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Holiday roundup: A very merry month of events

Events calendar

Holiday roundup: A very merry month of events

  • Megan McCormick/Flickr

The holidays are upon us and Tucson offers up a wide range of festive events to help you enjoy the season:

One time events

Christmas at San Xavier 18th Annual Concert — Tuesday Dec. 6 - Wednesday, Dec. 7, at 6 p.m. and 7:45 p.m.

Patronato San Xavier presents the Sons of Orpheus and the Tucson Boys Chorus in a Christmas concert at San Xavier Mission, 1950 W. San Xavier Rd. The two choirs perform traditional Christmas hymns and classics together and separately, interspersed with solos by local musicians and artists. Concert proceeds go toward the restoration and preservation of the mission. Tickets are $125. Seating is limited. Advance ticket purchase is required.  520-262-4441

"Holiday Concerts: Women in Winter" — Friday, Dec. 9, 7:30 p.m., Sunday Dec. 11, 3 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 18, 3 p.m.

The Arizona Repertory Singers will perform — for the first time ever — a program of pieces composed and arranged solely by women. Some of the featured women are Sarah Quartel, Iris Levine, Rosephanye Powell and Annabel Rooney. On Dec. 9 the ARS Holiday Concert will take place at the St. Mark Catholic Church, 2727 W. Tangerine Rd. On Dec. 11 ARS will be performing at the Desert Skies United Methodist Church, 3255 Houghton Rd. And on Dec. 18 ARS will perform at the Christ Church United Methodist, 655 N. Craycroft Rd. Tickets are available online and cost $15. 520-792-8141

Living Nativity — Friday, Dec. 9 to Sunday, Dec. 11 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

GracePoint: An Evangelical Free Church will be hosting their Living Nativity for the weekend. The tours begin every 15 minutes and last up to 50 minutes.

Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis is a fun and festive way to kick off your holidays by helping others! Wear a holiday themed costume. Tie jingle bells to your shoelaces. Raise funds to help find a cure for arthritis, the nation's leading cause of disability. Run or walk a 5 kilometer route with your team members and celebrate the season by giving. - See more at:
Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis is a fun and festive way to kick off your holidays by helping others! Wear a holiday themed costume. Tie jingle bells to your shoelaces. Raise funds to help find a cure for arthritis, the nation's leading cause of disability. Run or walk a 5 kilometer route with your team members and celebrate the season by giving. - See more at:
Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis is a fun and festive way to kick off your holidays by helping others! Wear a holiday themed costume. Tie jingle bells to your shoelaces. Raise funds to help find a cure for arthritis, the nation's leading cause of disability. Run or walk a 5 kilometer route with your team members and celebrate the season by giving. - See more at:

4th Avenue Winter Street Fair — Dec. 9 - 11, 10 a.m. to dusk

The fair in Fourth Avenue, 316 N. Fourth Ave. will be made up of over 400 artist booths selling their arts and crafts. There will be over 30 food vendors, face painting, jugglers, and street musicians. Plus, there will be two stages where people can spectate performances. 520-624-5004

An Irish Christmas at The Rialto Theatre - Friday, Dec. 9,  8 p.m.

The Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., presents An Irish Christmas-   the high-stepping spirited musical selections range from classic Irish reels that will have audiences clapping along, to some ancient hymns and lively renditions of popular contemporary Christmas classics. The show will feature dancers from Celtic Wings, Riverdance and Lord of the Dance. Tickets from $32-$50. All ages. 520-740-1000

Holiday Nights at Tohono Chul - Friday, Dec. 9, 10, 16, 17 from 5:30 -8:30 p.m.

Tohono Chul Park, 7366 N. Paseo del Norte, presents Holiday Nights. Stroll along paths surrounded by luminarias and over a million twinkling lights. Sip hot chocolate and enjoy tasty treats while musicians and artists perform throughout the gardens. Tickets for members are $15, general public $20, kids age 3 - 12 are $6 and younger kids enter free. 520-742-6455

The festivities for the Jewish Festival of Lights begin with the lighting of the huge outdoor Millstone Hanukkah Menorah (candelabrum) at 225 N. Country Club Road at 4:30 PM, followed by a spectacular program of Hanukkah songs, stories, theatricals and dance, all accompanied by the Avanim Rock Band. Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon and the Temple Emanu-El Youth and Teen Choirs will be featured in Hanukkah music from around the Jewish world. The celebration is free and open to all. - See more at:
At the conclusion of the celebration, everyone is invited to light his or her own menorah, creating a magnificent scene of flickering candlelight and holiday joy and meaning. (Each family is asked to bring a Hanukkah menorah and 2 candles.) Immediately following the Hanukkah celebration there will be a traditional brisket and latke (potato pancake) dinner, with special children's gifts and activities. Dinner is by reservation only and there is a charge. - See more at: Repertory Singers at the Benedictine Monastery— Sunday Dec. 13, starting at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Tucson Boys Chorus Holiday Concert — Saturday, Dec. 10th,  starting at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

