A few things to help keep you and yours joyful over the holidays

As Christmas grows nearer, it’s easy to grow tired of the season. The expenses, the never-ending task list, the busy malls and long line-ups, and let’s not forget — the kids are on holidays and excited for Santa.

It doesn’t have to be stressful though. Put down the task list and put away the wrapping, because here are a few things that will put you in the festive spirit.

All those twinkling lights

• ZooLights at the Calgary Zoo, runs Nov. 25 – Jan. 7

• If you don’t want to break the bank and see some festive lights, try The Lions Festival of Lights at Confederation Park or the Christmas Lights at Spruce Meadows, which runs through the month of December.

• You can also visit Lighten Up Calgary for interactive maps that will show you Christmas light displays around the city.

Spread cheer to those in need

• You can make a Christmas hamper, fill a backpack or stuff a sock for someone in need with the Mustard Seed, visit website for complete details

• Grab some friends and volunteer as a gift-wrapping group for Calgary Meals on Wheels. If you like wrapping presents, you’ll love doing it for a good cause.

• Take time and make a new friend through the Adopt a Grandparent program, visit website for details

Take in the festive sounds

• There are several choir groups performing around the city throughout the month of December

– Spirit Chorus at Living Spirit United Church on Friday, Dec. 16 at 7 p.m.

Julian Lee is sawing away at blocks of ice, showing the public how he makes his ice creations. Lee has been carving ice sculptures for 12 years, and has been displaying his work at ZooLights for the past eight years every Friday and Saturday night. Photo: Jessica Cameron– Mount Royal Kantorei at Jack Singer Concert Hall, EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts on Saturday, Dec. 17 at 7 p.m.

– Cantaré Children’s Choir at Knox United Church on Saturday, Dec. 17 at 7:30 p.m.

– VoiceScapes at Knox United Church on Sunday, Dec. 18 at 2:30 p.m.

– Calgary Civic Symphony at Jack Singer Concert Hall on Sunday, Dec. 18 at 2:30 p.m.

– Corpus Christi Male Chorale at EPCOR Centre’s Jack Singer Concert Hall on Monday, Dec. 19 at 7:30 p.m.

Sharpen the skates and hit the ice

• Outdoor Family Skating Rinks are open from December to February but are dependent on the weather

– Bowness Lagoon

– Olympic Plaza

– Prairie Winds

– Prince’s Island Lagoon

• Head to Heritage Park during the Winter CARnival for free skating at Heritage Town Square, which runs from Dec. 27 to Sunday, Jan. 8.

• There are many outdoor rinks in the communities around Calgary; to see a complete list, visit http://www.calgaryarea.com/calgary_rinks_arenas.htm

Browse Christmas crafts

• Once Upon a Christmas at Heritage Park, runs Dec. 17-18

• Market Collective, runs Saturday, Dec. 17 and Sunday, Dec 18

• Bowness Fall/Christmas Craft Sale, runs Saturday, Dec. 17 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

kfisher@cjournal.ca