New Mexico gets out the Christmas lights right after Thanksgiving, but things really get festive in December. That’s when you start feeling the warmth of the holiday spirit everywhere you go. These top 5 enchanted New Mexico Christmas events transform our home state into a wonderland of enchantment for the holidays.
1. Experience The Art of Christmas: New Mexico Style
The Art of Christmas: New Mexico Style is an intriguing, nostalgic, and artistic exhibit with hundreds of handmade ornaments from over 100 New Mexican artists.
The collection began almost two decades ago, when the Duran family started collecting affordable and unique ornaments that were beautifully handcrafted by local artists. This fascinating assemblage of original art has grown so large that the exhibit requires several tall Christmas trees to display. The largest is 15 feet tall! People are coming to Albuquerque from all over New Mexico to marvel at the bewildering display of local craftsmanship.
You can view the Durans’ impressive assortment of handcrafted New Mexican Christmas ornaments at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. They’ll be on display from December 2 to January 7, 10am to 5pm. New Mexico residents get in for $5, and it’s $6 for non-residents. Children under 17 years old get free admission.
2. Ride The Roswell Christmas Railway to St. Nicholas Station
Families gather at the Roswell Christmas Railway each year to create the kind of magical holiday memories that last a lifetime. Everywhere you look, you’ll find the wonderment and brilliance of Christmas delight.
For many, it is a yearly tradition for family and friends to meet at the Spring River Park and Zoo in Roswell before boarding the train. When they arrive at St. Nicholas Station, they step right into a mythical fairyland of holiday joy and fantastic surprises. This is where we meet Santa Claus, build toys in his workshop, enjoy the delicious staples of the season, and travel through astonishing displays of lights and decorations.
You can ride the Roswell Christmas Railway any weekend in December from 5pm to 9pm and throughout the week of Christmas. Kids under three are free, children up to age 11 are $8, and adults and kids over 11 are $12.
3. See An Enchanted New Mexico Christmas Parade at the Festival of Lights
The Ruidoso Festival of Lights is much more than one day or parade. It’s an ongoing festival of holiday cheer, music, sweets, and colorful lights. It all starts with the Christmas Jubilee in early November, but the parade on December 2 is the dazzling event that people will travel miles to see. In fact, the Ruidoso Festival of Lights is best recognized for the the acclaim of the annual Festival of Lights Parade. This eagerly anticipated event is the perfect start to a cheerful evening celebration of peace, goodwill, and the holiday spirit.
The Festival of Lights Parade begins in mid-town Ruidoso at 5:30pm and is followed at 7pm by The Festival of Lights After Party. Santa Claus wouldn’t dream of missing it, and both of these enchanted New Mexico Christmas events are free to all. That holiday generosity goes much further, however, by encouraging community love and support the less fortunate. Donations for Toys for Tots are collected at the Festival of Lights Parade, and that spark lights a flame in the heart of New Mexico for the season of giving.
4. Feel the Holiday Magic at Light Among the Ruins
Many New Mexicans agree that Jemez Springs is the place to be for a truly enchanted, mystical, and spiritual New Mexico Christmas experience. It gives visitors a breathtaking view of the ruins and a moving moment to enjoy.
This is where the Light Among the Ruins takes place at the Jemez Historic Site on December 9 from 3pm to 9pm. This event is unlike any other holiday celebration you’ve encountered. Historic cultural and modern holiday traditions are combined in an intriguing display of lights, music, and dancing.
The Jemez Historic Site is the location of the historic ruins of the San Jose de los Jemez Mission of Giusewa Pueblo from the 17th century. During the Light Among the Ruins event, there will be brilliant performances, local artisan shopping, and nostalgic holiday music, all lit by the glow of over 1,000 farolitos.
5. Have an Enchanted New Mexico Christmas on the Pecos
Christmas on the Pecos is one of most incredible ways to see the prettiest and most elaborate displays of Christmas lights and decorations in New Mexico. This is pontoon boat tour shows you 100 homes on the Pecos River that are all decked out to compete and impress you for the holidays.
You can experience the magic of Christmas on the Pecos any time in December. You’ll board at at the Pecos River Village Conference Center in Carlsbad, New Mexico between 5:30pm and 10:30pm. The cost varies from $10 to $20, depending on the day, but a child who is too small to require their own seat (under age 5) can ride for free.
Have an enchanted New Mexico Christmas, this year, and take plenty of holiday photos to share!