‘Tis the season for selfies all month long at Glow Gardens, Edmonton’s largest indoor Christmas festival and premier Instagram hotspot. Playgrounds and interactive features keep kids busy while adults enjoy food, beverages and live music. And don’t forget the Christmas Market that showcases great gifts from local artists and businesses.
Throughout December, Fort Saskatchewan’s Enchanted Forest lights up with Christmas colours to celebrate the community’s diverse and vibrant community. From The Dow Centennial Centre and Sherritt Cultural Pavilion, to City Hall and the Public Library, local organizations and businesses display unique Christmas trees that reflect the colours and themes of the holiday season.
Enchanted Forest, Fort Saskatchewan (various locations), fortsask.ca
The Art Gallery of Alberta’s Holy Ball happens December 1. It supports the AGA’s exhibitions and community outreach, and it’s a hot ticket each year. With a menu by Executive Chef Doreen Prei and entertainment by Swing Time (plus a chance to take home 25 to 100 bottles of wine courtesy of Color de Vino), it’s a great way to start the holiday season.
Art Gallery of Alberta, 2 Sir Winston Churchill Square, 780-425-5379, youraga.ca
Kick off December by strapping on skis or a snowboard at Snow Valley’s Winterfest. Starting Friday afternoon (November 29), the weekend will feature a kids’ obstacle course, scavenger hunt, and toasty outdoor fire with free hot chocolate to stay warm.
One of Canada’s most unique artists, Susan Aglukark will blend the Inuktitut and English languages to tell the stories of her people, the Inuit of Arctic Canada, combined with contemporary pop music arrangements, December 1 in Sherwood Park.
Dickens Fest returns to the Citadel Theatre (in association with the Downtown Business Association) until December 8, with the Pavilion of Lights, a holiday market, holiday teas and dinners. Don’t forget your Dickensian outfit!
See the newest adaptation of the cherished Christmas tale as the Citadel Theatre celebrates its 20th year showing of A Christmas Carol. Packed with your favourite classic Christmas tunes, you’ll be whisked away into the beloved tale of a miserable old man and the ghosts who haunt him, until December 23.
Alberta Ballet’s The Nutcracker, at the Jubilee from December 4 to 8, features a live orchestra and a cast of more than 120 dancers, with dazzling sets and costumes designed by Emmy-award winning designer Zack Brown. With new cast members, whimsical costumes and even lobby activities for the kids, it will feel like the first time.
Join guest conductor Robert Bernhardt for his annual visit to the Winspear with A Lightly Classical Christmas on December 12. He’ll showcase beloved songs and carols, including Ave Maria, O Holy Night,O Come, All Ye Faithful, Alleluiaand more.
It’s not often you can see a Tony, Olivier, Academy and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, but Festival Place will give you a chance to do exactly that on December 13. See a cast of 30 and pit orchestra of 15 bring the memorable songs ofOklahoma! to life on an engaging new set.
Shumka’s Nutcracker, produced and performed by local artists along with five dancers from the renowned Kyiv Ballet, is a powerful blend of ballet, folk and character dance to Tchaikovsky’s beloved score. Runs December 14 and 15.
Zoominescence: A Festival of Light returns to the Edmonton Valley Zoo each weekend in December (and December 26). It’s a spectacular exhibition of artistic light installations among animals, plus skating, hot chocolate and a whole lot of family fun!
Edmonton Valley Zoo, 13315 Buena Vista Road & 87th Avenue NW, 780-496-6924, buildingourzoo.com
Alberta-born (and Country Music Hall of Famer) Paul Brandt joins the ESO December 17 to 19 for three evenings of holiday music magic mixed with his classic tunes. And $10 from each ticket sold will be donated to #NotInMyCity, a movement started by Brandt to prevent and end sexual exploitation and trafficking.
Seasonal merriment will be alive and well each December weekend on Jasper Ave, with the first-of-its-kind indoor and outdoor Edmonton Christmas Market. The German-style Christmas Market will have brightly lit wooden outdoor huts, live entertainment, mugs of delicious Glühwein, festive light displays, Christmas Carnivals and fun activities.
The 35-foot holiday tradition returns for its 50th — and final — year, December 19 to 22. A 38-piece orchestra and 60-voice children’s choir will get your feet tapping and spirit soaring with your all-time favourite Christmas classics.
On December 21 and 28, head out to Elk Island for Snowshoe and Stargaze. The evenings include a short guided snowshoe hike around Astotin Lake’s shore and refreshments around a campfire under the sky at the Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve.
Elk Island National Park, 54401 Range Rd 203, Fort Saskatchewan, parkscanada.ca
End 2019 with a waltz at the Winspear, with Salute to Vienna New Year’s Concert November 29. Led by an expert in Viennese music, and backed by the Strauss Symphony of Canada, this New Year’s tradition has delighted Edmonton audiences for 23 years.