I don’t celebrate Christmas, I never have. I grew up in beautiful Jasper National Park. Although now it is a lovely diverse community, when I was growing up in the 90’s it wasn’t so diverse. There were not even a handful of Muslim families and basically 2 Arab families. Finding a sense of community based on my faith and heritage was impossible. Luckily for me, although predominantly Caucasian, the community of Jasper National Park is made up of some of the most amazing, supportive and accepting people I have ever met. We weren’t the only minorities, but for me it sure seemed so!
Christmas Glow is coming to Enjoy Centre and it’s going to be the largest indoor family Christmas festival in the Edmonton area!
Christmas Glow Garden is in town from November 22 – January 19 at the Enjoy Centre in St. Albert and will feature:
- Musical light tunnel (80,000 sq ft of interactive light sculptures)
- Twinkling Christmas light gardens
- Magic Castle Playground
- Giant LED Swings
- Glen the Glow-comotive
- Seasonal food, sweets and adult beverages
- Christmas Market with local artisans and businesses
- Local food trucks and breweries
- Daily visits from Santa
Like many checking out the CP Holiday Train is one of our favourite holiday activities to do with the family.
CP Holiday Train Date & Locations Across Alberta
|Medicine Hat||Queen & North Railway Street, East of CP Station||2018-12-7||4:15 PM||4:30 PM – 5:00 PM||Terri Clark, Sierra Noble and Kelly Prescott|
|Tilley||Southeast side of crossing at Highway 876||2018-12-7||6:30 PM||6:40 PM – 7:05 PM||Terri Clark, Sierra Noble and Kelly Prescott|
|Brooks||1st Avenue, rear of Civic building||2018-12-7||7:45 PM||8:00 PM – 8:30 PM||Terri Clark, Sierra Noble and Kelly Prescott|
|Gleichen||Field adjacent to CP track along Railway Street at 2 Avenue *Stop and Go||2018-12-7||9:55 PM||9:55 PM – 10:30 PM||Terri Clark, Sierra Noble and Kelly Prescott|
|Calgary||Anderson C-Train Station – South C-train parking lot||2018-12-8||6:45 PM||7:00 PM – 7:45 PM||Terri Clark, Sierra Noble and Kelly Prescott|
|Blackfalds||CP Tracks at Gregg Street between Broadway Ave and East Ave||2018-12-9||12:45 PM||1:00 PM – 1:30 PM||Terri Clark, Sierra Noble and Kelly Prescott|
|Lacombe||The Len Thompson Fish Pond||2018-12-9||2:00 PM||2:15 PM – 2:45 PM||Terri Clark, Sierra Noble and Kelly Prescott|
|Ponoka||50th Street and 47 Avenue||2018-12-9||3:45 PM||4:00 PM – 4:30 PM||Terri Clark, Sierra Noble and Kelly Prescott|
|Wetaskiwin||CP Building, 4009 50 Street||2018-12-9||5:30 PM||5:45 PM – 6:15 PM||Terri Clark, Sierra Noble and Kelly Prescott|
|Millet||Pedestrian crossing, 50 Street and 48 Avenue||2018-12-9||6:50 PM||7:00 PM – 7:30 PM||Terri Clark, Sierra Noble and Kelly Prescott|
|Leduc||3915 50 Avenue||2018-12-9||8:15 PM||8:30 PM – 9:00 PM||Terri Clark, Sierra Noble and Kelly Prescott|
|Josephburg||Moyer Recreational Center||2018-12-10||5:00 PM||5:15 PM – 5:45 PM||Terri Clark, Sierra Noble and Kelly Prescott|
|Edmonton||South of the Edmonton CP Station, 7935 Gateway Boulevard||2018-12-10||7:45 PM||8:15 PM – 8:45 PM||Terri Clark, Sierra Noble and Kelly Prescott|
|Innisfail||52 Avenue and 50 Street (the FasGas crossing)||2018-12-11||1:15 PM||1:25 PM – 1:55 PM||Terri Clark, Sierra Noble and Kelly Prescott|
|Olds||50th Street level crossing||2018-12-11||2:35 PM||2:45 PM – 3:15 PM||Terri Clark, Sierra Noble and Kelly Prescott|
|Didsbury||20 Street and 18 Avenue||2018-12-11||3:50 PM||4:00 PM – 4:30 PM||Terri Clark, Sierra Noble and Kelly Prescott|
|Airdrie||Nose Creek Park, Main Street, East side of CP tracks||2018-12-11||5:30 PM||5:45 PM – 6:45 PM||Terri Clark, Sierra Noble and Kelly Prescott|
|Cochrane||Between River and 4 Street, behind the Provincial building||2018-12-13||2:45 PM||3:00 PM – 3:30 PM||Sam Roberts Band, Kelly Prescott and Tracey Brown|
|Morley||Adjacent to the Morley Gas Station||2018-12-13||4:15 PM||4:25 PM – 4:45 PM||Sam Roberts Band, Kelly Prescott and Tracey Brown|
|Canmore||Behind the Save On Foods||2018-12-13||5:45 PM||6:00 PM – 6:30 PM||Sam Roberts Band, Kelly Prescott and Tracey Brown|
|Banff||CP Train Station||2018-12-13||7:00 PM||7:15 PM – 7:45 PM||Sam Roberts Band, Kelly Prescott and Tracey Brown|
You’re invited to take in the beautiful Christmas lights, enjoy live entertainment, and sip some hot cocoa!
