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How to Celebrate an Outdoor Christmas


Guest blog post Tanya Graydon Koob
When I was first asked about how we celebrated the Holiday Season and whether we celebrated an outside Christmas or not, I thought “are you crazy?”It’s winter in Calgary and there’s no way I’m sitting in the snow opening my Christmas gifts. I want to be toasty warm in my living room sitting by my fireplace, my family all gathered round, with the Christmas tree shining in the background.We don’t even have a real Christmas tree because we like to put it up by mid-November to extend the season.But then I thought some more and I realized that we DO celebrate Christmas outside in our own special way.No Christmas would be complete without skating, skiing, sledding, and outdoor fun in the snow. Maybe it’s time to bring Christmas outside and to think outside the box a bit when planning for the upcoming holiday season.


First – Find a way to incorporate your favourite outdoor sports into the holiday season.

For us that means going skating on Christmas Day.We go to a local outdoor pond that has an old-fashioned skating party every year.This year we want to bring hotdogs and marshmallows for lunch and add that to our Christmas traditions.S ’mores for Christmas – nothing wrong with that! We’ve gone hiking on Christmas day, sledding, and even skiing. One year we decided to celebrate Christmas on Boxing Day since family weren’t able to make it down until then. We drove out to Lake Louise in the Rockies and had a fabulous Christmas Day cross-country skiing and wishing everybody on the trails a Merry Christmas.

Second – Celebrate Christmas twice!  Once in the traditional method you’re used to, and once in a new way – outdoors!


We decided this year to start a new tradition of celebrating an early Christmas with friends the weekend before Christmas.We have two other families coming with us and we’re going to be staying at a wilderness hostel in the mountains outside Calgary.The hostel is rugged and natural to give us the feeling of camping.  We’ll be able to light a fire outside for roasting marshmallows or hotdogs, make snow angels and snowmen right outside the cabin door, go cross country skiing and snowshoeing on the Kananaskis Village and Ribbon Creek trail system, and go skating or sledding up at Kananaskis Village.The hostel also has a fully stocked kitchen so we should be able to make a nice pre-Christmas feast for ourselves.

Look for wilderness cabins near your community where maybe you can go spend some time this Christmas season.  The Alpine Club of Canada has an amazing collection of backcountry huts spread across Canada and many of them are family-friendly as well.  Hostelling International Canada also has hostels spread across the country and they’ve always been great at accommodating our family.Check out local ski clubs to see if maybe they have access to backcountry cabins as well.

For a great list of backcountry accommodations, lodges, and wilderness resorts Canada-wide, visit the website

Alpine Club

Hostelling International Canada

Biography:Tanya lives in Calgary, Alberta at the doorstep to the Rocky Mountains with her husband and 3-year old son. Her family makes it a priority to get out to the mountains almost every weekend for fabulous outdoor adventures.She is also the founder of Calgary Outdoor Playgroups. Tanya writes at Family Adventures in the Canadian Rockies.

Outdoor Christmas series Wednesdays

Cottage Christmas with Rhonda in Ontario.

Outdoor Christmas with my family in Florida,Crystal River.

Let us know do you celebrate Christmas connected to the outdoors ?


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