Above: Weaver Christine Hernandez will be among the 50 vendors at this year's Winter Market hosted by Vital Spaces. Photograph courtesy of Vital Spaces.
1 Finish your Santa duties.
Sip hot chocolate and shop on Friday.
Vital Spaces hosts a Winter Market with more than 50 vendors at the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market Pavilion in the Railyard Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. Delectable charcuterie cones from Picnic Catering, New Mexican dishes from Más Chile food truck, bizcochitos, and hot chocolate will sate your holiday appetite while you shop locally made goods such as small-batch skincare products from House of Eris, ornaments and magnets by Verano Glass, and more. “We are excited to have curated a market in the center of the city where the majority of vendors are BIPOC,” says Raashan Ahmad, co-director of Vital Spaces, a Santa Fe nonprofit supporting the arts.
Shop Indigenous-made goods on Saturday.
Santa Fe’s Standard & Strange boutique hosts a Saturday popup from 4 to 7:30 p.m. featuring jewelry and homewares from Maida. Founded by Maida Branch in 2017, the collective of Indigenous and Indo-Hispano artists creates unique sandcast silver hoop earrings, chic barbed-wire necklaces, clay candlesticks by Camilla Trujillo, and stunning ceramics by Johnny Ortiz. “This is the first time in over a year that I’ll be sharing pieces in a public space,” says Branch. “Something I enjoy most is the opportunity to share with people about the pieces and the artists who made them.” Many of the artists will be there, too.
2 Light up Becker Avenue.
Over one million lights set Belén’s Becker Avenue aglow during the Christmas Light Festival on Friday and Saturday. “We have Santa’s workshop, a 90-foot American flag, a Frozen display, and gingerbread houses,” says Joshua Kerns, Belén’s tourism and parks and recreation director. “This event touches all ages of people.”
Starting at 5 p.m. Friday, attendees can snap pics with Santa and the Grinch, roast marshmallows, and listen to tunes by the Black Pearl Band until 8 p.m. The fun continues Saturday from 12 to 8 p.m. when businesses along the street join in the Christmas fun with holiday specials, and Suavecito performs from 5 to 8 p.m.
3 Sing in the season.
The New Mexico Philharmonic celebrates the season with two merry and bright performances this weekend. “Holidays are about togetherness and tradition,” says Executive Director Marian Tanau. “NM Phil brings the joy of music to all.”
Led by music director Jason Altieri, the philharmonic will be joined by the Albuquerque Youth Symphony for Holiday Pops! at Popejoy Hall on Saturday at 6 p.m. The festive concert of Christmas classics includes old-time favorites and a traditional singalong. On Sunday at 3 p.m., guest director Matthew Forte leads Carol of the Bells at Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Albuquerque’s Nob Hill neighborhood. The concert includes holiday pieces from the classical realm.
4 Gather round the fire.
The tradition of storytelling runs deep in New Mexico, and you can experience it around a fiery hearth at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center on Saturday evening. “Indigenous people have long practiced oral traditions, since time immemorial,” says Shannon Romero (Cochiti, Kewa, Diné), cultural education specialist at the center and one of Saturday’s speakers. “Stories teach us about our emergence, historical and astronomical events, and instill core values. They are often passed down from one generation to the next and told mainly in the wintertime.”
Beginning at 5 p.m. on the outdoor courtyard, the event includes stories from Romero, Stephanie Oyenque (Acoma), Emmett Garcia (Santa Ana), and Eldrena Douma (Hopi, Tewa), and traditional dances by Ria Thundercloud Eagle (Sandia, Ho-Chunk), and Black Eagle Buffalo (Jemez). Admission is one new toy or clothing item for a child 3–18, a gift card, or a non-perishable food item to support the Albuquerque Public Schools Homeless Project.
5 Dance like sugar plums.
A trip to see The Nutcracker makes the holidays complete. This weekend, the Ruidoso Academy of Ballet and Dance performs the classic tale at the Spencer Theater, in Alto, with the set decked out in a Victorian dreamscape that includes a Christmas tree that grows 40 feet, a cannon that blasts smoke rings, and a lifelike great owl. See it on Saturday at 2 or 7 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m.