A Season of Celebration
The holiday season brings with it an abundance of holiday options from holiday craft shows to music of the season to farolito (and luminaria) walks to Santa sightings. Almost every day of December offers something special to make your holidays even more celebratory. Here is a sampling of what is on tap for your holiday fun. Of course, this list is by no means comprehensive since the amount of activities around the Land of Enchantment is quite impressive.
Now through Dec. 30
River of Lights, Albuquerque
This spectacular light show at the Albuquerque BioPark Botanic Garden features millions of twinkling orbs and more than 500 holiday displays and is certainly one of the highlights of the season. (Closed Dec. 24 and Dec. 25). Tickets are $12 for adults, $6 for children.
Christmas on the Pecos, Carlsbad
Enjoy an enchanted evening boat tour on the Pecos River and view the light show on the banks—featuring displays from more than 100 homes and boat docks. (No rides on Dec. 24.) Prices range from $10 to $20.
FREE Dec. 8
Christmas at the Palace, Santa Fe
This annual event brings together the community for a holiday celebration with hot cider, biscochitos, live music, piñatas, a chance to operate an antique printing press, and Santa and Mrs. Claus. Enjoy the courtyard alit with luminarias and farolitos.
FREE Dec. 9
IAIA Holiday Market, Santa Fe
9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Check out the new Balzer Contemporary Edge Gallery and Painting Studios at IAIA and shop for holiday gifts from more than 70 noted and up-and-coming artists.
FREE Dec. 9
Light Among the Ruins, Jemez Springs
This not-to-be-missed unique event pairs the historic ruins of the 17th century San José de los Jemez Mission of Giusewa Pueblo (Jemez Historic Site) with nearly 1,500 farolitos. Jemez Pueblo dancers perform and play traditional Native American flute music throughout the evening.
Holiday Luminaria Beachwalk and Floating Light Parade, Elephant Butte Lake State Park
Here’s a unique take on the holiday spirit. Enjoy 3,000 luminarias, campfires, a Floating Light Parade, caroling, Santa, hayrides, and more from 5-8 p.m. All donations to benefit “Make a Wish Foundation.” Anyone interested in participating in the Floating Lights Parade must RSVP with Will Dooley at 575-894-2041 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Great Russian Nutcracker, Albuquerque
3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
In the great Russian tradition, experience the Moscow Ballet at Kiva Auditorium.
FREE Dec. 10
Las Posadas, Santa Fe
Alas no devils this year! But Las Posadas, the candlelight procession of the reenactment of Joseph and Mary’s search for a room, continues on the Santa Fe Plaza. The event culminates in the Palace’s courtyard where hot cider and biscochitos await.
High Altitude Baking for the Holidays, Santa Fe
10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Show off your mad cooking skills after attending a special workshop at Las Cosas Cooking School, which tackles the challenges of high altitude baking.
Nutcracker Ballet in the Land of Enchantment, Albuquerque
At the National Hispanic Cultural Center, the festive ballet comes to life in the late 1800s in territorial New Mexico.
Glow, Santa Fe
This year’s theme for the Glow show at the Santa Fe Botancial Garden is “Bridging Time,” and will include a light show, faralitos , fire elements, and more. The illuminating installations and music will be festive and thoughtful. (And special Children’s New Year’s Eve Party takes place Dec. 31 at 7 p.m.) The exhibit is closed Dec. 24-25.
SWAIA Winter Indian Market, Santa Fe
9 a.m.-5 p.m.
A terrific chance to score some great Native works for gifting and yourself! More than 130 artists will be selling jewelry, paintings, pottery, weavings, etc. Show at La Fonda on the Plaza.
Winterfest at Santa Ana Star Center, Rio Rancho
Ice skating, an arts and crafts fair, and a photo op with Santa and Mrs. Clause is a reason to celebrate. If you bring a non-perishable food item to be donated to one of Rio Rancho’s local pantries then skate rental and admission is on the house. At 5:15 a Candy Land themed parade and fireworks display will be featured in the Rio Rancho City Center.
The Nutcracker, Santa Fe
It wouldn’t be Christmas without the crowd-pleasing ballet featuring Clara, the Nutcracker Prince, and the Sugar Plum Fairy. This eclectic version is performed by the esteemed Aspen Santa Fe Ballet company at The Lensic, and tickets range from $54-$94.
Bolshoi Ballet: The Nutcracker (Film)
The Century 14 Downtown Albuquerque will showcase this favorite holiday tradition featuring some of the Bolshoi’s greatest artists.
FREE Dec. 17
Hanukkah on the Plaza, Santa Fe
Celebrate the festival of lights with a grand menorah lighting, music, jelly doughnuts, hot cocoa, dreidels, and more.
FREE Dec. 17
Christmas Open House at New Mexico Art Museum, Santa Fe
Families enjoy crafts and refreshments as well as the whimsical Baumann Marionettes, made by woodblock artist Gustav Baumann for his daughter in the 1930s.
FREE Dec. 17
Winter Solstice Seed Mandala, Albuquerque
This annual community art-making event to celebrate the coming of the winter season takes place at the Albuquerque Open Space Visitor Center. Storytelling will precede the creation of a mandala made from grains and seeds—which will feed migratory birds such as Canada geese and Sandhill cranes.
Hanukkah on Ice, Santa Fe
Skate to some Hanukkah tunes, enjoy tasty treats, and play skating games at the Genoveva Chavez Community Center. Free—although skate rental is $3.
The Nutcracker, Albuquerque
Ballet Repertory Theatre presents the classic holiday tradition at the Kimo Theatre.
FREE Dec. 23
Las Posadas, Chimayo
For a traditional Las Posadas presentation, head to Santuario de Chimayó.
Luminaria Ski and Snowshoe Tour, Red River
Enjoy an evening trek on a three kilometer loop at Enchanted Forest Cross Country Ski Area under the glow of candlelight and warmth of luminarias. A wonderful holiday experience. Tickets are $5-$15.
FREE Dec. 25
Canyon Road Farolito Walk, Santa Fe
Art, faith, and community merge in this annual holiday trek on Santa Fe’s tony Canyon Road (and adjacent streets). Farolitos, luminarias, caroling, treats, and more—add up to a terrific way to enjoy holiday cheer.
Pueblo Feast Days
All sorts of Holiday Feast Days occur during this time of year. For instance, you can attend a traditional dance at Picuris Pueblo (Dec. 24), San Felipe Pueblo (Dec. 24), Ohkay Owingeh (Dec. 24-25), San Ildefonso (Dec. 24-25), and Santa Clara (Dec. 24-25). Be sure to check with individual locations as to dance times and information.
No matter how you spend your time during the holidays, we hope your holiday is filled with family, good friends, tasty food, warmth, and joy.