Calgary Weekender: December 15 through 18, 2011

We think a traditional holiday tradition is a must on Friday. Freshen up after work and head to the Jubilee Auditorium for a performance of The Nutcracker by the Alberta Ballet. Built on Tchaikovsky’s timeless score, this sumptuous $1.5 million production is one of the most lavish shows ever mounted by Alberta Ballet. With breathtaking sets and hundreds of magical, sparkling costumes from Emmy Award-winning designer Zack Brown, audiences will be immersed in the opulent grandeur of 20th century Imperial Russia. You also get a double treat, as the music will be performed by The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra.

After the show, we suggest heading to Winebar Kensington for a glass of holiday bubbles and a late dinner. The food is spectacular and the staff world class.

Saturday, you’re off to the East Village for the first ever Elves in the Village Christmas Market, open from 11am to 5pm. Taking place in the Simmons building, it’s a traditional Christmas market with a few futuristic twists. The YYC food trucks will be there, dishing out festive goodies while musicians from the National Music Centre will fill the neighbourhood with jolly sounds. There will be over two dozen vendors and a make-your-own ornament station, so tour the art showcase or simply enjoy some hot chocolate and cookies.

Saturday evening, you are going to the Arrata Opera Centre for The Calgary Folkfest’s Indie Rock Xmas. Happening from 6pm to 11pm, they’ve gathered a dozen local musicians to carol and cajole you into a festive mood. This not-so-traditional holiday event is a kid-friendly seasonal celebration, but won’t have hip YP parents rolling their eyes over it. There will be a visit from Santa, ornaments for kids to make, cocoa and an early sing-along for the little ones. Also; cider and mulled wine, the world’s smallest record fair, a late sing-along for grownups, and a silent auction. All proceeds will go to Festival Hall.

Sunday morning, we think you should head take a step back and go to Sundays for Christmas at the Lougheed House. Come into the warmth of Lougheed House from the December chill and enjoy a scrumptious brunch in The Restaurant, enjoy live piano by Francis Willey, create a unique Victorian Christmas card, or watch family seasonal movies in the Library. The art gallery and Treasures Gift Shop are also open to browse or pick up heritage inspired gifts.

Sunday night, treat yourself right – you deserve it. How does a gourmet dinner at one of Calgary’s best Italian restaurants, Il Sogno, sound? Perhaps indulge in the chef ‘s “surprise” menu; four courses, each of which is bound to be better than the last.