Albuquerque Christmas

Find Events, Parades, Festivals and More

Christmas wreath
Juliette Wade

An Albuquerque Christmas glows with the holiday spirit. Since December takes us to the darkest time of year, Albuquerque does its part to turn up the lights. Find luminarias, light festivals, seasonal music, crafts fairs, and other holiday activities to get you in the spirit. Events occur in date order.

Updated for 2016.

Holly Berry Arts and Crafts Fair
November 19 and 20
431 Richmond NE
Local artists will sell their crafts and arts at St. Mark's on the Mesa Episcopal Church. Call 262-2484.

UNM Crafts Fair
November 30 - December 2
SUB Building, UNM Campus
Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. This year will be the craft fair's 53rd year. Find more than 70 local vendors with handmade goods.

Bandelier Elementary Holiday Bazaar
November 19
3309 Pershing SE
Hours are 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. There will be local artists, food, entertainment, face painting and more. Admission is free. The fair takes place in the cafeteria and gym.

Cibola Best Buddies Arts and Crafts Fair
November 19
1510 Ellison NW
Hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The craft fair features over 80 vendors with hand crafted items. Admission is free. (505) 331-6469.

Sandia High School Band Annual Craft Fair
November 19
7801 Candelaria NE, in commons area.
Hours are 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. There will be over 100 booths with handcrafted items, as well as concessions. Call (505) 294-1511 for information. Free admission.

Bugg Lights
The walk-through displays feature handcrafted characters. The Bugg Lights have been a local tradition for over 40 years. The Bugg lights are now on display at the Harvey House Museum in Belen, and while the display is free, donations are welcome, to help support the many volunteers who helped make it happen. Bugg lights begin November 26 and continue through December 31, Sunday - Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5 to 9 p.m.

Chanukah Fest
December 11
JCC of Albuquerque
Hours are Noon to 4 p.m. There will be jumpers, games, arts and crafts, lots of live entertainment and food, while you holiday shop gifts. Eat latkes and stop by the NY deli station for kosher hot dogs. Register in advance.

Placitas Holiday Fine Arts and Crafts Sale
November 19 and 20
Three locations: Anasazi Winery, 26 Camino de los Pueblitos; by Presbyterian Church at 636 NM 165; and Placitas Elementary, 5 Calle de Carbon, Placitas
Hours are 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. on November 19 and 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. November 20
The annual Placitas holiday arts and crafts sale features over 80 artists at three locations. Admission is free.

Winter Spanish Market
November 25 and 26
800 Rio Grande at Hotel Albuquerque
The annual market takes place Thanksgiving weekend. The arts and crafts focus on traditional Spanish arts such as santeros.

Rio Grande Arts and Crafts Festival
November 25 - 27
Expo New Mexico, San Pedro and Copper Hours are 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. November 25 and 26; 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. November 27.
The annual holiday show features over 200 artists, entertainment, food and holiday music. There will be a Holiday Creation Station for kids, where they can craft their own gifts. Admission is $7 adults, 3 day pass $9, children under 12 free. $5 parking fee.

A Christmas Story
December 2 - 24
The classic movie story about a young boy and his wish for a special bb gun takes the stage of the Albuquerque Little Theatre. Celebrate the season of joy with a holiday classic.

A Sugar Plum Fairy Nutcracker Tea
November 30
The New Mexico Ballet Company is having a Nutcracker Tea at the Hotel Albuquerque. Dress in your best holiday wear and have tea in the Kingdom of Sweets. The Sugar Plum Fairy might appear. Children will have their own menu. The Nutcracker story will be read and a selection of the ballet will be performed. Enjoy a raffle, holiday boutique and more. 

River of Lights
November 26 - December 31
The River of Lights runs nightly through January 5. Ropes of colored lights shaped into special glowing sculptures dazzle the Botanic Gardens. Every year, there are new sculptures, a snowman village made of glass, music, carolers, a holiday railroad train (featuring Snoopy), and more. The Polar Express runs on weekends, but tickets sell out quickly. No senior or member discounts for this special event.

Nutcracker Ballet
November 26 - December 4
The New Mexico Ballet Company will be accompanied by the New Mexico Philharmonic Orchestra for two weekends of the Nutcracker. Special guest dancers from the New York City and American Ballet troupes will perform. See it at Popejoy Hall.

Visits and Photos with Old Town Santa
Through December 24
Find Santa in the Don Luis Plaza of Old Town, near the giant Christmas tree. Santa is inside the On the Shoot Photo Parlour. The indoor photos include Victorian costume options and much more.

