A land of mountains and high elevations, in Banff National Park winter always comes early. Maybe it’s the chill in the air or the softly falling snowflakes, but the whole region takes the cold-weather cue to get an early start on the holidays, too!
If you’ve set your sights on Banff and Lake Louise this December, we’ve got more events than lightbulbs on the tree to ignite your Christmas spirit. The options below let you mix and match your way through a weekend getaway that is great for the whole family.
The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel is the place to be right before the weekend kicks off. Check out these holiday events in early December!
Eat the Castle
Fridays from 3 - 5pm
Part wine and food tasting and part historic tour, Eat the Castle stops at four restaurants at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. A local guide brings the castle to life through storytelling as chefs present you delicious food to enjoy.
Christmas at the Castle
Various dates and times.
With so much happening, you’ll want to check the calendar of events for the full list of family-friendly activities. Highlights include a performance of A Christmas Carol, a Heritage Tour, outdoor curling, and poking your nose in The Santa Suite. Did you know the Banff Springs is his home away from the North Pole?!
F&B Christmas Market
Fridays 6-10pm, Saturdays 10-4pm
Regional food and beverage vendors gather to bring you a taste of the local artisanal scene. Mill around and sample goods, then stock up on Christmas gifts from your favourite vendors.
Photos with Santa at The Spirit of Christmas
November 30 - December 22, December 24
Trust Canada’s largest year-round Christmas store, The Spirit Of Christmas to get the big guy to come to Banff early. Every Saturday and Sunday, grab a mulled spice drink and get your photo taken with Santa – all proceeds go to charity! Pets are welcome.
Mountaintop Christmas at The Banff Gondola
Saturdays & Sundays - November 16 to December 22
10am - 3pm
Possibly the highest elevation Christmas celebration in Canada, ride the Banff Gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain for some holiday fun, including ornament decorating, a letter-writing station, and a Festive Photo Quest.
A Whyte Christmas
December 7 only, 1-4 pm
Families are welcome to an open house at the Whyte Museum, where you can tour the museum and galleries and also take part in some face painting, storytelling, Christmas crafts, and yummy treats.
Other Saturday events include Christmas at the Castle! Check the calendar for a full listing.
Many of Saturday’s events continue, including Mountaintop Christmas (Banff Gondola), Photos with Santa (The Spirit of Christmas) and Christmas at the Castle (Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel) – see above! Also:
A Charlie Brown Christmas
December 8, 2pm or 6:30pm
Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity
Featuring The Jerry Granelli Trio, Granelli himself tells the story of how the music of Charlie Brown’s animated Christmas special almost didn’t happen. The soundtrack went on to become a triple-platinum holiday classic.
Check out the Banff Centre events calendar for more events during the holiday season.
LOOKING FOR MORE IDEAS?
Whether you’re coming off the slopes or another adventure, after a day of exploring you’re bound to be hungry. Check out this list of 9 Places to Après in Banff and Lake Louise.
Early December is a great time to shop for Christmas gifts! You’ll find unique retailers in both Banff and Lake Louise listed here. Browse the options before you even hit the streets!
Whether it’s a soak after a day of outdoor activities or a well-earned massage, Banff and Lake Louise have spa and wellness experiences that’ll melt any pre-Christmas stress away.
Check the Full Events Calendar for more events in early December, including the Lake Louise FIS Ski World Cup!