1 See the lights.
The historic buildings at Fort Selden glow in the light of over 900 flickering candles on New Year’s Eve during the beloved Noches de las Luminarias, back after a two-year pandemic hiatus. “Luminarias are really a sign of the holiday season here in New Mexico,” says Alexandra McKinney, instructional coordinator and historian at the Fort Selden Historic Site, near Radium Springs in southern New Mexico. “The light inside the paper bags emits this warm feeling. It feels like home.” Listen to holiday tunes playing over the site’s loudspeakers, sample food from Laney’s Lunchbox food truck, and enjoy family-friendly activities like a mini-workshop to make your own luminaria. The event goes from 5 to 9 p.m., tickets are $5 for adults and you can buy them ahead of time or at the door.
2 Ring in the New Year.
Don your warmest attire and head to the Santa Fe Plaza to celebrate the coming of a new year and see a light-covered Zia rise into the starry sky when the clock strikes midnight. A City Different New Year’s Eve kicks off at 8 p.m. with local favorites like JJ & the Hooligans, the Alex Maryol Band, and Una Mas Y La ChaCha performing. There will be free hot chocolate and bizcochitos while supplies last, plus stationary heaters and little bonfires to keep you warm. When the Zia rises, a barrage of fireworks blasts off from La Fonda on the Plaza, making a sparkly spectacle of a celebration in the sky. The event is free.
Downtown Las Cruces lights up on Saturday evening to celebrate New Year’s Eve during the Las Cruces Chile Drop from 9 p.m. to midnight. Enjoy carnival-style games and a live performance from the Memphis Band, and visit local businesses like Bone Yard, RAD Retrocade, and Little Toad Creek Brewery & Distillery. The light-covered chile drops at midnight to ring in 2023.
3 Visit Santa’s village.
Extend the Santa magic by heading to Belén for the amazing Bugg Lights Christmas Display. It includes original displays from the Bugg family’s over-the-top Albuquerque home. Their collection now lives in Belén at the Bugg Lights Museum. The show includes hundreds of thousands of lights, nativity scenes, Christmas trees, luminarias, and holiday cheer.
“The Saturday after Thanksgiving we decorate the outside for the holiday season,” says Cece Aragon, curator and manager at the museum. “We have lights, Cinderella and Paw Patrol displays, animated snowmen, a locally made nativity scene, plus the old cutouts the Bugg family created and the Penguin Village made by Mrs. Bugg and her sister Marge. It is a magical thing to see with your family.” Catch the last weekend of the twinkly set up from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and 5 to 8 p.m. Sunday. It’s free.
4 Get Bach.
Soothe the frenzy of the holidays with some classical music at the New Mexico Museum of Art this weekend. Bach’s Concertos, part of Santa Fe Pro Musica’s Holiday Bach Festival, takes the stage at the St. Francis Auditorium on Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m. The ensemble, led by director and violinist Colin Jacobsen, will play three of Bach’s Brandenburg concertos with organist David Solem joining in the musical fun on the museum’s massive Frederick R. Haas pipe organ.
5 Stretch into the new year.
Get your yoga mat ready and head to the Railyard Performance Center to join Santa Fe Community Yoga in practicing 108 Sun Salutations for World Peace on the first day of the new year. The class, which is also offered virtually, happens on Sunday at 3 p.m. Started by the founder of Santa Fe Community Yoga, Michael Hopp, over 30 years ago, the practice is intended to set a peaceful and mindful tone for 2023. Plus, you will be practicing simultaneously with yogis from all around the world. Organizers ask participants to get pledges from family and friends for how many sun salutations they can do.