Holiday Nature Crafts at River of Lights
December 7, 14, 21
Families can enjoy making nature crafts just in time for Christmas, on Wednesdays in December. Supplies are provided and the workshop is free. Enjoy the River of Lights afterward (admission extra).

Old Town Holiday Stroll
December 2
Enjoy live music, dancing, strolling carolers and even a visit from Santa Claus in Old Town. The luminarias will be glowing and the shops will be overflowing with holiday fare. Festivities begin at 5 p.m. The tree will be lit at 6:15 p.m. The stroll is free.

Hanging of Greens
The tradition continues at UNM as the university community gathers at University House to celebrate the holiday season. Carolers will gather in front of Popejoy Hall at 5:45 p.m., where everyone will gather to make the walk to University House. There will be hot chocolate, biscochitos and posole available; attendees are asked to bring an unwrapped children's book as a donation for UNM Children's Hospital. It takes place Friday, December 2.

New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Holiday Stroll
December 2
The museum offers shopping and discounts, holiday crafts and activities, music and entertainment. Get your picture taken with Santa and Stan the T. Rex. Tour the museums free of charge.

Holiday Fair
December 2 - 3
Find fresh garlands, wreaths and poinsettias made by master gardeners at the Garden Center. There will be over 40 crafts booths, and botanic gifts. This is a free event.

Old Church Fine Crafts Show
December 2 - 4
The Old San Ysidro Church in Corrales will host a fine arts craft show.

The Festival of Trees
December 3 - 4
The Festival of Trees is a fundraiser for Carrie Tingley Foundation to help the hospitals' special needs kids. Carrie Tingley hospitals offer children a place to get well and improve their chance at life. Donate your time, purchase an ornament, or make or bring your own to help the cause. Don't miss the People's Choice Award for best tree. Find the festival at the Convention Center.

Nutcracker on the Rocks
November 26 - December 11
The Keshet Dance Company's Nutcracker defies expectations, performs classic rock and roll tunes, uses wheelchairs for ballet to create an exciting performance that has become an Albuquerque classic. See it at the Keshet Dance Company studios.

Nob Hill Shop and Stroll
December 1
The annual shop and stroll features Santa Claus, free trolley rides, mariachis, carolers and great shopping and food. Shop and Stroll is from noon to 10 p.m. along Central Avenue, between Washington and Girard.

My Three Angels
December 1 - 18
Three convicts from Devil's Island help a family avoid being robbed at Christmas. See it at the Adobe Theater weekends, to include Saturday matinees.

The Real Nut
December 2 - 18
The holiday adaptation of the Nutcracker and the Mouse King includes puppets and storytelling. See it at the Aux Dog Theatre in Nob Hill.

All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914
December 16 - 25
The Vortex Theatre presents the story of the WWI holiday truce. See it at the Keshet Theater.

The Dolls Present Jack and the Beanstalk
The Doll's annual Christmas show is a traditional British pantomime. See it at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.

Family Artmaking Paper Making and Holiday Sparkle
December 7
Families can work in paper arts at this workshop at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. Learn about box making, collage, techniques with scissors and more. You'll decorate with a holiday theme. From 10:30 a.m. to noon, the event is free.

Twinkle Light Parade
December 3
The annual Twinkle Light Parade features Santa Claus and over 100 floats with twinkling lights. See the parade in Nob Hill, and participate in the district's annual Shop and Stroll. The parade begins at 5:15 p.m. and moves west along Central Avenue, between Washington and Girard. 

Christmas in New Mexico
December 3
The Baila! Baila! Dance Academy presents their annual Christmas in New Mexico show at the African American Performing Arts Center at New Mexico Expo. The shows are at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Starlight Parade
December 3
The parade goes through the village of Corrales to the Recreation Center, where Santa will visit the kids. A huge bonfire and cookies for all are part of the festivities.

Santa Fe Opera Winter Concert
Hear the Santa Fe Opera will perform a free concert at the Old San Ysidro Church in Corrales on December 7 at 7 p.m. This is a free concert.

North Fourth Holiday Stop & Shop
December 3 - 4
Get your holiday shopping done at the shops along Fourth Street in the north valley and Los Ranchos. The holiday shop and stroll helps keep your dollars in the local community.

Garden Holidays
December 3 - 31
Embrace the holiday spirit at the Botanic Garden during the daylight hours through the month of December with holiday themed exhibits, evergreens and seasonal color. Displays/activities include poinsettias combined with other playful flowers in a variety of colors in the Mediterranean Conservatory; an old-fashioned Christmas atmosphere at the Heritage Farm; a miniature holiday scene at the Railroad Garden and a sizzling Southwest-themed display with plenty of chile ristras in the Desert Conservatory. See displays in the Aquarium and Zoo as well.

