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 2013.
Holiday Taste Free Sampling Event
The annual Holiday Taste of Sam's features samples of desserts, appetizers and seasonal gourmet foods. It's from noon to 5 p.m. at the Sam's Club on Renaissance, November 16 and 17.
Wreath Making Workshop for Adults
Learn to make wreaths at the Loma Colorado Library in Rio Rancho, from 10 a.m. to noon on November 16.
Placitas Holiday Fine Arts and Crafts Sale
The annual Placitas holiday arts and crafts sale features over 80 artists at three locations, November 23 and 24.
UNM Arts and Crafts Fair
The show features arts and crafts by over 70 vendors. This has been an annual tradition for 49 years. The fair takes place November 22-24, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. each day.
Corrales Holiday Art Fest
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, November 29 and 30 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, December 1 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Galloping Grace Youth Ranch will have a Christmas Corral with animals from November 29 to December 22. There is no admission and all ages are welcome. You'll find a candy maze, elf workshop, candy cane golf, gingerbread house and more. Christmas trees will be available for purchase. Find it at City Center in Rio Rancho.
Holiday Nature Crafts at River of Lights
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 4, 11 and 18.
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 6.
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 6 - 8 at Sandia Resort.
Bugg Lights Display: Ten Nights of Christmas
The walk-through displays feature handcrafted characters. The Bugg Lights have been a local tradition for over 40 years. Refreshments, musical entertainment and Santa in his workshop, along with nightly entertainment, all at Menaul School. On opening night, hear the Bugg Lights Orchestra play seasonal tunes; the inter-generational band is an annual tradition. Open December 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 20, 21, 22, 23 and 24. Open 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. December 6 when the Bugg Lights Band performs; 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. all other nights; 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Christmas Eve.
Madrid Christmas Open House
Santa will be on hand to listen to whispered wishes, along with Mrs. Claus, stage coach 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. Christmas parade December 7 at 4 p.m.
Madrid Christmas Parade
New Mexico's Christmas Town of Madrid will have its annual Christmas Parade on Saturday, December 7. Businesses will offer visitors free hot chocolate, cider and cookies. The parade begins a 4 p.m.
Nob Hill Shop and Stroll
The annual shop and stroll features Santa Claus, free trolley rides, mariachis, carolers and great shopping and food. Noon - 10 p.m. on December 7, on Central Avenue between Washington and Girard.
Twinkle Light Parade
The annual Twinkle Light Parade features Santa Claus and over 100 floats with twinkling lights. Visit the parade this year in Nob Hill, and participate in the district's annual Shop and Stroll. The parade begins at 5:15 p.m. on December 7. The parade moves west along Central Avenue between Washington and Girard.
Noche de Luces
The historic Casa san Ysidro will be decorated with greens and farolitos. Join in singing carols around a bonfire and making ornaments for the season. A holiday art workshop takes place from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. prior to the celebration. December 7 from 5 p.m. - 8 p.m. at 973 Old Church Road, Corrales.
A slew of hands-on holiday projects will keep the kids busy. The event is December 7, 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. at the Albuquerque Museum, 2000 Mountain Road NW. Free with paid admission.
Free Admission for Bank of America Cardholders at Albuquerque Museum
As part of Museums on Us, Bank of America cardholders gain admittance to the Albuquerque Museum the first full weekend of the month. Photo ID and a valid BofA/Merrill Lynch credit or debit card must be presented. December 7 and 8, from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. at the Albuquerque Museum, 2000 Mountain Road.
Holiday Stop and Shop
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. A printable map is available online; vendor hours and specials can be found by visiting individual websites. Look for numbered signs with the balloons for participating shops. Raffles for gift baskets and refreshments are part of each day. Each merchant will be giving back to a charity. December 7 - 8 along Fourth Street in Los Ranchos.