Yuletide in Taos (and beyond)

BeyondTaos – December 1, 2017

Taos is a magical place to be during December, the holiday season. 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 in December within driving distance of Taos – around the Enchanted Circle, north, south, east and west of Taos. We’ll start in Taos (including Taos Ski Valley and Taos Pueblo) then head east to Angel Fire, turn south to the High Road Villages, west through Sipapu, Ojo Caliente, north to Farmington, east again through Chama, then to Questa and Red River.

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



Lighting the tree on Taos Plaza, 2017

Ongoing all month
Taos Folk Pop-up Shop
Work by sixty+ local artisans are on display at the Stables Gallery of TCA. Shop their fantastic creations. The pop-up shop is open daily 11-5:00pm until Christmas Eve.

Friday Dec 1
31st Annual Yuletide Caroling and Tree Lighting
Mr. and Mrs. Claus and the Grinch show up for hot chocolate and cookies and carolers, 4-6:00pm on Taos Plaza

Taos First Friday
Merchants on John Dunn Walkway and Bent Street celebrate the first of each month with pop up galleries, street performers, food carts, music, a pub crawl, and stores staying open late. 5-8:00pm.

Artists Trunk Show
Dakkya Gallery inside El Monte Sagrado Hotel and Resort, presents a Clay and Fiber trunk show with handmade functional pottery and wearable art by Lynn Fitzgerald and Laura Quilligan on Friday and Saturday, 9 to 5:00pm.

Saturday Dec 2
First Taos Winter Market of the season
Third season for this community marketplace. Over 40 vendors. Food, arts and crafts, music in the Guadalupe Church Gym, 10-2:00pm. Repeats Dec 16, then every Saturday January-April 14.

Holiday Fiesta Community Day
A free event for families with activities from 11:00am to 4:00 at Millicent Rogers Museum

Lighting Ledoux
One of Taos’s 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 9
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 12-13
Dinner theater: Miracle on 34th Street
Taos Onstage presents its annual holiday radio play and dinner theater production of the Christmas classic at Taos Mesa Brewing Mothership. Tickets $30.

Friday Dec 15
26th Annual Robert Mirabal Holiday Show
Taos’s own Robert Mirabal performs live, with special guests, The Mirabal Sisters. Taos Community Auditorium at 7:00pm, tickets are $25.

Saturday-Sunday Dec 16-17
Taos Chamber Music Group: Joyeux Noel
Celebrate the holidays with the music of France. Virtuoso pianist Gleb Ivanov will be featured in Maurice Ravel’s Mirrors and joined by flutist Nancy Laupheimer for Philippe Gaubert’s Third Flute Sonata and by violinist LP How and cellist Sally Guenther for Saint-Saȇns Second Piano Trio. 5:30pm at Harwood Museum Auditorium. Tickets are $25 general, $20 members, $12 youth.

Ballet Taos: A New Mexico Nutcracker

BalletTaos: A NM Nutcracker

Ballet Taos offers an original rendition of this holiday favorite that everyone in Taos will love. Taos Community Auditorium, 2:00 and 7:00pm Saturday and 7:00pm Sunday. “A New Mexico Nutcracker” takes place in the thriving art colony of Taos, New Mexico around the turn of the twentieth century. Mabel Dodge Lujan, Maria (the daughter of a Chile Farmer) and historical Taos characters gather to celebrate the spirit of Christmas. After a lively evening of gifts and dance, Maria’s dream begins. Taos Mesa comes to life with a surreal battle between nature’s desert creatures. Led by the Hawk Kachina and Coyote King, the creatures are given a choice of red chile, green chile or Christmas. Peace is restored as snow begins to fall on Taos Mountain. With her Hawk Kachina by her side, Maria emerges as the lovely Butterfly Kachina and travels across the beautiful Northern New Mexico landscape. Snowflakes, Flamenco dancers, a hoop dancer from Taos Pueblo, and Georgia O’Keeffe flowers are just a few breathtaking scenes Maria experiences along the way. In this powerful coming of age tale, images of landscape paintings from the original Taos Society of Artists and living Taos artists fill each backdrop. Take a leap back in time and celebrate the art, diverse culture and history that makes our community truly unique. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for youth 17 and under.

