Calgary’s Best Decorated Christmas Trees

At Christmas time, we have two trees in our home: a pre-lit artificial indoor tree that stands 9-foot tall and adorns – or perhaps, more accurately, dominates – our living room for a month; and a cut tree that we collect from the parking lot at IKEA for $20 and which occupies prize position on the deck adjacent to our front door. 

Our indoor tree is decorated with blue, silver and glass ornaments and garland.  Our real, outdoor tree from IKEA, which always has a fantastic shape, smells fabulous and lasts superbly well, is predominantly decorated in reds, whites and golds.  I’d like to say we get our decorating ideas from some of the gorgeous trees that businesses and the City decorate around Calgary but, if the truth be told, it’s all my wife’s good eye and our somewhat eclectic style. Besides, if you’ve ever taken a close look at those trees giant sponsored trees, some of their over-sized ornaments alone would threaten to dwarf ours.

Do you know what the origins are of the Christmas tree? Various stories, myths and historic evidence indicates that the adorning of dwellings with evergreen boughs and branches predates Christianity, with the ancient Egyptians and later Romans bringing greenery into their homes to mark the winter solstice (21/22 December) and the northern hemisphere’s migration towards warmer weather and Spring. In the 16th Century the German Christians began bringing decorated trees into their homes. Then, in the late 19th Century the present-day adorned trees were popularized by the much-loved Queen Victoria. Read more here.

PS. Jumping back to the present day, the beauty of the IKEA tree deal is that you get given a $20 voucher when you buy your tree for $20. You can use this voucher towards any item that you buy from IKEA in the following January as long as your purchase exceeds a minimum ($75) value. So you sort of get your tree for free, right?

Here are some of our favourite inspirational Christmas trees on display around the city.

Chinook Shopping Centre

If you have the stomach and capacity to handle the jostling Christmas crowds in the mall, then my favourite mall tree display is at Chinook Centre.  You won’t miss the multi-storey tree located in the atrium adjacent to the main food court.

Chinook Centre Christmas Tree, 2018

Downtown CORE’s “Find Christmas Downtown”

Join the cheer as 150 trees are decorated beneath the glass dome of the CORE Shopping Mall in downtown Calgary on November 28th, 2019.  These trees will remain on display until December 18th when they will be delivered to local needy families. 

🚦Navigate to this location here

🗓 Nov 28th to Dec 18th, 2019

ℹ️ Read more about this event here

Shaw Campus

This imposing outdoor tree is always a treat to drive by and covet.  Located at a busy intersection in the northeast, it’s worthwhile pulling into the adjacent parking in front of the Shaw Campus and taking a few moments to admire this annual icon.

🚦 Location: Corner of 32nd Ave NE and Barlow Trail

YYC Calgary International Airport

I love that the Airports Authority make an effort to welcome travellers and get them into the Christmas Spirit by showcasing some of the most festive decor and gorgeous trees throughout the Calgary International Airport‘s concourses. I’m sure you’ll have reason to visit YYC this holiday season. Take a moment to appreciate their awesome trees and accessories.

The Christmas Tree at YYC International Arrivals Hall, 2018

🚦Navigate to this location here

Fairmont Palliser Hotel

If you find yourself downtown on 9th Ave SW during the Christmas season, you might want to speak nicely to the concierge at the front door to let you into the lobby of the grand, old hotel. Their elegant and ornate tree and decor is captivating and befitting of this stately landmark!

🚦Navigate to this location here

Lions’ Festival Of Lights at Confederation Park

The entire Lions’ Festival of Lights is a delight to experience with family and friends.  Multiple trees and structures are draped with lights to create one of north-Calgary’s most loved lighting displays.

🚦 Location: Confederation Park Golf Course at the corner of 14th Street and 24th Avenue NW

🗓 30th November 2019 until 8th January 2020

⏰ 6pm till midnight

🅿️ Parking: street parking only

⚠️ wear warm boots with good soles. Consider bringing strap-on crampons since the walkways cover a variety of uneven terrain and tent to become icy with the high volume of foot traffic

⚠️ bring your toboggan and enjoy the nearby slopes

ℹ️ Event information is available here

Christmas Lights at Spruce Meadows

Drive through the extensive grounds of Spruce Meadows, entering at the east entrance and exiting at the west, and enjoy the passing treescapes that have been blanketed with a gorgeous multi-coloured lighting display.  The Christmas tree that dominates one of the outdoor Christmas Market areas is always an imposing beauty to behold.

Outdoor Christmas Market, Spruce Meadows

🚦Location: Spruce Meadows

🗓 9th December 2019 until 6th January 2020 (closed 25th December | Christmas Day)

⏰ 5pm to 10pm

🅿️ Parking: this is a drive-through display with some parking available should you wish to walk through the grounds

ℹ️ Event information is available here

Christmas time and winter in Calgary

Discover these and some of our other favourite free Calgary outdoor Christmas light displays here.

Explore many of Calgary’s best-loved Christmas markets here.

For great outdoor family-friendly activity suggestions, explore some of Calgary’s outdoor free skating rinks, toboggan and sledding slopes, cross-country skiing and snow shoeing locations, and winter off-leash dog parks.

Featured image courtesy of Sabri Tuzcu on Unsplash

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