Walking in a parking lot to my car this evening, I was noticing the inky blue sky of the approaching night when I passed through a cloud of sweet pinon smoke coming from somewhere beyond a fence. I got into my car and drove home, visualizing a hot toddy in front of the fire, maybe after a full day of skiing, or maybe not. I considered the calm of snowy meadows and the hush of shortened days against longer nights, the deep and exceptional truth of Winter Solstice.
I pulled into my driveway to see a line of orange light pressed horizontally down by the darkening sky that outlined an even blacker silhouette of our Western desertscape and the Pedernal. Of course, we wouldn’t see such a striking silhouette in summer when sunsets are rich and dynamic falling so much farther north.
How quickly it seems to have gone from warm autumn to this, the romance of December. I realize that like everyone, my children even, I’m getting older, but what I don’t understand is this newer experience of how as things gradually slow in my perception, and my will to be unnerved by fewer and fewer things takes over, time is speeding up? So as I stand on the threshold of yet another December, feeling like I’d really only just left the last, I think that maybe I’ll choose to discover a deeper sensuousness in this return of dark nights, firelight and traditions.
Of course Taos is beautiful this time of year, and our community’s particular traditions speak to the unusual way we do things here. If anything, this time of year and our holidays are, for me, about Peace being something real, and Hope being at it’s strongest on the darkest night of the year. All month long there are things going on like music and theatre, classical holiday concerts, benefits, Christmas Eve at Taos Pueblo, church processions, holiday bazaars for children, markets to support shopping locally, and tons of bonfires. This is a preview of just some of the things you could find yourself doing, and it is list by no means exhaustive. If there’s something not here that should be, please give us a shout out so we can get it on the calendar.
For starters, there are a few events in the first week of December bringing people together to help other people in our community:
Taos Ski Valley Fire Department’s Benefit for Our Brother, to help raise funds for TSV officer and firefighter Ramey Stevens and his family who’ve recently lost everything to a fire. This will be a musical benefit at Taos Inn on Tuesday, December 1, 6:30-9:30pm. For more information, you can read the Live Taos article by clicking here.
Misfits, Malcontents & Mystics will be sharing a night of Taos storytelling to benefit Taos Cancer Support Services on Wednesday, December 2, 7pm at Taos Center for the Arts, $10 at the door. To read a little more about it in Live Taos, you can go here.
8th Annual Taos Feeds Taos Food Drive, to collect food donations for families in Taos. Join Last to Know and The NoSeeUms playing at Taos Mesa Brewing on Friday, December 4, 8pm. Free admission with five cans of food for TAOS FEEDS TAOS, or $7. For donation guidelines: lasttoknowmusic.com or taosfeedstaos.org
Festival of Wreaths and Trees, Taos’ annual fundraiser is being organized this year at El Monte Sagrado on December 1- 5. Decorated trees will be auctioned off and the proceeds go to local non-profit organizations. A public viewing and silent auction begins December 1 and runs through December 5. There is a Children’s Party on Friday, December 4, 4-6pm, and a Community Holiday Party on Saturday, December 5, 6-10pm.
CHILDREN & FAMILIES
Of course, some awesome things you can do with kids:
Lighting the Christmas Tree and Electric Light Parade on Taos Plaza, Friday, December 4, 4-8pm, with Mr. and Mrs. Claus, the Grinch, hot chocolate and cookies, and carolers. taos.org
18th Annual Holiday Fiesta Community Day, at the Millicent Rogers Museum, Saturday, December 5, 11am-4pm. This is a free event with lovely holiday activities for kids, including Retablo Painting and Flower Fairy Making and a performance by Taos Youth Ballet. millicentrogers.org
Lighting of Ledoux Street is actually for everyone, with bonfires, hot cider, performances, open gallery doors and farolitos lining the historic street from the top of Ledoux down to the Harwood Museum, Saturday, December 5, 5-7pm. This year, the Harwood Studio will have an Open House for Families, 5-7pm. The Harwood will also host Projecting Particles, a teen-led projection from 5-7pm. You can also join the parade at 5:15pm in Taos Plaza bringing Father Winter down Ledoux St. taos.org; harwoodmuseum.org
Annual Taos Inn Treelighting Celebration, Christmas caroles with Jennifer Peterson and Bob Andrews, Saturday, December 5, 6:30-9:30pm, at the Taos Inn. taosinn.com
Bonfires on Bent Street have been lit for 27 years now and are also for everyone, Saturday, December 12, 10am-7pm, with a reception from 4-7pm. This is another sweet tradition in our historic downtown that celebrates the beauty of Winter Solstice along with the Christmas holiday. taosartcalendar.com
La Noche on Taos Plaza, with bonfires, Santa Claus, and hot chocolate on Saturday, December 19, 5-8pm.