Nine days, Dec 16-24
Las Posadas
Enjoy the Spanish tradition of re-enacting Mary and Joseph’s search for lodging, which some say took nine nights. On the final night they, along with their followers who carry candles and sing Christmas songs, are given a room, amid rejoicing. At Ranchos Church in Ranchos de Taos.

Friday-Sunday Dec 22-24
Ballet Taos: A New Mexico Nutcracker
Ballet Taos offers an original rendition of this holiday favorite that everyone in Taos will love. Taos Community Auditorium, 2:00 and 7:00pm Saturday and 7:00pm Sunday. Tickets are $20 adults and $15 youth with the exception of December 24th, with all tickets at $20 general admission for the 2pm and 7pm performances.

Sunday Dec 31
Town of Taos New Year’s Eve Celebration
A fun, family-friendly and alcohol-free celebration from 7:30-10:00pm on Taos Plaza. Watch the Times Square Countdown on the big movie screen, light show, fireworks, a pig roast provided by Mayor Barrone and his family and live music. Ring in the New Year with friends and neighbors.


Panorama of Christmas Eve at Taos Pueblo by Gus Foster (poster available at gusfoster.com)
Panorama of Christmas Eve at Taos Pueblo by Gus Foster (poster available at gusfoster.com)

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

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

Monday 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.


Friday-Sunday Dec 15-17
Femme de Freeride
Women of all ages and abilities are invited to participate in a weekend full of skiing, boarding, clinics, yoga, and prizes! 8am-5pm.

Friday Dec 22
Santa and Elves FREE Day
Come dressed head to toe in Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus or Elf attire and ski for free! Valid only December 22, 2017.

Sunday Dec 31
New Years Eve Parade and Celebration
Ring in 2018 in style! Enjoy a magical torchlight parade down the slopes, plus fireworks over the ski area in the clear winter sky! Festivities begin with a laser light show at 5:30. On Slope at Taos Ski Valley.

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


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

Friday Dec 8
Opening day of Angel Fire Resort‘s 2017-18 ski season.

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

Saturday-Sunday Dec 9-10
Holiday Market
Spend the week-end shopping for everyone on your Christmas list! Gifts galore, food, fun, and entertainment throughout the event. Admission is free, bring the entire family to Moreno Valley High School, 10-5:00pm Sat; 11-4:00pm Sun.

Sunday 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.

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


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

Sunday 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




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

Sunday Dec 24
Sipapu Christmas Eve Party
Christmas Eve tradition with holiday music, open mic night, warm fires, food and drink from 5-8:00pm at Sipapu Ski Lodge. Free!



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, 2017 – February 28, 2018 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.


Riverglo in Farmington
Riverglo in Farmington

Friday Dec 1
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 2
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.

Thursday Dec 7
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 16
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. 8-3:00pm 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.

Navajo Nativity
Navajo Ministries presents an annual live nativity, a Christmas tradition at Four Corners Home for Children from 6-8:00pm.

Wednesday-Thursday Dec 20-21
Winter Solstice Alignment Observation
Aztec Ruins National Monument and Chaco Culture National Historical Park will host programs in honor of the winter solstice. Both events will allow visitors to view sunrise and sunset alignments at Ancestral Puebloan Great Houses. Aztec’s event will take place December 20 and 21 and Chaco’s on December 21.


Saturday Dec 2
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 9-10
Christmas Santa Trains!
Fun one-hour joy-filled rides on Cumbres & Toltec historic narrow-gauge railroad with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Adults only $5/with food donation, kids ride free! Trains leave from Antonito, Colorado station at 10am, 11:30am, 1pm, 2:30pm, and 4pm; reservations required.

Saturday-Sunday Dec 16-17
Christmas Santa Trains!
Fun one-hour joy-filled rides on Cumbres & Toltec historic narrow-gauge railroad with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Adults only $5/with food donation, kids ride free! Trains leave from Chama station at 10am, 11:30am, 1pm, 2:30pm, and 4pm; reservations required.

Cumbres & Toltec Christmas train
Cumbres & Toltec Christmas train



Saturday Dec 16

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

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

Monday 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.

Sunday 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.


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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