Can you believe it's almost Christmas season already? This year has honestly flown by, and it's not unlikely that the last few weeks will fly by even faster. As someone who works retail, I'm usually used to being a few weeks ahead of the calendar to prep for the upcoming sales and holiday rushes, but this year, it seems to have snuck up unbelievably fast.

Maybe it's because we've had such great weather, or maybe it's because I'm not quite ready to let go of Pumpkin Spice Latte's and move on to Peppermint Mochas. Regardless of the reason, though, once Halloween is over, I think that it's finally time to embrace the festive season and start Christmas shopping.

Anyone who loves the holiday season, and isn't afraid of the cold, knows that this is easily one of the best times of the year for local markets, events, shows, and sales. Black Friday and Boxing Day aren't just limited to the mall; you can scoop some super awesome deals while still supporting local businesses. 

Ensure you bundle up nice and warm before heading outside, and try something new this year. Take your bae skating in Olympic Plaza, light up your Instagram at the Calgary Zoo Lights, appreciate some local holiday themed theatre, or get everyone on your list a super unique, hand-crafted gift at one of Calgary's Christmas markets. There's so much to do, and not much time to do it, so you'd better get busy!




For holiday events in November, click "Next"


Make It! Holiday Market // 1410 Olympic Way SE

When: November 2nd - 5th, times vary depending on day

Why you should go: With over 175 vendors participating in this holiday market, you'll definitely find something for everyone on your Christmas list here. From artwork to jewellery, from candy to candles, they've really got it all. Food trucks and a beer garden will also be on site to keep you in merry spirits.

What a Woman Wants for Christmas // 3130 16 Ave SW

When: November 4th from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Why you should go: Gentleman, you have no need to fret this holiday season. This Christmas market has you covered, with more than 35 local vendors selling everything from beauty products to apparel.

The Santaland Diaries // 115 9 Ave SE 

When: November 27th - December 23rd, showtime varies depending on day

Why you should go: The Santaland Diaries is a heartwarming, comedic tale of a struggling New York actor who takes a job as a Macy's Christmas Elf in order to make ends meet. The show depicts his his struggles and the bizarre experiences he faces. Tickets are just $26, or specially priced at $21 for students and seniors.

Winter Greens and Festive Lights Christmas Market // 290 Edgepark Blvd NW

When: November 18th from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Why you should go: If your favourite thing about the holiday season is the tasty treats, you won't wanna miss this market. Shop baked goods, jams, and beautiful gifts. A Christmas Café will also be present on site to keep you full while you shop.

For holiday events in December, click "Next"


A Christmas Carol // 240 9 Ave SE

When: November 28th - December 24th, showtime varies by day

Why you should go: Can you think of a more Christmas-esque show? A Christmas Carol will get you in the holiday spirit, and remind you of the importance of giving, or can be the perfect way to spend your Christmas Eve.

Festival of Crafts // 20 Roundup Way SE

When: December 7th - December 10th, times vary by day

Why you should go: More than 250 artisans from all across the country will be in Calgary to sell their amazing handmade goods to you. All kinds of products will be available, from glassware, to bath bombs, to clothing, everyone on your shopping list will be beyond pleased.

A Cowtown Christmas // 131 7 Ave SW

When: December 9th at 7 p.m.

Why you should go: Not only will you get to sing along to all your favourite Christmas Carols, you'll get to do so in your PJ's. To make things even better, the best onesie wins a prize at the end of the night.

Calgary Zoo Lights // 210 St. George's Drive NE

When: November 24th - January 6th, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. nightly.

Why you should go: The Zoo Lights are a staple in every Calgarians winter. This will be the festivities' 20th year, introducing new themes and unique guests. Learn all about animal conservation while exploring the gorgeous lights.

For holiday events in January, click "Next"


Ice Skating // Olympic Plaza

When: Mid-November - Mid-March from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily

Why you should go: You haven't fully experienced winter in Calgary until you've gone ice skating in Olympic Plaza. It's free of charge, and rentals are available if you don't have your own skates.

The Roaring 20's - New Years Eve at Hotel Blackfoot // 5940 Blackfoot Trail SE

When: December 31st at 6 p.m. to early morning January 1st

Why you should go: In need of New Years plans? Spend a bit of money and receive a luxurious evening you won't soon forget in return. Formal photos, a ballroom dinner, a DJ, and party favours are all included in this fun, elegant New Years party.

Tube Park // Canada Olympic Park

When: All throughout the winter season

Why you should go: You're never too old for fun in the snow. Bundle up and hit the slopes at COP's brand new tube park. They also offer skiing, snowboarding, and bobsleighing, so you have plenty of options.