Advent calendar of holiday events
Nov. 28—Holiday Lighting
6 p.m. (festivities begin at 3 p.m.)
Santa Fe Plaza
Witness 12,000 Christmas lights turning on at once on the Santa Fe Plaza, illuminating its trees and Community Stage, along with snowflakes, angels and electric farolitos. This year, two new “light scenes” appear on the east and west sides of the venerable Plaza — a skating family and a sled with reindeer.
This Friday event begins at 3 p.m. with entertainment by community groups on the Plaza Community Stage, followed by the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus at 4 p.m.
Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales counts down to the lighting at 6 p.m., with all lights blazing at the finish. Other dignitaries expected to attend include the city manager and councilors. The governor and both New Mexico senators, as well as Rep. Ben Ray Luján, are invited and usually attend if they are in town.
More entertainment and special holiday refreshments follow the lighting and continue until approximately 8 p.m.
Dec. 3-Jan. 3—GLOW: A Winter Lights Event
Santa Fe Botanical Garden
Museum Hill, 715 Camino Lejo
Each weekend evening from Dec. 4 to Jan. 3, the Santa Fe Botanical Garden transforms into a winter wonderland, enchanting children and adults alike with its beautiful lighting display. This year, GLOW includes visits from Santa, a GLOW retail store and live musical entertainment and hot toddies on Saturday nights.
The GLOW Preview Party on Wednesday, Dec. 3, from 5 to 7 p.m., begins the annual holiday celebration with live entertainment and festive refreshments. Tickets are $25 for Botanical Garden members and $30 for nonmembers (who are encouraged to become members for special discounts throughout the year). Tickets are available at the door and online: www.santafebotanicalgarden.org/events/glow.
Regular GLOW hours are 5 to 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and 5 to 9 p.m. Saturdays. The garden is closed Dec. 25 but reopens for five consecutive nights, Dec. 26 to Dec. 30. Admission to GLOW is $5 for members, $8 for nonmembers and free for children 12 and under.
Dec. 6 and 7—Holiday Show
Genoveva Chavez Community Center
3221 Rodeo Road
In addition to co-sponsoring the Dec. 22 Chanukah on Ice celebration, the Genoveva Chavez Community Center is home to the Santa Fe Skating Club’s annual Holiday Show. This year’s show is “Give (Our) Regards to Broadway,” with music from Broadway musicals.
The show features 25 to 30 members of the skating club, with special appearances by pair skaters Alexa Schimeca and Chris Knierim from Colorado Springs, plus local featured skaters Ayaha Chen, her brother Jun-Hong Chen and his pairs partner, Elise Freezer.
Performances are at 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6, and 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7. Tickets, which are available at www.santafeskatingclub.org and at the door the day of the performance, are $12 for adults and $7 for children under 12.
Dec. 12—Christmas at the Palace
Palace of the Governors
Palace Avenue on the Plaza
Bring your family to the 30th anniversary of the annual Christmas party at the Palace of the Governors, the oldest continually occupied public building in the nation. Doors open at this Friday evening event at 5:30 and close at 8.
Santa and Mrs. Claus will be on hand, along with hot cider, bizcochitos, live music, piñatas, entertainment, craft-making activities and an opportunity to print Christmas cards on an antique, hand-operated printing press. Farolitos and luminarias will brighten the Palace courtyard. Visitors are encouraged to bring nonperishable foods to donate to the Food Depot, Northern New Mexico’s food bank.
For more information on this free event, call 505-476-5200 or visit www.nmhistorymuseum.org.
Dec. 14—Las Posadas
Palace of the Governors
Palace Avenue on the Plaza
Join in a candlelit, centuries-old Hispanic tradition depicting Mary and Joseph’s search for lodging the night before Jesus’ birthday. Visitors are invited to participate in this Sunday evening event, and candles are distributed as people gather at the Palace of the Governors to begin the procession at 5:30 p.m. Travel with the group around the Plaza, ending back at the Palace Courtyard with carols and refreshments.
This re-enactment, which translates as “The Inns,” employs both ceremony and entertainment in an effort to educate and enthrall the faithful (and the curious). Rooted in medieval mystery plays, Las Posadas began in New Mexico when the Spanish took up residence here in the 17th century.
A particular highlight of this event is the “devil” who appears on rooftops around the perimeter of the Plaza, jeering at the crowd and trying to discourage innkeepers from admitting Mary and Joseph. The devil, of course, ultimately fails in this effort.
The event is free, and families are invited to join the festivities. For more information, call 505-476-5200 or visit www.nmhistorymuseum.org.
Dec. 20-21—The Nutcracker
Lensic Performing Arts Center
211 W. San Francisco St.
From the Queen of Snow to the Nutcracker Prince, the Mouse King and the Sugar Plum Fairy, nothing says Christmas like the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet’s production of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, now in its 11th year.
People of all ages will delight in the show, which offers both the classic presentation, particularly in the first act, and a more innovative interpretation in the second. Lights, movement and allegorical magic enhance the story, first performed in 1892 in Tchaikovsky’s native Russia, in what was then the imperial capital, St. Petersburg.
Besides both company and guest adult dancers, this production enlists students from the company’s local school, with roles ranging from the young heroine, Clara, and her brother, Franz, to dancing bees, gumdrops, mice, toys, alphabet blocks and party guests.
The weekend will include four performances: Saturday at 2 and 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 1 and 5 p.m. Ticket prices begin at $25 and may be purchased at the Lensic Box Office or by calling 505-988-1234 or visiting www.ticketssantafe.org. For more information about Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and The Nutcracker, visit www.aspensantafeballet.com.
Dec. 21—Holiday Open House
New Mexico Museum of Art
107 W. Palace Ave.
The New Mexico Museum of Art celebrates the winter solstice with its Holiday Open House. This free Sunday afternoon event, from 1 to 4, features the museum’s collection of Gustave Baumann Marionettes, with half-hour puppet plays at 1 and 2:30. Children may have their photos taken with the Santa Claus marionette sitting in their lap following each performance.
Art-making projects will include creating puppet characters, and there will be music and refreshments throughout the afternoon.
Visitors are encouraged to bring nonperishable food items for the Food Bank box.
For more information call 505-476-5072 or visit www.nmartmuseum.org.
Dec. 24—Farolito Walk on Canyon Road
Canyon Road and environs
From 6 to 9 p.m. on Christmas Eve, Canyon Road becomes a work of art itself as thousands of farolitos illuminate the notable gallery venue and its side streets. Strollers are invited to visit galleries and share hot cider and special treats as they move up and down the renowned street. Original adobe homes now filled with art invite the community to visit and warm their hands by the numerous bonfires that adorn the road.
The road closes to vehicular traffic from 5:30 to 10 p.m, as do the nearby streets of Acequia Madre and Delgado. There will be no parking nearby, so Santa Fe Trails will provide buses — $2 for adults; free for children — from parking lots at the Santa Fe Place Mall (Rodeo Road) and the South Capitol Rail Runner train station (between Alta Vista Street and Cordova Road) to the former PERA Building on Paseo de Peralta beginning at 5:30 p.m. The last bus leaves from the drop-off point at 9:30 p.m. For information, call 505-955-2001.
The walk itself is free, and revelers are advised to dress warmly, wear comfortable shoes, keep a sense a humor when navigating the crowded streets — and be open to wonder.