How to survive winter and enjoy Christmas in Edmonton

When a girl used to low temperatures of 26°C (Tropical Nigerian climate) comes to lower temperatures of –35°C (Continental Alberta climate) or worse with wind chill, what happens?

I hibernate for 6 months! just kidding, but my life does change quite a bit based on this new climate and while its not hibernation in the sense of biology, it is a season of slow motion for me.

My winter months have a standard pattern – Work – Home – Work – Home and the cycle repeats. I automatically turn down every activity that requires me to confront the elements. I even turn online to get my Sunday service (Jesus understands). I do not enjoy cold in any form and I didn’t even like using air conditioning when it was dreadfully hot in Nigeria.

But I find that after a few months of my winter pattern, I get really sad and I dare say a little depressed. Some call it the winter blues, but it does get to me. As humans we are social creatures (I am) and sometimes I just need to connect with people and do stuff.

If you are like me and you struggle with the winter season, here are a few tips that might help you survive it during this season and some activities that you can come out of your hibernation for.

Tips for surviving Edmonton’s Winter

Stay warm. Get thermal clothing and ensure you are wearing at least 3 layers depending on what the temperature is. You’ll need a hat, tuque, or ear muffs, gloves and thermal socks. Layering is the key though.

Winter boots – You need boots with traction/grip and preferably insulated so that your toes don’t suffer. Leave room for thick thermal socks (layers). Nothing adds to the depression if your toes are freezing or if you slip and fall on ice. Most people will just pass by without saying anything (I think Canadians believe its more polite to just ignore you).

When it’s winter, there is no rush. You have to be careful regardless of if you are driving, walking or crossing the road/crosswalks. You first darling, and all others in a hurry should fly…

Activities in Edmonton during winter

Citadel Theater – Located downtown and easily accessible through the pedway system, the Citadel theater hosts a variety of plays, from world renown artists and plays (Peter Pan, Mamma Mia) to local plays. There is often a little mixer before the plays where you can grab a glass of wine and chat before you go into the theater. On top of the theater there is a little oasis right at the citadel, where you could relax and chill.

Winspear Theater – Located downtown right next to the Citadel, the Winspear has a variety of events guaranteed to make you forget the miserable weather outside. They have symphonies, orchestra performances and carols. During the holidays, they have several sing along carols that are guaranteed to make you more cheerful in spite of the wicked cold outside.

Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at the Winspear Theater

Christmas activities in Edmonton

Glow Edmonton – Originally started in Vancouver, Glow is now in Edmonton and has become one of the world’s largest indoor Christmas festivals, brightening up the season in spite of the cold.

Edmonton Christmas market – While not on par with the European Christmas markets, Edmonton’s Christmas market is located at ATB Place. For $5 you get to peruse tons of local artists work, get specially crafted gifts, listen to a band play and grab something hot/cold to drink.

Candy-cane lane – This is one of the highlights of the holidays in Edmonton. Candy cane lane is an over the top Christmas decorated street in Edmonton. It started way back in 60s and the occupants of this little street have made it a tradition to decorate their streets so lavishly. If it’s a Christmas related decor, then candy-cane lane has it, from sleighs, to igloos and much more. It has become a habit for the City to go to candy cane lane during the holidays and enjoy the evening. And to contribute, we are asked to bring non perishable food items to donate. This years Candy-cane lane is open from Dec 12 – Jan 1.

Just your friendly neighborhood Grinch

Ice Castles

Do you fancy playing Elsa in your own royal winter wonderland? We got you covered. Edmonton is the only city in Canada where this cold and dreamy ice castle has returned to so many times. Ain’t you lucky you live in Edmonton? So pull yourself out of bed, slap on some makeup or the equivalent for guys, get layered up and head to Hawrelak Park to have some fun. There might be slides, thrones, fire-pits and lights.

Bundle up while playing Elsa so we don’t have to thaw you out

West Edmonton Mall (WEM)

While WEM is known as the biggest shopping mall in Canada, I haven’t listed it here for the shopping benefits it provides. As a matter of fact, it is not the best place to shop in my opinion because it is massive. You are better off going to a smaller mall and saving the time it would take you to navigate the WEM.

I list it here as it is a hub of activities. Time flies by so fast at the mall. It is estimated that mall attracts between 90,000 – 200,000 shoppes daily so even if you just sit and people watch you will have a full day. But the WEM is great for so many other reasons. There is an insane amount of things to do there.

The Galaxy-land with so many rides and roller coasters

The Water Park with nice humid temperature and warm water. A striking opposite of the outside elements

Just chilling oblivious to the cold outside. This only thing I need is some tropical coconut drink.

The Rec Room – This is an adult recreation center, you can find at least 5 games/activities that you enjoy. There are arcades games, basketball, axe throwing, bowling and much more.

The Hockey rink – Are you a hockey fan? Love skating? then the WEM is one of the places where you can be warm and still enjoy your ice related activities.

The Scotia theater – You could take a break from all the hectic fun and sit and watch a movie at the Scotia theater

If you are not interested in going out at all, that’s easy, you just need a bottle of wine (I recommend Marani Alazany valley red wine), a loudspeaker and a pumped-up Spotify playlist (its a plus if you know half the lyrics). Then dance the winter blues away in the warmth of your apartment.

Tell me, do you love winter or hate it? How do you deal with it?

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