Christmas holiday guide 2021: Here are some ways to celebrate the season in El Paso

·10 min read

Have you started your favorite holiday traditions yet?

Whether it's seeing festive lights around the city or taking your kids to visit Santa Claus, El Paso is ready to help you celebrate the Christmas spirit this year.

And just to help you plan your countdown to Christmas, here is a holiday guide with things to do. Enjoy!

Holiday Lights in El Paso

Families took in the holiday lights at San Jacinto Plaza during El Paso's WinterFest 2020 in El Paso.
Families took in the holiday lights at San Jacinto Plaza during El Paso's WinterFest 2020 in El Paso.

San Jacinto Plaza

San Jacinto Plaza in Downtown El Paso is a great place to get holiday photos amid the lit up displays. There are also spin scooters you can rent to enjoy a ride around the Downtown area.

Lights on the Lake

Ascarate Park will have its annual Lights on the Lake display nightly through Jan. 7.

Ascarate Park hours are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and $2 parking fee is charged on Saturdays and Sundays.

Events coming up: Santa Paws Pet Walk on Dec. 11 and a Healing Garden Labyrinth installation by Aug. 3, 2019, shooting victims' families on Dec. 12.

Eastridge neighborhood lights

The Eastridge neighborhood in East El Paso is a wonderful way to enjoy the holiday spirit. Peak times are weekends, usually from 6:30 to 9 p.m. There is usually a vendor selling light-up toys to enhance the activity for kids. During the week, there is less traffic.

The main entrances into the neighborhood: McRae at Cartway, Deby Lewis at Glemmway, and right behind Eastwood High School and Wedgewood at Fenway.

If you want to take a walk, park on Deby Lewis and stroll through the neighborhood.

If you see cars driving down the middle of the street with their lights flashing or on, they probably live in the area and are trying to get home. Give them the space.

Sun City Holiday Lights

Sun City Holiday Lights: KISS-FM will have its Sun City Holiday Lights, a family-friendly drive-through holiday-themed lights and displays including a 60-foot Christmas tree, starting at 6 p.m. Friday at Desert Warriors Paintball, 13900 Montana. Admission: $30 per car. Opening weekend hours: 6 to 11 p.m. Friday-Sunday. The light show will be open every Wednesday through Sunday in December.

Speaking Rock Entertainment Lights

In the Lower Valley, Speaking Rock Entertainment Center is showing its Christmas spirit with a large spiral Christmas tree and other lighted displays at 122 S Old Pueblo Dr.

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El Paso Live WinterFest Ice Skating Rink

The El Paso Live WinterFest Ice Skating Rink, between the Plaza Theatre and the El Paso Museum of Art, will remain open daily through Jan. 2.

Hours: 4 to 9 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 4 to 11 p.m. Thursdays, 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. Fridays, noon to 12 a.m. Saturdays, and noon to 9 p.m. Sundays. Skating sessions are 50 minutes. Cost is $8 to skate; 5 and younger are $5.

Fiesta Fridays, featuring local music, returns to the deck by the El Paso Electric Holiday Tree from 7 to 9 p.m. Dec. 10, and Dec. 17. The Holiday Café produced by Delicious Mexican Eatery will be open during ice-skating rink hours and Berliner Freiheit will serve its German delicacies. A vendor market will be held near the rink each Saturday, featuring local artisans and crafters.

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Holiday train display

Sunflower bank is hosting a Holiday Model Train Display in partnership with the Railroad Model and Historical Association of El Paso at the bank, 201 E. Main, Suite 200.

Train hours: 10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and 3:30 to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday through Dec. 31.

Christmas concerts and holiday performances

'How the Grinch Found Jesus'

CrossPoint Church will present "How the Grinch Found Jesus!" at 7 p.m. Dec. 10, 5 and 7 p.m. Dec. 11, and 9 and 11 a.m. Dec. 12 at 11995 Montwood Drive. The annual Coffee House Christmas Production is a family fun show for all ages. Enjoy free coffee, cocoa and cookies.

2021 Gracias Christmas Cantata

The musical, 2021 Gracias Christmas Cantata, will be presented at 7 p.m. Dec. 21 at the El Paso County Coliseum. Doors open at 6 p.m. Free admission.

Gracias Christmas Cantata has been performed in venues like the Sydney Opera House and Madison Square Garden, and features the "Opera For Unto Us," "The Little Match Girl" and a choir and orchestra Christmas carol.

Drag Queen Christmas

It's a Drag Queen Christmas, hosted by Trinity The Tuck and Monet X Change. The all-new production will feature holiday classics and naughty shenanigans at 8 p.m. Dec. 9 at the Plaza Theatre. Tickets range from $35 to $150 plus fees, available at Ticketmaster.com

Dave Koz will bring his annual Christmas Show to the Plaza at 7 p.m. Dec. 14.
Dave Koz will bring his annual Christmas Show to the Plaza at 7 p.m. Dec. 14.

Dave Koz annual Christmas Show

Dave Koz will bring his annual Christmas Show to the Plaza at 7 p.m. Dec. 14. The Dave Koz and Friends Christmas Tour will include Jonathan Butler, Richard Elliot, Rick Braun and Rebecca Jade. Tickets will be $45 plus fees via Ticketmaster.com or at the Plaza Box Office.

Merry-Achi Christmas

The Mariachi Sol de Mexico will perform a Merry-Achi Christmas performance at 7 p.m. Dec. 19 at the Plaza Theatre. Tickets are $29 to $69 plus fees, available at Ticketmaster.com

Where to watch holiday movies in El Paso

The Plaza Theatre continues its free Holiday Movies series through Jan. 2. Organists will perform on the Plaza Theatre’s original, restored Wyler Mighty Wurlitzer Pipe Organ before each movie.

