Yultide celebrations in Taos

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Many people are opting to reduce stress associated with the holidays and spend them at a new destination such as Taos, especially with the town’s unique “Yuletide in Taos” events taking place from Nov. 29–Dec. 31.
Taos was named one of Yahoo’s! top five “Best Destinations for Your Christmas Vacation” in the United States (Nov. 2013) and one of Travel and Leisure’s top picks for “Best Places to Spend Christmas” (Oct. 2013).

Shoppers can now start their holiday shopping while saving on sales tax with tax free shopping at participating downtown stores. Tax free shopping continues through Dec. 14. Participating stores will be designated with “tax free” decals.
Nov. 30 is national “Small Business Saturday,” where shoppers are encouraged to shop and buy from small businesses in and around Taos.

Also on Nov. 30, the Taos Community Chorus opens their winter concert season. They will perform at La Santisima Trinidad in Arroyo Seco on Nov. 30; followed by 3 p.m. performances in Taos on Dec. 1, Dec. 7 and Dec. 8. Tickets are $15 at the door or $12 in advance; $10 seniors; children 12 and under are free.
Taos Community Chorus is leading a “Messiah Sing Along” 2:30 p.m. Dec. 22, where the public is invited to join in. Call 575-776-3998 or visit taoschorus.com to purchase tickets or for details.

While in Taos for the holidays, award winning musician and Taos native Robert Mirabal along with Taoseño and nationally recognized chef Erica Miller will serve up a feast for the ears and tastebuds during the “Home for the Holidays” dinner concert 8 p.m. Nov. 30.
Presented by Taos Lifestyle Productions, “Home for the Holidays” includes tastings and an organic vegetarian feast prepared by Miller with a performance by Mirabal and friends at the top of the evening.
Tickets are $38 per person or $50 for VIP seating. Call 575-758-3003 to purchase tickets or visit taoslifestyleproductions.com.

The Yuletide Arts and Crafts Fair, Nov. 29–Dec. 1, is a great opportunity to find arts and crafts hand made by local artisans such as carved santos, traditional tin work, and pottery. Food and beverages, door prizes and gift wrapping are all part of the package.
Yuletide Arts and Crafts Fair takes place at the Taos Convention Center, located at 120 Civic Plaza Dr. Call 575-758-5782 for more information.

El Monte Sagrado Living Resort and Spa will host their annual “Festival of Trees and Wreaths” beginning with a children’s party from 3–6 p.m Dec. 5. The party includes a holiday crafts table, cocoa and cookies, and a visit from Santa Claus. There is no charge for the event. Then from 5:30–10 p.m., the Festival of Trees and Wreaths continues with an adult-centered fundraiser to benefit local charities. Music by the Damn Band, food, beverages, silent auction and raffle are included for $20 per ticket. Visit elmontesagrado.com for more information or call 575-758-3502.
The highlight of Yuletide in Taos — the 27th annual Yuletide Caroling and Tree Lighting — brings the community together as Taos Mayor Darren Cordova 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. The event is sponsored by the Town of Taos, DMC Broadcasting Inc., Eric Cortez and Taos Optimist Club. 
For more information contact Judy Esquibel at 575-737-2588.

Another Yuletide staple, Lighting Ledoux, will be from 5–7 p.m. Dec. 7 along historic Ledoux Street where hundreds of farolitos, luminarias, and bonfires will light the path. Galleries, shops and museums are open later, and offer complementary food and hot drinks. There is no charge to attend the event.

Eighteenth century-built historic “great house,” Hacienda de los Martinez, is hosting a tree lighting event at 3 p.m. on Dec. 8 titled, “Memories in Lights,” followed by a program with music by Los Pastores. A reception will follow. Visit taoshistoricmuseums.org for more information or call 575-758-0505.

On Dec. 14 and 15, several Yuletide events are scheduled including: Bonfires on Bent Street from 10 a.m.–7 p.m. at the John Dunn Shops, featuring food, music, Santa, luminarias and more; Taos Chamber Music Group Presents: “Four Birthdays and An Anniversary” on Dec. 14 and 15 at the Harwood Museum; and on Dec. 14 from noon to 3 p.m., furry family members can bark their wish lists to Santa Paws at the John Dunn Shops. Pet photos with Santa and adoptions will be included. The event benefits St. James Pet Food Pantry.

The beautiful Spanish tradition of “Las Posadas” is unique to Taos, and takes place Dec. 15–23 at 6 p.m. nightly, where anyone 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. Leaves from St. Francis de Asis Church nightly at dusk.

Taos Ski Valley hosts their 17th annual “Brewmasters Festival” on Dec. 21 from 4:30–7 p.m., with samples from numerous microbreweries. Admission is $25 and includes a souvenir glass, food and entertainment. Tickets are $25; 21 and over only please. Taos Ski Valley will let skiers and snowboarders test the latest equipment during Demo Days on Dec. 20 and 21, from 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Must be 18 to demo. Taos Ski Valley officially opens its doors for the 2014 ski season on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28. Visit skitaos.org for more information.

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, cell phones, or video cameras are allowed. Visit taospueblo.com for more information.

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.