Author: Shelley Boettcher

When she’s not exploring Alberta with her family in their vintage campervan, Shelley Boettcher can be found writing about travel, food, wine and her beautiful home province for newspapers and magazines around the world.


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Sometimes the thought of cooking at home at Christmas is too much. I just want to curl up and watch the snowfall in a lovely hotel and let someone else take care of the turkey, mashed potatoes, pies, cookies and, yes, all those dishes. I confess, it’s often why we’ll travel at this time of year. 

Luckily, in Alberta, there are many places where you can do just that, whether you’re on a mountain-themed culinary getaway or rounding out a ski holiday. 

Meet Santa 

The Fairmont Banff Springs is especially magical during the holiday season. And food, of course, plays a major role in all the festivities. Enjoy brunch with Santa on Saturdays and Sundays until December 24. Or book a private dinner in the Santa Suite, Santa’s temporary home at the Banff Springs. Don’t forget your camera. 

Have a merry, gourmet Christmas 

Most major hotels and resorts in the province offer Christmas dinners at their restaurants. Buffalo Mountain Lodge in Banff is no exception, with seasonal afternoon beverages followed by gourmet Christmas dinners for the entire family.  

Serve yourself at the Christmas dinner buffet at the Fairmont Banff Springs on December 24 and 25. You’ll find all the traditional fixings — including turkey, of course — as well as tasty alternatives for those who want something different.  

At the Fairmont Palliser in Calgary, you can make a reservation for a four-course Christmas Dinner on December 24 at the Rimrock Dining Room. Or choose from a five-course dinner or family buffet on December 25. Or get your meal to go. Order by December 20 to pick up turkey or beef tenderloin, plus side dishes and dessert, all made by the Palliser’s fine chefs. 

Jingle all the way  

There’s nothing like a horse-drawn sleigh ride on a snowy day. Take a ride from Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise to the Brewster Barn for a rustic country Christmas dinner and dance, December 23, 26, 28 and 30.  

Try something new 

Now through Valentine’s Day, Azuridge Estate Hotel in Priddis is bringing back its popular 12 Dates of Winter. Activities vary, but include sushi-making classes, a Christmas market on December 11 and a butler’s brunch with sparkling wine. Ask about Fondue in the Foothills, too. 

Also for adults, an Ice Bar at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise features boozy hot chocolate and ice wine. But kids and families are all welcome at the Maple Syrup Experience, also at Chateau Lake Louise. Pour hot syrup on snow and roll it up on sticks to create old-time sweet treats. 

Eat and ski 

Lake Louise Ski Resort offers its exclusive Torchlight Dinner and Ski event again this season. Go downhill skiing after the slopes have closed to the public for the day and then head to Whitehorn Lodge, located mid-mountain, for après appetizers and live music. But that’s just the warm-up for the night. Next you’ll be escorted by Lake Louise ski pros down a freshly groomed run in the dark, to Sitzmark Lounge for a smorgasbord and entertainment. Dates include December 25 and 31 and February 14. 

Don’t forget dessert 

Since 1925, Deer Lodge in Lake Louise has been charming guests with its old-time beauty. Decorate gingerbread cookies and sing carols on December 23. Then, on December 24, enjoy eggnog and cider in the afternoon while you check out the hotel’s beautiful decorations. Enjoy a gourmet Christmas dinner on December 25. Joy to the world, no dishes to do. 

Activity Highlights
  • Skiing
  • White Christmas
  • Dining
  • Culinary
  • Unique Stays
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