Holiday Happenings in Northern New Mexico

BeyondTaos – November 14, 2016

Taos (and beyond) is a magical place to be during the holidays, a fact confirmed by Travel+Leisure’s 2015 “Best Places to Spend Christmas” list. Traditions here merge and blend: Native American and Spanish customs are juxtaposed with Santa Claus and the Grinch; farolitos and luminarias glow alongside strings of electric holiday lights and digital art projected on adobe walls.

Here is an overview of winter holiday events (Nov 19 to Jan 1) within driving distance of Taos – around the Enchanted Circle, north, south, east and west of Taos.

Find maps of northern New Mexico showing the proximity of Taos to all of these communities.

Lights on Taos Plaza, 2015
Lights on Taos Plaza, 2015
Farolitos on Ledoux Street
Farolitos on Ledoux Street









Angel Fire's community tree
Angel Fire’s community tree

Thursday Nov 24
Thanksgiving Buffet at Elements
The Chefs at Elements cook a Thanksgiving feast in style, inviting families and visitors to celebrate the spirit of the season, enjoy the hometown hospitality and indulge in a holiday meal that’s guaranteed to please the palate. 11:00-2:00pm, reservations required.

Thursday Dec 1
Lighting the Community Christmas Tree
Complimentary hot chocolate, cookies, coffee and carolers, 5-7:00pm at Frontier Square/Angel Fire Visitor Center.

Friday Dec 2
Zeb’s Angel Masquerade Ball
Full dress masquerade party! In keeping with the tradition of the Moreno Valley Toy Run, this awesome event is the unveiling of the Moreno Valley Angel Tree. Pick an Angel off of the tree, then provide toys for underprivileged children of the Moreno Valley. Dance to music of Velvet Funk Band. 7:00-11:00pm at Zeb’s Restaurant and Bar. Admission is free, cash bar.

Friday Dec 9
Opening day of Angel Fire Resort‘s 2016-17 ski season.

Friday Dec 23
The Mysto Mysto Show
Full of mystery, illusion and family friendly comedy. Mysto’s show features never before seen tricks and favorites plucked exclusively from Mysto’s 30-plus years and over 10,000 performances of Mysto-fying entertainment!  7:30-9:30pm at Angel Fire Resort. $20. (If you miss this one, Mysto is performing again on Dec 30)

Christmas Eve at Angel Fire
Christmas Eve at Angel Fire

Saturday Dec 24
Torchlight Parade and Fireworks
After skiing with Santa (10-3:00pm), head to Angel Fire Resort base area for Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade and Fireworks, 6-7:00pm. Remember, both Legends and Elements are serving special Christmas dinners, tonight and on the Big Day.

Saturday Dec 31
New Year’s Eve at Elements
After skiing and watching the Torchlight Parade and Fireworks at the base area (6-7:00pm), indulge in an elegant year-end dinner at Elements.



Saturday Dec 3
Christmas Festival in the Mountains
A community Christmas celebration, with arts and crafts displays, Santa Claus for the kids, tree decorating, electric light parade, and caroling. This is a day of fun for the kids and adults alike – everything from Santa Claus to games for children, arts and crafts for adults. 9-3:00pm at Chama Elementary Gym.

Saturday-Sunday Dec 17-18
Free Chama Christmas Train Rides
Trains depart from the Cumbres & Toltec Chama Depot at 10:00am, 11:30am, 1:00pm, 2:30pm and 4:00pm. Santa, Mrs. Claus and the Elves will be on the train serving hot chocolate and snacks.

Cumbres & Toltec Train is again joining Albuquerque’s KOB Channel 4 along with the Echo Inc. Food Bank in Farmington in fighting against hunger by offering a FREE Christmas train ride into the San Juan Mountains for everyone, young and old. In addition, they are partnering with the United States Marines Toys for Tots for kids at Christmas. All food and toys will be distributed in Northern New Mexico. In exchange for a donation of a non-perishable food item and/or a small toy for each rider, a family will be able to take a free round trip train ride from Chama to the Lobato trestle and back.

Cumbres & Toltec Christmas train
Cumbres & Toltec Christmas train

Antonito Depot Christmas train rides on December 10-11.


Saturday Nov 19
Turkey Trot and Gobble Wobble
Run the 5K Turkey Trot, 2-Mile Gobble Wobble or just come for the food and fun. 9-1:00pm at Orchard Plaza.

Saturday Nov 26
Small Business Saturday & Holiday Art Walk
Holiday lights, art receptions and open houses. Meet local artisans and find the perfect gift for that special someone on your list. 5-9:00pm throughout Historic Downtown Farmington.

Thursday-Saturday Nov 30 – Dec 3
Festival of Trees
A winter wonderland of artfully decorated Christmas trees. Teddy Bear Tea, Storytelling, Family Night at Farmington Civic Center

Thursday Dec 1
Christmas Parade of Light
Light Parade route runs through Historic Downtown Farmington along Main Street, 5:45pm.