Don’t forget to bring a cash or healthy non-perishable food donation as well! Everything collected is donated to the local food bank and helps families in the community.
For more information check out www.cpr.ca/holiday-train
It is that time of year. Christmas is over, it’s cold, and it gets dark so quickly. The kids are feeling cooped up and you’re ready for a holiday but the after Christmas bank account has other plans for you. So how can you break up the winter months without breaking the bank? Have a Staycation!
Staycations are gaining popularity for a reason. We’ve listed 7 reasons why your next vacation should be close to home.
Why you need a Staycation:
- You can’t beat the drive – We ended up with a hotel about 20 minutes away which was perfect. Who wants to sit in the car for three hours listening to the kids fight and ask “are we there yet?”. If you are in a rural area pick the closest major city and head out!
- Packing is easy – Pj’s, swimsuit, sweatpants and a toothbrush. That’s it. You aren’t going out anywhere fancy so you don’t need much. We went from the pool, to our room, and back again for two days and it was perfect.
- The kids are exhausted at the end of the day – We always get a hotel with a pool which means we swim a lot. This also means that the kids are moving all day so when it’s time for bed they are TIRED.
- A pool with a slide is all you need – Our kids are 6 & 9 and all they wanted to do was swim. They spent hours chasing things down the slide, racing and timing each other, and even climbing up to the top. There are hardly ever people there during the day so we often had the place to ourselves.
- You will have time for you – Let the kids know that this is your vacation too! Let them play in the pool by themselves (if they are older and comfortable in the water) or watch too many cartoons while you read a book or scroll through Instagram. You should come back relaxed too.
- No cooking – Pick a hotel with breakfast included to make it even easier. Head down in your pj’s! The kids will think it is hilarious. Order pizza and pack a few snacks for movies to complete the experience.
- It is a cheap way to get a holiday – No flight costs, gas costs, park passes, admission to tourist attractions or anything besides your hotel cost. We usually use Priceline or Expedia (call the hotel front desk before booking through a third party website. Sometimes they will beat the price by 10% to avoid going through them) and get a great deal on our hotel. Often the best deals are last minute so check often.
Do you do staycations? We would love to hear your tips!
By Katherin C.
As much as Christmas brings joy, happiness, and family to many, it can also be a really hard time of year for others.
It could be the first Christmas without someone you lost this past year.
It could be that financially the past year has been tough, you’re exhausted & stressed just getting by and then on top of that you’re faced with “making spirits bright” for your family.
It could be that this time of year makes you think about not just the family you see often, but maybe those you’re estranged from. Or maybe even never met.
I try to focus on all the good around Christmas but it does bring up a strange feeling for me around that word “family”. For as long as I can remember my dad has been my dad but he’s actually my stepdad. And he did a damn good job let me tell you, I’ve never felt like I am not his. But, I haven’t ever met my biological father either. For a stint in my 20’s, I found him and communicated with him and his wife over email. We swapped photos, and around Christmas time we got to wish each other Merry Christmas for the first time. I have to admit there was a bit of a novelty to it.
He lived very far away and neither of us made any plans to travel the distance and meet each other. I was raising a family so there was no way I could go but I got the impression he didn’t really have any interest in meeting me, or my kids. I think once that realization came around (and he had told me previously that he had never wanted kids in the first place) I stopped reaching out. I have to admit it was a bit of a test, which needless to say didn’t go well. I never heard from him again.
I’ve come to peace with the fact that he is missing out on a lot and that isn’t on me, but I still think of him at Christmas and it tinges my happiness with a bit of sad. I wonder if he’s doing ok. I wonder if he ever thinks about what it would have been like to see MY face Christmas morning when I was little? I can’t imagine missing that – that is what makes this an amazing time of year to me.
