Let there be lights. From Christmas trees to hot air balloons here are activities to kick off the holidays. - Albuquerque Journal

Let there be lights. From Christmas trees to hot air balloons here are activities to kick off the holidays.

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Friday, Dec. 2, Saturday, Dec. 3, and Sunday, Dec. 4, head out to Gallup for the 41st Annual Red Rock Balloon Rally. (Marla Brose/Journal)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, indeed. There are a host of activities around the area to kick off this holiday season. From the lighting of the Old Town tree to WinterFest, there are activities for kids from one to 92.

Got an event we should know about? Reach out to features@abqjournal.com.

 

 

O tannenbaum!
The holiday season kicks off on Friday, Dec. 2, with the Old Town Holiday Stroll. The event, which runs 5-9 p.m., features local performers, a jump start on holiday shopping and the lighting of the Old Town tree in the Plaza Don Luis at 6 p.m.
This year, due to the wildfires that ravaged the state, the Old Town tree will feature a 30-foot sequoia replica.
The Old Town Holiday Stroll, 200 N. Plaza St. SW, is free.

 

Drivin’ through a Winter Wonderland
Starting Friday, Dec. 2, load up the four-wheel sleigh for a ride through a Winter Wonderland.
EXPO New Mexico, 300 San Pedro Drive NE, is hosting the holiday drive-thru attraction, open Thursday through Sunday through Jan. 1. The event will be closed Sunday, Dec. 25. There is also a walking tour, live performances and a chance to take a picture with Santa Claus. (Santa will be in town until Christmas Eve, before returning to the North Pole.)
Entrance is through Gate 3, San Pedro Drive and Copper Avenue, and opens at 5:30 p.m.
Tickets start at $45, plus fees, at holdmyticket.com.
A portion of tickets sales will benefit Carrie Tingley Hospital Foundation, Ronald McDonald House Charities-New Mexico and the Assistance League of Albuquerque.
For more info visit winterwonderlandnm.com.

 

A handcrafted holiday
Friday, Dec. 2, the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center is hosting the Pueblo Shop and Stroll.
The event, from 4-8 p.m., will feature an outdoor market with Native artists selling handcrafted ornaments, Nativity sets, jewelry and art. Warm yourself by the bonfire or enjoy the luminarias in the courtyard. There will also be a photo opportunity with Pueblo Santa.
From 4-6 p.m. there will be children’s arts and crafts; from 5:30-6:30 p.m. the Sky City Buffalo Ram Dancers (Acoma) will perform; and from 6:30-7:30 p.m. visitors can watch the White Mountain Apache Crown Dancers Fire Dance.
Admission is $12 adults, $10 New Mexico residents and military, $8 seniors, students and youth (ages 5-17), free for children under 5. More information can be found at indianpueblo.org.

 

Rally time

Here we glow again. Friday, Dec. 2, Saturday, Dec. 3, and Sunday, Dec. 4, head out to Gallup for the 41st Annual Red Rock Balloon Rally. The three-day event will feature mass ascensions, Glow in the Rocks, Balloominaria and more. The rally is free but there is a $5 parking fee at Red Rock Park events. Visit redrockballoonrally.com for the full schedule of events and more information.

See the holiday magic
Holograms, projection mapping and holiday music, oh my! At 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4, at the Rio Rancho Events Center, 3001 Civic Center Circle NE in Rio Rancho, the “Holiday Dreams, A Spectacular Holiday Cirque!” will take place. The event also features lasers, along with a cast of award-winning acrobats, daredevils and cirque-performers.
It is produced by Las Vegas, Nevada-based production company, Q Productions. Added spectacles such as elves catapulting themselves off ramps while riding scooters to BMX Bikes and Extreme Rollerbladers to acrobats diving off a giant Trampwall and all the way to comedic performances.
Tickets start at $34, plus fees, at ticketmaster.com.

 

Sights of the season
It’s WinterFest Weekend time. The three-day event takes place in Los Alamos from Friday, Dec. 2, through Sunday, Dec. 4. The event features a holiday light parade, arts and crafts fairs, visits with Santa Claus and Santa Paws, and holiday fun for all ages.
The Los Alamos Nature Center Planetarium, 2600 Canyon Road in Los Alamos, will present the “Night Sky in December,” from 7 to 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2. Following on Saturday, Dec. 3, the Winter Arts & Crafts Fair at Los Alamos Middle School Gym, 2101 Hawk Drive, will take place from 9 a.m.–3 p.m., featuring artists, live music, face painting and food vendors.
For a full schedule of events, visit losalamosmainstreet.com/winterfest.

 

Have a holly, jolly Christmas
Cardboard Playhouse Theatre Company is presenting “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Jr.” at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.
Everyone’s favorite Christmas misfits, Rudolph and Hermey, hit the stage in an adaptation of the animated holiday classic.
Performances will take place 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2; 2 and 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4. There will also be performances Dec. 10 and 11. General admission tickets are $15 at nhccnm.org/event.
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