These 5 Low-Cost Activities Will Get You Moving this Festive Season

 

Don’t let winter be synonymous with hibernating and being cooped up indoors. There are many cheap and cheerful ways to embrace the cooler temperatures outdoors without spending a lot of money. Just layer and bundle up for the elements, once you start moving, you’ll even want to take off layers.

 

Christmas Lights

christmas lights, candy cane lane

Price: Free mostly, but a can of soup per person as a food bank donation

Winter days are shorter which are perfect for viewing Christmas lights around the city. After work or school, rally up your loved ones to marvel at your neighbours’ Christmas lights set up. If your city has Candy Cane Lanes, which are a cluster of neighbours with elaborate light displays, make sure to bring a non-perishable food item as a donation. In Calgary, our Candy Cane Lane is in the NW community of Tuscany. 

We also love to wander around the Calgary city centre for the dazzling displays from Stephen Ave, Bankers Hall, and Brookfield Place. Another freebie option is checking out the Lions’ Festival of Lights at Confederation Park, just watch out for traffic along 14th Street.

 

 

Skating

skating, kids skating, outdoor skating

Price: Usually free if outdoors (unless you need a skate rental) or as low as $2 if indoor

Do a quick search in your area for outdoor rinks or municipally maintained skating areas, those rinks are usually ready for skating. If you are venturing outside of the city and you come across a lake, make sure the ice is thick enough to support you and your crew. Lastly, don’t forget to pack hand warmers and hot chocolate in a thermos. 

If you are in Calgary, skating at the Olympic Plaza with the Christmas lights overhead is a magical experience with your loved ones and it is completely free (unless need rentals from the Skate Hut). If you are looking for other free rinks, check out these outdoor skating rinks located in other quadrants of the city. Consider hitting up Toonie Days for $2 admission at local indoor rinks when the weather gets too warm or cold.

Snowshoeing

snowshoeing, avalanche safety snowshoeing, snowshoes

Price: Snowshoe rental with Lift Pass (if snowshoeing at ski resort)

Missing the hiking trails of summers past? Us too. Swap your trail shoes and venture out to your favourite lower elevation hikes for snowshoes. Snowshoes are strapped to your feet to give a wider surface area, so you don’t fall into the unassumingly deep snowpack. If you are feeling iffy about wandering into unmonitored, vast wilderness, there is the option of visiting a popular ski hill as well. Most ski resorts now also offer snowshoeing, with rentals onsite, which is great for those without avalanche safety equipment.

In Calgary, break into your snowshoes with local outings to vast parks like Nose Hill and Pearce Estate Park’s Interpretive Wetlands (rentals available). Sunshine Village and Mt. Norquay are both under 2-hour drive away for snowshoeing.

Be a Snow Angel

shoveling, shoveling snow, snow removal, snow angel

Price: Free

Inevitable bit of winter is getting the big ol dumps of snow, something we all dread when it comes to having to clear the walk or driveway. If you notice an elderly neighbour or someone who is in a bit of a pinch, help them out by shovelling their walk and/or driveway. Get your friends and family involved too by turning this menial task by introducing a competition element. First, divvying up the walk or driveway in half (or quadrants if you have 4 people), and then seeing who will finish clearing their section first. This gets the job done exceptionally quick too! Remember to bend at the knees and lift with your legs, as well try to keep the load close to your body to prevent lower back pain. If you are a recipient of the kind acts of snow angel(s), nominate them via City of Calgary

 

Build a Snowman

snowman, frozen, do you want to build a snowman, snowperson

Price: Free

Channel your inner Anna from Frozen and ask your friends and family to build a snowman (hopefully their answer isn’t a steely ‘no’ like Elsa’s response). Slip into a pair of snow pants and ski jackets on to wrestle down into the malleable snow. Get creative with your snowmen; give them three eyes or turn them into a bear with upright ears, or even splash some colour on the snow with a spray bottle with water and a couple drops of food colouring. Afterwards pose with the creations and share on social media to inspire others too!

Leave the hibernating to the bears. See your breath with each heavy exhale and the pinks in the cheeks of your loved ones from being active during this festive season. Plus, you get to look forward to warming up to a  creamy hot chocolate afterwards!

 

What are you doing this winter to stay active? Let us know in the comments below!

December 12, 2019 — ANITA HSIEH

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