Now my story is not as sad as some others. Maybe you’ve lost someone over the past year. Maybe you’re just struggling to get that Christmas spirit going and you’re not even sure why your sad.
This time of year can be really, really hard but you should know you’re not alone and it’s ok to ask for help. I did. Sharing how you’re feeling with others can be weight lifting.
Alberta Health Services has great resources and programming if you need it. They’ll help you find a program in your area and can take stock of your symptoms. Call 811 or visit myhealth.alberta.ca
You’re not alone. You’re doing ok. And you’re worth every bit of magic that finds it’s way to you on Christmas morning.
Katherin C is a mom of 3 kids from a small town in Southern Alberta. She enjoys making snow angels with them and just basking in the warmth of being a mom.
Irish Cream Liqueur is delicious, easy to make, goes perfectly in coffee and makes a great gift! This is an adapted recipe that has been in my mom’s recipe box (you know the grey ones with recipe cards) for YEARS.
Ingredients for Irish Cream Liqueur
- 1 cup of Whiskey (any brand)
- 1 can of sweetened condensed milk (any brand)
- 4 1/2 cups of half and half cream (use heavy cream if you want)
- 4 1/2 tablespoons of chocolate syrup
- 1 teaspoon of instant coffee
- 1 tsp of vanilla
- Put all ingredients in blender
- Mix for about 2 mins (you don’t want the cream to start to clump)
- Pour into a container and store in the fridge!
This Irish Cream Liqueur will last up to 2 months in the fridge, but who am I kidding it never lasts that long in our house… but if it does in yours just do the old sniff test beforehand 😉 I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
As we get SO close to the big day, we can’t help but ask: How do you ‘Santa’?
Honestly I didn’t even think about the differences in the way Santa interacts with various families. Until my husband and I started celebrating with our child I just assumed Santa was the same in everyone’s house. For us that meant the stockings stayed empty until Santa filled them on Christmas night while we slept. My parents, as far as I knew, had nothing to do with adding anything to those exciting stockings that always stayed on the fireplace. For gifts it was the same; there were never any gifts under the tree from my parents or Santa until Christmas morning. In terms of distribution it was always a big one from mom and dad plus a few small gifts and then a couple from the big jolly one.
In other families I know that stockings come from mom and dad and are often left at the end of children’s beds during Christmas night. Some kids get one gift from Santa, while others see more. Other families open their gifts from each other, or mom and dad, on Christmas eve while saving the magic of Santa for the Christmas morning.
Even the wrapping is something that varies from family to family. I found it strange that Santa and my mom had the same style of writing….and, how cool was it that my mom had some of the same wrapping paper as the North Pole?! Other families I know have a special ‘Santa Sack’ with each child’s name on it that gets filled up and I know of others who have special computerized ‘From Santa’ name tags attached.
And then there’s the differences in what is left out for Santa on Christmas eve. Cookies and milk? Carrots for the reindeer? I’ve heard of pickles and a little boozy night cap too;)
I think it’s fascinating how each family has their own traditions that is likely a unique blend of both parent’s experiences! So, tell us, how do YOU ‘Santa’?
With the help of some of our Alberta Mamas, we’ve rounded up some of the best places to see Christmas lights around Calgary! The great things about the majority of these places are that they are open until the New Year so you can plan a few nights over the next couple of weeks to check them out!
Christmas lights around Calgary & area
Lion’s Festival of Lights – Until January 8th
See over 450,000 bulbs on 16,000 strings in this amazing free drive-by Christmas lights display
Where: Confederation Park in NW Calgary
Get more details here
Christmas Lights at Spruce Meadows – Until January 7th
See some Christmas season magic with a quarter million lights throughout Spruce Meadows
Get more details here
Airdrie Festival of Lights – Until December 31st
Walk through the outdoor Christmas lights display which features 75,000 LED lights. While you’re here take a train ride, grab a hot chocolate or a bite to eat, warm up by the fire pits and more.
Where: Nose Creek Park, Airdrie
Cost: Admission is by donation, train rides $2/person
Get more details here
Zoo Lights – Until January 6th
Walk around and enjoy enchanting light displays, take part in family-friendly activities, and more.
Where: Calgary Zoo
Cost $14.95/adults & $11.95/children, parking $10
Get more details
Legacy Community – Until January 7th
Drive or walk through this community to see the show homes and parks decorated for Christmas.m Altogether there are about 80,000 lights and a light tunnel – which in itself is magical.
