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NMT: Experience Culture, Joy And Wonder This Holiday Season In Historic And Scenic Santa Fe County

on December 4, 2019 - 9:02am
The cracked basalt of Diablo Canyon offers some of the best multi-pitch tradition and sport climbing in New Mexico. Courtesy/NMT
NMT News:
SANTA FE Santa Fe County is well known as a cultural destination with incredible offerings in art, culinary delights, and historical places, and this holiday season, the history and culture of the area come to life, offering visitors a glimpse into the traditions, culture and spirit of Santa Fe and the surrounding areas.
With events stretching from mid-December through New Year’s Eve, Santa Fe County is the place to experience wonder and holiday joy this winter.
“Too often, the fast-paced nature of our society makes the holiday season synonymous with stress, and as a result, people are longing for authentic experiences and for holiday celebrations filled with awe,” County Manager Katherine Miller said. “In Santa Fe County, we hold tight to the precious traditions of generations past, we celebrate our vibrant culture, and we enjoy the great outdoors throughout the holiday season. Santa Fe County is magical throughout the season, and we invite all to visit, to unwind and to spend the holidays getting back to what matters—relaxing and celebrating with loved ones. While you’re here, you might even pick up a few New Mexico holiday traditions to take home.”  
To enjoy a dose of small town charm, a visit to the village of Madrid is ideal for early holiday shopping. Plan your visit around the holidays to experience the magic that once enticed even Walt Disney himself, back in 1930, when miners would transform the town into Toyland with huge replicas of popular cartoon and comic characters. Local legend has it that Disney’s holiday visit inspired him to create plans for Disneyland. While much has changed since 1930, the magical atmosphere of Madrid remains. The old mining ghost town is now a lively art lover’s paradise, complete with over 40 shops and galleries that will allow visitors the chance to select unique gifts for their loved ones. Dec. 7, the town transforms into a holiday celebration for the Madrid Christmas Parade, starting at 4 p.m. Additionally, Open House activities run each weekend Dec. 7–22, featuring festivities and refreshments in shops throughout the town. 
Experience a soulful and authentically New Mexico Christmas celebration with a visit to see some of the state’s iconic farolitos lighting up El Santuario de Chimayó. The little chapel resonates with the collective voices of centuries of worshipers, and stories from the Bible come to life within the walls. Farolitos (or luminarias in some parts) are traditionally paper bag lanterns filled a few inches with sand and a votive candle. To some New Mexicans, the farolitos represent a light for Mary and Joseph as they searched for an inn. During Christmastime, hundreds of farolitos cast a warm glow onto the adobe walls of the chapel, enriching both the spirit and the senses and making a wondrous addition to a holiday getaway.
For a one-of-a-kind festive celebration, the Pecos National Historical Park’s Farolito Walk Dec. 16 offers an opportunity to dive into New Mexico culture and the area’s incredible natural landscapes. With over 3,500 farolitos illuminating the one-mile trail that leads to the Spanish Mission Church and Pueblo, the serene event is sure to get you in the holiday spirit and in touch with Santa Fe’s unique traditions.
History comes to life on the evening of Dec. 17 with the Pecos National Historical Park’s Las Posadas. Las posadas translates to “inns” or “shelters” in Spanish, and, each year St. Anthony’s Parish in Pecos celebrates this event in representation of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem. Visitors can take horse-drawn wagons from the remnants of the 18th Century church and convent, while singing traditional hymns and holiday songs amidst the light of the farolito-lit trail. The event culminates with hot drinks and a New Mexico holiday favorite treat and the official state cookie—biscochitos.
For those planning a holiday getaway later, bring in 2020 at the Fourth Annual New Year’s Eve on the Plaza in America’s oldest capital city. Local bands will delight visitors as they play the Santa Fe Bandstand, and New Mexico’s signature scent from piñon bonfires will fill the air.  Enjoy biscochitos and hot chocolate, and write down your dreams for 2020 on the memorial banner, while waiting for the Santa Fe-style New Year celebration—a hand-crafted Zia symbol rising into the sky against a backdrop of fireworks.
“Whenever you choose to visit this holiday season and whichever events you attend, you’re sure to have a magical, uniquely New Mexico celebration,” Miller said.
For more information on events in the Santa Fe area, visit