The Tucson Boys Chorus Holiday Concert has been a Tucson tradition for decades. They will give two performance of seasonal music including Christmas carols, sacred songs and Hanukkah favorites at University of Arizona's Crowder Hall, 1017 N Olive Road. Admission: $20 Premium; $18 General; $8 children under 12. 520-296-6277

each of the eight nights of Hanukkah there will be a lighting ceremony at the outdoor Country Club Road menorah. The public is cordially invited. The lighting schedule is Sunday, December 6th, at 5:30 PM, and every night of Hanukkah thereafter at 5:30 PM. For more information call the Temple Emanu-El office at (520) 327-4501.  - See more at:

"Our Wish List" Desert Voices Winter Concert  —Friday Dec. 9, 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m.  and Sunday Dec.11 at 4 p.m.

Desert Voices Choir presents its holiday concert "Our Wish List" at Unity Church of Tucson, 3617 N. Camino Blanco. Tickets: $20. 520-791-9662

A Southwest Nutcracker — Saturday Dec. 10, at 2 p.m. and Sunday Dec. 11 at 2 p.m.

Tucson Regional Ballet's brings the classic Nutcracker ballet to 1880s Tucson, complete with dancing chile peppers, coyotes, cavalry, and rattlesnakes. This full-length ballet takes place at Linda Ronstadt Music Hall, 260 S. Church Ave., with live music by the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. Please see the website for ticket prices or call 520-886-1222.

Sounds of Winter Concert Tucson Girls Chorus — Sunday Dec. 11th, 2-3 p.m. and 5-6 p.m.

Celebrate the holidays with the Tucson Girl's Choir as they perform their "Sounds of Winter" Concert at the Crowder Hall at the University of Arizona, 1017 N. Olive Rd. 520-577-6064

Merry-Achi Christmas at the Fox Theater —Thursday Dec. 16, 7:30 p.m.

Viva Performing Arts presents Mari-Achi Christmas at Fox Theater, 17 W. Congress St., featuring platinum recording artists Mariachi Sol de Mexico de Jose Hernandez. Tickets from $27.50-$52.50. 520-547-3040

Mercado Holiday Bazaar —  Dec. 16-18, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Mercado San Agustin, 100 S. Avenida Del Convento, presents the 8th annual holiday bazaar the last weekend before Christmas. With more than 50 handpicked vendors offering a selection of local handmade goods this is a great place to wrap-up your shopping.  Stop into mercado shops including Stella Java Coffee Shop, La Estrella Bakery, Seis Kitchen, MAST, Dolce Pastello, Sonoran Sno-Cones and more. Plus, there will be a winter wonderland on Friday night. 520-461-1107

Holiday Express at the Train Depot — Friday, Dec. 17, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Kids and their families will be able to enjoy a day full of holiday fun at the Southern Arizona Transportation Museum. There will be elves from the Tucson Postal History Museum there to help kids write their letters to Santa. There will be a reading of "The Polar Express" and holiday music. This event is free. 520-623-2223

"Polar Express" and "It's a Wonderful Life" at Fox Theater — Dec. 17 and Dec. 23

Bring a date or the whole family and enjoy one or both of these classic holiday films at the Fox Theater. On Saturday, "Polar Express" will be shown at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. "It's a Wonderful Life" plays at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 23. Tickets are $8 per movie.

Chanukah 2022— Sunday, Dec. 18, 5-6 p.m.

The annual lighting of the tallest Menorah in Tucson will take place between City Hall and the historic courthouse, hosted by Chabad Tucson. There will be Chanukah treats and giveaways. Cirque Roots will be performing, and a kosher food truck will be there in case attendees are feeling hungry. This event is free to attend. 520-975-4489

21st Annual Downtown Parade of Lights —Sunday, Dec. 19, 6:30-8 p.m.

The 21st Annual Downtown Parade of Lights through the Armory Park neighborhood will feature holiday-themed floats and vehicles, musicians and entertainers. It begins at 17th Street and Stone Avenue at 6:30 p.m., heading north to Ochoa and Scott Avenue, then east on 12th Street, finally heading south on 6th Ave. and concluding at 13th Street at Armory Park, where the parade winners will be awarded prizes. 520-837-6504

Ballet Tucson's "The Nutcracker" — Thursday, Dec. 22 at 7 p.m., Friday, Dec. 23 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 24 at 1 p.m.

