Culture-Rich ‘Yuletide in Taos’ Holiday Celebration Returns to Taos, NM

TAOS, NM—Taos, New Mexico’s unique, magical holiday tradition of “Yuletide in Taos,” is just weeks away from unwrapping, beginning with the annual Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot on Nov. 22 and culminating with the meaningful Taos Pueblo Christmas traditions through Dec. 25.

“There’s no other place that brings the warmth of rich cultural holiday traditions to life than Taos, where the senses come alive with the lights, sounds, and experiences that are unique to this town. Plus, with Taos Ski Valley’s new chairlift to Kachina Peak, skiers can now experience some of the highest ski runs in the world,” said Town of Taos Mayor Dan Barrone.

Beginning on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 27, skiers will be able to experience Taos Ski Valley’s Kachina Peak at an elevation of 12,450 feet thanks to a recently installed chairlift – one of the highest chairlifts in North America.  The lift will increase the mountain’s advanced and expert lift-serviced terrain by 50 percent. Also new during the 2014-2015 ski season, expert skiers will have the chance to access 35 acres of terrain off the West Basin Ridge known as “Wild West Glades.”

The purchase of two new air compressors at Taos Ski Valley is expected to optimize the resort’s snowmaking capabilities, resulting in earlier access to more terrain and more snow. The resort will be open on a limited schedule Thursday through Sunday until Dec. 7. Visit skitaos.org for complete information.

In time for the start of holiday shopping, many businesses in downtown Taos are offering tax-free shopping from Nov. 29 through Dec. 13. Businesses will have a decal on store fronts indicating their participation, which saves shoppers 8.1875 percent on items.

The 29th annual Yuletide Arts and Crafts Fair, Nov. 28–30, provides a head start on holiday shopping with dozens of arts and crafts made by local artists including jewelry, tin work, carved santos, paintings, and much more. Gift wrapping is available and guests will have a chance to win door prizes. Santa will also make an appearance each day. There is no charge for the fair, which takes place at the UNM-Rio Grande and Bataan Halls in Taos.

The highlight of Yuletide in Taos – the 28th annual Yuletide Caroling and Tree Lighting – brings the community together as Taos Mayor Dan Barrone lights the town Christmas tree in Taos Plaza at 4 p.m. Then, the Plaza will be open to foot traffic only, and Plaza businesses will have special offerings including complementary hot cocoa, cookies, visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus and the Grinch who will handing out 200 toys donated and distributed by the Taos Optimist Club Elves. The local Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts along with Taos Middle and High School choruses will sing traditional Christmas songs, and live entertainment will be provided by a number of local artists. A Yuletide Parade is scheduled at 4:55 p.m. Special parking arrangements will be provided for people requiring ADA access to the event. There is no charge for the event, and all are welcome to attend. Contact Judy Esquibel at 575-737-2588 for details.

On Dec. 6, Millicent Rogers Museum will host a free “Holiday Fiesta” for families with holiday-centered activities at the museum from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults; $2 for kids 2–16 years of age. Visit millicentrogers.org for more information.

One of the holiday staples in Taos, Lighting Ledoux, will illuminate historic Ledoux Street with hundreds of farolitos, luminarias, and bonfires on Saturday, Dec. 6 from 4–7 p.m. Galleries, shops and museums are open later, and offer complementary food and hot drinks while carolers serenade passersby along the way. There is no charge to attend.

Eighteenth century-built historic “great house,” Hacienda de los Martinez, is hosting a tree lighting event at 3 p.m. on Dec. 7 at their “Memories in Lights” event, followed by a program with music by Los Pastores. A reception will follow. Visit taoshistoricmuseums.org for more information or call 575-758-0505.

The Working Class Theater and Taos Youth Ballet will perform an adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic, “A Christmas Carol” at the Taos Community Auditorium from Dec. 10–14 with a 7 p.m. performance each night. Tickets are $17 for adults; $10 for 18 and under; $5 for 5 and under. Tickets go on sale Nov. 15 and can be purchased by calling the TCA at 575-758-2052. Working Class Theater is a 501c3 non-profit and is in need of donations. Sponsorship opportunities are available. Visit taostheatre.org.

The furry members of the family can get in on the Christmas spirit at the John Dunn Shops’ “Santa Paws” event, from noon to 3 p.m. on Dec. 13. Santa Paws will pose with pets for pictures. Animals in need of loving homes will be available for adoption, and food and beverages will be on hand. The event benefits St. James Pet Food Pantry.

Within walking distance of the Santa Paws event, Bent Street will be lit with small farolitos and luminaries as part of “Bonfires on Bent Street,” from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Dec. 13. Businesses will offer food, music, appearances from Santa and more.

The rich Spanish tradition of “Las Posadas” takes place Dec. 14–22 at 6 p.m. nightly, where everyone can participate in re-enactments of Mary and Joseph’s search for lodging. Each night, the group representing the Holy Family will stand outside a home and sing songs, asking for lodging, only to be turned away. Followers carry candles as the couple searches for a home which will eventually take them in on Dec. 24. Begins at St. Francis de Asis Church.

Taos Pueblo celebrates their traditional Christmas Eve Procession on Dec. 24 at sunset, which is unlike anything else of its kind. The celebration is a stunning contrast between massive bonfires and the Procession of the Virgin with rifle salutes from the rooftops of the 1,000 year old adobe pueblo buildings. Taos Pueblo natives will perform a ceremonial dance on Dec. 25, known as Taos Pueblo Deer (or) Matachines Dance. The dance takes place at 2 p.m. in the Taos Pueblo’s Plaza. No cameras or cell phones allowed. Visit taospueblo.com.

Several ski resorts along the Enchanted Circle including Taos Ski Valley, Angel Fire, Sipapu, Enchanted Forest, and Red River are all hosting their own Christmas Eve Torchlight Parades on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24. Watch as skiers make their way down ski slopes in the dark with flares as their only means of light. Taos Ski Valley is also the place to be on New Year’s Eve with their fireworks show and parade, beginning at 6 p.m. Visit taos.org for more information.

For a complete list of all Yuletide in Taos events or for lodging information and specials, visit taos.org.
For more travel features, visit:

www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

www.examiner.com/international-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

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goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com

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