Holidays in Santa Fe

Winter break is quickly approaching, but not everyone will be heading home to be with family. While many students juggle planning out their travels with final exams, others will be remaining in Santa Fe due to work obligations or travel costs. Luckily, the city provides an assortment of attractions for students to keep themselves occupied during the holiday season, especially those who are new to Santa Fe and eager to explore.

Amyilia Rose

Creative Writing Major Amelia Rose, photo by Jason Stilgebouer

Creative Writing major Amelia Rose and her roommate, fellow Creative Writer Miranda Bass, will be spending a good chunk of their break here in town. “We put up our Christmas tree today,” said Rose. “Miranda loves Christmas, so I’m sure it’s gonna be a month-long Christmas event.”

Rose says she is fond of Santa Fe, and happy to be staying in town for her break even though a good portion of it will be spent working at the Violet Crown. In the past, she and Bass have enjoyed various Christmas festivities in town, such as “Glow” which takes place at the Santa Fe Botanical Gardens. This year, it will take place through the month of December on Thursdays through Saturdays.

“It’s a beautiful light festival,” Rose says. “We went to that and it was awesome. They had really cool fire pits.”
Photo major Craig Duncan is excited to take advantage of the hiking opportunities and spectacular views the snowy mountains have to offer around this time of year. Duncan is a senior and has explored nearly every corner of Santa Fe during his four years at school. He is fond of the Attalaya hiking trail, but cautions those who are interested in hiking to be wary of its steepness and the snow that may be coating it.

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Christmas lights decorating the Santa Fe Plaza. Photo by Jason Stilgebouer

“I would recommend something longer and just kind of flat,” Duncan says. “The Aspen Vista trail would be a kind of please-all crowd pleaser. I like that one because it’s really well maintained.”

Additionally, Santa Fe provides opportunities for photography majors to take interesting pictures. Photo major Becca Buchleiter enjoys taking photographs of the Christmas lights both in Santa Fe and at Albuquerque’s ‘River of Lights’ festival, held every year at the ABQ Biopark.

“Since I’m a photo major I love going up there and just doing long exposures, getting all the lights, and just the mood and atmosphere of it,” says Buchleiter.

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Photo Major Becca Buchleiter. Photo by Jason Stilgebouer.

She adds that in addition to taking photographs of the lights each year, she enjoys doing the farolito and luminaria walk on Christmas Eve, which is held on Canyon Road. Each year, hundreds of people gather to walk down the path and appreciate the luminarias, which are bags filled with sand and lit by a candle for decoration. Hot chocolate is sold along the way and those who attend are entertained by carolers that partake in the tradition each year.

“I occasionally do photos of that, but I mainly just go with my family as an experience,” Buchleiter says. “We go throughout the galleries, get hot chocolate and do the walk before heading over to the plaza to look at the lights over there, and that’s where I do most of my photography because it’s less crowded.”

The Christmas lights that decorate the Plaza after sundown are a popular attraction for both locals and tourists. Students can get a full Santa Fe holiday experience from the Plaza on any given night, as people walk beneath the lights and buy Christmas gifts. One person who is particularly fond of the decorations is local celebrity, “Doc,” the man with the feathered hat who spends each day on the Plaza.

Santa Fe local known as Doc, sits at his bench enjoying his day. Photo by Jason Stilgebouer

Santa Fe local known as Doc, sits at his bench enjoying his day. Photo by Jason Stilgebouer

“I love the Plaza this time of year,” Doc says. “People come from all over the world to visit. I have some of the best conversations around Christmastime with all sorts of folks.”

Whether students find inspiration in the festive decorations that adorn the city or make a new tradition with a roommate, a holiday spent in Santa Fe offers plenty of possibilities.