Enjoy the free Christmas and holiday events Albuquerque has to offer, which are plentiful! From the lighting of the annual Christmas tree to the Twinkle Light Parade, there's something going on that is both fun and affordable.
Updated for 2016.
The annual Placitas holiday arts and crafts sale feature over 80 artists at three locations, November 19 and 20.
The show features arts and crafts by over 70 vendors.
This has been an annual tradition for 53 years. The fair takes place November 30 through December 2, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. each day.
Find a variety of local artists showing their work, from jewelry to paintings to ceramics, and more. Find affordable gifts for Christmas that are one of a kind. It happens Thanksgiving weekend, December 3 and 4 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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.
Families can enjoy making nature crafts just in time for Christmas.
Supplies are provided. The workshops take place at the Botanic Gardens Education Building on December 7, 14 and 21 from 6 to 8 p.m.
The annual shop and stroll feature strolling musicians and carolers and great shopping and food, from 3 p.m. - 10:30 p.m. on December 1, on Central Avenue between Washington and Girard.
Be sure to look for Santa Claus, who will be taking orders.
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 to UNM Children's Hospital. It takes place Friday, December 2.
I can't say enough good things about this event, which happens this year on December 2 from 5 to 9 p.m. You'll get to see the lighting of the official Christmas tree in San Luis Plaza at 6:15 p.m., along with the chance to take a photo with Santa in Plaza Vieja. There will be holiday specials at shops throughout Old Town and lots of entertainment. Take part in the Museum Stroll at the Albuquerque Museum, Explora and the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, which will all be open for free and offering gift shop discounts.
Find fresh garlands, wreaths, and poinsettias made by master gardeners. There will be over 40 crafts booths.
December 2 and 3 from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. at the Albuquerque Garden Center, 10120 Lomas NE.
The Festival of Trees
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. It happens December 3 - 4 at the Albuquerque Convention Center.
Old Church Fine Crafts Show and Sale
The sale takes place at the Old San Ysidro Church in Corrales, where you'll find arts and crafts December 2, 3 and 4 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free and open to the public, with free parking.
Santa will be on hand to listen to whispered wishes, along with Mrs. Claus, stagecoach rides, music, carolers and a variety of entertainment.
There will also be the open galleries and art shows the village of Madrid is famous for. You'll find the festivities on Saturdays and Sundays in December. The annual Christmas parade takes place Saturday, December 3 at 4 p.m.
New Mexico's Christmas Town of Madrid will have its annual Christmas Parade on Saturday, December 3. Businesses will offer visitors free hot cider and cookies. The parade begins at 4 p.m. and the town lights up after sundown.
The annual Twinkle Light Parade features Santa Claus and over 100 floats with twinkling lights. Visit the parade this year in Nob Hill, and take advantage of local shop specials. The parade begins at 5:15 p.m. on December 3. The parade moves west along Central Avenue between Washington and Girard, during the Nob Hill Shop and Stroll.
The annual event in Los Ranchos features more than 30 businesses and restaurants in a small area, making it easy to shop for the holidays. Drop in at any participating vendor and pick up your map to plan your shopping. Participating businesses will offer discounts, prizes, refreshments, entertainment, free gifts and other shopping incentives. Stop and Shop take place December 3 and 4 along Fourth Street in Los Ranchos.
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. Look for children's activities and food trucks. It happens Sunday, December 4, 5 p.m. - 8 p.m. at Coronado Monument, Hwy 550, Bernalillo.
Hear the Albuquerque Concert Band as they perform holiday music on Sunday, December 4 at 3 p.m. at the KiMo Theatre, 423 Central.
Enjoy decorating holiday balloon cookies, making crafts and visit with balloon pilot Santa. Hot drinks and treats will be for sale as well as a New Mexico shopping "village" with local businesses and artisans. Get your picture taken with Balloon Pilot Santa. The event takes place Sunday, December 4 at the Balloon Museum, 9201 Balloon Museum Drive, from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
The East Mountain Community Chorus and Orchestra perform the holiday favorite on December 3 and 4 at 3 p.m. at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, 12121 N.M. 14, Cedar Crest. Call (505) 228-0607 for information.
The Santa Fe Concert Band will give a free public concert on Saturday, December 10 at the Santa Fe Mall in Santa Fe, at 4 p.m.
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. Join the festivities December 9, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 105 Palace Avenue, Santa Fe.
The Santa Fe Concert Band will give a free public concert at 7 p.m. December 12 at The Lensic, 211 San Francisco Street, Santa Fe. Seating begins at 6:30 p.m.
The 1947 film starring Santa Claus will be screened at the KiMo Theatre on Friday, December 16 at 6 p.m.
Light Among the Ruins Holiday Celebration
Luminarias will decorate the ruins of Giusewa Pueblo and San Jose church. Enjoy Native American music and Jemez Pueblo dancers by the bonfires. Horse-drawn wagon rides take revelers to holiday refreshments on Saturday, December 10, 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Jemez Historic Site, Jemez.
From noon to 5 p.m. there will be ice skating and art and crafts fair at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho on Saturday, December 17. In lieu of skate rental fee and admission, please bring a non-perishable food item. From noon to 5 p.m., Santa and Mrs. Claus will make an appearance for children who want to have their photos taken with them. Enjoy a parade from 5:15 to 7:15 p.m. through the city center area.
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 on December 24, with stops for hot chocolate, carolers and holiday cheer along the way. Other neighborhoods to try are the Country Club area, Ridgecrest, and North Albuquerque Acres. Enjoy the lights as soon as the sun goes down.