Riverglo in Farmington
Riverglo in Farmington

Friday Dec 2
Luminarias light up the river and evening sky while carolers and bell choirs ring in the holiday. Hot chocolate and food. Free, 6-8:00pm at Berg Park.

Saturday Dec 3
San Juan College Luminarias
Display illuminates the campus with 50,000 candlelit bags. This is the largest luminaria display of a non-profit entity in New Mexico. At San Juan College.

Sunday Dec 4
Miracle on Main Street
Celebrate the magic of Christmas at this new holiday event: ice skating, Santa and a giant snow globe, noon-6:00pm at Farmington Civic Center

Thursday Dec 8
Aztec Ruins Evening of Lights
To see Aztec Ruins by lantern light is something truly unforgettable! Enjoy the lantern display in the ruins and cultural demonstrators inside the Visitor Center. The park store will have great holiday gifts, and free cookies and hot cocoa will be provided by the Friends of Aztec Ruins. There is no entrance fee during this event. 6-8:00pm at Aztec Ruins National Monument.

Aztec Ruins National Park
Evening of Light at Aztec Ruins National Park

Saturday Dec 17
Audubon Christmas Bird Count
Enjoy an afternoon along the Animas River Trails as you take part in the Audubon bird census counting birds – common or rare, abundant or scarce – in their wintering grounds in the Farmington area. 8-2:00pm in Animas Park.

Reindeer Romp 5K & North Pole Stroll
Join in the fun for the 5K Reindeer Romp and 2-mile North Pole Stroll. Event includes live holiday music, a visit from St. Nick, hot chocolate & holiday cookies, and children’s winter carnival games. 4-6:00pm in Orchard Plaza, Historic Downtown Farmington.

Friday Dec 23
Navajo Nativity
Navajo Ministries presents an annual live nativity, a Christmas tradition at Four Corners Home for Children from 6-9:00pm.


Wednesday-Monday, Nov 23-28
Rio Grande Winter Solstice Feasts and Dances Retreat
Switch your traditional holidays for a week of reverence and ceremonial Pueblo dances at several pueblos, perhaps Taos, Ohkay-Owinge, and Santa Domingo pueblos. Packages include lodging, meals, tours.

Chimney Rock near Ghost ranch
Chimney Rock near Ghost Ranch

Thursday-Sunday, Dec 29-Jan 1
New Year’s Possibilities
Ghost Ranch offers three 3-day workshops focusing on new beginnings and transformation as we come into the New Year: Finding Your True Nature, Soul Survivors, and Alive With Possibilities. Packages include lodging, meals and instructors.




Saturday Dec 3
Holiday on the High Road Opening
Light Mountain Gallery in Penasco, 1-4:00pm. The gallery/studio of artist Leigh Gusterson offers a multi-artist gift show, hot cider and cookies to start your holiday. Show and sale continue on Thursdays through Sundays until Christmas.

Gerald Nailor, Matachines at Picuris, 1982
Gerald Nailor, Matachines at Picuris, 1982

Saturday Dec 24
Christmas Eve Procession at Picuris Pueblo
At sundown, a torchlight procession of the Virgin vespers, mass procession, and Matachina dance.

Picuris has been called by its neighbors pikuria, or “those who paint.” The people of Picuris have a long history of creating beautiful arts, crafts, and pottery, a tradition of artistry that continues to this day. The pueblo has a gallery/gift shop at the pueblo and also owns Hotel Santa Fe, located in Santa Fe, where arts crafts and original paintings may be purchased.


Pictured, Picuris artist and elder, Gerald “New Deer” Nailor, a painting of Matachines at Picuris, 1982, 13 x 17-1/2 inches


Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort and Spa’s legendary waters have been soothing body, mind and spirit naturally for centuries.

In the 1500s the Spaniards, in their quest for gold and the Fountain of Youth, discovered the unusual mineral springs in Ojo Caliente, New Mexico. One explorer’s record cites, “The greatest treasure that I found these people to possess are hot springs which burst out at the foot of a mountain…so powerful are the chemicals contained in this water that the inhabitants believe that they were given to them by their gods. These Springs I have named Ojo Caliente – hot eye.”

Ojo Winter Dreaming Packages are valid November 1, 2016 – February 28, 2017 unless otherwise noted, excluding Ojo holiday periods. The “Relaxing and Rejuvenating One Night Escape” includes One Night for Two in an Enchanting Plaza, Pueblo or Cliffside Suite; Access to the Kiva Pool, available to guests in suites with extended soaking hours; and two, 50-minute Essence of Ojo Custom Massages (one each in separate therapy rooms). Ojo has several other winter packages – Winter Girls’ Getaway, Romantic Winter Packages, to name just two.

