Christmas and New Years are arguably the most expensive dates on the calendar. Between gifts for friends and family, holiday dinners and trips to see relatives, the average Canadian's credit card statement can reach eye-popping levels come January 2. In fact, according to BMO Financial Group, most people planned to spend around $1,500 in 2015. The bulk of this money - almost $700 - was for travel.
You can't control the cost of gas or airfare, but if you do plan to travel this holiday season, there are several places where attractions and lodging are less costly. Here's a list of snowy Christmas and New Years destinations that won't break the bank:
Keystone Resort, Colorado
If you're skiing with little ones in tow, check out Keystone in the Rocky Mountains. Booking at least two nights through Vail Resorts Property Management lets you take advantage of the Kids Ski Free program, and anyone in your party under 12 can take to the slopes for free. The resort boasts several luxury accommodations, spas and restaurants among them, but with over 1,200 hotels, there's a room for every budget.
Panorama Resort, British Columbia
Hoping to ski a little closer to home? Try the Panorama Mountain Village in British Columbia. The resort has tons of deals for thrifty travelers, including a $99 lodging and lift ticket package at the Pine Inn. You can also check out the area's various New Year's Eve parties, complete with a gorgeous fireworks display over the snow.
Quebec City, Quebec
If you want a Christmas like the ones found on seasonal cards, look no further than Quebec City. During December, the snow-covered town glows with coloured lights, turning each neighbourhood into a sight-seeing opportunity. Wander through the picturesque streets of Old Quebec for beautiful architecture reminiscent of old Europe.
Asessippi Ski Area, Manitoba
The largest ski resort in Manitoba, Asessippi offers several reasonably priced ski packages. The $99 Discover package, for example, includes rentals, lift ticket and group lesson. After January, people new to the slopes can head out on Sundays to take advantage of Asessippi's Snow Sample. This bundle includes skiing or snowboarding lessons, rentals and an express pass for only $19.99.
Fairbanks is a remote city that offers a breathtaking, once-in-a-lifetime view of the aurora borealis. If you spend at least three days here, you'll have an 80 percent chance of seeing the northern lights, according to the Fairbanks Convention and Visitors Bureau. While you're waiting, enjoy a hot air balloon ride, sleigh ride, dog sled race or even a dip in the warm waters of Chena Hot Springs Resort. These aren't exactly cheap, but the city has plenty of hostels for budget-conscious visitors.
Niagara Falls, Ontario
Niagara has plenty of free and inexpensive events throughout the holiday season. Check out the Floral Showhouse for beautiful displays of poinsettias, azaleas, Christmas cacti and other plants. You'll also get to listen to the songs of tropical birds as they fly around the glass building. Tour the Festival of Lights which, according to the tourism board, sees over a million attendees each year. Whatever you do, don't miss the free New Years Eve concert in Queen Victoria Park.
If you've got a bit of money to spare, spend a night or two at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. This 700-acre luxury resort offers skiing, snowshoeing and ice skating in addition to a rejuvenating spa. Otherwise, Marmot Basin is a great place for skiing and only 20 minutes away from Jasper. Seniors over 80 and children under 5 can use the slopes free of charge.