1 Dance with the Nutcracker.

Festival Ballet Albuquerque puts an enchanting spin on The Nutcracker this weekend by incorporating New Mexican heritage and traditions into Tchaikovsky’s traditional ballet. In Nutcracker in The Land Of Enchantment, Mr. Coyote and Ms. Roadrunner dance alongside Zozobra and cultural staples like a storyteller doll and jackalope. Ballerinas are joined by Spanish dancers, and the stunning soundtrack is performed by a live orchestra conducted by Grammy-winning concertmaster Guillermo Figueroa, music director of the Santa Fe Symphony.

“I’ve always been so in love with the culture,” says Patricia Dickinson Wells, Festival Ballet Albuquerque director, who moved to New Mexico in 1990. “When I founded the company, I had the opportunity to take this beloved story and move it into New Mexico, while keeping the classic elements with a Southwestern twist.” Performances run Friday through Sunday at 7:30 p.m., with matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.

The Stakeout transforms into a wonderland of locally made goods at the Holiday Makers Market. Photograph courtesy of the Stakeout.

2 Tell Santa your holiday wish.

Holiday Makers Market, Ranchos de Taos

The Stakeout, a popular wedding and party venue, sits in the hills of Ranchos de Taos surrounded by sage and snowy mountain views. Once a hideout for Billy the Kid and other outlaws, the spacious white adobe facility hosts a holiday market featuring 20 vendors selling pottery, vintage clothing, hand-forged knives, jewelry, prints, leather goods, beauty products, chocolate, and more on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

“It just snowed a bit up here on Outlaw Hill, and it’s a beautiful winter wonderland,” says Megan Sousa, venue and sales director at The Stakeout. “We will have fires going so it will be warm and toasty, and you get those stunning views.”

Winter Village at the Santa Fe Railyard, Santa Fe

The Santa Fe Railyard hosts 30 local makers, shops, and restaurants selling handmade goods and artisan crafts on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit Santa on the Sky Railway’s Acoma Car, listen to caroling from local choirs, snack on pizza from Tender Fire Kitchen, jive to a DJ set from Christina Swilley, and donate to local charities.

“We will have farolitos and a tree lighting,” says Brienne Rose, an organizer of Winter Village. “We wanted to capture the way Santa Fe celebrates Christmas and create a magical epicenter and little world for kids to visit where Christmas shopping can happen.”


Cloudcroft decks the halls (and cabins) at the Vintage Christmas Village. Photograph courtesy of the Vintage Christmas Village.

3 Find the holiday glow.

Lights at Los Luceros, Alcalde

Los Luceros Historic Site gets in the spirit of the season with garlands, farolitos, and holiday lights on Saturday from 5 to 9 p.m., when you can stroll the decorated paths, sip mulled wine or cider from Black Mesa Winery, and enjoy the merry atmosphere.

Noche de las Luminarias, Radium Springs

Fort Selden Historic Site glows with more than 900 luminarias lighting the walkways and adobe walls on Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. The evening also brings a campfire, holiday-themed crafts, and a ton of holiday cheer.

Holiday Open House, Santa Fe

The New Mexico Museum of Art, Vladem Contemporary, and the New Mexico History Museum celebrate the season with a free open house featuring caroling, selfies with Santa, performances by Teatro Duende, a holiday marionette show, and festive fun on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Don’t miss this opportunity to see EnchantOrama! New Mexico Magazine Celebrates 100 at the history museum.

Vintage Christmas Village, Cloudcroft

The Sacramento Mountains Museum and Pioneer Village are decked out in lights, garlands, and Christmas decorations for cheery visitors on Saturday and Sunday from 4 to 8 p.m. Plus, Santa arrives at the Cloudcroft Pavilion at 5 p.m. on Saturday to hear your Christmas wishes.

Performance Santa Fe get everyone in the act at the Winter Wassail. Photograph courtesy of Performance Santa Fe.

4 Rock around the Christmas tree.

Winter Wassail, Santa Fe

Performance Santa Fe makes merry with a traditional wassail (celebratory sing-along) concert at the Scottish Rite Temple on Friday at 7:30 p.m. Combining story and song, the performance features Emi Ferguson, Steven Player, and Bjarte Eike.

Holiday Pops!, Albuquerque

New Mexico Philharmonic director Roberto Minczuk brings all the best holiday songs to the stage at Popejoy Hall on Saturday at 6 p.m. This fun concert features the Manzano Day School Chorus, Albuquerque Youth Symphony, the New Mexico Philharmonic, and special guests, including Santa.

DRUMLine Live! Holiday Spectacular, Albuquerque

Drumline Live performs seasonal classics, including Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You,” with the upbeat style and infectious energy of HBCU marching bands on Sunday at 3 p.m. at Popejoy Hall.

Opera in the Chapel, Fort Stanton

El Paso, Texas, soprano Karla Ramos performs a set of holiday tunes in the historic Fort Stanton chapel on Saturday at 1 p.m. “She did a Mother’s Day performance and it was really beautiful,” says Alanea White, instructional coordinator at Fort Stanton, which offers an acoustically brilliant space thanks to its thick adobe walls.

The Western bluebird can be found in northern New Mexico almost year-round. Photograph courtesy of Benoit Gauzere/Unsplash. Benoit Gauzere/Unsplash

5 Look for a partridge in a pear tree.

Every year, citizen scientists from around the world join in the Audubon Christmas Bird Count. Over the weekend, leaders take bird watchers on walks and hikes to find local bird populations and count their numbers. Participate at locations throughout New Mexico, including Farmington, Angel Fire, Ruidoso, La Luz, Silver City, Española, and Santa Fe.

Read more: For more things to do, check out our online calendar of events.