1 Celebrate down south.
Elephant Butte Luminaria Beachwalk & Floating Lights Parade
See farolitos light the sandy shores of Elephant Butte Lake on Saturday during the annual Luminaria Beachwalk & Floating Lights Parade. Hosted by Friends of Elephant Butte Lake, the community event celebrates the jolly season with lantern-lined paths, displays of Christmas lights, bonfires, and campsites featuring local businesses and organizations. Light-covered floats take to the lake, creating a parade on water unlike any other in the state. “We set out around 3,000 farolitos,” says Saul Baquera, superintendent at Elephant Butte State Park. “People give away cider, hot chocolate, green chile stew, and posole. It’s a big community event.” Catch it from 5 to 8 p.m.
T or C’s Old-Fashioned Christmas
Downtown Truth or Consequences overflows with cheer on Friday evening during their annual holiday block party, Old-Fashioned Christmas. See the tree lighting at Evelyn Renfro Park at 6 p.m. and a parade of lights down Main Street and Broadway Avenue starting at 6:15 p.m. Afterward, folks can meet and take pictures with Santa Claus in the Healing Waters Plaza. Local businesses stay open late and greet visitors with hot cocoa, cider, and stew. “Old-Fashioned Christmas really has that community, small-town feeling,” says Kate K. Hall, executive director at MainStreet Truth or Consequences. “It brings us all closer together.”
2 Shop like you’re Santa.
Holiday Market at the Rail Yards
Hosted in one of the coolest buildings in Albuquerque, the Holiday Market at the Rail Yards promises delicious treats, handmade gifts, and cheerful music to enjoy while you shop. It all comes from New Mexican artists, bakers, chefs, and makers—plus there’s a donation station where you can give back to the community. The market is open Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Park at the zoo and ride a shuttle to the event to avoid searching for a parking spot in a crowded area.
The Downtown Holiday Market, Gallup
Find a one-of-a-kind, creative present at the Downtown Holiday Art Market in Gallup on Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Stroll over to Arts123 Gallery and see a new exhibit by guest curator Rapheal Begay while you’re in town. The exhibit features works that focus on self-determination and the survival of cultural traditions.
IAIA & SFCC Holiday Markets
Visit two college campuses in Santa Fe on Saturday to catch two holiday markets, hosting more than 100 artists and makers—Santa Fe Community College’s Holiday Arts and Crafts Fair and the Institute of American Indian Arts’ Holiday Art Market. Both markets invite shoppers from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with free admission and free parking. Jewelry, handbags, photographs, tinwork, holiday ornaments, Christmas cards, pottery, woodwork, and more are represented by artists from Santo Domingo Pueblo, Cochiti Pueblo, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Taos, Farmington, and other locations around the state.
String of Lights
This beloved Santa Fe makers’ market is spread over two days this year, taking over Tumbleroot Brewery on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. At String of Lights Holiday Market, expect gifting choices created by more than 60 local artists, including perfume made with foraged botanicals from Dryland Wilds, screen prints, cards, and apparel from Matron Designs, artisan chocolates from Tio Coco Chocolates, and so much more. Look out for Santa Claus, who will be stopping by.
3 Catch a hockey match.
The New Mexico Ice Wolves face the El Paso Rhinos on Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Los Alamos County Ice Rink as the showcase event of the Los Alamos Winter Classic. The classic includes three days of hockey matches from Los Alamos hockey association teams, ranging in age from peewees to high school students, plus the main event from the pros. Tickets are $15 per person, and seating is limited.
4 Take in a holiday classic.
Handel’s Messiah is a classic composition to enjoy during the holiday season. The New Mexico Philharmonic performs it this weekend at the Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Albuquerque on Friday and Saturday, and again at the V. Sue Cleveland High School Auditorium in Rio Rancho on Sunday. Conducted by Bradley Elingboe, the ensemble includes the Coro Lux choir, an auditioned community chorus group based in Albuquerque. Grab tickets here.
5 See Scrooge in the spotlight.
A modern take on the 1970 film Scrooge, and inspired by Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, the merry performance of Scrooge! by New Mexico Gay Men’s Choir is a seasonal treat. “I did this performance with Musical Theater Southwest in 2008,” says Aaron Howe, artistic director at the New Mexico Gay Men’s Chorus. “I just fell in love with the music and the fun. It’s really accessible, and I have heard people say this version of Scrooge is their favorite because of the songs—they are so well composed.”
Look forward to a cast of 50 singers, plus special guests like Javier Ortiz, a professional baritone playing Scrooge himself, and drag queen Vanessa Patricks as Christmas Present. “The performance is set up in the traditional choral format with actors and soloists with dialogue and characters who carry the story.” There are three opportunities to see Scrooge! this weekend—once at the Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe, and twice at the Hiland Theater in Albuquerque.