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Santa Fe’s 2019 Holiday Traditions

Santa Fe’s holiday traditions are in full swing the next few weeks.  We encourage everyone coming to Santa Fe to participate in these wonderful events and get a true sense of Santa Fe during the holiday season.  These annual events are in downtown Santa Fe and just a short walk from the Inn. Begin the festivities on Friday evening, November 29 with the holiday lighting of the plaza. Festivities begin around 3:30 p.m. with entertainment on the bandstand and Girl Scouts selling cookies and hot chocolate. Formal entertainment, scheduled at 4:00, will include local choirs, native americans dancing, brass ensembles and bands. Santa and Mrs. Claus's appearance around 4 p.m. is executed in true Santa Fe style. The Clauses are transported to the Plaza on a vintage fire truck, which heralds their arrival with its siren sounding. Volunteers begin lighting 1,000 farolitos around 4:30, which will illuminate the Plaza until the main event at 6:00, presided over by Mayor Webber, city councilors and other dignitaries.

The next event begins at 5:30pm, on Sunday evening, December 8th on the Santa Fe Plaza. Join in the annual candle-lit procession of Las Posadas. Travel around the plaza with Mary and Joseph as they seek a safe place to give birth for the baby Jesus and raise your voice to help “boo” the devils that pop up along the way. As you end the evening with carols and refreshments in the Palace courtyard; check this one off your travel bucket list.

On Friday evening, December 13th, from 5:30pm-8pmChristmas at the Palace is a favorite for the entire family. This year marks the 34th anniversary of this community celebration. We encourage you to take the whole family and enjoy hot cider, cookies, live music, piñatas, and a special visit with Mr. and Mrs. Claus. There will be small bonfires in the courtyard to warm your hands and sing some carols by.

This year, SWAIA Winter Indian Market is on Saturday, December 14th & Sunday, the 15th and is located at the La Fonda Hotel on the plaza (just two short blocks from the Inn). We encourage you to do your holiday shopping with the native artists during this annual event. I really enjoy meeting the artists and seeing their artistic creations.


One of our local traditions is the Canyon Road Farolito walk on Christmas Eve. Small, sand-filled, paper bags illuminated with votive candles line the historic neighborhood streets and adobe walls. Carolers gather around the farolitos and sing for joy as they warm themselves, and our hearts, from the cold night. Festivities begin after dusk and last for a few hours. Be sure to dress warmly to hold back the winter chill.

Christmas Eve and Day are also the time to share in the traditions of our local pueblos' celebrations. I've shared this link from as there are many to choose from. Please respect the pueblos' rules of etiquette when attending. 

Lastly, New Year's Eve is a unique celebration in the "city different". The festivities begin at 9:00 p.m., with the plaza warmed by stationary heaters and cozy piñon bonfires scenting the night air with an unmistakably comforting New Mexican fragrance. Local bands will kick off the evening's live music on the Santa Fe Bandstand. The Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe will provide hot chocolate and biscochitos (New Mexico’s official state cookie), along with a memorial banner for all to write down their hopes and dreams for a Prospero Año Nuevo in 2020. Food trucks will be onsite to satisfy your end-of-year cravings. At 11:45 p.m., Mayor Webber and city officials will welcome the crowd to begin the countdown to a peaceful and prosperous new year. In recognition of Santa Fe’s signature status as The City Different, nothing dropsǃ When the traditional countdown ends, a Zia symbol crafted by a traditional Spanish colonial artisan will be raised at the stroke of midnight. The Zia will rise with a festive fireworks display launched from Santa Fe's oldest and most historic hotel, La Fonda on the Plaza, to light the night skies with colorǃ Santa Fe will welcome the New Year with the age-old songs, Auld Lang Syne and Las Mañanitas, sung in a spirit of unity to say Bienvenidos 2019ǃ

Our Inn of the Governors’ family says “Bienvenidos or welcome” and we hope you enjoy your visit and maybe our holiday traditions will become your holiday traditions, too. Safe travels, Deb Swanson

Things to See and Do in Santa Fe!

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