Christmas in Phoenix 2016

Celebrate the Holidays in Greater Phoenix, AZ

You might think that with all the sunshine around here, we don't really get in the holiday spirit. Not true! You can attend a holiday event nearly every day for six weeks somewhere in the Greater Phoenix area from mid-November through the end of December. Use this Phoenix Christmas Guide to help you plan your activities and family fun during the winter holidays.

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    ••• © Judy Hedding

    You don't have to spend a fortune to get in the holiday spirit in the Phoenix area. There are plenty of free or very reasonably priced activities, events and festivals. In this list you'll find ideas for enjoying the holiday season from Thanksgiving Day, every day through the end of the year -- and even beyond that!

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    ••• Courtesy Desert Ridge Marketplace
    Both indoor and outdoor shopping areas all over the Valley of the Sun spruce up for the holidays. Your kids can visit Santa (and so can your pet), enjoy the decorations, and some have music, entertainment stages, crafts and more free holiday fun.
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    ••• Courtesy Fountain Hills Theater

    Starting in November, you'll have an amazing selection of cultural holiday treats to entertain you. Plays, orchestral performances, choirs, puppet shows, ballet, modern dance, children's theatre, dinner theatre, concerts — you name it, we have it in Phoenix! These are ticketed events, typically in reserved seating venues.

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    ••• Luminarias at DBG.

    These aren't just one or two night events. These are the places in the Phoenix, area where you can enjoy holiday lights throughout the month of December, and sometimes into January.

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    ••• The Salvation Army can always use volunteers during the holidays. Ethan Miller / Getty Images News
    Are you here all by yourself on Christmas? Does your family want to do something worthwhile during their time off from work and school? Do the people at work want to get together and so something nice for others? Here are some places that can always use your time and effort during the holidays and all year long.
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    Christmas Shopping!
    ••• Christmas Shopping!. zeljkosantrac / Getty Images

    These holiday boutiques and markets are mostly about shopping. You'll probably find some unusual and one-of-a-kind items, from fine art to knick-knacks.

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    ••• spxChrome / Getty Images

    These businesses in the Phoenix area not only offer gift cards, they offer a bonus card or certificate as well during the holidays. Most are restaurants, but not all. You'll find a few attractions and services mixed in there, too. A gift card with a bonus is two gifts in one. Or a gift for someone and a bonus for yourself!

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    A Toast on Christmas Eve
    ••• A Toast on Christmas Eve. Keith Brofsky / Getty

     Christmas Eve might be the right time to share some special moments with those that you won't be able to see on Christmas day. Here are several restaurants in the Phoenix area that have special menu offerings for december 24th.

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    ••• Stockbyte / Getty

    Sometimes there's just a lot going on, and having your Christmas dinner out is a viable alternative to help reduce the stress in your life. Or maybe Christmas just isn't your holiday, so you don't have family and friends over, but you like the food! Here are some places in the greater Phoenix area that are open on Christmas Day for your dining pleasure. (Not yet updated.)

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    On the Next Page: Kwanzaa,Weather, Volunteering, Recipes, Gift Ideas and More


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    Christmas in Phoenix
    ••• Scott Olson / Getty
    You love to go out on weekends with the family, or take relatives when they come to visit, but did you ever think of some of our attractions as shopping destinations? Here are my favorite shops to buy gifts with Arizona and Southwest themes. You may be surprised at which ones are on my list!
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    ••• Danielle Donders / Getty Images
    In Arizona you can't just drive up to the high country, pick a tree, and chop it down. Our national forests control the cutting of Christmas trees and grant permits by lottery. Here's how it works.
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    Holiday Bazaar Chandler
    ••• Holiday Bazaar Chandler. Chandler Farmers Market

     Check here for some gift ideas from local companies. You might see spa certificates, edible gifts, wearable gifts....the list changes every year.

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    ••• \. © Judy Hedding

    You will see average temperatures for the Phoenix area published in various places, and they will vary by a degree or two. Keep in mind that the official temperature for Phoenix is monitored at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in downtown Phoenix. Suburbs of Phoenix may have slightly cooler temperatures on average, maybe as much as five degrees or ten degrees. It does get cold here on December evenings.

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    ••• Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is a busy place during the holidays!. © Judy Hedding

    Traveling by air is hectic and more complicated than it used to be. If you travel on holiday weekends, add even more stress and uncertainty to the travel experience. Sky Harbor International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the U.S., so you can assume that just before and after Christmas our airport will be a challenge to navigate. Here are some tips to help you get your holiday trip off to a pleasant start.

