Colorado Christmas Events 2018

Updated: Jan 3, 2019


Looking for ways to get into the festive spirit? Communities all over the Centennial State hold countless events and activities to spread #holiday cheer as far and wide as possible. Read on to find out what’s happening near you!


Estes Park

Tree Lighting: November 16th, 3:30 pm - 6:30 pm

Parade and activities: Nov 23, 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm

The Eighth Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony kicks off at 3:30 pm with, among other things, hot chocolate and cookies. Also, some of the characters from the Catch the Glow Parade (details below) will also be in attendance. Santa will be available for photos from 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm and the tree lighting is scheduled for 5:30 pm.


If you aren’t still in a food-induced coma from too much turkey, head downtown for the Catch the Glow Holiday Celebration and Evening Parade in Estes Park. Held the day after Thanksgiving, the celebration will have live music (as well as holiday music broadcast throughout the town), dancing and Christmas-themed floats. Little ones also be able to visit Santa at his workshop from noon - 2 pm.  


Grand Junction

Tree Lighting: November 16th, 5 pm - 7 pm

Christmas Parade: December 1st, 5 pm - 7 pm


Head to historic downtown Grand Junction (a newly-named Colorado Creative District) for the Downtown Tree Lighting ceremony that will see Santa light the #Christmas tree and the lights on Main Street. Santa then will then spend some time talking to children. And don’t miss the Parade of Lights on December 1st where over 100 lighted floats will parade down Main Street. Be sure to arrive earlier in the day to pursue the holiday crafts fair.


Durango

November 23rd, 5:30 pm

The official start to Christmas in Durango starts with Singing with Santa. Meet Santa and parade down Main Avenue singing Christmas Carols before enjoying the lighting of the Community Christmas Tree at Buckley Park. Hot chocolate and cookies provided!


Montrose

Tree Lighting: November 23rd

Parade: December 1st, 5:15 pm

Enjoy a reading of “Twas the Night before Christmas,” the tree lighting ceremony, music and carols, and hot cocoa before welcoming Santa Claus to town as he opens his cabin for the season. The following week, the town hosts the Parade of Lights which makes its way down historic Main Street.


Georgetown

Tree Lighting: November 24, 5:15 pm

The tree lighting ceremony will take place at Strouse Park (at the intersection of Rose and 6th Streets) in Downtown Georgetown with holiday singers, a children’s chorus, hot chocolate, and a visit from St. Nick! There will also be a bonfire to keep everyone warm.


Salida

Parade of lights: November 23rd, 6 pm - 8:30 pm

Holiday Festival: December 20th, 4 - 7 pm

Parade of lights and the lighting of Christmas mountain kick off the festivities in Salida.

Riverside Park is officially transformed into Holiday Park and Tenderfoot Hill (“S” Mountain) is lit up as Christmas Mountain. Festivities start with a parade on F Street from 5th to Riverside Park’s Holiday Park, followed by an open house with free cocoa, cookies and entertainment at the SteamPlant Event Center. Downtown shops and galleries have extended hours.

The Salida Holiday Festival offers late night shopping and festivities that include caroling, marshmallow roasting, carriage rides, prizes for the best Christmas attire, plus chances to win vacation packages. And don’t miss Santa Skis Monarch on December 24th!


Granby

November 16th

Join the town of Granby and the Granby Chamber of Commerce as they turn on the lights on the the town tree in downtown Granby! Make a whole day of it by having your photo taken with Santa and enjoying a carriage ride. And that is just the tip of the festive iceberg.


Beaver Creek

November 23rd

Image: Vail Resorts

Beaver Creek’s 38th annual Tree Lighting Ceremony ushers in both the start of ski season and the beginning of the holiday season. The Thanksgiving week tradition is set in the heart of Beaver Creek Village where a range of entertainment will be on offer. The evening culminates in the lighting of the tree and a fireworks display.


Grand Lake

November 23rd, 5 pm

Join Grand Lake for its inaugural festival of lights. In addition to lighting the town Christmas tree at 5 pm on November 23rd on Grand Avenue, Grand Lake will be lighting the entire town for the holidays through January 5th.


Winter Park / Tabernash

November 24th 12 pm - November 25th, 5 pm

December 1st, 6 pm - 8 pm

Shop for hand-crafted goods and sip mulled wine by the fire in the new village plaza at Winter Park Resort. Local and regional artisans will be selling a wide variety of gifts and specialties ranging from intricate jewelry and paintings to natural soaps and aromatic candles. Hang around for the annual lighting of the tree.


Then on December 1, head over to Heck’s Patio at Devil’s Thumb Ranch to enjoy complimentary hot cocoa and s’mores at the fire pit, a visit from Santa & Mrs. Claus, live music, holiday cocktails, reindeer games and more.


Alamosa

Lighting: November 30th, 5:30 pm

Parade: December 22nd, 6 pm

The 11th annual Alamosa Celebration of Lights will once again feature the lighting of the Alamosa Municipal Complex before the procession makes its way down to the Alamosa County Courthouse before finishing downtown where Santa awaits. Closer to Christmas is the Christmas Lights Parade. Be sure to sign up for the annual Round-UP Rudolph 5K which takes place at 3 pm. Participants are encouraged to dress in costume!


Leadville

Parade of Lights: November 30th, 6 pm

Head to the historic Harrison Avenue for Leadville’s Annual Parade of Lights. Prizes will be awarded for the best parade entry for businesses, non-profits and individuals. Following the parade, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be available for photos. Be sure to stick around for caroling, cocoa and cookies!


