Where to find Christmas dinner in Calgary this holiday season

By Sarah Sussman

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – it shouldn’t be the most stressful time of the year. Preparing Christmas dinner can be extremely nerve-wracking, so instead of trying to do it all yourself, let someone else do the cooking. Whether you’re looking for a prepared meal to heat and serve or a full service sit down experience, here’s where you should go for Christmas dinner in Calgary this year.  [Photo credit: istockphoto.com/ca/portfolio/alexraths]

Where to find Christmas dinner in Calgary this holiday season

Best for dietary restrictions

One of Calgary’s best kept secrets for wholesome home-cooked meals is Meez Cuisine and Catering. Meez is owned and operated by chef Judy Wood, who specializes in gourmet ready-made meals free from preservatives and additives. She also has a ton of gluten-free and vegetarian options. Choose from free range turkey, maple glazed ham, traditional stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans with garlic butter, as well as some elevated comfort staples like rainbow carrots and roasted squash with sage and brown butter. Finish things off with a toffee sauce-laden gingerbread cake.

Best for small gatherings

CRMR Kitchen and Urban Butcher are celebrating the holidays this year with a takeaway $95 Christmas dinner for four. The feast includes local free-run turkey, roasted seasonal vegetables, pistachio and dried cranberry stuffing, mashed potatoes and house-made cranberry sauce and gravy. All you have to do is reheat it and serve – no stress and no mess. Just make sure you place your order before Dec. 18 at 4 p.m. And if you’re still trying to find last-minute gifts, Urban Butcher also has CRMR Kitchen gift sets available, featuring locally-made artisanal condiments.

Best for big gatherings

If you’re hosting between 10 and 20 people at your table this year, the Westin has 15- and 22-pound turkey dinner options to go starting at $375. Bring home a massive buffet-like spread that includes whipped local potatoes, caramelized root veggies, oven roasted Brussels sprouts and the legendary sage stuffing with sautéed Okanagan apples. You also get two desserts included with the meal – sticky toffee pudding and traditional pumpkin pie. You can also get the turkey carved for an additional fee to save yourself the stress (and mess) of doing it yourself.

Best tried and true

Sunterra is the tried and true for prepared Christmas meals. Start off with butternut squash soup and kale orange salad followed by a choice of herb rubbed turkey breast and stuffing or orange and brown sugar-glazed ham (served with all the sides) and finished off with an eggnog tres leche cake for dessert. Sunterra was one of the first places to offer a prepared Christmas meal to go and has set the standard over the years.

Best DIY

If you’ve got too much pride to get a fully-prepared meal or want to get take a less intimidating DIY approach, Sobeys offers a turkey kit that comes with a fresh and fully-cooked turkey, cooked garlic mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and gravy. Just heat it up and it’ll be ready to serve in less than two hours. Then add in your own stuffing, veggies and accompaniments and you’re all set for dinner.

Best farm-to-table

The River Café is the quintessential dining spot for Canadian cuisine. So you better believe its Christmas dinner takeaway rivals anything you could ever hope to make on your own. The meal comes with an oven-ready Winter’s Honey brined free range turkey, Brussels sprouts leaves, honey glazed Beck Farms carrot, Poplar Bluff beets, smoked butter mashed potatoes and shiitake mushroom squash stuffing. For dessert, dig in to a Bernard & Sons Chocolate yule log.

Best gourmet

If you want to go all out this year, let the Fairmont Hotel Palliser cater your Christmas dinner. Their meals have a hefty price tag starting at $500,  but it’s a massive spread of food that’ll leave you with leftovers for at least a few days. The dinner includes a choice of slow-roasted Alberta turkey or beef tenderloin as well as salad, whipped potatoes, traditional sage stuffing, honey roasted vegetables, orange cranberry sauce, gravy and a choice of chocolate yule log or apple pie.

Best dining out

Sometimes it’s easier to just let someone else cook and host the big meal. The hardest part is just deciding where to go.

From noon until 7 p.m. on Christmas Day, Thomsons at the Hyatt offers a decadent holiday buffet, with plenty of gluten-free and vegetarians options too. Now you just need to figure out how to fit everything on to your plate. There’s plenty of traditional options as well as many non-traditional items such as lamb curry, sushi, dim sum and more. The buffet costs $84 per person or $25 for kids ages five to 12. Call 403-717-1234 to make a reservation.

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly holiday feast, the Little Chief restaurant at the Grey Eagle Casino has a $54 holiday buffet all day from noon until 8 p.m. It’s got all the classic Christmas staples including turkey, gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes and root veggies along with yule log, bread pudding and pastries for dessert. Call 587-390-1400 to make a reservation.

Want to treat yourself to something extra fancy? Go to the upscale Fairmont Palliser Hotel for a buffet in the Crystal Ballroom anytime from 2 until 7 p.m. or a five-coursed plated dinner in the Rimrock Dining Room between 4:30 and 8:30 p.m.

With so many Christmas dinner options available, give yourself the gift of relaxation this year and let someone else do the cooking. Then you can focus on what really matters – spending time with the ones you love most.

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