Where: Legacy Circle, Southeast
Lighten Up Calgary
If you’re looking to go for a drive around Calgary to see some homes decorated for Christmas, this is a great website to check out! Also if you have a home that is decorated or know of one, send the details to this website so that
Get more details here
Are there other places to see Christmas lights around Calgary that we’ve missed? Comment below and let us know!
We love teachers for all they do. Like, REALLY love them. Without teachers, you’d be teaching your kids quadratic equations. I do not possess enough patience to wait for them to get their shoes on in the morning, never mind teaching them math. Which is why at Christmas, I make sure I put some effort into choosing a good teacher gift.
We asked a bunch of teachers (my sister included) on what they’d appreciate this yule-tide season and they’ve given us the goods on what they want, what they really really want.
Need a gift that reflects your adoration for teaching your kid day in and day out? We’ve got that for you in the form of wine and gift cards.
Let’s face it. It’s Christmas and children are out of their MINDS right now. Imagine having 25-30 8 years old kids in one room every day a week before Christmas? No. me neither. Get that teacher some booze. Gift cards are a more “classy” way to bring some bubbly into the classroom, this way your kid isn’t walking around the playground with a bottle of pinot grigio, plus the teacher gets to pick the booze of their fancy.
Your teacher may not actually drink alcohol, so this might not be the best gift if you’ve never actually met the teacher.
Sometimes you straight up don’t know your kid’s teacher, especially as your kids get older and you’re no longer needed (ie: wanted) in the classroom.
Gift cards are easy for a couple of reasons.
- The recipient gets to choose their own present and what they need.
- You can buy gift cards online! 👌🏼
Teachers are often spending their own money on supplies needed for the classroom, so a gift card to Education Station might come in handy if you know that this is something they’d appreciate.
The Christmas Card
No matter what you get for your teacher this holiday season whether buying a gift or creating one (check here for DIY Christmas projects), a nice handwritten note or card from your child is the icing on the cake. As much as we love teachers it’s always nice to get a note or a drawing from a child, especially when they’re really little and their writing is the cutest.
Did you get your teacher a gift? Do you get them for karate and piano teachers too? How do you decide what to get them? Let us know in the comments.
Image credit: Tessa MW Photography
Let me preface this by saying I love the holidays! Christmas is my favourite time of the year. I love the warmth and kindness of the season. I adore the lights and trees. And mostly I enjoy spending time with my family. Since childhood Christmas has always been a magical time of year. Now that I have my own children I am always excited to share this special time of year, and especially the magic of giving and Santa Claus. However, I sometimes find myself wondering, is Christmas getting a little over the top?
Every year the Christmas kick-off begins earlier and earlier. Community tree light ups were in early December during my youth, now the majority are in November. In the eighties, we were lucky if we did Christmas themed activities the last two weeks before the big day, and now I’ve discovered that I have to buy tickets well in advance if I want my children to go to any Christmas themed event in December. Back then, radio stations wouldn’t even play carols until mid December. This year we found one of our stations blasting the festive tunes in late November. And Christmas trees!!! My mom was always a stickler that the tree went up one week before the 25th. While I personally prefer to get our tree up at least two weeks in advance, I am always a little stunned to see Christmas trees and decoration in Costco in October (don’t even get me started on the snowsuits in July…)! Last week I overheard a woman telling her friend that her tree stays up until the beginning of February! I believe that it all comes down to your own preferences, but I do find that once those boughs are decorated and the house elf has arrived my kids become hyper monsters that require superhuman effort to control, which is ironic since the elf is supposed to remedy that…
As the years have passed I have found myself nearly thankful when Christmas is over and commercialism takes a break. The lights, the bells, the traffic jams in mall parking lots, the pinterest worthy delectables you must share with others, and mostly the pressure to see it all and do it all and not fail your children by spoiling their expectations of Christmas. It is all too much! In fact, I found last year’s Christmas such a sensory overload that I suffered a post xmas hangover until September of this year! Its terrible when you don’t want to even think about the holiday season until it is nearly upon you because you’re still remembering the chaos of last year. By the actual big day itself, I often feel like Christmas is being shoved down my throat from all angles.
So this year I have made a promise to myself (and my sanity) that we will focus on just the important traditions, and leave the rest. There is no possible way that we can get to everything and still find time to do what is most important; spend time as a family. Christmas isn’t about being the best decorator, or visiting the most sites. It is about love and giving and time spent enjoying each other’s company. Is there anyone else out there who feels the same way?
Natalie is an educator in St. Albert, Alberta. She is the mother of three incredible little girls under 6, and one evil cat. She is passionate about adventure travel, culture and running.