How to Skip the Mall in Calgary This Holiday Season

Just because malls and big box stores resemble something similar to our vision of hell on earth during the holidays doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the warmth and nostalgia of shopping this season.

It seems that every community in and around Calgary is running its own version of a winter market, which means you can avoid the corporate mayhem and shop in peace while supporting local small businesses and artisans.

So in honour of those who will not celebrate Cyber Monday, here’s a list of the most YP-friendly, real-life markets and outdoor shopping events still to come this season. 

Vixens of Vintage Holiday Market
Born in the wrong era or shopping for someone who was? This one-day shopping event, bringing together like-minded lovers of vintage, will be your spot. Even if you’re just really into the idea of upcycling and want to see what Calgary’s creative minds have come up with, you’ll want to head to Inglewood on Saturday to check it out. And, surprise, there will be food trucks. 

Christmas in Canmore
If you really want to get as far away as you can from the mall mayhem but still find a reasonable selection, why not make a day of it in Canmore? As if it wasn’t picturesque enough, the town is all Christmased-out with decorations lining Main Street and activities like outdoor skating and movies to make your Instagram followers super jealous. Shopping hours are extended Thursday through Saturday until December 21, so take advantage on your way home from a day of skiing. Two birds, one (very big) stone. 

Market Collective
If you’re looking for a hipper market, these ladies are bringing it to you – as they always do. Every weekend in December they’re putting their best vendors on display at the Chinese Cultural Centre. Pick up apparel and jewelry that you’d actually wear, as well as creative art pieces, bath and body treats, home décor and a slew of other goods to delight every hipster on your list.

Christmas in Kensington
So, this one isn’t a market per se, but the Village in the City is still making a case for themselves in the shopping department this holiday season. Every weekend in December they’ll host events and activities for all ages, the most notable of which are taking place on the last two weekends before Christmas. On the 13th, get in on wine samples and a self-guided shopping tour starting at Kensington Wine Market, and shop with Santa and carolers until 7pm on Kensington Road. On the 20th, get a little bit silly with karaoke around the Christmas tree and a Christmas sweater red carpet before indulging in one of our generation’s favourite holiday films, Love Actually, at the classic Plaza Theatre.  

Commonwealth Collectors Market
Taking the award for trendiest market this season will be this one at Commonwealth. On Sunday, December 14th,  Calgary’s premier dancing establishment will transform into the site of a boozy afternoon of shopping for one-of-a-kind gifts for you and yours. Aside from tasty treats and handmade goods, you’ll also get the added bonus of not tripping over toddlers, as this event is 18+. Really, what more convincing do you need?

Christmas at the Hive
And finally, another short escape from the city will bring you to the Chinook Honey Company to grab some delicious farm-fresh presents for the sweeties in your life. And while they’re not exactly offering the most diverse array of items, you can always keep driving into the town of Okotoks for more selection. We suggest hitting them up on December 14th for their Fire n’ Spice event. Bring a winter picnic and try their honey hot chocolate, s’mores and mulled mead. That’s right, we said mulled mead. We’ll see you there.

We suggest bringing cash, as some vendors might not be hip to Square yet. 

It’s all part of the appeal.


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