Santa Fe: The Holiday Different

Take a town steeped in historic traditions, sprinkle with mountain snow, mix in a bit of annual celebration, and presto, you have the perfect Santa Fe holiday. It’s our good fortune to have a treasure trove of festive events that highlight a different kind holiday season in Santa Fe. Bright blue skies with crisp frosty air and ski ready landscape? Got it. World-renowned regional cuisine? Always. Holiday music and performing arts? Hello! We’ve got it all.

Light Up The Holiday

Enjoy hot chocolate and caroling as the historic downtown Plaza is lit up in holiday splendor with lights and festive decor. The magic officially begins when the lights flicker to life on the Plaza and holiday spirits begin to sparkle along with the entertainment. The magic will continue with a much anticipated visit from Santa Claus. The Santa Fe Tree Lighting ceremony takes place November 27 at 6 pm.

Get a taste of the experience with this short clip from the 2014 Santa Fe Tree Lighting.

The Santa Fe Film Festival.

The Santa Fe Film Festival has brought to life the big screen over the last 15 years, and will be held December 2–6 , 2015. Santa Fe is the perfect location for filmmakers, journalists, industry leaders and audiences from around the world to gather together in celebration of film.

The Santa Fe Film Festival was founded in 1999. (Photo courtesy of Palace of the Governors Photo Archives)
The Santa Fe Film Festival was founded in 1999. (Photo courtesy of Palace of the Governors Photo Archives)

Lighting of the Menorah

The Genoveva Chavez Center and co-sponsor Chabad Jewish Community Center present the annual lighting of the menorah on the Downtown Plaza. The ninety minute event begins at 3:00 p.m. on December 6 and will include speakers, refreshments and entertainment.

 The menorah or Chanukah menorah (also known as a chanukiah) on each of the eight nights of Chanukah.
The menorah or Chanukah menorah (also known as a chanukiah) is lit on each of the eight nights of Chanukah.

Palace Holiday Magic

Who knew Santa Fe had its own Palace? The Palace of the Governors distinguishes Santa Fe with the oldest continuously operating government building in the United States. On December 11, the annual celebration, Christmas at the Palace, takes place in the magical setting of this venerable historic compound on the Santa Fe Plaza.

As the oldest structure of the New Mexico History Museum, the Palace welcomes revelers to an old-fashioned holiday party that honors the holiday traditions of the Pueblo people and the Spanish settlers. Settle in with a cup of hot cider for the music and merriment of the evening. The History Museum and Palace will close at 3 pm to prepare for this event. Enter through the Palace at 105 W. Palace Ave. The History Museum will remain closed during the event. This event takes place on December 13 on the Santa Fe plaza from 5:30 to 7:00 pm.

There's so much to create at the Palace this year! Photo courtesy: Hannah Albeck
There’s so much to create at the Palace this year! (Photo courtesy of  Hannah Albeck)

Knock. Knock. It is cold out here!

Hosted by the New Mexico History Museum, Las Posadas is a re-enactment of the legendary journey of two exhausted travelers on their way to Bethlehem. Visitors are invited to join the candle-lit procession following the young couple around the Plaza as they seek shelter for the night. Devils show up in full regalia to mock the action, but the crowd always gets the better of evil with energetic booing. At the conclusion, everyone comes together at the Palace of the Governors for cookies and cider before heading back to their own beds for the night. Don’t forget to bring warm clothing!

Look for a devilish display at Las Posadas on the Santa Fe Plaza. (Photo courtesy of New Mexico History Museum)
Look for a devilish display at Las Posadas on the Santa Fe Plaza. (Photo courtesy of New Mexico History Museum)

Celebrate The Winter Solstice

Bring your family to the Santa Fe Children’s Museum Winter Solstice Festival! Celebrate the longest night of the year with drumming, bonfires, a magical farolito labyrinth, a train exhibit, story-telling and hot chocolate!

Ever walk a farolito labyrinth? Here’s your chance to do so at the Santa Fe Children’s Museum. (Photo courtesy of Santa Fe Children’s Museum)
Ever walk a farolito labyrinth? Here’s your chance to do so at the Santa Fe Children’s Museum. (Photo courtesy of Santa Fe Children’s Museum)

The Glow of Magic and Color

Glow is a wonderful family event featuring illuminated domes, a glittering  tunnel of lights,  festive beverages (the adult ones being a little more festive!), live entertainment (on select nights) and visits and photos with Santa himself!  Dress warmly and bring the family for this wonderful Santa Fe holiday tradition. You don’t want to miss this illuminated event!

Immerse yourself in the "glow" of lights at the Santa Fe Botanical Garden Photo courtesy of Santa Fe Botanical Garden
Immerse yourself in the “glow” of lights at the Santa Fe Botanical Garden.  (Photo courtesy of Santa Fe Botanical Garden)

Follow The Farolito Road

Luminaria? Farolito? No matter what you call them, the New Mexico tradition of placing an illuminated votive candle in a brown paper bag has spread around the globe to brighten holiday displays everywhere. New Mexicans from the north talk about farolitos, while Albuquerque residents refer to the luminescent bags as luminarias. In Santa Fe luminarias refer to the bonfires lit along the farolito walk. When you walk in Santa Fe on the evening of December 24 you get both! Warm up beside the luminaria bonfires  as you admire the farolitos laid out along downtown streets

Bring comfortable shoes and warm clothing—this is an outdoor walk. Just picture it, one night of holiday perfection: carols ring out, thousands of farolitos a-glow, hand-in-hand strolling through the streets. And once the walk is done stop into one of our many restaurants for a warm holiday cup of cheer.

Laid out by the thousands, the farolitos decorate Canyon Road and the surrounding neighborhoods in Santa Fe.
Laid out by the thousands, the farolitos decorate Canyon Road and the surrounding neighborhoods in Santa Fe.

Amaze Yourself And Your Family

Enter the magical world of Wise Fool and on December 27 and spend an enchanting afternoon with your family. You’ll have fun at this holiday family cabaret circus. There will be puppetry delights for young and old alike! The event begins at 4:00 pm.

Wise Fool's Cirque Aspire 2015
Treat yourself and your family to a holiday circus cabaret! (Photo courtesy of Wise Fool New Mexico)

A Santa Fe First—New Year’s Eve On The Plaza!

Santa Fe is set to ring in the New Year on the Santa Fe plaza! There will be live entertainment with Lumbre del Sol, food truck vendors and youth organizations selling hot chocolate and hot apple cider. A digital media display will countdown to 2016! Watch SantaFe.org for more information

Farolitos on the plaza will help light up 2016! (Photo courtesy of Michael Menefee)
Farolitos on the plaza will help light up 2016! (Photo courtesy of Michael Menefee)

Discover the holidays in Santa Fe—they are truly filled with magic and good cheer. December is one of the most festive—and affordable—times to visit Santa Fe. Bring a friend or family, or just give yourself the unique gift of a Santa Fe holiday that’ll be a heartfelt experience. Be sure to get your official Santa Fe travel guide to round out your Santa Fe visit!

 

 

 

 

 

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