The Canyon Road tradition continues with a Christmas Eve cruise to see farolitos. Photograph courtesy of Tourism Santa Fe.

Cruise a Christmas Eve tradition. 

When it’s the night before Christmas in Santa Fe, Canyon Road is the place to be. The annual farolito walk switches to a drive-thru format on Thursday, 5:15–8:30 p.m., with businesses setting lighted bags along sidewalks and atop adobe walls. Bonfires, carolers, and pedestrians aren’t allowed, but think how toasty your car will be. Practice patience as you wait your turn along Paseo de Peralta. (Side streets will be closed.) 

ABQ BioPark’s Botanical Gardens River of LightsABQ BioPark’s Botanical Gardens lets you safely visit the River of Lights. Courtesy of ABQ BioPark’s Botanical Gardens.

Stroll through a twinkly wonderland. 

Enjoy nearly a mile of holiday light displays at the ABQ BioPark’s Botanical Gardens during Evening Garden Hours. Tickets are limited, says Greg Jackson, the park’s meetings coordinators, to ensure you can safely visit your favorite River of Lights sculptures. “It’s enjoying the winter lights and having the place almost to yourself,” he says. It’s open into January, but make reservations first. 

Laura JanglesLaura Jagles (Tesuque) tells the “Pueblo Cane” story as a part of the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center's "Stories by the Fireside" series. Photograph courtesy of the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center.

Listen to fireside stories. 

“Storytelling is a longtime tradition on the pueblos,” says Rachel Moore, a curator at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. “After the harvest, when the weather starts cooling down and it’s too cold to go outside, we gather around our families inside and that’s when these stories are shared.” Cuddle up on Saturday at 6 p.m. for Stories By The Fireside: A Pueblo Tradition, IPCC’s weekly video series. This week, Laura Jagles (Tesuque) tells the “Pueblo Cane” story, Albuquerque students perform Zuni songs and stories, and a Native American high school leadership group presents “How the Rabbit and the Eagle Stole the Sun and the Moon.” Ron Shutiva (Acoma) then offers a New Year's blessing. 

Lights of Los LucerosNew Mexico Historic Sites' virtual lecture gives you the lowdown on our favorite paper lanterns. Photograph courtesy of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs.

DIY some farolitos (or, um, “luminarias”). 

Alexandra McKinney, an instructional coordinator for New Mexico Historic Sites, delivers the lowdown on our favorite paper lanterns, as well as tips on how to make them, in Farolito or Luminaria, a virtual lecture. See images from past Las Noches de las Luminarias at Fort Selden Historic Site and imagine being there in person next year. “The beautiful thing about this tradition,” McKinney says, “is that it is easily recreated at home, even if you don’t live in New Mexico.” 

Catch ALL the Christmas lights. 

Bundle up in your favorite Christmas sweater and jump in the car. There’s a map of all the holidays lights around Los Alamos, with red dots for huge displays, green dots for medium, and blue for small ones. The map includes spots in White Rock, too. Insider’s tip: Don’t miss all the red dots at Ashley Pond.