It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Christmas is quickly approaching, and with it, all the many holiday events that mark the occasion. Here I will highlight the eight best Christmas events in Boulder, Colorado. From Santa visits, craft fairs, and musical festivals, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
1. Switch On The Holidays
Events like this are becoming more and more popular and with good reason. It doesn’t quite feel like Christmas until I’ve attended this traditional event, where all of the holiday lights downtown are turned on for the first time of the season. Gather near the Civic Area at the Pearl Street Mall on November 19 to take part in the joyous countdown to the “switching on of the holidays.” Stick around to see members of Boulder Ballet dance and hear members of the Boulder Chorale sing. Rumor has it that Mr. And Mrs. Claus, along with their friend Freezie, will be there too.
2. Homes For The Holidays Tour
Organized by Historic Boulder Preservation in Action, this 1-day event has been going on for nearly 40 years. For $40, you can tour the neighborhoods of Mapleton Hill and Whittier. On December 2, take a tour of transformed carriage houses and accessory dwelling units (ADU), both historic and contemporary. You are able to tour at your own pace and admire the festive décor at each home.
3. Freezie Fest
Perhaps the name says it all. This is a celebration of winter and all things snowmen! Freezie Fest is another 1-day event on December 9 from 11 a.m.–3 p.m. at the Pearl Street Mall. Come join the fun and enjoy free train rides, visits with Santa, and all sorts of arts, crafts, and reindeer games. There is also a find Freezie (a snowman) contest. Search for him at various downtown Boulder businesses and you could win a $25 or $50 gift card.
4. Winter Fest At Chautauqua Park
This annual weekend festival is held at beautiful Chautauqua Park. There are a variety of free and paid activities, including horse-drawn carriage rides, complete with cozy blankets and hot chocolate; a tree lighting ceremony; a festive market; and visits to Santa’s cottage. You can purchase day passes for the event. Get into the holiday season, do some gift shopping, and enjoy the beautiful grounds at Chautauqua Park.
5. Lights Of December Parade
Who doesn’t love a parade? Taking place on December 2 at 6 p.m., the Lights of December Parade will be full of floats decked out in their Christmas best. Floats are made by business owners, churches, and community members. Enjoy the music of marching bands as they play holiday favorites and stay for the grand finale — a visit from jolly St. Nick. The parade starts at 15th and Walnut Streets and will head west to Broadway.
6. University Of Colorado Holiday Festival
Next to the switching of the lights on Pearl Street, the next thing that makes me know it is Christmas in Colorado is music — lots and lots of Christmas music. This annual musical event takes place at Macky Auditorium on the CU campus. From December 8–10, you will have the opportunity to enjoy student choirs, bands, and orchestras playing in the festive setting of twinkling lights and seasonal greenery within the auditorium. Get into the holiday spirit with a winter concert of holiday favorites and maybe even some new delights.
7. Holiday Faire At Unity Of Boulder
It wouldn’t be the holidays if there weren’t some craft fairs to visit and seek out unique gifts for your loved ones. The Holiday Faire at Unity of Boulder is just the event. From December 3–10, this fair will have 50 vendors selling handmade and metaphysical gifts. As you browse, you may enjoy complimentary hot cocoa, cider, and holiday cookies. There will also be Christmas carolers to put you in the holiday spirit.
8. Holiday High Tea
Fancy some fancy tea? Boulder is known for its tea (hello Celestial Seasonings headquarters), and during the holidays, teahouses go all out. There are a few teahouses you can visit to have an extra special holiday high tea. The Hotel Boulderado offers a seasonal tea service complete with a three-tier tower of fresh pastries, a savory buffet of sandwiches, and of course, tea — or even prosecco. Enjoy your high tea while listening to live jazz music or Christmas carolers. Be sure to make reservations as spots are filling up quickly.
However you like to get into the holiday season, Boulder has an option for you. Along with these specific events, another favorite, easy, and free thing I love to do at Christmas time is drive around many of Boulder’s neighborhoods in the evenings. Every year, people go all out with their Christmas lights and decorations. It is a sheer delight to see each neighborhood all lit up!