The Lights of Kuaua
December 4
The evening of holiday fun at Coronado Monument includes luminarias, a bonfire, a visit from Santa, Native dancers, biscochito cookies, hot apple cider and cocoa. Kids can make their own Christmas ornament. There will be music, traditional Pueblo dances and Native American storytelling.

Albuquerque Concert Band Holiday Concert
December 4
The Albuquerque Concert Band presents a program of holiday music at the KiMo Theatre downtown, at 3 p.m.

Holiday Nature Crafts at River of Lights
December 7
Families can enjoy making nature crafts just in time for Christmas, on Wednesdays in December. Supplies are provided and the workshop is free. Enjoy the River of Lights afterward (admission extra).

Danu, A Christmas Gathering
The Irish ensemble will perform traditional Irish music for the holidays. The performance at Popejoy takes place December 9 at 8 p.m.

Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker
December 11
The Moscow Ballet has toured across America for over 20 years. See the company of 40 Vaganova-trained dancers this holiday season as they perform the classic holiday dance for one show only. This is an all ages event. See it at the Kiva Auditorium at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Christmas at the Palace
December 9
The annual tradition brings the community together at the Palace of the Governors, where there is hot cider, live music and entertainment. Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus will pay a visit. The free event is a Santa Fe classic.

Mariachi Christmas
December 11
Swirling dresses, stomping feet and mariachi music combine into one unforgettable holiday show. See it at Popejoy Hall at 3 p.m.

New Mexico Gay Men's Chorus Holiday Concert: Holiday Greetings
December 11 - 18
The chorus will sing warm holiday music and traditional tunes. Bring a new and unwrapped toy to the concert for an underprivileged child. Hear them at the First Presbyterian Church in Santa Fe or at the Hiland Theater in Albuquerque.

Holidays at Santa Fe Place
December 10
Celebrate the season at the Santa Fe Place Mall, starting at 7 p.m. Hear a free concert by the Santa Fe Concert Band.

Holiday Concert
December 12
Celebrate the season at the Lensic Theater, starting at 7 p.m. Hear a free concert by the Santa Fe Concert Band.

Ballet Repertory Theater Nutcracker Ballet
December 10 - 24
The Ballet Repertory Theatre brings the classic tale of toy soldiers, dancing snowflakes the nutcracker and little Clara to life. The Ballet Repertory Theatre has performed the Nutcracker since 1996. Additional ticket charges for the Christmas Eve performance includes attendance to a Nutcracker Tea following the performance. Meet your favorite Nutcracker characters and taste treats from the Land of Sweets. See the show at the KiMo Theatre.

December 16
The New Mexico Symphonic Chorus and the New Mexico Philharmonic will perform Handel's Messiah at Popejoy Hall.

Holiday Nature Crafts at River of Lights
December 14
Families can enjoy making nature crafts just in time for Christmas, on Wednesdays in December. Supplies are provided and the workshop is free. Enjoy the River of Lights afterward (admission extra).

Polyphony: Voices of New Mexico Perform Handel's Messiah
December 17
Hear the movements from the Christmas portion of Handel's oratorio at the Cathedral of St. John at 10:30 a.m.

Nutcracker Ballet in the Land of Enchantment
December 16 - 18
Performed by the Festival Ballet Albuquerque, accompanied by music of the Figueroa Project. The show takes place at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. The traditions and heritage of New Mexico are paired with the classical tale of the holidays. Choreographed by Patricia Dickinson Wells.

Nutcracker Ballet
December 17 - 18
The production highlights the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet in show that is a Santa Fe tradition. See it at the Lensic Theater.

Luminaria Tour
December 24
Christmas isn't the same in Albuquerque without a tour of luminaria displays on Christmas Eve. The city offers bus tours for those who want the comfort of a seat and the warmth of a bus. Those who prefer walking can find out more about where to go and what to expect with my luminaria tour guide.  Buses depart at 5:30, 5:50, 6:10, 6:45, 7:05, 7:20; arrive 20 minutes prior. You'll see Old Town, but buses board and depart from the Convention Center. 

Luminarias in Old Town
December 24
Christmas isn't the same in Albuquerque without a tour of luminaria displays on Christmas Eve. Walk around the Old Town plaza and venture into the Country Club neighborhood, with stops for hot chocolate, carolers and holiday cheer along the way. See them after sundown in Old Town and the Country Club area. It's free.

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