Ballet Tucson and the Tucson Symphony Orchestra will take the stage at the Linda Ronstadt Music Hall, 260 S. Church Ave., for their rendition of the most beloved ballet "The Nutcracker." Travel to the Land of the Sweets and face the Rat King with Clara and the Nutcracker. Tickets are available on Ticketmaster. 520-903-1445

Season long events

Tucson Holiday Ice —Now through Jan. 8, closed Christmas Day

Just  because a White Christmas in Tucson is unlikely, it doesn't mean you won't be able to participate in one of the most popular winter activities — ice skating. The Tucson Convention Center, 260 S. Church Ave, hosts the city's very own ice rink now through start of the New Year. Tickets are available online and the price includes the skate rental. The sizes range from a children's size eight to size 15 for men. The cost for a 90-minute session varies. Adult tickets are $20, tickets for children under 12 cost $14. The rink will be closed on Christmas Day, but will be open on Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. 520-791-4101

Zoolights at Reid Park — Now through Dec. 30, seven days a week, 6-8 p.m.

Reid Park Zoo, 3400 E. Zoo Court, celebrates the season with light displays, animal-themed light sculptures, falling snow, Santa and thousands of sparkling bulbs. Hot cocoa will be available for purchase. The Zoo does warn that animals will likely choose to stay inside where it's warm and not be on exhibit. Admission: $12 for adults, $8 for kids 2-14, kids 2 and younger are free. Members get $3 off admission Tuesdays - Sundays. 520-791-4022

'Season of Light' at Flandrau Planetarium — Dec. 11 at 2p.m., Dec. 16 at 3:30p.m., Dec. 17 &18 at 2p.m., and Dec. 20 at 3:30 p.m., Dec. 21 at 2p.m., Dec. 22 at 3:30p.m., Dec. 23 & 24 at 2p.m.

This annual family favorite at Flandrau Planetarium, 1601 E. University Blvd., explores the many festivals of light that occur, across times and cultures, near the Winter Solstice. Learn more about these celebrations and how many connect back to the movement of the stars. Tickets range from $3-9

Winterhaven Festival of Lights — Dec. 10-26, 6-10 p.m.

The central neighborhood of Winterhaven has been part of Tucson's holiday traditions for decades and benefits the Community Food Bank. See the lights and decorations on foot or for an extra fee you can make a reservation for a hayride wagon, a bus trolley, or a pedal-powered group bike tour. The only night you can drive through is Dec. 26. The event is free, but you are asked to bring a donation of food or money for the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.

LightsUp! A Festival of Illumination — Now through Jan. 15, 2023

The Tucson Botanical Gardens celebrate the holidays with a winter wonderland of lights. There will be over a million lights, art installations by local artisans, cypress trees covered in choreographed lights and a 50-foot light tunnel to walk through. Tickets for adults 18 and older without a garden membership cost $30. Tickets for non-member children ages four to 17 cost $28. For members, tickets cost $28 for the adults and $26 for the children. Proof of membership is required at purchase. Children under four get in free. 520-326-9686

Enchanted Snowfall —  Now through Dec. 23, 6 p.m. and 6:45 p.m.

La Encantada Shopping Center and Tucson Medical Center present Enchanted Snowfall where the entire family can see snow falling into the courtyard. Enjoy live holiday music and warm your hands while sampling Mexican hot chocolate from Blanco + Tequila. Santa will visit on Dec. 23 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Phone: 520-615-2561

Yuletide at Old Tucson - Now through Dec. 24 from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

This new holiday event will combine live shows, period costumes and interactive experiences to transport people to the Wild West. There will be a trail lit by luminarias and hayrides on horse-drawn wagons to the High Chaparral. There a timed-entry bookings required for the event. Please visit the website to schedule your visit.

 Wee Winter Wonderland — Nov. 22 to Jan. 8, 2023

The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures, 4455 E. Camp Lowell, has fifteen miniature scenes decorated to depict holiday celebrations around the world and throughout time. Look for the blue and red story panels which identify the miniatures and explain the history of the holiday and its traditions. Admission: $11 general, $9.50 seniors (over 65) and military, $8 youth ages 4-17, free for children 3 and under. Members enter free.

Around Southern Arizona

The 32nd Annual Luminaria Nights in Tubac —Dec. 2-3 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Enjoy hundred of luminarias, refreshments and holiday music throughout Tubac village and visit with Mrs. Santa in the Tubac Center of the Arts. She will be there Dec. 2 to pick up lists for Santa. 520-398-2704

Willcox Christmas Lighted Parade — Dec. 10, 6 p.m.

The Willcox Christmas Lighted Parade will kick off the season on Railroad Avenue. 520-384-2272

Sahuarita Winter Festival & Holiday Parade —Saturday, Dec. 17,  6-10 p.m.

The annual festival in Sahuarita Town Center, 375 W. Sahuarita Center Way, includes a craft area, pictures with Santa, vendors selling food and a Kid's Wonderland with two ice rinks, inflatables and face painting. The Holiday Light Parade starts at 6 p.m. and is followed by  a tree lighting ceremony.

Victorian Christmas at Tombstone Courthouse —Saturday Dec. 10,  9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Tombstone Courthouse, 223 Toughnut St.,  will be decorated in Victorian-style and will host festivities for people of all ages. 520-457-3311

If you would like to sugget an event to add to the list email

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