By Lauren Wong
Spread the joy of the holidays this season by getting involved in your community’s events. No matter what you believe in, or what you celebrate, most of us can agree that during this time there’s a universal feeling of peace and excitement that washes over us. Twinkling lights radiant outwards, lining city streets and neighborhoods, while friends and family gather in tradition.
There’s plenty to do whether you’re looking to try something new and break out of your normal holiday traditions, or are looking forward to your favorite annual event. Surround yourself with those you love, and fill up your calendar with events that are sure to bring out the joy of the holiday season in you.
When: select dates and times 11/11/21-1/2/22
Where: The Gaslight Theatre, Tucson
Cost: prices vary
Dudley the Elf goes on this epic journey to find the Christmas Spirit in this family-friendly show. While sitting in the Gaslight Theatre you’ll join his expedition as he makes his way from the North Pole all the way to New York City where he comes upon a plan to ruin Christmas for all. Along with his friends, Dudley sings the Christmas Spirit into the hearts of those they meet to ultimately save the day. Watch one of your favorite traditional Christmas stories unfold in front of you on stage. Schedule, times, seats, and tickets can be found and purchased online.
When: 9 a.m. Nov. 20
Where: 7250 N Cortaro Rd, Tucson
Cost: $18 full day/$10 half day
Calling all scrapbookers! For your choice of a full or half day, pre-register and reserve your spot at the Holiday Open House Crop and Shop. You’ll get to scrapbook, shop, enjoy different snacks and beverages, participate in a Grand Prize drawing, and get your own personal table. Guests will receive a Swag Bag and free make and take projects. To register contact [email protected]
When: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Nov. 27-28
Where: Reid Park, Tucson
Start your shopping this Thanksgiving weekend at the Holiday Arts and Crafts Fair brought to you by the City of Tucson Parks and Recreation. Pulling everyone from crafters to artists, photographers, painters, potters, jewelers, and more, this festival features vendors from all over the Southwest. With over 140 vendors you’ll find everything from mosaics, wind chimes, walking sticks, quilts, knit scarfs, handmade soaps and lotions, to western wall art. Local vendors will also be selling food and drinks.
When: 6 – 7 p.m. and 7:30 – 8:30 p.m. Dec. 3 and 4
Where: Sabino Road Baptist Church, Tucson
What gets you more excited for the holiday season then seeing snow? Attend the free Sabino Snow Festival to not only be surrounded by snow, carolers, and a live Nativity, but also make some crafts to take home. And, of course, while you’re doing all this, enjoy a steaming cup of hot chocolate and yummy plate of cookies. With the forecast showing a snowy evening with a chance of blizzard conditions, be sure to dress for the weather! Visit their website to claim your free ticket.
When: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Dec. 4, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Dec. 5
Where: Oro Valley Marketplace, Oro Valley
With the mission of connecting art and the community, the Oro Valley Festival of the Arts and Holiday Tree Lighting Festival has become one of the largest fine art and craft festivals in the region. This two-day festival features up to 100 artisans, local performers, and the traditional holiday tree lighting (6 p.m. Dec. 4).
Want to get involved? Apply to showcase your work as an artist, register to perform, fill out a food vendor application, or register to volunteer. Otherwise, join in on this celebration that proudly brings together people of all ages, cultures, and backgrounds, to celebrate local talent from the Southern Arizona community.
Check out their website to see what food vendors and artists will be featured this year. You can also view their schedule and be on the lookout for announced live performers. Get ready to decorate cookies, partake in a variety of art activities, snap some pictures with Santa and the Golder Ranch Fire Truck, and fill your stomach with delicious, cultural, foods.
When: 1 – 7 p.m. Dec. 4
Where: Sky Bar Tucson, Tucson
Cost: $32 regular registration, $40 day of walk-up registration
An old-school-style bar crawl with a twist! Dress up in your best holiday costume and enjoy five free drinks (one at every stop) as you drink and dance your way through Downtown Tucson. The group will spend about an hour at each stop, plenty of time to take advantage of offered specials just for you!
For anyone 21 and up, this is a perfect event to meet new people, and let loose with your friends as you start the holiday season out with a bang. Although the official party ends at 7 p.m., you’re free to stay out as late as you want. “Whether you’re a Wrap Queen, up to snow good, just want a couple rein-beers, or just looking to sleigh the 2021 holiday season, this is mistle-totally the bar crawl for you!”
When: 3 – 8 p.m. Dec. 4
Where: Downtown Marana, Marana
Visit Santa, watch the Christmas Tree light show, shop at the holiday market, and stop by one of the 45 local food trucks. Local creative groups will be performing at various times throughout the event. The full schedule can be found on their website. Head over to get a good seat by the huge tree before the light show starts at 6 p.m. The 25-foot Christmas tree will light up the sky with synchronized music and dancing lights. Get some holiday shopping done at the market while your younger family members hop aboard the holiday kiddie train or jump on one of the inflatable zones.
When: 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. Dec. 10-11, 17-18
Where: Tohono Chul Park, Tucson
Cost: $17 general public, $13 members, $6 kids 5-12, free for kids under 5
Purchase your ticket online to get access to your choice of any one of the four nights. Over a million lights will luminate the paths as you walk through the park’s gardens. Musicians and artists will be performing throughout the night, so marvel at the twinkling lights while you sip hot cocoa, and hear and see the talent in the air.
There will be a sing-along and plenty of opportunity for shopping at the Museum Shops, the Retail Greenhouse, and Exhibitions House. Check the weather before you pick your night because you’ll get the chance to view the stars through a telescope.
When: 4 p.m. Dec. 18
Where: Life Under The Oaks Lavender Farm, Oracle
In your best Victorian attire, join in on this unique holiday celebration full of music and food. Scottsdale Dickens Carolers will be performing traditional holiday songs throughout the evening while you revel in all the flavors of your holiday feast. Your ticket fee gets you your meal along with a complimentary lavender sachet.
Starting with your appetizer you’ll get lavender cheese stuffed mushrooms. Dinner will be served with lavender butter roasted quail, lavender and orange roasted ham, chestnut stuffing, lavender Duchesse potatoes, and citrus cranberry sauce. For dessert enjoy white fruit cake with lavender honey glaze, and wash it all down with hot lavender earl grey tea and lavender sparkling wine. Before heading out, get a professional photo taken in their life size Cinderella Carriage, an elegant memento of this unforgettable night.
When: 9 – 10:30 a.m. Dec. 19
Where: Our Play Place, Tucson
Your ticket to this adult event comes with a cookie and supplies to decorate it. The owner of Petite Rae Cookies will be assisting you in decorating your large cookie. If you’d like to purchase more cookies to decorate, you can add them on when you’re checking out online. Guests are allowed to bring their own Christmas adult beverage if they’d like. With expert guidance, you’re sure to bring home some beautiful cookies for everyone in your home to enjoy.
A&C RP (1-5) Annual Holiday Arts and Crafts Fair in Reid Park: Photo credit Jorga Riggenbach
Marana (1-3) Marana Holiday Festival and Christmas Tree Lighting event: Photo credit J.D. Fitzgerald.
Oro (1-4) Oro Valley Festival of the Arts and Holiday Tree Lighting: Photo credit David Seeber
Elfd (1-2) Elf’d Christmas Show: Photo credit Photographer is Brian Gawne, Copyright The Gaslight Theatre.
Victorian (1-3) Victorian Christmas celebration: Photo credit goes to www.loveandlumenphotograaphy.com