Where to get free Santa photos in Calgary

Have you even started your holiday shopping yet? I attempt to chip away it all year, but come December an all out push is necessary. I prefer to hit up places that let you focus on the season. Shopping ought to have some element of fun in it, right? Here’s a look at a few holiday gift ideas, plus the best place (IMHO) to get Santa photos in Calgary. Oh, I also have a luxe giveaway from Country Hills Village Shopping Centre!

Where to score free Santa photos in Calgary + wellness giveaway
Whenever you get a chance to chat up the jolly old elf, you should take it!

Where to get free Santa photos in Calgary

I know you think you know the best spot to snag Santa photos. But trust me, I do:) Last year, I stumbled upon Santa pics that were: A) Free and B) Had NO LINE UP! I didn’t just pop by once. I went by, three, four, maybe five times within a three hour period to make sure this wasn’t a one hit wonder.

In addition to not having to wait to chat with quite possibly the nicest Santa in the city, there were free drinks and snacks, activities for the kids including face painting (also free), roaming carollers and stellar retail offers. What is this magical place, you ask?

famoso pizza
As a bonus you can take home dinner from Country Hills Village (Photo credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

Actually there’s two spots offering complimentary Santa photos and all those lovely little little extras. Country Hills Village Shopping Centre on Saturday, December 14 from 11:30 – 2 p.m. for all the festivities or WestHills Towne Centre the following day – Sunday, December 15 from 11:30 – 2 p.m.

Santa will be in a heated tent, so you’re covered should inclement weather roll in. On the off chance you do have to wait your turn, you can warm up beside the outdoor fire pit at WestHills Towne Centre and enjoy the carollers and complimentary snacks.

Shoppers will want to keep their eye out for roving ambassadors at both properties. They’ll be handing out coupons, gift cards and goodies from participating retailers. ‘Tis the season for gifting, after all!

Where to get pet pictures with Santa in Calgary

Pets are welcome, too! At Country Hills Village, Global Pets Foods will have goodies for all the pets on December 14th. But they’re also doing photos with Santa on December 8th from 10 – 4 p.m. Those pet pictures with Santa are $15/each, with a portion of the proceeds going to local rescues.

Global pet foods calgary
Are you also tempted to try these pet treats? Asking for a friend…. (Photo credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

While you’re there, you might want to pick up a few festive treats, or perhaps one of the adorable knit hoodies and turtlenecks they stock. They even have an advent calendar for dogs!

Favourite finds for 2019

While you’re getting your Santa photos, you might as well have a peak around.  Shopping at Country Hills Village is a breeze for me. I find parking no problem. I can nail off a bunch of errands from updating my driver’s license to nabbing cash to changing my phone plan in-between shops.

On that note, I happened to find a phone deal at Freedom Mobile. You can score an iPhone 11 with 25 GB of data (unlimited nationwide talk and text) for $90/month for two years.

One of my favourite shops in all of Calgary is Black Earth. The smell of Christmas (fresh evergreens) hits you as soon as you open the door. An emporium of all things pretty, you’ll find luxe candles and body care products here. They also have really gorgeous holiday ornaments and home decor items.

Black Earth Floral country hills
If you’re bring flowers as a hostess gift, try to have them vase, so the receiver doesn’t have to hunt for one. (Photo credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

If you have a classy friend or relative, this is where you’ll find that special something for them. As a bonus, it’s also a flower shop, so you can pick up a gorgeous bouquet for a hostess gift or order a custom, fresh wreath.

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

Another favourite of mine is Diva Salon & Spa. I think it’s a smart move to get a trim and your highlights touched up well before the holidays hit, plus they stock a lot of Aveda gift sets (for men, too!). Next door at First Choice Haircutters they sell AG Hair Colour Savour Mask packets – an awesome under $5 stocking stuffer.

country hils manicure
I rarely get manicures, but during the holidays, I make the effort and I feel so much better for it. (Photo credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

Mint Nails is conveniently situated steps away, so you can take a breather from errands and shopping and get your digits done to look totally polished for holiday parties. If I’m organized, I’ll bring my gym bag to Country Hills Village so I can snag a workout at Rumble Boxing. 

Incidentally, I think boxing gloves are a fun gift for teens or couples. They have them in flashy prints like blue leopard print. You could even gift someone a 5 or 10 class pack.

Rumble Boxing studio
Everyone is better for it! (Photo credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

Refuelling is easy at Starbucks (who doesn’t love their Christmas blend?), but I’m just as likely to pop into Opa and snag a chocolate baklava (so good!). Gift cards for Opa are another stocking stuffer standby of mine.

champagne shopping
Ka-ching! (Photo credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

Ultimately, successful holidays come down to being prepared. Before leaving, I’ll usually nip into Super Value Liquor for a bottle of wine. An even better idea is hitting Dairy Queen for their log cake which looks just like a Yule log. It’ll keep in your freezer until you need it.

Do you have a one stop shop for tackling errands and holiday gifts at the same time? I’d love to hear where that is.


Rumble Boxing studio has generously offered up some class passes for boxing. Additionally, Diva Salon & Spa has donated some gift certificates and luxe cleansing oil to one Travels with Baggage reader.

To enter

  1. Comment below with what you buy for people when you’re really not sure what to gift them. Receive a double entry for liking the Country Hills Village Facebook page. Score a triple entry for following CHV on Instagram. (We cross-check this, natch.)
  2. All comments and likes must be received before midnight, December 13, 2019.
  3. Contest open to residents of Alberta.

The post is presented in partnership with Country Hills Village Shopping Centre. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Travels with Baggage possible. 

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About The Author

26 thoughts on “Where to get free Santa photos in Calgary”

  1. Dianne Hammel

    Gift Cards are my go to for the hard to buy for!! My children love them and I think most anyone ! The next best thing to CASH and you can get what you want at your favorite store!! 🙂 Merry Christmas to You and Yours!!

  2. Depending on ages wine and chcolates are always well recieved. For the kids movie passes are my ho to! Merry Christmas

  3. Jenny Wilson

    I find Purdy’s Chocolates and Starbucks or Good Earth gift cards to be my go to presents for when I am not sure what they like!

  4. Stephanie Warthe

    Food is a gift that everyone appreciates! I find candied nuts are always a hit!

    Liked on FB and IG! 😉

  5. Irene Lukenda

    I always have gift cards and a couple of candles just in case, oh and of course

  6. For the hard to buy folks in my life I find wine and chocolate normally does the trick. In some cases, I would buy beer instead of the wine.

    1. Ainsley Mathieson

      I usually would do a gift card for either coffee, or a Mani/pedi, and a bottle of wine!

  7. Tracy Merkel

    I would love to win the Nintendo switch for my 8 kids but I would be grateful for any prize. Thank you for the chance. Merry christmas

  8. Coral Davey

    A cozy blanket, some slippers and a real nice bottle of wine is my go to gift ????

  9. Zahra Premji

    A gift card to either Second Cup or Good Earth are my top go-to. Everyone loves coffee! Or, a gift card to some other experience like movies or the spa.

  10. I usually buy gift cards like Starbucks or groceries so they’ll be able to use it on something practical !

  11. Jennifer (@JusticeSadie) Conlin

    I like to keep gift cards on hand as well as Some Purdy’s chocolates and wine. They ake great last minute gifts that everyone is sure to appreciate,

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