As a kid, there are few things more exciting (and excruciating) than the mounting anticipation for a major holiday. Everything— food, music, decor, activities, entertainment— is specialized to bring a feeling of cheer and uniqueness to the season. As the years go by and we faithfully repeat holiday traditions, nostalgia slowly winds itself around all these special rituals. The taste of a cookie or a few notes of a song gain the power to instantly transport you back in time. Some of Calgary’s most beloved festive traditions come in the form of annual performances, such as Alberta Ballet’s classic rendition of The Nutcracker or Theatre Calgary’s time-honoured version of A
Christmas Carol (page 12). Veteran actor Stephen Hair will be playing the role of Ebenezer Scrooge for the 24th time this year, meaning there are some young Calgarians who have never seen Scrooge performed by another actor. While receiving gifts is undoubtedly part of the season’s appeal, nothing compares to the pleasure of seeing family and friends enjoy something you picked out just for them. We’ve carefully selected a variety of gifts from local retailers that we think will bring big smiles to the faces of your loved ones (page 18). But sometimes the perfect present can’t be wrapped, so we also thought outside the box to give you some suggestions on gifting thrills and lasting memories instead of objects (page 24). Whether you’re looking to recreate old memories or build new traditions, I hope you’ll find something in these pages to inspire you. Here’s to a joyful November and December, and a peaceful new year. See you in 2018!