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Celebrate! 2013 Christmas Holidays in Arizona - Part 1

Holiday Events, Activities and Festivals in Greater Phoenix

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You don't have to spend a fortune to get in the holiday spirit in the Phoenix area. There are plenty of free or very reasonably priced activities, events and festivals. Keep in mind that even if the event is free or cheap, there may be parking fees, or there may be fees for certain activities at the event.

These holiday events take place from mid-November through December 6th and are presented in date order. Find listings for December 7th through the end of the season here. New listings are added almost daily until a week before Christmas, so come back for updates.

All dates, times, prices and offerings are subject to change without notice.

Photos With Santa at Arrownhead Towne Center

Santa will be available for photos (there is a charge) and visits at his winter wonderland house, located near JCPenney Court. Bring your favorite pet for a photo with Santa on Mondays from Nov. 4th - Dec 9th. Check online for Santa's hours.
In 2013: November 2 - December 24

Santa's Wonderland

Photos with Santa, games and activities, and free crafts. Bass Pro Shops, Mesa.
In 2013: November 9 - December 24

Nation’s Tallest Fresh Cut Christmas Tree at Outlets of Anthem

Outlets at Anthem
A huge tree will be lighted at Outlets at Anthem in a free event, featuring family entertainment at the shopping center. Starts at 6 p.m. Stores will stay open late. Anthem.
In 2013: November 16

Santa Photos at SanTan Village

SanTan Village
Santa will be available for photos and visits at his winter wonderland house, located near the Garden Courtyard. On December 2, 9 & 16 four-legged friends may “sit” for a photo with Santa at SanTan Village. There is a charge for photos. SanTan Village Shopping Mall, Gilbert.
In 2013: November 16 - December 24

Nutcracker's Children's Tea at Hackett House

nutcraker-tea-hackett.jpg
Hackett House in Tempe will again be partnering with the Southwest Ballet Youth Company to present an unforgettable Nutcracker's Tea with costumed dancers interacting with the children. Delicious sweets and savories will be prepared by the Chefs of the Le Cordon Bleu School of Culinary Arts. The Story Lady will complete the experience. Costumes are encouraged.  $25 per person. Pre-order some scones to take home, $24 for a baker's dozen and $12 for a half dozen. Flavors vary per tea menu.
In 2013: November 17 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Operation Santa Claus

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Presented by ABC15, in partnership with Sanderson Ford and Sanderson Lincoln. The kick-off event will be held at the Musical Instrument Museum. Only the first 200 people to make a $50 donation to Operation Santa Claus can attend the exclusive opening event, which includes holiday hors d’oeurvres, a meet and greet with Roger Clyne, a silent auction, a performance by Mark Cordes (comedian), and a performance by a Jordin Sparks. Charities benefiting include St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance, the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center, Military Assistance Mission Arizona, and the Ronald McDonald House of Phoenix. Throughout the month of December, Phoenix residents can also donate toys and food items for Operation Santa Claus, as in years past. Donation drop off points include Sanderson Ford (6400 North 51st Avenue, Glendale, AZ 85301), Sanderson Lincoln (2121 West Bell Road, Phoenix, AZ 85023), ABC 15 (515 North 44th Street, Phoenix, AZ 85008), and local UPS stores.
In 2013: November 21 at 5 p.m.

Christmas at the Princess

Special tree lighting of the four-story high musical tree, music, refreshments, ice skating and activities on opening night. Trees and lights may be viewed every night during this event. New in 2013: snowfall! On Friday and Saturday nights, November 30 through Christmas Eve, enjoy strolling carolers and take a ride on the "Princess Express" train around the lagoon. Free admission. Charge for skating and kids' ornament craft. The resort will be a drop-off location for Toys for Tots through December 20, 2013. Friday and Saturday nights, November 29 - December 21 take a photo with Kris Kringle for $10, or the photo is complimentary after dining in any of the restaurants that evening, including Bourbon Steak, La Hacienda, The Grill or Ironwood American Kitchen. Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in North Scottsdale.
See pictures!
In 2013: November 21 through January 5, 2014

Ugly Sweater Run

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Tempe Beach Park will become abuzz with runners in all sorts of ugly sweaters to participate in this fun and festive holiday 5k. The starting line will have photo stations, holiday music, and inflatables. Run through city streets and parks, with holiday themed stations at each mile. Refuel at the hot chocolate stations along the course. Awards will also be presented after the race in the following categories: best real mustache, best fake mustache, best beard, and best and worst sweaters.This is a fun, family-friendly holiday event. Register online. Limited number of packets on race day.
In 2013: November 23

The Nutcracker Festival at Ballet Arizona

Children will delight in celebrating the season and the spirit of The Nutcracker with arts and crafts, educational activities, a holiday brunch and special performances from the School of Ballet Arizona. $60 per person. 2835 East Washington Street, Phoenix.
In 2013: November 24 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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