Thanksgiving hacks + Country Hills Village giveaway!

The post presented in partnership with Country Hills Village Shopping Centre

Clever Jody thinks ahead and nabs two takeaways to eat later this week. Top a slice with an egg for a fun breakfast! (Photo credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

I can’t believe it’s almost Thanksgiving, can you? It’s one of my favourite holidays, even though so much prep goes into it. The secret, I found, is getting your supplies in one go. And making it fun. No, really. I make a point of sneaking in self-care when I’m running errands. Luckily, this is a total breeze to do at Country Hills Village Shopping Centre. Here’s a game plan. (And be sure to read this entire post for clues on how to win major prizes from Village retailers.)

gift shop country hills village north calgary

Do some people in your family think Thanksgiving and Christmas just magically appear? (Photo credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

Exploring Country Hills

Do you also head to the shops for something and return home without it? (Photo credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

First up, caffeine! I always think I know what I need, but if I don’t review my list before heading out, I’ll forget something important, like wine. Side note: If you like the idea of pumpkin spice lattes, but don’t drink coffee, have them put that syrup in a milk steamer or in a London fog tea latte. Delish!

country hils manicure

I rarely get manicures, but on special occasions and holidays, I make the effort.

I recommend hitting the fun stuff first. You can get a pedicure at Mint Nails & Spa Lounge for the bargain price of $37.50, and it’s only a tenner to add on a manicure. Done and done! The salon is bright and clean with (working!) white leather massage chairs. If chemicals freak you out, they offer bio gel for artificial nails (way less chemicals in that base layer) or choose to do powder dipping. On the spa side of things, they offer eyelash extensions, waxing, threading, facials and chemical peels.

aveda country hills country

Decisions, decisions! (Photo credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

Diva Salon and Spa has some fantastic deals, but it’s also an Aveda concept salon, so you know the products and service will be amaze. In October, they’re offering a free cut with colour or highlights with a new talent. Facials are on super special at $99 and anytime of year, their blow outs are only $40 or $35 with a new talent. Besides getting your hair done, you can come in for a massage, mani-pedi, waxing, threading and lash extensions. Me, I like to splurge on anything in their Shampure line, then stash it in The Huz’s sox drawer (with explicit instructions he needs to wrap it up for me by Christmas).

aveda concept salon

I love this tea so much! Someone should buy me some for Christmas…(Photo credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

Shopping Country Hills Village

No Thanksgiving dinner (well none that I want to attend anyway) should have anything less than half a dozen bottles of wine. The deal with RJ Liquor Store is they have loads of value wines sub $10, which makes them great for cooking (or serving to your most annoying relatives). Wink.

wine shop country hills

You can never have too many bottles on your Thanksgiving table. (Photo credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

Most wines here are in the sweet spot of $10 to $22. You’ll find a range of organic wines, champers, plus spirits, beer, cider and coolers. Best is, they’ll happily order in anything for you – even wine from far flung lands like Romania and Moldova! They order every Sunday and you’ll have it for Tuesday. Pro tip: They offer discounts for large orders.

champagne shopping

Party time! (Photo credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

Kids, if you’re over the age of 40 and don’t yet have reading glasses, you’re on borrowed time. P.S. I’m so envious of you! The Huz and I both wear (MY!) glasses for reading and because Eve has astigmatism, we’re at our optometrist a couple of times a year. We’ve been going to FYidoctors for over a decade, but not this one at Country Hills Village. We see Dr. Craig at an FYi in South Calgary.

optometrist country hills north calgary

Unsure I can pull these off… (Photo credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

But who cares? What I love about FYi is I can pop into any location and they pull up our prescription in seconds. True, it feels a bit like I’m cheating on our regular optometrist, but when your kid tells you they need prescription sunglasses and you’ve been nagging them for years to get a pair, you order those babies when you get the chance.