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    ••• © Judy Hedding
    If they don't need more, tools, more toys, more fruit baskets or more socks, here are some ideas for uniquely Arizona gifts for people who just don't need more "stuff" in their lives!
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    ••• © Judy Hedding
    The Salvation Army Christmas Angel Tree is a popular program in the Valley if the Sun. It allows you to donate in a personal way, by choosing a child for whom you will buy new clothing or a toy. Here are the malls where you can find the Salvation Army Christmas Angel Trees so you can make the holiday a happy one for a child who might not otherwise receive any gifts.
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    Recipe for Easy Eggnog French Toast
    ••• Easy Eggnog French Toast. Shamrock Farms

    Some of our most popular local chefs share recipes that are suitable for holiday meals. Appetizers, soups, entrées, main dishes and desserts.

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    Gingerbread House Cocktail
    ••• Gingerbread House Cocktail. The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa

    Local mixologists at Phoenix and Sottsdale resorts as well as local restaurants share their recipes for festive holiday cocktails. There are even a few non-alcoholic beverages included. 

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    ••• Candy from Cerreta's. © Judy Hedding

    Need a stocking stuffer? Or maybe just a gift for a neighbor or a co-worker? Here are some easy Arizona gift ideas that you can pick up for less than $10. No one will throw these gifts away!

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    ••• Movie Money!. © Judy Hedding
    Did you procrastinate until it was just a bit too late to order something online? Here are some ideas for lovely last minute gifts, and they are located in your own backyard.
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    ••• © Judy Hedding
    If you didn't go up to northern Arizona's forests to cut your own Christmas tree this year, you'll be able to find live, cut Christmas trees all over the metro Phoenix area.
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    ••• Hanukkah Menorah. Ken Whitmore / Getty Images

    Hanukkah, or Chanukah, begins on the 25th day of the month of Kislev in the Jewish calendar. It is usually in December. Hanukkah is a fun holiday, especially for children. After lighting the Hanukkah candles, families will eat and play games. (Not yet updated.)

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    ••• Michael DeYoung / Getty Images
    Just a few hours from Phoenix you can get that cold and wet holiday feeling at Arizona's ski resorts. Will there be enough snow this year? Here is the information about our ski resorts and how to get snow report from each one.
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    ••• Valerie Loiseleux / E+ / Getty Images
    Yes, we have local radio stations that play Christmas music all day every day, starting in November.


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    ••• Image Source / Getty
    If you are a newcomer to Phoenix, you'll find that all sorts of friends and relatives (usually from northern states) will drop by to visit in the winter. Why wouldn't they? When guests are in town you might need some ideas for things to do to entertain them. Here are some ideas.
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    Holiday Lights After Christmas Day
    ••• © Judy Hedding
    Even when Christmas Day is past, you can find places to enjoy holiday lights well into January.
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    ••• © Judy Hedding
    Some people don't celebrate Christmas. Then there are people who would, but they are alone in the area without family. More often the case is that after months of shopping, and about 20 minutes of opening presents, all these people have a question in common--what is there to do in Phoenix on Christmas Day? Here are ten suggestions.
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    On the Next Page: More Gift Ideas, Kwanzaa, Scam Warnings and More 

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    Christmas in Phoenix
    ••• Joe Raedle / Getty
    Unfortunately, there are creeps out there who will take advantage of your holiday spirit by posing as a charitable organization and requesting a donation. Here are some tips to help you avoid being scammed.
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    ••• Judy Hedding

    I put this list together for people who might be out of state who want to buy a gift for a friend or a loved one who lives in Arizona. Shopping long distance can be difficult. What do they have? What do they need? Maybe this list will give you some ideas, and many of them cost next to nothing to ship.

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    Happy Kwanzaa

    ••• Getty

    Kwanzaa is a cultural African American and Pan-African holiday celebrated from December 26th through January 1st. Each year the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. sponsors a Kwanzaa celebration in the Phoenix area.

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    ••• I shop on Small Business Saturday!. © Judy Hedding

    The Saturday after Black Friday is a day dedicated to locally owned and operated small businesses in America. Products, services, restaurants — make an extra effort to support locally owned and operated businesses on this day. Here's more about that, and how to find them in your area.