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, world-class performers and 80 local children who play mischievous mice and more. Be sure to arrive early to enjoy the pre-show activities, which in the past have included the Rat Tsar’s Craft Workshop, Story Book Corner and Klara’s Closet.

December 12 to 24, 2017, albertaballet.com

Ice Skating at Olympic Plaza

Lace up your skates and join your loved ones for a podium-worthy figure eight on the only refrigerated outdoor ice surface in the city. Olympic Plaza, once the site of the medal presentation ceremonies for the ’88 Olympic Winter Games, is open daily from 10 am – 9 pm for free public skating. Check the city’s event calendar for special festivals and occasions, like Sing and Skate on Monday, December 4. The annual event features elementary school choirs performing seasonal favorites starting at noon. Let’s call it, “Bring your skates to work day.” (Helmets optional but strongly encouraged!)

Mid-November to mid-March, calgary.ca

Noon Year’s Eve, TELUS Spark

Learn a little, dance a lot and ring in the New Year before bedtime at TELUS Spark Science Centre. Visitors can hit all the hot spots, including The Dome Theatre, exciting educational demonstrations, and special event activities and themes. The countdown begins at 11:45 am, ending in an ear-popping dance party on 2000 square feet of bubble wrap. The day doesn’t end there, with activities lasting until 5:00 pm, leaving your New Year’s evening open to more adult festivities.

December 31, 2017, sparkscience.ca

Are you in the mood for grabbing a bit of the most comforting dish in Calgary? We found 25 of the best comfort foods in YYC!

By Shannon Cleary

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