LOS ALAMOS, NM—One of the 20 “Best Small Towns to Visit” (Smithsonian Magazine, May 2013) – Los Alamos, New Mexico – is also one of the best places in New Mexico to bring the holiday season to light with a number of festive events beginning a week before Thanksgiving, on Nov. 22, with the Affordable Art Sale.

The Affordable Art Sale at the Fuller Lodge Art Center takes place Nov. 22–Jan. 4 2014. This is a great opportunity to start holiday shopping, with art created by local and regional artists and affordably priced at $250 and under. Call 505-662-1735 or go to fullerlodgeartcenter.com for more information.

Los Alamos Arts Council’s annual Arts and Crafts Fair will be held at the Crossroads Bible Church on Nov. 23, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. This is another opportunity to purchase art from more than 100 New Mexico artists whose work is juried for quality and sales potential. Pottery, paintings, jewelry, and sculptures are just a few of the items for sale. Call 505-663-0477 for more information or visit losalamosartscouncil.org.

On Nov. 23, from 10 a.m to 2 p.m, visit an indoor winter wonderland laden with specially decorated holiday trees at the Festival of Trees at the Better Ehart Senior Center. Trees are donated by businesses and organizations to benefit local charities. Families can enjoy pictures with Santa; the silent auction with a chance to bid on holiday trees, poinsettias and baked goods; holiday music; and crafts fair. There is no entry fee; however, please bring a non perishable canned food(s) donation. Call 505-662-8920 or visit beseniorcenter.qwestoffice.net for details.

On Nov. 30, shop at participating small businesses in Los Alamos during Small Business Saturday in Downtown Los Alamos. Participating businesses will donate five percent of all sales to support the local United Way of New Mexico. The goal of Small Business Saturday is to encourage the community and visitors to shop local. Participating businesses will also offer special promotions.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year in Los Alamos with Winterfest, Dec. 6–8, with musical performances, a treelighting ceremony and much more. Winterfest events include:

  •  The Nutcracker at Duane Smith Auditorium, Dec. 5, 6 and 7 – The holidays in Los Alamos wouldn’t be complete without a performance of this classic holiday favorite. Now in its 16th year, The Nutcracker will feature professionally trained local dancers between ages 5 and 18. Performances are scheduled on Dec. 5 and 6 at 6 and 7 p.m.; and Dec. 7 and 8 at 2 p.m. at the Duane Smith Auditorium. Guest artists from Houston Ballet II, Washington Ballet, Youth America Ballet, and Ellison Ballet Professional Training Program will also grace the stage. The Nutcracker is presented by Dance Arts Los Alamos. Visit danceartslosalamos.org for details.
  • Los Alamos Symphony Orchestra’s Holiday Concert at Crossroads Bible Church, Dec. 6, from 7–9 p.m. – Get into the spirit of the holidays as local musicians play time-honored selections. Contact Mary Anne Beard at maryannebeard(at)gmail(dot)com for more information.
  • Fuller Lodge Art Center Open House, Dec. 7 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. – Holiday music by the Los Alamos High School band, excerpts of The Nutcracker by the NM Dance Theater, music, and other activities will be ongoing throughout the day. Contact Ken Nebel at 505-662-1635 or visit fullerlodgeartcenter.com for more information.
  • 20th annual Los Alamos Creche (Nativity) show at Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Dec. 7 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Hundreds of nativity scenes from around the world are shared by Los Alamos and N. NM residents. Nativities featuring the Christ child are prominently displayed. Drop off nativities for display on Friday by noon and pick them up after the Saturday show. No-fee entry includes refreshments, live music and an area/activities for children. Call 505-662-4590 for more information.
  • Children’s Christmas Bazaar at Trinity on the Hill Episcopal Church, Dec. 7 from 9 a.m. to noon – New and gently used gift items will be sold for children in kindergarten through sixth grade to purchase and have gift wrapped. Parents are banished to the café where they can enjoy beverages and holiday treats. Contact Beth Patillo at 505-662-5107 for details or visit latoth.org.
  • Light Parade in Downtown Los Alamos, Dec. 7 at 6 p.m. Downtown Los Alamos will be aglow as the electric light parade makes its way down Central Ave. Call Suzette Fox 505-661-4844 or visit lamainstreet.com for more information.
  • Winter Crafts and Story Stations at the Mesa Public Library, Dec. 7, from 10 a.m. to noon – Kids of all ages can enjoy an experience making winter crafts. There is no charge for the activity.  For more information, contact Angie Manfredi 505-662-8258 or losalamosnm.us/library/pages/youthservices.aspx.
  • Kids Talk with Santa at CB Fox department store, Dec. 7, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Kids can share their wish lists with Santa. There is no charge. For more information call CB Fox at 505-662-2864.
  • North Pole Workshop and Luminaria Walk at North Mesa Stables and Posse Lodge, Dec. 7 from 5–7 p.m. – After a day in town, kids and their families can come to horse stables at North Mesa and have a photo taken with Santa and his elves. Kids will enjoy hot cocoa and light refreshments as they gaze at the luminarias illuminating the night. Photo fee is $5, otherwise there is no charge.  For more information contact the Recreation Center at 505-662-8173.
  • Christkindlmarket in Downtown Los Alamos, Dec. 7 from 2–7:30 p.m. – Inspired by Germany’s Christkindlamarkets in December, this outdoor event delivers a festive atmosphere with German food including bratwurst and lebkuchen (a Christmas cookie); Glṻwhein, a hot spiced wine and – new this year – a beer garten for adults. The Christkindlemarket is presented by investlosalamos.com. There is no entry fee. Call 720-496-2321 for details.

A week after Winterfest, the holiday celebration continues with the third annual Holiday Prism Concert at the White Rock Baptist Church, Dec. 14, 7–8:30 p.m. at the Baptist located at 80 State Rd. 4. Visit lacw.org for details.

 The Los Alamos County Ice Rink opened its doors for the season on Nov. 15 and offers ice skating lessons for beginners and advanced beginners along with private and semi-private lessons. Lessons begin at $45 per person. On Saturday, Nov. 23, youth of all ages are invited to try ice hockey at no charge. Co-sponsored by the Los Alamos Hockey Association, boys 18 and under can attend for free from 3:45–4:45 p.m.; while girls 18 and under can attend from 5–6 p.m. The Holiday Hockey Festival takes place from Dec. 27–Dec. 30. For holiday hours and more information, visit losalamosnm.us/rec/rink/Documents/2013-2014 LAC Ice Rink Brochure.pdf.

 Season passes are available now at Pajarito Mountain Ski Resort. Depending on snowfall, Pajarito Mountain is expected to open in mid December with 40 named trails, 300 skiable acres, and a peak elevation of 10,440 feet. Ski classes are also offered for groups and individuals at various experience levels. Visit skipajarito.com for details. Atomic City Transit offers shuttle service every 20 minutes from downtown Los Alamos to the mountain. Call 505-661-RIDE for details.

For more information on Winterfest and other activities around the holidays in Los Alamos, visit http://fyilosalamos.com/category/events/