One might think winter holidays consist of only three specific days of the year: Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Years Eve. Santa Fe, also known as the “City Different”, holds true to its name. A consecutive 30+ day period hosts in the holidays- Pre-Thanksgiving through New Years! A festive, holiday menu of music, cuisine, shopping, special events and more for locals and New Mexico visitors alike.
Holiday festivities begin mid-November with Handel’s Messiah. On Thanksgiving Day, activities can include giving thanks and worship, enjoying friends or family, strolling down quiet, quaint streets of downtown Santa Fe, feasting upon tantalizing cuisine prepared by Santa Fe’s top Restaurateurs, hiking in glorious landscapes like Tent Rocks or enjoying opening day of Ski Santa Fe- to list just a few! Folks of all ages enjoy relaxing and reflecting on this quiet and fun (always fun!) Thanksgiving holiday. Friday after thanksgiving (aka: Black Friday) ushers in a busier time with great pre-Christmas bargain shopping, downhill skiing, snowboarding or cross-country skiing at Ski Santa Fe, Pueblo Feast Dances, and of course the lighting of the plaza! (Always a joy filled, well attended celebration of awe inspiring lights and decorations of the downtown Santa Fe plaza- see photo). Between Black Friday and Christmas Eve, Santa Fe visitors enjoy a quieter, more peaceful time period filled with discounted hotel rates (Pueblo Bonito b&b inn offers a $99/nt rate with in-room wood burning kiva fireplace!). This slower time of the travel season is when folks can begin preparations of the heart, mind and soul for the upcoming holidays. Many holiday specific arts and culture events help usher in this holy time of year:
Nov 24: Handel’s Messiah: Lensic Performing Arts Center: Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, with Guest Conductor Gary Thor Wedow, Choral Director Dr. Linda Raney, and renowned guest soloists Devon Guthrie, Joseph Beutel and Joshua Dennis. A musical rite of the holiday season, this Baroque-era oratorio still awes listeners after more than two-and-a-half centuries.
Nov 27: Ski Season Opens – Enjoy a day of skiing at Ski Santa Fe! Voted #1 Best Deal for US Ski areas- a great ski experience for all ages and skill level, yet not as commercialized allowing for short lift lines, great snow conditions, excellent cafe service and just 16 miles from Pueblo Bonito b&b inn. After a full day of exhilarating snow skiing, return home to enjoy a complimentary afternoon tea, romantic fire in your in-room kiva fireplace and easy stroll to dinner at one of Santa Fe’s best restaurants!
Nov 28: Lighting of the Christmas Tree on the Plaza. Walk to/from Pueblo Bonito b&b inn!
Nov 28: Black Friday- Shopping on the plaza and around downtown Santa Fe is no problem! There are so many unique, distinctive, and rare items to select from for your Christmas shopping lists. If you can’t find that challenging person a great gift in Santa Fe, it probably doesn’t exist! Pueblo Bonito gift shop offers discounts off all inventory for guests of Pueblo Bonito b&b inn (jewelry, pottery, rugs, baskets, knives, and more!).
Nov 28, 29. 30: 11th Annual Circus Luminous at the Lensic Performing Arts Theatre: A more recent favorite Thanksgiving weekend tradition featuring local acrobats, clowns and aerialists. Walk to performance from Pueblo Bonito Inn-Santa Fe, NM
Nov 29, 30: SWAIA Winter Indian Market– all about community. A perfect blend of exuberant, long established holiday spirit of Santa Fe and beautiful, creative Native arts, traditions and culture.
Dec 12: Christmas on the Plaza– 30th anniversary of this beloved Santa Fe event, with hot cider, live music, entertainment and a visit from Mr and Mrs Claus. At the Palace of the Governors. Free, family event.
Dec 14: Las Posadas. This traditional Hispanic tradition re-created Mary and Joseph’s search for lodging the night Jesus was born with a candle-lit procession around the Santa Fe Plaza.
Dec 14: Holiday spirit is highlighted with The Santa Fe Symphony’s annual afternoon of Christmas favorites! This celebratory performance feature Guest Conductor Jason Altieri, Director of Orchestras at the University of Nevada and Associate Conductor for the Reno Philharmonic, as The Symphony performs Corelli’s Christmas Concerto, Yon’s Gesù bambino, Faith’s Brazilian Sleigh Bells, White Christmas by Irving Berlin, Wendell’s Little Drummer Boy (Bolero), and Anderson’s A Christmas Festival.
Dec 19-24: A Baroque Christmas: Loretto Chapel. Santa Fe Pro Musica Baroque Ensemble. Music by Back, Handel, Vivaldi and Traditional Carols. 6&8 pm each evening. Santa Fe Pro Musica is a nationally recognized musical organization that remains steeped in its commitment to community.
Dec 20, 21: The Nutcracker: Lensic Performing Arts Center. Aspen Santa Fe Ballet’s “The Nutcracker“. Children of all ages marvel at the whimsical interpretation of a seasonal classic. Ballet, flamenco, Chinese silk dancing, and an aerialist allow the cast of 60 dancers, actors, and circus artists to create lifelong memories for you and your loved ones.
