Getty Images

Things to do in Alberta: December 2022

By Jeff Cummings

The end is near for 2022, but holiday festivals are just starting to warm up the winter season. Embrace this time of the year with its dazzling lights and nighttime skies, offering optimal chances of spotting aurora borealis (northern lights) dancing above this province at night.


Kevin, Kevin, Kevin? Don’t stay home alone as the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra celebrates this classic holiday movie, Home Alone, Dec. 9 and Dec. 10 at the Calgary Jubilee Auditorium. The musical score is played live by the orchestra as the 1990 family comedy is shown in front of the audience. Can you imagine the live music and tones when eight-year-old Kevin McCallister, played by Macaulay Culkin, realizes he was left home alone as his family goes for Christmas Vacation? Or when he must defend his home from two aloof thieves? Don’t be a filthy little animal and miss out on this musical performance


December 21 is the shortest day of the year; when that happens, there are plenty of opportunities to gaze into the stars from anywhere in Alberta. It’s also the perfect chance to see aurora borealis swaying in the nighttime skies. Share those moments with your family and friends as you hypnotize yourself with the dancing greens, reds, and purples across the sky above. Plus, Alberta is home to some of the world’s largest Dark Sky Preserves, including Elk Island, Wood Buffalo, Jasper, and Waterton Lakes national parks. Don’t forget your Parks Canada Discovery Passes from our AMA centres. AMA members can save $10 on annual family passes, $4 on adult passes or $2 on senior yearly passes.


This winter, the Alberta Ballet will dazzle its audiences with its annual holiday tradition, The Nutcracker. The production features 120 performances and includes a live orchestra. Plus, this year’s show also features new elements in Act 2’s Kingdom of the Sweets. The Edmonton performance will take place at that city’s Jubilee Auditorium from Dec. 7 to Dec. 11, while the Calgary performance will happen from Dec. 16 to Dec. 24 at the Calgary Jubilee Auditorium. AMA members can save 15% on online ticket sales to all of the Alberta Ballet’s 2022/23 season, which celebrates new choreographic voices and powerful stories. 


Bask in the glow of holiday displays—either from your vehicle or while strolling in a park at night. For starters, there’s the Winter Light Festival in Lethbridge’s Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden or the Christmas Lights at Spruce Meadows in Calgary. Drive through Edmonton’s most decorated neighbourhood, Candy Cane Lane, or check out Sylvan Lake’s Winter Village that includes more than 300,000 twinkling and dancing lights.


The Wilder institute/Calgary Zoo lights up at night from Nov. 18 to Jan. 8 for its annual wintertime tradition, ZOOLIGHTS. It features colourful twinkling lights at every turn in the zoo, including more than 200 light figurines, along with interactive and choreographed light displays. It takes about 90 minutes to two hours to experience all that ZOOLIGHTS has to offer, and the lights turn on every night from 5 until 9 p.m.


Warm up in a nearby movie theatre this December by visiting the fictional and habitable moon of Pandora, as you watch director James Cameron’s latest Avatar sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water. In Cameron’s last installment in 2009, the flick was budgeted at $237 million (US) because of its groundbreaking array of visual effects—and it was money well spent as it grossed $2 billion at the box office. If science fiction isn’t your thing, spend a date night watching Babylon, a flick with a star-studded cast including Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie and Diego Calva. The film takes you on a journey through the 1920s and tells the rise and fall of multiple Hollywood characters. As an AMA member, you can save on Cineplex and Landmark movie passes when you purchase them at your local AMA centre.