PSA: Did you know all Alberta children in kindergarten can get a free eye examination? Even if you think there’s no issue with their eyesight, you should get this done. If we hadn’t had Eve’s eyes examined when she was a baby, we wouldn’t have been able to tell she had astigmatism at three-years-old.

phil kessel country hills calgary

You can’t visit Country Hills Village without meeting this adorable dude! (Photo credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

We’re always running out of dog food. And poop bags! Just like we have a rule about picking up milk every time we’re at a grocery store, we nab Buddy’s essentials every chance we get. Besides receiving cuddle therapy (Kessel works at this Global Pet Foods location every day and you can follow him on Instagram @thereal_philkessel), I was able to score those blessed scent-free, biodegradable bags.

The deal with this particular pet supply store is they have a massive selection of raw food for dogs and cats at the back of the shop. And they carry those super popular Messy Mutts and Messy Cats pet feeders, should you be in the market for a pet present. There’s even a veterinarian a few doors down, which is super convenient.

Black Earth Floral country hills

My mom always thought mums were underrated. I agree! (Photo credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

And what’s a Thanksgiving table without a seasonal centerpiece? I’m no Martha, so this is def something I outsource. I was totally crushing on the spider mums at Black Earth Floral, and they can make any kind of bouquet – all are custom. There’s way more than flowers in here though… All the displays of lovely books, art, bath products and naughty greeting cards are Instagram-worthy.

flower shop country hills calgary

Head here whenever you’re in need of a gift or to pamper yourself. (Photo credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

Did you know anyone can get their first class for free class at Rumble Boxing Studio? Just throw your gym clothes into your vehicle and schedule your shopping around a class time. You’ll feel so much better.

boxing studio country hills calgary

The energy at Rumble is infectious. (Photo credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

The vibe here is way cool. Think fight club meets nightclub – classes box to the beat. If you’re not into boxing, they have bootcamp classes, too. Check out their schedule here.

pink boxing gloves

Who wants a shot at the title? (Photo credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

Dry cleaning is very much a necessity in our household. I just can’t iron. And The Huz isn’t exactly stellar at it. Know what I love about Fishman’s? They fix shoes! No more schlepping around to find a cobbler. (I write that like we’re living in jolly old England.) Plus, they have a tailor on site. You know what that means? Hemming while you wait, that’s what! Or in my case, sipping a glass of wine at Famoso down the block.

dry cleaning country hills north calgary

Check, check, check, I’ve almost nailed everything off my to-do list. (Photo credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

I mentioned earlier, it’s important to treat yourself, so running errands isn’t such a drag. Making a pitstop at an Italian-style pizzeria is no hardship. But it’s their daily specials running all day (not just during happy hour) that gets me most jazzed. Wednesdays are my fave cuz you can snag Prosciutto Mozza Balls for $2.50 each. They taste just like prosciutto pizza, but without the crust – an excellent option if you’re gluten free. Though, they do serve up gluten free crust if you want it.

pizza country hills north calgary

Because… I deserve a break. (Photo credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

Of course there’s loads more shops and services at Country Hills Village – especially in the health and wellness department. They’ve got a dentist, ortho, chiropractor and if you’re feeling a touch under the weather, dash into Medicentre.

Country Hills Village giveaway

Many of the vendors at Country Hills Village Shopping Centre have banded together to give away an amazing gift basket for one Travels with Baggage reader. You could win a $50 gift card for Famoso, a one-hour massage from Country Hills Massage Therapy, plus lots of cool prizes from Country Hills Village retailers.

To enter:

  1. Comment below with what shops you routinely hit up before Thanksgiving. Receive a double entry for liking the Country Hills Village Facebook page. (We cross-check this, natch.)
  2. All comments and likes must be received before midnight, October 7, 2018.
  3. Contest open to residents of Alberta.

About the Author:

I’m a freelance writer with bad hair, a loud mouth and a serious case of wanderlust. Whether it’s luggage, time or just life, I cram as much as possible into small compartments. Warning: Contents may shift during flight. My life is one bumpy ride! Follow me on Twitter or Pinterest.