Upcoming:

Dec. 18

  • 2 p.m.: It’s a Wonderful Life (PG)

  • 7 p.m.: Love Actually (R; language, nudity, adult situations)

Dec. 26

  • 1 p.m.: The Santa Clause (PG)

  • 4 p.m.: Die Hard (R; violence, language)

Jan. 2

  • 1 p.m.: Frozen (PG)

The Alamo Drafthouse will offer movie parties for the holidays. Catch the invasion of the Gremlins at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6 at the Drafthouse at Montecillo, 250 Montecillo Blvd. Tickets are $10 plus tax, available online.

Enjoy an Elf movie party at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8 at the East Drafthouse, 12351 Pellicano Drive. Tickets are $18.13 plus tax, available online. The theater also will show It's a Wonderful Life at 7 p.m. Dec. 21. Tickets are $10.50 plus tax.

Visit Santa Claus at these locations

Cabela’s, 6450 I-10 Desert Blvd., will have Santa's Wonderland experience through Dec. 24. It will be a contactless experience.

People can make reservations for photos with Santa online at www.cabelas.com/santa

Cielo Vista Mall will have Santa Claus available for photos through Dec. 24 in the JC Penney Court. Families may choose to sit with Santa or maintain social distance. Santa’s helpers will wear masks throughout the duration of each visit.

Reservations can be made online. Times vary.

There will be a caring Santa for children with special needs from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Dec. 12.

Sunland Park Mall will have photos with Santa during mall hours through Dec. 24. Bring the family to capture holiday moments.

For children on the autism spectrum and those with related sensory sensitivities, there will be a Sensitive Santa from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Dec. 5. Santa has been especially trained and takes cues from parents and caregivers in order to meet each child’s individual needs. Advance registration online is encouraged.

There also will be several events with Santa: writing letters at 11 a.m. Dec. 4, decorating cookies with Mrs. Claus on Dec. 11 and Holiday Crafting on Dec. 18. Dog and cat owners also can bring their furry friends for Paws & Claus photos at 6 p.m. Dec. 6.

Big Frog Custom T-shirts & More will offer pictures with Santa in partnership with Toys for Tots from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 11 at 12210 Montwood Drive. Families are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy to get a photo with Santa and the Grinch. The Santa photo will be printed on a white T-shirt for free. Limit of one per family.

The El Paso Zoo will have Santa Claus visiting from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 11-12. Santa is bringing snow from the North Pole for guests to play in and watch the animals open gifts as part of their daily enrichment.

In addition, guests can create holiday arts and crafts, listen to holiday music and more with paid zoo admission.

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Holiday markets, art and craft shopping

5th Annual Krampus Fest Art Show & Market

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema East will be the place for the 5th Annual Krampus Fest Art Show & Market, from 5 to 11 p.m. Dec. 11.

There will be more than 40 local artists and vendors as well as food, live music and fire dancers. Also, the crowning of the El Paso Krampus King/Queen and El Paso Krampus Prince/Princess will take place. Free admission.

Socorro Mission holiday fair

The Socorro Mission will host a holiday fair with gorditas, Lotería game and unique gift items, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 12 at 328 S Nevarez Road. Free admission.

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The Last Minute Christmas Market

The Upper Valley Artist & Farmers Market will have The Last Minute Christmas Market from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 19 at 7930 N. Mesa. More than 100 local small businesses featured.

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El Paso Community Foundation’s Spirit of Giving virtual tree

Teach your children about the spirit of giving by participating in the El Paso Community Foundation’s Spirit of Giving virtual tree. Over 32 years, generous El Pasoans have donated anonymously more than 63,000 gifts to children, elderly and people with special needs, people who might otherwise go without a gift this holiday season.

Both Cielo Vista Mall and Sunland Park Mall feature the El Paso Community Foundation’s Spirit of Giving tree.
Both Cielo Vista Mall and Sunland Park Mall feature the El Paso Community Foundation’s Spirit of Giving tree.

To participate go to spiritofgiving.epcf.org and click on snowflake-shaped tags to learn about boys, girls, men and women in need. Click the tag of the story that moves you, pay for the item, and the El Paso Community Foundation will ensure that it is delivered. Or you can purchase the gift yourself, place it in a gift bag (unwrapped), print out and attach the tag and bring it by the offices during our Spirit of Giving™ Drive-by/Drop-off event.

The event will will be from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 13-16 at El Paso Community Foundation, 333 N. Oregon. Trees also are in place at Cielo Vista Mall and Sunland Park Mall. If you pick a tag from the Cielo Vista Mall tree, take the gift to EPCF offices. If you choose a tag from the Sunland Park Mall tree, you may either drop it off at the mall offices on the second floor during business hours on weekdays (by Dec. 15) or deliver it to our offices.

Information: 915-533-4020.

Santa to a Senior tree

Butter Smith Kitchen & Pies is partnering with the El Paso Home Instead office to make an act of kindness for 75 seniors. People can participate by looking for the Santa to a Senior tree at participating restaurants through Dec. 15.

Each tree will be decorated with ornaments featuring seniors’ first names and gift suggestions. Holiday shoppers can choose an ornament, buy the requested gift and return it unwrapped to the store with the ornament attached.

Participating locations: Village Inn: 1500 Airway Blvd., Butter Smith Kitchen & Pies: 7801 N. Mesa St., and Village Inn, 6040 N. Mesa St.

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María Cortés González may be reached at 915-546-6150; mcortes@elpasotimes.com; @EPTMaria on Twitter.

This article originally appeared on El Paso Times: Christmas holiday guide: Things to do in El Paso to celebrate season

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