Dec 21: Holiday Open House: Celebrate holidays with music, refreshments, and Gustave Baumann marionettes at the New Mexico Museum of Art.
Dec 24: Christmas Eve Concert: Family Concert Series at 2pm & 5pm Lensic Performing Arts Center. The magic of the season is captured with two of the most cherished orchestral works of all time: Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 performed by the Performance Santa Fe Orchestra and conducted by Joseph Illick, and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue played by 13-year-old virtuoso pianist and composer Emily Bear.
Dec 24: Canyon Road Farolito Walk. A work of art itself! Annual celebration which is uniquely Santa Fe. Lit by traditional farolitos and luminarias, Canyon Rd is arguably never more beautiful than on Christmas Eve. visitcanyonroad.com
Dec 28, 29: Music for the Royal Fireworks: St Francis Auditorium. Santa Fe Pro Musica Orchestra.Telemann Water Music; Vivaldi Concerto in F Major, “Autumn” for the Four Seasons; Vivaldi Conterto in F Minor, “Winter” from the Four Seasons; Handel Music for the Royal Fireworks.
Dec 31: New Years Eve Concert. Lensic Performing Arts Center: Guaranteed to bring in the New Year in grand style! An early-evening concert featuring the Performance Santa Fe Orchestra, conducted by Joseph Illick, playing Beethoven’s joyous 1st Symphony, and renowned violin soloist Vadim Gluzman playing the incomparable Bruch Violin Concerto. Soprano Ava Pine will delight you with her ravishingly beautiful voice, thrilling coloratura, and sensual singing in selections by Handel and Lehár. Enjoy free parking for this event when staying at Pueblo Bonito bed and breakfast inn– less than 5 minute walk to the Lensic Performing Arts Center.
Christmas Travel to Santa Fe is a wonderful opportunity for families, couples, singles, young and old wanting to experience a special and holy holiday memory. Modern day religious traditions of the City of Holy Faith highlight past cultures of Spanish founders with downtown building roofs, walkways, balconies and windows decorated with farolitos anticipating the celebration of the Christ child. Past traditions handed down from the Catholic faith purposed these “holy lights” (made from paper bags, sand and votive candles) to illuminate the pathway for the Holy family. All the “magic” of the season comes alive in downtown Santa Fe as the City Different swirls with colorful lighted trees, garland wrapped portals, the sweet aroma of burning pine created by glowing crackles of romantic kiva fireplaces, while red chile ristras hang next to doorways welcoming weary visitors inside to enjoy tantalizing native cuisine. Tamales, Posole, Red and Green Chile as well as Biscotti’s (beez-coh-chee-tohs) dunked in a cup of coffee or served alongside a glass of wine are favorite holiday offerings in Santa Fe.
Holiday Festivities begin in November at Thanksgiving with the annual Lighting of the Plaza. Community gathers to watch trees decorated in colorful Christmas lights turn to light the darkened plaza area ushering in the holiday season. Black Friday shopping proves fun, exciting and profitable as local merchants fill stores and picture windows with unique and beautiful items discounted for folks to surprise loved ones back home! After Thanksgiving and until the Christmas week begins, Santa Fe visitors can walk enchanting downtown streets all decked out with holiday lights, décor and smells (as described above) in a more peaceful, quiet serene atmosphere. The town is less occupied, yet offers all the historic culture and charm plus holiday events to enjoy with Santa Fe lodging special like that of Pueblo Bonito b&b Inn -Santa Fe ($99+ for downtown lodging complete with in-room kiva fireplace!).
When it snows, Santa Fe can transform into a wonderful wintry snow land! Ski Santa Fe located 3,500 ft above downtown in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains (16 mile drive from Pueblo Bonito b&b Inn) offers downhill skiing, snow boarding and lessons for all ages Thanksgiving thru Easter.
Christmas Eve tradition features the historic Canyon Road, home to over 200 art galleries, a few shops and a handful of restaurants. Canyon Road and many of the downtown streets are closed to traffic while thousands of pedestrians stroll up and down Canyon Road with friendly greetings, spontaneous caroling, contagious smiles and utter enjoyment of the luminarias (piñon bonfires stationed along the street). People warming their hands over the bonfire, hot cocoa being sipped contently, flickering farolitos illuminating the way. It feels like the whole city has turned out for the festivities. Some shops and galleries are open offering hot chocolate, cider and cookies to share the holiday spirit. Worshipers attend Midnight mass at the
Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis de Assisi. This beautiful Catholic cathedral engulfs New Mexico traditions and in itself is a special place to spend Christmas Eve.
Christmas Day most places of commerce are closed, but several Pueblos dances are available to enjoy throughout the day. Tesuque, Santo Domingo and other nearby Pueblos offer the Santa Fe Holiday traveler an extra special opportunity to view sacred Native American dances. Festive costumes, rich history and celebratory atmosphere are certain to create a one of a kind memorable Santa Fe Christmas for travelers of all ages!
Compliments of Pueblo Bonito b&b inn. Let us assist you in your Santa Fe Holiday Travel planning. 1-800-461-4599