  1. Gemma 02.10.2018 at 12:19 - Reply

    Any local coffee shop for a must-have pumpkin spice latte!

    • Jody 02.10.2018 at 14:38 - Reply


  2. Matt McQueen 02.10.2018 at 13:05 - Reply

    We usually hit up the Lakeview Bakery for amazing gluten free apple pie!

    • Jody 02.10.2018 at 14:37 - Reply

      Oh, I’ll have to try that. Heard they now sell their cheese buns frozen.

  3. Leigh 02.10.2018 at 14:27 - Reply

    Its wine for me – always have to have at least a dozen bottles around as its not something I want to run out of.

    I wonder if I’m the only person who has never had a pumpkin spice latte. I love pumpkin – don’t know what’s holding me back.

    • Jody 02.10.2018 at 14:37 - Reply

      Ummm 500 calories perhaps? 🙂 Try the tea one with hippy milk (as I did).

  4. Ryan Fab 02.10.2018 at 14:34 - Reply

    Always some sweet moscato for after dinner so I’m sure to hit up the wine store and after I slop all over myself, the dry cleaner post eats.
    Then off to Rumble to work off the delicious calories

    • Jody 02.10.2018 at 14:36 - Reply

      I like your strategy!

  5. Tamara Elliott 02.10.2018 at 14:41 - Reply

    Haha the wine store is a spot I definitely hit up!

  6. Glorife 02.10.2018 at 15:30 - Reply

    I always visit the flower shop, then the wine store cuz, mama needs some whine before everyone starts to whine.

    • Jody 03.10.2018 at 09:05 - Reply


  7. R Lee 02.10.2018 at 18:38 - Reply

    Country Hills Village is the place to get pampered for my dogs and myself! Global Pet Foods carries great varieties of pet food and treats. And nothing beats a massage at Country Hills Massage to relax and gel refreshed.

  8. Kim 03.10.2018 at 14:21 - Reply

    BLACK EARTH is the best! it is the ideal spot to stop for a birthday gift, hostess gift or best of all a SELF gift 🙂 Followed by a delicious chai tea at starbucks. Love Global Pet foods too, well my dog Gary does. Not to mention visiting his friend Punch 🙂

    • Jody 03.10.2018 at 17:11 - Reply

      Ha ha. Thanks for your tips!

  9. Jessica Crawford 03.10.2018 at 15:04 - Reply

    I always hit up the grocery store before thanksgiving, this year I’m making broccoli salad to take to my sister’s.

    liked the page on Facebook 😊

  10. Caryn Salageanu 03.10.2018 at 18:55 - Reply

    I hit up grocery stores like Polcan and the Italian store to get the European treats that my Romanian hubby loves!

  11. Caryn Salageanu 03.10.2018 at 18:56 - Reply

    I liked the Country Hills Village Facebook page as Caryn Salageanu

    • Jody 03.10.2018 at 20:46 - Reply


  12. Sharon Targett 03.10.2018 at 19:00 - Reply

    Always need to make several trips to the grocery store to get all the ingredients needed for a great family supper.

    • Jody 03.10.2018 at 20:46 - Reply

      I’m the same. I wish I could get it all in one, but it’s hard!

  13. Melinda 03.10.2018 at 19:34 - Reply

    Global Pet Foods is a shop I visit for supplies for our cat. I love the Mint Nail Spa, I recommend it to my friends. I liked the Country Hills village Facebook page. Thanks!

  14. Mandy 03.10.2018 at 19:35 - Reply

    Thanksgiving isn’t a thing for us, but we do have plenty of other huge celebrations throughout the year. We buy TONS of delicious food a few days beforehand and slowly prep for the big feast, since doing it all in one day is really tough.

  15. Heather 03.10.2018 at 20:04 - Reply

    Well, the obvious grocery store (or 3) plus liquor store, bakery and florist at a minimum. It looks like they have pretty much everything there!

  16. Michelle 03.10.2018 at 22:07 - Reply

    I love Country Hills Massage! In fact, I just booked an appointment for this weekend!