A winter soak at Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort
A winter soak at Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort

If you’re coming to this area to ski, keep in mind Ojo’s Skier’s 20% Off Deal. Just bring your lift ticket or season pass from any New Mexico Ski Resort and receive either 20% off Springs’ entry or 20% off lodging.


Friday Nov 25- Dec 24
Christmas Pop Up stores
At ArtQuesta and Rael’s Store, favorite Questa Studio Tour artists exhibit for one month only.

Saturday Dec 3
Community Christmas Tree Lighting
Join Questa folks on the corner plazuela at 5-5:30pm for the sunset lighting of the village Christmas tree. Caroling and maybe a siting of Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus!

Friday-Saturday Dec 10-11
Alumbra de Questa Christmas Outdoor Crafts Market
Wonderful, regional arts and crafts for sale. Storytelling, Santa, activities for the kids, caroling and a thousand twinkling lights and farloitos, from 10:00 to 6:00pm at Perovich Park.

Alumbra de Questa Christmas Outdoor Crafts Market
Alumbra de Questa Christmas Outdoor Crafts Market


Switch on the Holidays in Red River
Switch on the Holidays in Red River

Wednesday Nov 23
Red River Ski Area Opening Day
The winter fun begins at Red River Ski and Summer Area.

Thursday Nov 24
Frozen Turkey Race
Kids of all ages are invited to race down Baby Blue Hill on a frozen turkey! Festivities begin at noon at Red River Ski & Summer Area.

Switch on the Holidays
Thanksgiving kicks off the Christmas holiday! Tree lighting & caroling, Santa, hot cocoa and cider – a great family tradition! Festivities begin at 7pm in Brandenberg Park.

Saturday Nov 26
Thanksjibbing Rail Jam & Torchlight Parade
5th Annual Rail Jam at the Pot O’ Gold Terrain Park. Practice starts at 11:00am, competition at 1:00pm (win great prizes!). At 7:00pm be there for the first Torchlight Parade of the season – with fireworks – at Red River Ski Area.

Luminarias at Enchanted Forest XC Area
Luminarias at Enchanted Forest XC Area

Saturday Dec 24
Christmas Eve Fireworks and Torchlight Parade
Get a great view at Lift House in Red River Ski Area, 7:00pm.

Sunday Dec 25
Luminaria Ski & Snowshoe Tour
After a festive day of opening presents, enjoy an evening of cross-country skiing (or snowshoeing) along a 3K luminaria-lined forest trail with bonfires along the way. 6:45pm at Enchanted Forest X-Country Ski Area.

Saturday Dec 31
Old Fashioned New Years Eve Party
Cake walk, pizza walk, hula hoop contest, and more! Free and family-friendly at Red River Community House, 7-10:00pm.

New Year’s Eve Torchlight Parade
Best views at the Lift House at Red River Ski Area at 7:00pm.



Sipapu Ski and Summer Area in December
Sipapu Ski and Summer Area in December

Saturday Nov 19 – 28
Sipapu Opening Day and Thanksgiving Ski Week
The first ski area to open in New Mexico! Sierra Nevada Brewery helps celebrate the season opening with giveaway merchandise, all day long. Thanksgiving Ski Week follows till Nov 28. Lifts open 9:00am-4:00pm (weather permitting) at Sipapu Ski Resort

Saturday Dec 24
Sipapu Christmas Eve Party
Christmas Eve tradition with holiday music, warm fires, food and drink from 5-8:00pm at Sipapu Ski Lodge. Free! Never Summer Snowboard demos on Christmas Day.

Sunday Dec 18
World Snowboard Day
WSD is about discovering snowboarding as a sport and culture – all across the world’s summits!  Join us at Sipapu for FREE demos and FREE lessons for first-timers (with the purchase of a full-day, full-price lift ticket) from 9:00am-4:00pm. Never Summer Snowboard demos today and Dec 19.


Saturday Nov 19
Last evening of Second Annual Frank Morgan Jazz Festival
A four-day (Nov 16-19) festival presented by Taos Jazz Bebop Society. Grace Kelly Quartet performs at 7:30 Saturday at Taos Mesa Brewing.

Saturday-Sunday Nov 19-20
Taos Community Chorus concerts
The Saint Cecilia Mass by Charles Gounod, Erik Brunner guest conductor, Claire Detels collaborative pianist. 3:00pm at St. James Episcopal Church.

Twirl Aglow invites the whole community to meet Santa
Twirl Aglow invites the whole community to meet Santa

Friday Nov 25
Twirl Aglow Holiday Party
Start off the holiday season with Twirl Play and Discovery Place’s annual community celebration of holiday fun with Santa, crafting, treats, music and more! 3 to 5:00pm the Twirl courtyard.

