Come to Santa Fe for the Holidays: It's Nothing Short of Magical

The word that best describes Santa Fe at Christmas is ‘magical’. The official start to this festival of lights is the annual Christmas tree lighting in the historic Santa Fe Plaza. The festive event, held the day after Thanksgiving, draws lots of folks. Downtown is alight as is the historic East Side (including Canyon Road) and the Guadalupe and Railyard Districts. You’ll find more lights at the Santa Fe Botanic Garden on Museum Hill, starting the first Wednesday of December when their annual Glow event begins. The holiday season in The City Different also brings concerts, the Aspen-Santa Fe Ballet’s annual The Nutcracker, the Canyon Road Christmas Eve Farolito Walk and dances at the Indian Pueblos. Want to shop? Besides unique boutiques, there’s SWAIA’s Winter Indian Market and other holiday sales including Recycle Santa Fe offering handcrafted items that make unique gifts. The city (originally named La Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asís), is a town that remains strongly Catholic. Religious events such as Las Posadas and Midnight Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis de Assisi are not to be missed. If you want to get an even earlier start to the holiday season, there’s Holiday Pie Mania. Bid on scrumptious pies for your holiday table, baked and donated by local chefs (and you get to taste before you bid). And if it snows during the holidays: nirvana! Check dates and times before you go as things change from year to year.

Holiday Pie Mania
Photo courtesy of Steve Collins


Holidays mean food. Holiday Pie Mania, a pre-Thanksgiving event is held on a November Saturday afternoon at Builders Source Appliance Gallery, is a benefit for The Food Depot, Santa Fe's local food bank. The event offers a great way to secure...  Read More

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet - The Nutcracker
Photo courtesy of Aspen Santa Fe Ballet


One December weekend each year, the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet performs Tchaikovsky's popular Christmas ballet, "The Nutcracker". Join Clara and the Nutcracker Prince as they journey to the magical Land of Snow and Land of Sweets where they're...  Read More

Midnight Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi
Photo courtesy of Steve Collins


Midnight Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis de Assisi is an event. The stunning Romanesque edifice combines features of traditional cathedrals with New Mexican Spanish Colonial art influences such as retablos (religious paintings done...  Read More

Annual Christmas Open House at the New Mexico Museum of Art
Photo courtesy of New Mexico Art Museum


The Annual Christmas Open House at the New Mexico Art Museum, started in 1983, is a favorite with children of all ages. The highlight of the afternoon is the wonderful, whimsical Baumann Marionettes, made by renowned woodblock artist Gustav...  Read More

GLOW - A Winter Holiday Lights Event
Photo courtesy of Steve Collins


GLOW-- A Winter Holiday Lights Event takes place at the Santa Fe Botanical Garden up on the city's Museum Hill. This festival of lights runs Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from the first Thursday in December to the Saturday following New...  Read More

Christmas at the Palace
Photo courtesy of Steve Collins


The annual Christmas at the Palace, held at the Palace of the Governors (the oldest government building in continuous use in the USA), is a popular event for locals. Started in 1985, it's always on the Friday before Las Posadas. Santa Feans fill...  Read More

Lighting of Christmas Decorations on Santa fe Plaza
Photo courtesy of Steve Collins


Christmas in Santa Fe is enchanting. There's something very special about this historic city when it's aglow with fairy lights and electric farolitos. If it snows, this magical winter wonderland is complete. No place is more special this time of...  Read More

Las Posadas
Photo courtesy of Steve Collins


Las Posadas, a candlelight procession usually held in mid-December, is an important Christmas event in Santa Fe. It's the reenactment of Joseph and Mary's search for a room at an inn in Bethlehem. The procession begins at the historic Palace of...  Read More

Canyon Road Christmas Eve Farolito Walk
Photo courtesy of Steve Collins


Christmas Eve in Santa Fe is unlike any other in the world. It seems like the entire city turns out for the annual Canyon Road Farolito Walk. The street (and adjacent ones) is closed and people take to the middle of the street. Farolitos...  Read More


Meet Billie Frank

Billie Frank is a freelance travel, food and feature writer based in Santa Fe New Mexico. Her blog, Santa Fe Travelers, is a treasure trove of information on the oldest capital city in the...  More About Billie