  17. Ralitza Alexandrov 03.10.2018 at 22:56 - Reply

    I love that little flower shop in that area! The girls are so nice and accommodating and they always do a fabulous job of making a bouquet by scratch as per request. I love the idea of a pretty holiday bouquet – such a brief and fleeting way to make someone’s day!

  18. May Seto 03.10.2018 at 23:35 - Reply

    Love pumpkin everything!!

  19. Roop 04.10.2018 at 00:40 - Reply

    Always hit up the grocery store and then whatever coffee shop I can find. I already know I’m gonna need the caffeine to keep cooking

  20. Robyn Godard 04.10.2018 at 10:00 - Reply

    I like to hit up my favourite bakery for a pumpkin pie and the liquor store for some fall flavored cocktails!

  21. felicia 04.10.2018 at 13:24 - Reply

    Definitely some good wine before thanksgiving! A must visit to a wine store!

  22. Mathilde 04.10.2018 at 16:38 - Reply

    I always buy flowers to decorate my place or to treat my host!

  23. Maritess S 04.10.2018 at 19:45 - Reply

    I never forget to pick up some good wine and refreshing beverage for family and friends.

  24. Rebecca Roberts 04.10.2018 at 23:35 - Reply

    I always hit up Glamorgan Bakery for their famous cheese buns and delicious cookies! I’ve liked the country hills villagw Facebook page! Thanks very much and Happy Thanksgiving!

  25. Amy Care 05.10.2018 at 14:30 - Reply

    For sure the cheese shops to get a good assortment for a charcuterie platter!!

  26. Tammy 05.10.2018 at 16:50 - Reply

    Bakery and liquor store! All we need is a little wine and pie! Hahaha

  27. Flo deGuzman 05.10.2018 at 21:05 - Reply

    Wine of course, a treat for me usually at the Starbucks, (while I shop of course), something yummy for the dog, while I make sure to have something for dessert on the, thanksgiving table.

  28. Lily 05.10.2018 at 21:49 - Reply

    Groceries (Superstore), Wine (Liquor Store) and Dessert (DQ)! With a quick stop at Starbucks to start all those errands!

  29. Amery Der 06.10.2018 at 05:38 - Reply

    Costco is one stop for sure in addition to Starbucks.

  30. Nikita 06.10.2018 at 07:24 - Reply

    I always have to visit a bakery for fresh pastries and buns, and of course any coffee shop 😉

  31. Carrol Ann Davidson 06.10.2018 at 11:58 - Reply

    Black Earth 😍 and Superstore!

  32. Pamela Vance 06.10.2018 at 15:11 - Reply

    Always have to hit up a grocery store and bakery! And have a pit stop at a coffee shop for something pumpkin spice!!

  33. Nicole Giroux 06.10.2018 at 16:14 - Reply

    Starbucks for a caffeine fill (iced americano blanco) to give me the energy to start cooking thanksgiving dinner.

  34. Jennifer 06.10.2018 at 17:32 - Reply

    We stop at the Springbank Cheese Co. and the liquor store for wine.

  35. Stephanie Siah 06.10.2018 at 19:00 - Reply


  36. Marlaine 06.10.2018 at 22:40 - Reply

    I need to make sure I get a mama Kirkland pumpkin pie and don’t forget the whip cream

  37. Emma Louie 06.10.2018 at 23:37 - Reply

    I always hit superstore or costco for all my turkey dinner trimmings. The liquor store for wine.

  38. Robin Farr 07.10.2018 at 09:51 - Reply

    Anywhere I can get little pumpkins for decoration.

  39. david pyle 07.10.2018 at 10:36 - Reply

    the wine store! Need to drink while cooking on Thanksgiving 🙂

  40. Jonnie 07.10.2018 at 19:34 - Reply

    I always hit up the liquor store to keep everyone’s spirits up, Starbucks to get me up and cooking on the big day and Global Pet Foods for a special Thanksgiving treat for the furry family members. I like the Country Hills facebook page as Jonnie JB Hartling.

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