Opening of Taos Folk Pop-up Shop
Meet sixty+ local artisans at the Stables Gallery of TCA from 5-7:00pm then shop their fantastic creations. The pop-up shop is open 11-5:00pm until Christmas Eve.

Friday-Sunday Nov 25-27
34th Yuletide Arts & Crafts Fair
Handcrafts by local artisans: wooden toys, carvings, cutting boards; fiesta skirts, quilts, aprons, scarves; fine silver and beaded jewelry pieces; fine organic soaps and skin care items; paintings, prints, sculptures; traditional New Mexican arts. Proceeds benefit Community Against Violence. Open daily 10-6:00pm at Sagebrush Inn Conference Center.

Wednesday Nov 30
Family Holiday Event
Meet Santa! A photographer will be on-site for special holiday portraits for $15, cookies and beverages and Twirl will host a crafting extravaganza from 3-6:00pm at El Monte Sagrado.

Friday Dec 2
30th Annual Yuletide Caroling and Tree Lighting
Mr. and Mrs. Claus and the Grinch, hot chocolate and cookies, and carolers, 4-6:00pm on Taos Plaza

Festival of Trees by DreamTree Project
TAOS: El Monte Sagrado , 5:30 – 10 pm; A community party and silent auction of beautifully decorated wreaths and trees to benefit 7 Taos nonprofits.

Holiday Fiesta at Millicent Rogers Museum
Holiday Fiesta at Millicent Rogers Museum

Saturday Dec 3
Holiday Fiesta Community Day
A free event for families with activities 11-4:00 at Millicent Rogers Museum

SOMOS Holiday Open House and StorySwap
Storytellers on NM lead a StorySwap at the SOMOS Salon, 3-5:00pm.

Lighting Ledoux
One of Taos’ most beloved holiday traditions with farolitos casting an elegant glow down this curving, historic street. The Harwood Museum will host a free open house, 5-7:00pm.

Saturday Dec 10
Bonfires on Bent Street and Santa Paws
Farolitos and luminarias, food, music, Santa and more. 12-4:00pm Santa will pose with your pets for holiday snap shots, From 4-7:00pm enjoy carolers, Azteca dancers, and plenty of food, all at John Dunn Shops/Bent Street.

Robert Mirabal
Robert Mirabal

Tuesday-Wednesday Dec 13-14
Theater: The Game’s Afoot
Taos Mesa Brewing, 7:00pm. Taos Onstage presents a Radio Play/Dinner Theatre, Holmes for the Holiday written by Ken Ludwig and directed by Charlotte Keefe.

Friday Dec 16
25th Annual Robert Mirabal Holiday Performance
Grammy-award winning Taos Pueblo musician Robert Mirabal in concert celebrating the holidays in Taos. Starts at 7:00pm at Taos Community Auditorium

Saturday-Sunday Dec 17-18
Taos Chamber Music Group: Schubert for the Season
An all-Schubert program sets the tone for the holiday season, 5:30pm at Harwood Museum Auditorium.


Panorama of Christmas Eve at Taos Pueblo by Gus Foster (poster available at
Panorama of Christmas Eve at Taos Pueblo by Gus Foster (poster available at

Saturday Dec 24
Christmas Eve Procession
Bonfires and the Procession of the Virgin is a pageant of beauty, heritage. Sundown.

Sunday Dec 25
Taos Pueblo Deer or Matachines Dance
Traditional Christmas Day dances at 2:00pm at Taos Pueblo plaza. No cameras or cell phones.

Sunday Jan 1
Turtle Dance
Traditional Taos Pueblo Turtle Dance marks the beginning of a new year at 8:00 to 1:00pm in Taos Pueblo plaza.


Thursday Dec 15 (new date!)
TSV Opening Day
Opening Day for the 2016-17 season! Lifts open 9am-4pm Thur-Sun until December 5th; December 8th lifts open daily.

Friday-Sunday Dec 16-18
3rd Annual Women’s Weekend
Celebrate the holidays with your girlfriends.  TSV plans a weekend full of on-hill and off-hill fun for females of all ages and abilities.

Saturday Dec 31
New Years Eve Parade and Celebration
Ring in 2017 in style! The night starts at 5:45pm with a laser light show, followed by a magical torchlight parade down the slopes, and fireworks! Festivities continue throughout the village celebrating the New Year.

New Year's Eve at Taos Ski Valley
New Year’s Eve at Taos Ski Valley


Calendar Resources

Learn more at these online calendars:
BeyondTaos community events
BeyondTaos Art Calendar,
LiveTaos nightly entertainment calendar

Find times and dates for Christmas week mass:
Our Lady Of Guadalupe in Taos
San Francisco de Asis Church in Ranchos
Santuario de Chimayo
Holy Trinity Church in Arroyo Seco
St. Anthony’s in Questa



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