November 16, 2012 at 10:50 AM

Holiday Highlights: Ten Not-to-Miss Local Events

The Nutcracker, Circus Luminous, Holiday tree lighting and more...

By Bran Ghigliotty

Bran's Fancy Words

Bran is a writing student at Santa Fe University of Art and Design and Editorial Assistant at SantaFe.com.

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From a tree lighting on the Santa Fe Plaza to the annual Christmas Eve Farolito Walk on Canyon Road, the City Different offers locals and visitors alike an array of holiday-time activities. Unwind from the stress of the holidays with some of the following not-to-be-missed Santa Fe winter highlights.

The annual Holiday Tree Lighting on the Plaza, Nov. 23, offers a much needed respite from the chaos that is Black Friday. Starting around 6 p.m., the Santa Fe Plaza lights up into a veritable winter wonderland, with festivities beginning as early as 3 p.m. Make sure to bundle up and be sure to catch one of Santa Fe's most colorful holiday-time community gatherings, which offers live music, a poetry reading and pastries and hot drinks from local Girl Scouts.

A perfect way to start Santa Fe's winter performance season is with Wise Fool New Mexico's Tenth Annual Circus Luminous. Held at The Lensic during Thanksgiving weekend since 2002, Circus Luminous features acrobats, trapeze artists, clowns and dancers. These shows typically sell out, so grab your tickets soon.

The Santa Fe markets are a perfect opportunity to purchase unique holiday gifts. SWAIA's Winter Indian Market features the work of some 150 Native artists hailing from throughout the U.S. and Canada and takes place Nov. 24 and 25 at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center. Functional and sculptural artwork will be on display during Santa Fe Community College's Fourth Annual Ceramics Sale, Nov. 28 and 29. The 24th Annual Winter Spanish Market concludes this flurry of market activity Dec. 1 and 2 at the Convention Center. 

On Dec. 2, the Snow Poems: Poetry Slam and Exhibition features the works of amazing poets from the community, including Santa Fe's newest poet laureate, Jon Davis. In addition, participating locations will display the poetic work of local poets in their windows through February. "Snow Poems explores our city as a 'living book' written by its inhabitants," says the Snow Poems Website. The event takes place from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Marji Gallery and Contemporary Projects at 340 Read St.

If you've already seen Aspen Santa Fe Ballet's The Nutcracker, then you know why this production is one of Santa Fe's most endearing traditions. Weaving elements of dance and theater, Aspen's production offers a fresh take on a classic show. Get your tickets for performances December 1 and 2 at The Lensic and witness why the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet dance company is widely renowned for its innovations in American dance.

Finding entertainment that engages the entire family during the holidays can be tough but the New Mexico Museum of Art has you covered with its Baumann Marionettes performance, Sunday, Dec. 16 from 1 to 4 p.m. during the museum's Annual Holiday Open House. The festivities include two short marionette plays, refreshments, holiday music, arts and crafts projects and photos with the puppets. Make sure to say 'Hi' to Miguelito the burro for me.

Another holiday event geared to the whole family is the Winter Solstice Festival Friday, Dec. 21 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Santa Fe Children's Museum. Wander the farolito labyrinths and enjoy snacks and storytelling on the longest night of the year. 

The crown jewel of Santa Fe holiday events is certainly the annual Christmas Eve Farolito Walk on Canyon Road, which each year attracts thousands. Take in the sights and sounds of Santa Fe's famous art neighborhood during this feast for the senses featuring bonfires, caroling and streets lined with countless glowing paper lanterns.

This is just a small sampling of holiday-time events in Santa Fe. Be sure to check the SantaFe.com calendar for full listings.

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