Santa Fe: Destinations at Christmas

Santa Fe Farmers Market is the best.   During the summer, the market is huge.   In December, it is relegated to inside the building although a few brave vendors set up outside the front doors.

Farmers Market on Christmas Eve Day.

This is the prime reason we drove to New Mexico on Friday, December 23.   We wanted to be there on a Saturday so we could shop the FM.   I was on the hunt for green chile powder and I found success here.   We also nabbed some “Winter Warming Tea.”

Probably, our most festive destination was Canyon Road on Christmas Eve.    We headed that way around 5:00.   We grabbed a cup of hot cocoa from a street vendor and started our trek.   At this time of the evening, the streets were not too crowded.   That would be my recommendation to you if you ever decide to spend Christmas Eve on Canyon Road—go early!!

The streets are only lit with farolitos, luminaries in brown paper bags.    It is beautiful.

Lumnaries along Canyon Road.

One of the most beautiful spots was the Wilford Gallery which shares outdoor areas  with Project Tibet.  Each tree was lit, outdoor sculptures were highlighted, bonfires were ablaze, and farolitos lit the paths.

Part of the Wilford Gallery sculpture garden.

Luminaries at Project Tibet.

Most all the galleries are open, but my advice would be to stick to the streets.   Most of the galleries become pretty crowded (however many are serving hot beverages and wine.)   Stick to the streets, though my friends.   That is where spontaneous caroling may break out around a bonfire, a group of jogging elves might run by singing away, or a trio of percussionist may make a procession down the road.

The next day, we traveled to the nearby village of Chimayo.    What a great destination for Christmas Day.   While we walked around the El Santuario de Chimayó, we could hear the Christmas sermon going on within (piped out to the courtyard through speakers).   We did not go into the church because we did not want to disturb the parishioners, but we did enjoy a reflective walk around the premises.

El Santuario de Chimayó on Christmas Day.

El Santuario de Chimayó.   Can you believe how blue that sky is?

View from behind the church.

From an altar in the Madonna Garden behind the church.

Cross in the Madonna Garden.

The Madonna Garden.

This Madonna was in a wall along the street up to the church.

I would have loved to have entered the church and learned more of the history of this place.   You could definitely feel the sacredness of the entire area.   It was a perfect time to visit.

We also traveled to Ohkay Owingeh  (San Juan Pueblo) on Christmas Day.   One of the staff members at the Inn told us that at his pueblo they started dancing at midnight on Christmas Day and and the dancing keeps on continuously throughout the day.   There we were blessed to see the Matachina dance.    Having grown up in Oklahoma, I have been to a powwow or two.   This was totally different than anything I had ever seen.    There were no drums and no singing.     The accompanying instruments were a fiddle and a guitar.   When we got back to room, I grabbed the iPad and started researching what we had seen.

This dance is of European (Spanish) origin and is the only Native American dance that is accompanied by western instruments.    Tribal members play the roles of a bull (played by a young boy), a young girl, and the monarca.    They dance between lines of other dancers in costumes festooned with ribbons.    There are also two “clowns” or abeulos  who provide the comic relief.   I was so glad we went to Ohkay Owingeh on this bright and clear Christmas Day.

Back in Santa Fe, we discovered a few places we had not ventured into before.   One was San Miguel Mission, the oldest church in America.

San Miguel Mission.

Near the mission is the oldest house in Santa Fe, the De Vargas St. House.   I was fascinated with its stone work and exposed adobe bricks.

I have visited New Mexico in the summer, fall, and now winter.   I have to say that Santa Fe at Christmas is definitely the best.

What’s up for tomorrow’s post?  Some great shopping destinations.



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