Above: Let the luminarias light the way in Albuquerque. Photograph by NMTD.

1 See Albuquerque shine.

Old Town Holiday Stroll

The Christmas tree at Plaza Don Luis lights up at 6 p.m. on Friday evening. Witness its bright beauty before perusing all the local goodies Old Town has to offer during the Holiday Stroll. Local musicians and dance groups take to the gazebo in the center of the plaza to entertain strollers as the hot chocolate flows freely.

Twinkle Light Parade

Set your eyes aglow on Saturday when the Twinkle Light Parade turns Nob Hill into a happy holiday fiesta of lights. Illuminated floats, bedecked fire engines, and glowing cars cruise a mile of Central Avenue from Washington Street to Girard Boulevard, starting at 5:15 p.m. Streets in the area close at 3 p.m. so you can stroll and shop the local businesses before the parade. Well-behaved pets are welcome on leash, so the entire family can enjoy this sparkly moment. Cheers to the holidays—they’re here!

Celebrate the arrival of the holiday season in Los Alamos. Photographs courtesy of Los Alamos WinterFest

2 Get into the seasonal spirit at WinterFest.

Los Alamos celebrates the arrival of the holiday season this weekend with WinterFest Weekend. The action-packed festival starts Friday, offering both in-person and virtual events. “The weekend contains a wealth of free activities to get kids and families into the holiday spirit,” says Lauren McDaniel, interim executive director at Los Alamos MainStreet.

Kick it off with a display of nativity scenes from around the world at the 27th annual Los Alamos Creche Show at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Chapel, on Friday from 1 to 7 p.m. Paint a holiday-themed masterpiece from home during the Winter Wonderland Virtual Paint Party, Saturday morning at 9 a.m. Fuller Lodge takes center stage on Saturday with an open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with Santa’s Workshop happening in the upstairs classroom, where you can decorate cookies and snap a pic with Santa Claus from 3:30 to 5:30 pm.  

Bright displays take over Central Avenue during the Holiday Light Parade on Saturday at 6 p.m. The parade theme is “TV and Film Holiday,” so look forward to scenes from A Charlie Brown Christmas, A Christmas Story, and more. WinterFest wraps up Sunday evening with a holiday concert at the United Church of Los Alamos at 4 p.m. See a full schedule here.

3 Buy Spanish art in Santa Fe.

Charlie Carrillo, an Abiquiú-based santero, organized the Spanish Market Artists Winter Show, happening Friday and Saturday at Santa Maria de la Paz Catholic Church in Santa Fe. Featuring around 70 artists practicing traditional Hispanic arts like painted santos, carved bultos, tinwork, and silver jewelry, the show is a wonderful chance to nab a one-of-a-kind work. Catch the market on Friday from 1-9 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission and parking are free.

Take a horse drawn carriage ride through historic downtown Tucumcari. Photograph courtesy of Tucumcari Mainstreet

4 Feel merry in Tucumcari. 

Holiday magic takes over Tucumcari this weekend. The fun starts Friday, when the city lights its towering Christmas tree in front of the Tucumcari Historical Museum at 6 p.m. Kids can head to the museum earlier in the day and attend an art workshop to make ornaments for the tree.

At the Parade of Lights, on Saturday at 6 p.m., the theme is “Classic Christmas,” with more than 20 floats expected to cruise. Santa leads the charge, and he’ll hang out at the Historic Railroad Museum & Depot afterward to take pictures and hear what’s on wish lists. Alongside Santa, local vendors pop up at the Depot for you to sip hot chocolate and shop.

“This is the most magical time of year in Tucumcari,” says Connie Loveland, executive director at Tucumcari MainStreet. “From horse-drawn carriage rides through our historic downtown to the Parade of Lights on Route 66, we have holiday activities to keep you entertained. You don’t want to miss Christmas in Tucumcari.” 


See work by artists like Cassandra Lockwood at Blue Skies exhibit, in Las Cruces. Photograph courtesy of Doña Ana Arts & Cultural Center

5 Appreciate Blue Skies in Las Cruces. 

See works by creators from The Border Artists organization in the exhibit Blue Skies, opening at the Doña Ana Arts & Cultural Center in Las Cruces on Friday evening. The organization, founded in the 1980s, supports and amplifies the work of artists who live in southern New Mexico and El Paso. It became a nonprofit organization in 1995.

Look forward to more than 30 works by photographers David Sorenson, Storm Sermay, and Emmitt Booher; painters Cassandra Lockwood, Rosemary McLoughlin, and Zoe Spiliotis; ceramicists Janice Cook, Amanda Jaffe, and Terry Wolfe; mixed media by Linda Elkins, who creates handmade books; and jewelry by Margaret Barrier. “The artists represent a certain level of accomplishment in our region,” says Greg Smith, executive director at the Doña Ana Arts Council. “There is a consistent sort of harkening to our area as far as the themes and inspiration.” 

The opening of Blue Skies coincides with the First Friday Art Ramble, when Las Cruces galleries and museums in the arts district invite folks to stroll in and see what they have to offer. Find a few of the galleries on Mesquite Street, formerly known as El Camino Real.