New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs

Celebrate the holidays with New Mexico Traditions, featuring special events at each of the NM Department of Cultural Affairs’ Museums and Historic Sites

December 02, 2022

Stephen Hamway

Santa Fe, NM – The holiday season is here, and the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs (NMDCA) has a diverse slate of activities lined up across the state to ensure that your holidays are filled with warmth, light, and enchantment! 

"The arrival of the holidays reminds us that New Mexico is a tapestry featuring a vibrant mix of cultures and traditions,” said NMDCA Cabinet Secretary Debra Garcia y Griego. “Because of that, our museums and historic sites have continued their longstanding programs and developed new ones that honor a wide range of faiths and cultural practices through our New Mexico Traditions series.” 

With New Mexico Traditions, each of NMDCA’s 15 museums and historic sites have at least one holiday celebration planned this year, ranging from nighttime holiday strolls in Jemez Springs to Nativity scenes in Mesilla to fresh performances of an iconic holiday ballet in Albuquerque. A full list of programming is available at 

NMDCA institutions can be found statewide, which means most New Mexico residents have a holiday event nearby. Visit Jemez Historic Site in Jemez Springs for Light Among the Ruins on Dec. 9 - 10, featuring traditional Native American flute music and Pueblo dancers performing between two bonfires as hundreds of farolitos illuminate the site. 

On Santa Fe’s famous Museum Hill, experience the Winter Glow Holiday Stroll, where the Museum of International Folk Art, the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, and the Santa Fe Botanical Garden will host family-friendly events as visitors walk along the farolito-lined street between 4:00 and 7:00 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 16. 

In Las Cruces, the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum will host Farm-La-La, a new holiday event featuring trolley rides, exhibition tours, and plenty of hot chocolate. And of course, don’t miss the New Mexico Museum of Space History’s Holiday on the Hill: A Space Tradition event in Alamogordo, featuring clouds in a bottle, Christmas catapults, arts and crafts, and much more! 

Meanwhile, the museums near the Santa Fe Plaza will show their holiday spirit through events like the Holiday Open House on Saturday, Dec. 10, hosted by the New Mexico Museum of Art (NMMOA) and the New Mexico History Museum (NMHM). At NMMOA, Teatro Duende will be performing “A Holiday Party for Pappa Gus,” this year’s showcase for the replicas of Gustave Baumann’s historic puppets. And at NMHM, visitors will have the opportunity to square dance and make tree ornaments out of pages from New Mexico Magazine. 

In Albuquerque, the National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC) will host performances like Nutcracker in the Land of Enchantment and Christmas in New Mexico, blending traditional Christmas stories with New Mexican characters and styles. Don’t miss the NHCC’s Noche de Familia on Friday, Dec. 9, featuring a screening of Disney’s Encanto at 7:00 p.m. Just up the road, celebrate the Winter Solstice at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science on Wednesday, Dec. 21, featuring stargazing and a screening of The Martian (2015) from 5:30 to 9:00 p.m. 

New Mexico Arts, a division of NMDCA, supports hundreds of arts organizations through its annual granting program. Visit to learn about even more opportunities to celebrate NM traditions across the state. 

The prices of these events vary. Visit to register and learn more. 

About the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs Created in 1978 by the New Mexico Legislature, the Department of Cultural Affairs (NMDCA) is New Mexico’s cultural steward, charged with preserving and showcasing the state’s cultural riches. With its eight museums, eight historic sites, arts, archaeology, historic preservation, and library programs, the DCA is one of the largest and most diverse state cultural agencies in the nation. Together, the facilities, programs, and services of the Department support a $5.6 billion cultural industry in New Mexico. 

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