1 Ski the lights.
A torchlight parade and fireworks light up the night skies over the Red River ski basin on Christmas Eve. Skiers descend the mountain with roadside flares in hand, creating an illuminated spectacle amplified by fireworks. “It’s visible from a lot of places in town, and it’s so much fun to watch,” says Reed Weimer, marketing manager at Red River Ski & Summer Area. “The fact that we do it every Saturday is pretty special. Usually, the torchlight parades on holidays have more folks participating, so the parade is longer.” Enjoy the show from the warmth inside the Lift House, where the bar will be open and serving festive drinks. It starts at 7 p.m.
2 Stroll a holiday tradition.
The Christmas Eve Farolito Walk on Santa Fe’s Canyon Road is one of the most beloved traditions in the City Different’s annual calendar. The artsy street and its adobe buildings are covered in thousands of farolitos, sparkly holiday lights bedeck many structures, trees, and plants, and businesses and homes set little bonfires outside their spaces where you can stop and warm your hands along the way. People sing Christmas carols and share in the jolly camaraderie of community and Christmas. It starts around dusk. Wear your warmest layers—the low that evening is forecast to be around 20 degrees.
3 Hear a joyful sound.
Albuquerque’s Old Town sparkles during the holidays when a massive Christmas Tree brightens Plaza Don Luis and festive lights fill the square. Head to the historic spot for the Old Town Christmas Eve and listen to a special holiday performance from the Mountainview Mennonite Choir who sing seasonal favorites starting from the gazebo at 6 p.m.
4 Click your heels.
Take a loved one on a Flamenco-style holi-date with dinner and a show at the El Flamenco Spanish Cabaret in Santa Fe, where you can catch Entreflamenco’s Christmas season through December 31. Featuring star dancers and directors of the company Antonio Granjero and Estefania Ramirez, the program incorporates traditional holiday villancios (songs) from Jerez and Cadíz, where Granjero hails from, plus exquisite original costumes and lighting. “The show has an upbeat and festive side,” Ramirez says. “It’s a very family friendly show.” The performance runs a little over an hour and features four dancers and two musicians set in the cabaret, which offers food and drinks. Ramirez says to grab your tickets as soon as possible; these holiday performances tend to sell out. Catch the show Thursday, Friday, and Saturday this weekend.
5 Get outside.
Daytime temps are supposed to feel relatively mild this weekend. Take advantage of the sunshine and head to one of these local trails where you can get some exercise and walk off all the holiday calories you consumed in the form of tamales and festive beverages.
Stroll the Paseo del Bosque Trail in Albuquerque, which meanders along the Río Grande beneath a canopy of cottonwood trees. The 16-mile paved path has multiple access points throughout the city, including ones at Alameda Boulevard and Central Avenue, the latter offering ADA-complaint parking spaces. This trail is a great place to bird watch and walk at a leisurely pace with the entire family in tow.
Seize the white Christmas vibe and head toward the Santa Fe Ski Basin for the Aspen Vista Loop. If you’re looking for a hefty hike, you can find it on this trail, which is 11.5 miles long. Best known for the golden hues the pathway captures during the fall when the aspens change color, the views from this trail are spectacular and look out over the snow Sangre de Cristos. Bring a thermos full of hot chocolate and enjoy it on one of the area’s picnic benches.
Take the family to the Organ Mountains near Las Cruces and walk the Bar Canyon Loop Trail, which is great for both beginner and intermediate level hikers. The 3.3-mile trail offers beautiful views of the Organ Mountains plus a waterfall when there’s water. Leashed pups are welcome. Bring water and wear good hiking shoes.