1 Experience the magic of Christmas.

Christmas Carols & Luminarias in Mesilla  
Spend Christmas Eve at the Historic Mesilla Plaza, where thousands of luminarias, Christmas lights, and carolers make the square a cheery place to ring in the holiday.

Canyon Road Christmas Eve Farolito Walk
Wear a festive coat and hit Canyon Road in Santa Fe, which is covered in farolitos, little bonfires, and folks singing Christmas carols on Christmas Eve come dusk. “Farolito” means little lantern, and the paper-bag magic brightens the storied artists’ road, bringing all the warm holiday feelings. The fun starts at sundown.

Old Town Christmas Eve Luminaria Walk
Big red bows adorning adobe church walls, holiday characters made of twinkly lights, and thousands of luminarias adorn Old Town Albuquerque on Christmas Eve. Take in the festive sights while listening to carolers perform at the gazebo in the center of the plaza.

Sky City Luminaria Walk
Under a blanket of stars, walk the path from Sky City Cultural Center to the San Esteban del Rey Mission, which will be lined with luminarias to celebrate the holiday. It starts at 5 p.m. with a luminaria lighting, hot chocolate, and cookies.

Forty youth performers are part of Ballet Taos's "A Retro Nutcracker." Photograph courtesy of the Ballet Taos.

2 Attend The Nutcracker—with Elvis.  

Ballet Taos gives Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece a fun twist in A Retro Nutcracker. Set in the 1950s, this nostalgic iteration includes Elvis, fully festive sets, elaborate costumes, and 40 youth performers alongside the company’s professional dancers. Arrive at the Taos Center for the Arts early and enjoy a tea party with the Sugar Plum Fairy hosted by Tea.O.Graphy. See the show on Friday and Saturday at 2 and 7 p.m.

Walk the Santa Fe Botanical Garden decked out for the holidays. Photograph courtesy of Santa Fe Botanical Garden.

3 Stroll through the gardens.

Grab a warm cup of cocoa and stroll the Santa Fe Botanical Garden’s farolito-lined paths during La Luz de Las Noches, open from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. December 21 through January 1 (except December 24 and 25). Plants and trees are covered in sparkly lights and performers sing holiday songs throughout the garden.

This weekend’s festivities feature cocktails by As Above So Below Distillery, including the event’s signature La Luz cocktail. See performances from Esther Rose and the Young Voices of Santa Fe Opera on Thursday; violinist Rachel Kelli and the Violin Queen perform with dancers ShanDien LaRance and Edwin Felter from Lightning Boy Foundation on Friday; and flamenco tunes by Vicente Griego and an appearance by Los Niños de Santa Fe on Saturday.

If you’re a last-minute shopper, you can find a selection of art at the gift shop, which will highlight a different artist each evening.

Catch the final performance of Santa Fe Desert Chorale’s Candlelight Carols on Friday. Photograph courtesy of Santa Fe Desert Chorale.

4 Hear nature sing.

Santa Fe Desert Chorale’s Candlelight Carols presents the sounds of the season with A Glimpse of Snow and Evergreen, honoring the beauty of snowy mountains in the Land of Enchantment. Their performance is conducted by Joshua Habermann, the artistic director of the chorale. The final performance happens Friday at 7 p.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis de Assisi.

Snow Raven performs at Daleee at KTaos Solar in Taos. Photograph courtesy of Snow Raven.

5 Let music take you to Siberia.

Born in Siberia, Snow Raven (Sakha) uses traditional knowledge, techniques, and instruments to create songs unique to her and her people. “Healing is a big component of Snow Raven’s music,” says Ricky Carlini, owner of Daleee at KTaos Solar in Taos. “Snow Raven has a strong message about connecting people of different races and backgrounds and bringing community and humanity together.” Taos-based dance group Sanji opens the concert on Saturday with an hourlong set at 7 p.m. before Snow Raven takes the stage around 8 p.m.

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