CONCERTS, CONCERTS, CONCERTS
Mexican Baroque: Exploring Our Past
Taos Community Chorus presents a beautiful concert piece from old Mexico at four locations around Taos. $15 at the door, $12 in advance, $10 seniors & students. taoschorus.org:
Saturday, December 5, 3 pm at First Presbyterian Church of Taos
Sunday, December 6, 3pm at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, Taos
Saturday, December 12, 3pm, at La Santisima Trinidad, Arroyo Secon
Sunday, December 13, 3 pm at St. James Episcopal Church of Taos
A Spanish Holiday presented by Taos Chamber Music Group. Chamber music for flute, violin, cello and piano by Spanish composers at Arthur Bell Auditorium at the Harwood Museum of Art on December 12 & 13, at 5pm. $22 for adults, $12 for children under 16. taoschambermusicgroup.org
Mirabal y Familia, an intimate evening celebrating the holidays with a beautiful blend of storeis, song, and dance, at Taos Center for the Arts, December 18, 7pm. $25 at the door, $22 in advance, $20 for seniors and youth under 18. tcataos.org
Met Live in HD: “The Magic Flute”, Mozart – Holiday Encore, at Taos Center for the Arts, Saturday, December 19, at 11am. $25 General Admission, $20 TCA members, $10 Youth under 18. tcataos.org
Messiah Sing-Along, with Taos Community Chorus at St. James Episcopal Church, on Sunday, December 20, at 3pm. $10 suggested donation. taoschorus.org
THEATRE, and stuff.
Metta Holiday Show, Metta Theatre’s annual evening of songs of the season with live piano accompaniment, on Friday and Saturday, December 4 & 5, 7pm. $10 or pay what you can at the door–cash, checks, credit cards are all ok. Reservations are recommended: 575-303-0774 or [email protected]
Crystal Bowl Sound Bath, with Jvala Moonfire, December 10, 6pm. Journey on the strands of sacred and intentional sound into a healing inner stillness. Location to be determined; call 917-829-1809 to make reservations or for questions. resonancehealingarts.com
The Magical Mystery Tour, performed by Taos Youth Ensemble and directed by John Biscello, an original theatre production at Taos Youth Ballet, Saturday and Sunday, December 12 & 13, 6pm.
A Christmas Story, presented by Taos Onstage, Radio play/dinner theatre of the American holiday classic film, at Taos Mesa Brewing on Tuesday and Wednesday, December 15 & 16. Buffet dinner at 6pm, Curtain at 7pm. Reservations for dinner required. $15-30. taosmesabrewing.com
The Fire Within: A Sacred Solstice Evening of Rejuvenating Yoga and Crystal Bowl Sound Alchemy, with Ashleigh Beyer and Jvala Moonfire, Saturday, December 19, 4:30-6pm, at Aurafitness. $20, space is limited. [email protected]
Las Posadas, at San Francisco de Asis Church, in Rancho de Taos. A Mexican festival with Mass and Las Posadas Enactment with Luminarias, December 14-21, 5:30pm. December 24, Christmas Eve, 11:45pm, Las Posadas with Luminarias and Midnight Mass. 575-758-2754. taos.org
Christmas Eve at Taos Pueblo. December 24, Sunset. Truly one of the most unusual Christmas celebrations you’ll ever experience, the Procession at Taos Pueblo merges the deep history of Taos Pueblo culture with the more recent–400 years passed–presence of Christianity in Northern New Mexico. Enormous bonfires light the way for Mary and the procession. The Pueblo is open to everyone for this event. taospueblo.com
Christmas Day, Deer or Matachinas Dances at Taos Pueblo. December 25, 2pm. taospueblo.com
Don’t forget that shopping locally supports our community. By signing up at KNCE to register in the SHOP LOCAL! offer, you’ll receive 10% (or more) off at participating local shops. Instead of going online, give this a try. It’s gratifying, and you’re likely to find something truly lovely not available elsewhere, not to mention you’re often supporting Fair Trade. It’s a way to make your money count in the grand scheme of things. Also, check out some of our local holiday markets:
Nutcracker Market, an artist market at Taos Art Museum at Fechin House, December 4-13, 10am-4pm. taosartmuseum.org
Arroyo Seco Studios Holiday Sale, buy local directly from the artists in Arroyo Seco, Thursday, December 10, 5-8pm, at Arroyo Seco Community Center Studios.
Winter Market, Holiday cheer and handmade gifts, December 13, 12pm, at Taos Mesa Brewing. taosmesabrewing.com