The rich cultural traditions of the Hispanic and Native American populations in New Mexico make Christmas an occasion for major festivals. A beautiful aspect of this celebration is the appearance everywhere of luminarias—small candles set in sand inside paper bags. Thousands of these small flames line streets, staircases, doorways, and even roofs. Visitors can enjoy luminaria displays in Old Town Albuquerque, historic Santa Fe, or in smaller culturally-rich towns such as Taos.
Thru Dec. 30/ALBUQUERQUE – At the Albuquerque Biological Park throughout December, this event features hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights, plus family activities, entertainment, food, crafts, dinner with Santa, and dinner with Father Time. This evening outing is fun for family and friends and truly impresses with hundreds of displays, all in keeping with the holidays and the theme of flora and fauna. Along more than 1.5 miles of the garden’s pathways, large and small displays work together in a stunning display of light and movement. Closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Light the Bonfire
Dec. 24/SANTA FE – On Christmas Eve, bonfires are lighted on Canyon Road and people bundle up to walk this adobe-lined road, stopping in for refreshments at the open galleries and restaurants. Enjoy an annual Winter Spanish Market, a special Midnight Mass, and a traditional Las Posadas play about Mary and Joseph’s search for a room in Bethlehem. An annual “Christmas at the Palace” event at the Palace of the Governors combines Hispanic, Anglo, and Native American traditions, and families will find carols, story-telling, Native American dances, and an appearance by Santa Claus.