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Fun for everyone this holiday season in the Valley

It's the happiest time of the year! Here is our list of holiday events throughout Arizona to get you and your family in the holiday spirit.

PHOENIX — Clearly, now that the Thanksgiving food coma has ended, it’s time to start making plans for the December holiday season. The Valley may not see snow this time of year, but events will surely bring out the winter wonderland spirit. 

We have compiled a list of events here! 



Nov. 4 to Jan. 31 

See the glittering lights of the holidays and the animals who call the Phoenix Zoo home! 

If you're not comfortable walking through the exhibits due to COVID-19, a drive-thru option is also available! 

The Desert Botanical Gardens Las Noches de las Luminarias

Dec. 3 to Dec. 31 (dates vary depending on garden membership status). 

Live music, entertainment and thousands of luminaries will give the desert a special glow for the 44th annual luminarias festival. 

Grand Menorah Lighting

Friday, Dec. 3, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. 

A free, family-friendly event with activities put on by the Chabad Jewish Center of North Phoenix. 

Chihuly in the Desert

Dec. 3 to June 19

Chihuly in the Desert showcases Dale Chihuly’s stunning, large-scale installations nestled among the Garden’s world-class collection of desert plants.

Cityskate Ice Rink 

A newly shaped ice rink will be set up in Patriot's Park. CitySkate’s hours of operation will be from 5 p.m. until 11 p.m. from Nov. 26 through Dec. 16 and from 3 p.m. until 11 p.m. from Dec. 17 through Jan. 5. Hours may vary on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. 

Nutcracker performances

Between Dec. 10 and Dec. 24 at Symphony Hall.

Celebrate the Christmas season with a holiday classic, Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker. The Phoenix Symphony will perform the score live.

Holidays at the Heard

A Phoenix tradition, Holidays at the Heard is a must-see event for your family. Special programming is scheduled for weekends starting the Friday after Thanksgiving and running through Friday, December 31


Breakfast with Santa

Saturday, Dec. 11 at 10 a.m. 

Neiman Marcus is hosting a breakfast with Santa including photo opportunities and carolers. 

Photo ops with Santa and his elves

Santa and his elves will be at Fashion Square's Palm Court through Christmas Eve to take photos with kids and take gift requests! 

On Dec. 5, there will be a Sensory Santa event in collaboration with Autism Speaks between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. 

On Dec. 6, 13, and 20 between 4 and 8 p.m., the Santa Paws Pet Photo event will be held. Reserve spots on the website above. 

Additionally, the Salvation Army will be running the Angel Tree program through Dec. 22. 


Chandler Fire Department Toy Drive

Dec. 4. 

All donations will be contributed to the Chandler children in need this holiday season. Donations will be taken at the south-facing entry point near the food court at the Chandler Fashion Center. 

Tumbleweed tree lighting and Parade of Lights

Dec. 4

The iconic Chandler tumbleweed tree will be lit and families will get the opportunity to meet Santa. Live music performances are also scheduled. 

Annual Spirit of Christmas Show

Dec. 11-12 and Dec. 18-19

The Spirit of Christmas is an energetic variety show featuring a cast of more than 100 dancers, singers, a horse and carriage, special guest performers, and a champion hoop dancer.


Winter Wonderland Ice Rink

Participants can register online and pay in advance for a specific 60-minute session. A limited number of walk-up registrations will be accommodated per session as well.

Visits with Santa

Nov. 26-Jan. 2 

The event is free to the public at the Mesa Christmas Tree between 5 and 9 p.m. 

Mesa Menora

Through Jan. 2 

A 12-foot menorah will be illuminated through the holiday season and into the new year. 


World Illumination of Tempe

The massive animation light show will be a drive-thru event in Tempe. 

Adult events 

4th Annual 12 Bars of Christmas Crawl 

Saturday, Dec. 11 noon to 8 p.m.

Put on your best holiday sweater and buy your tickets to enjoy festive libations at nine participating bars in Scottsdale. 

If you have a December birthday, you can also send a photo of your ID to event organizers to get a free pass for you and five friends. 

Sippin’ Santas Bar Crawl 

Saturday, Dec. 11 noon to 6 p.m. 

Participants are able to choose between the ‘Nice List’ package and the ‘Naughty List’ package to bar hop in 24 participating locations in Chandler. 

Enjoy $4 drink specials for tickets at $20.


Holiday Recipe Favorites 

Looking to add a new dish for the holidays? Subscribe to the 12 News YouTube channel and watch holiday recipes from the 12 News team.