Gunnison

Tree Lighting: November 30th, 5 pm - 7:30 pm



Join the fun at the Gunnison’s Annual Tree Lighting where Santa will be in attendance to switch on the official city Christmas tree. Afterwards, enjoy an art walk and live entertainment including floats and a storefront display competition.


Frisco

November 30th, 5:30 pm

Part of Frisco’s Wassail Days, the Frisco Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony will be at the Frisco Historic Park Gazebo from 5:30 pm with the tree lighting at 6:00 pm. There will be handcrafted fire pits to keep you toasty along with hot cider and mulled wine (sales benefit the Family & Intercultural Resource Center).


Wassail Days goes on until Sunday, December 9, and includes all kinds of festivals including the “12 Sips of Wassail.” More than 65 local businesses will serve their own special recipe of wassail, a spiced ale or mulled wine drunk during celebrations for Twelfth Night and Christmas Eve, and guests will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite.


Palisade

November 30 – December 1, 2018

Get your holiday shopping done in downtown Palisade where over forty vendors and unique gift shops will be selling their wares. The weekend will also include carol singing, a gingerbread making contest, carriage rides and of course the tree lighting ceremony itself!


Buena Vista

December 1st all day

Celebrate the holiday season in Buena Vista with a chocolate walk, the festival of trees, a chili cook off, arts and crafts, caroling throughout town and, of course, a visit from Santa. Braver souls might want to consider taking part in the Polar Plunge (also known as the Annual Arkansas River Dip) - s’mores and hot drinks follow. There is also the lighting of South Main Street and community trees as well as the parade of lights among other events.


Telluride

Noel Night: December 5th, 5:30 pm

Holiday Prelude: December 15th - 16th

Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade: December 24th

Photo: Telluride Ski Resort

Telluride’s Noel Night marks the beginning of the holiday season with the ceremonial Ski Tree (which is then burned as an offering to Ullr, the Norse ski god) and Main Street lighting ceremony at 5:30 pm in Elks Park. Be sure to stick around after the ceremony because many of the town’s stores offer awesome discounts and free snacks and drinks. Then on Christmas Eve, the ski slopes light up as nearly 100 Telluride Resort employees ski down the mountain with torches creating a magical sight.


Don't forget to partake in the holiday prelude in Mountain Village which offers holiday movies, train rides, Santa and his workshop, live reindeer and ice skating.


Vail

December 5th - December 31st

Vail Holidays is the almost month-long celebration of the holiday season. Events include the annual tree lighting ceremony, a lantern walk, the torchlight ski down and fireworks, a parade, and a skating festival among many other events.  


Carbondale

First Friday Light Up Carbondale: December 7th, 5 pm - 9 pm

Don’t miss the First Friday Light Up Carbondale where a whole range of activities are on offer including visits with Santa at The Launchpad, where the cast from Sol Theater’s “A Christmas Story” will be performing a few numbers from their upcoming show; holiday shopping at Deck the Walls holiday market; the lighting of the trees and holiday lights on Main Street; as well as cookies, hot chocolate, marshmallow roasting and sing along caroling at the bonfire.


Silverton

December 7th, 6 pm - 7:30 pm

Enjoy music, hot chocolate and more beginning at 6 pm in Town Square Park at Silverton’s tree lighting ceremony. Santa arrives on a Silverton fire truck and is raised above the tree to sprinkle “magic dust” and light the Christmas tree at 7 pm.


Crested Butte

Tree lighting: December 8th, 5 pm to 7 pm

Santa ski and crawl: December 15th, 2 pm

Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s light up night on the mountain features an annual tree lighting ceremony in the courtyard at the Lodge at Mountaineer Square. There will also be an opportunity to have your photo taken with Santa.


The following week is Santa Ski and Crawl. Now in its sixth year, the resort is hoping to break its own own world record for the most number of skiers, boarders, and bladers in full Santa costume. (You can hit the slopes for only $40 if you’re in a full Santa suit that day!).


Breckenridge

December 8th, all day

Photo: Breckenridge Tourism Office

A range of holiday activities are on offer in picturesque Breckenridge including the Lighting of Breckenridge and the Race of the Santas, a fun run of 0.75 miles that always sees hundreds of revelers participate in costume. (Bring your own holiday costume or purchase one at the Breckenridge Welcome Center for $7). Be sure to head to BreckCreate’s make-and-take ornament station on the Arts District campus, check out the holiday dog parade, and partake in carolling karaoke.


Aspen

12 Days of Christmas: December 20th - 31st

Photo: Jeremy Swanson

The town of Aspen goes all out at Christmas with their 12 Days of Christmas celebration. Dozens of events and activities are on offer, but we recommend checking out the following: Bayer & Bauhaus: How Design Shaped Aspen exhibit grand opening and holiday cookie exchange; Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinner at Element 47 in The Little Nell; Aspen Film’s 27th Annual Academy Screenings; ice skating with Santa's elves at The St. Regis Aspen Resort; and ACES Après: Holiday Open House, an event hosted by the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies that includes guided snowshoe tours around the preserve, hot chocolate and seasonal libations as well as snacks and activities for kids. Free to attend, but an RSVP is required.  


As for tree lightings, the town’s 34th Annual Sardy House Tree Lighting will take place on December 2 from 6 pm - 7 pm. There will be carolers, school bands and hot chocolate and cookies.


The Little Nell will be lighting their tree on December 9th from 5 pm - 6 pm. This family-friendly event is open to everyone. Held in the courtyard, there will be cookies and cocoa, carolers as well as a photo opportunity with Santa Claus himself. The Aspen Animal Shelter will be on site once again with “reindeer” pups!



The winter 2018-2019 issue of West of 105 comes out December 1st - be sure to sign up to receive it direct to your inbox for free!

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