Wondering what to do with your family this holiday season? Look no further. This list (45 events and counting!) is bound to have at least a couple of events that will suit your family’s interests. Just take a look at the ten different categories we’ve included. The last category has Hill Country events if you’re looking for more of a small town feel. Check the list early since the first event takes place November 14 & 15.
Dates to remember: Thanksgiving is Thursday, November 26; Hanukkah is December 6–14; Christmas is Friday, December 25; and Kwanzaa is December 26–January 1.
Hanukkah in San Antonio
December 1, 3:00–6:00 P.M. Hands on Chanukah at Barshop Jewish Community Center—Chanukah-themed books will be read to the kiddos and plenty of opportunities to make memories. For more information, contact Rachel Rustin at (210) 302-6969. Free and open to the public.
December 3, 4:30 P.M. Hanukkah Storytime at Barnes & Noble La Cantera—Hanukkah-themed stories and activities with guest Rabbi Jeffrey Abraham. Everyone is welcome. Free.
December 6, 12:00–2:00 P.M. Celebrate Hanukkah! at Whole Foods Market (Vineyard location)—Familes of all backgrounds welcome. Food, cookie decorating, face painting, Dreidel origami, and spin contest. Take a picture with Danny the Dreidel. Free.
December 13, 1:00–4:15 P.M. Chanukah on the River at the San Antonio River Walk and La Villita Historic Arts Village—Event includes a Menorah river cruise for $5 per person, Chanukah Wonderland carnival and crafts with $6 admission, free live concert by Moshav Band, and Menorah lighting.
Holiday Events in Downtown San Antonio
November 27, 7:00 P.M. 34th Annual Holiday River Parade & Lighting Ceremony at Arneson River Theatre and San Antonio River Walk—One-hour parade featuring 28 illuminated floats decorated for the 2015 theme, “Holiday Memories.” Tickets for reserved seating $15.
November 27, 6:00–10:30 P.M. Holiday Lighting at Travis Park—At approximately 8:15 P.M., 250,000 lights will be turned on by Mayor Ivy Taylor. Musical and dance performance plus free hot chocolate, cider, and s’mores. Free.
December 5, 2:00–3:00 P.M. Storytime: The Nutcracker at Central Library–Join the San Antonio Current, ARTS San Antonio, and the San Antonio Metropolitan Ballet. Meet & greet with the ballerinas after reading. Cookies, beverages, and coloring sheets will be provided. Ballerina and Nutcracker apparel is encouraged and to win you a best dressed prize. Free.
December 5, 4:00–9:00 P.M. Silver Bells in the City at Main Plaza—Tree lighting and ceremony with music and entertainment. San Fernando Cathedral and Bexar County Courthouse façades will also be lit. Plus, enjoy the video art projection of San Antonio | The Saga. Free.
December 13, 12:00–4:00 P.M. Winter Celebrations Around the World at Institute of Texas Cultures—Explore displays from 15 countries, as exchange students from around the world share their holiday season traditions. Hands-on activities include paper lanterns, piñatas, and holiday cards. Free.
December 13, 8:00 P.M. Elf at the Tobin Center—H-E-B Cinema on the Plaza. Bring lawn chairs or blankets, but no outside food or drinks are allowed. Concessions available including full bar service. Free.
Nativity Scenes & Los Pastores
December 5 & 6, 5:00–9:00 P.M. Drive-Thru Nativity at Concordia Lutheran Church—Ten decorated stations with over 60 actors, angelic choirs, and live animals bring the story to life. You’ll receive a bag of cookies along with a CD that will take you through the Nativity (lasts about 20 minutes). Free.
December 19, 7:00 P.M. Los Pastores at Mission San José—Folk play depicts the shepherds’ journey to worship the Christ Child and the obstacles the devil puts before them, presented at Mission San José since 1947. Free.
November 14 & 15, 12:00–6:00 P.M. Tamalada! at Historic Market Square—Learn about the history of the tamal and how to make a tamal from scratch! Also enjoy local tamales vendors, entertainment, and arts & crafts. Free.
November 17 & 24, December 8 & 15, 5:30–6:30 P.M. Make Your Own Mole Workshop at Casa Navarro State Historic Site–Mole, a traditional Mexican dish that blends the foodways and traditions of indigenous Mexico and Spain, has become a popular sauce to serve turkey with during the Christmas and Thanksgiving holidays. Free.
December 5, 12:00–6:00 P.M. Tamales! Holiday Festival at Pearl—Guests will enjoy live music and performances, activities for children, as well as delicacies from 40+ tamale makers. Food and beverage available for purchase. Free admission.
December 12, 11:00 A.M.–1:00 P.M. La Gran Tamalada at Guadalupe Theatre—Community tamaleras and historians Dr. Carmen Tafolla, Olga Kaufman, and Dr. Ellen Riojas-Clark lead a fun tamal-making workshop for children and adults, joined by Chef Cariño Cortez. Free.
November 19 & 20, 7:00 P.M. The Children’s Nutcracker at The Scottish Rite Theatre—Presented by The Children’s Ballet of San Antonio. Performance includes award-winning U.S. and international dancers, plus youth dancers from San Antonio. Tickets $15.
December 4–13, 2:00 P.M. & 7:30 P.M. The Nutcracker at the Tobin Center—Presented by Ballet San Antonio and the San Antonio Symphony. The largest and only production that features an all San Antonio-based cast including musicians and close to 200 local children. Tickets $29–119.
December 18, 7:30 P.M.; December 19, 2:00 P.M & 7:30 P.M.; and December 20, 2:00 P.M. Mejia Ballet International’s The Nutcracker at Lila Cockrell Theatre—Presented by ARTS San Antonio with San Antonio Metropolitan Ballet. Choreographed and directed by the founder of Mejia Ballet International, Paul Mejia, a former principal dancer under George Balanchine at New York City Ballet. Tickets $29–110.
December 19, 2:00 & 6:00 P.M. and December 20, 1:00 P.M. The Nutcracker Ballet at McAllister Auditorium—Presented by Alamo City Dance Company. Approximately 100 dancers in 160 roles danced by San Antonians with the exception of the guest artists Jennifer Goodman and Luke Joiner of the Joffrey Ballet. Tickets $25–30.
December 27, 1:00 & 5:00 P.M. and December 28, 7:00 P.M. Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker at the Majestic Theatre—This company of almost 40 dancers is the only internationally touring ballet group to perform to critical acclaim in over 75 North American cities annually. Tickets $32–126.
Holiday Theatrical Performances
November 20–December 30: A Charlie Brown Christmas at Magik Theatre—The story became an instant classic when it premiered on television in 1965 and has only grown in popularity since then. Tickets $12–15.
November 21–December 26: The Magic of Christmas at Magik Theatre—A magic and illusion spectacular for the whole family, starring Scott Pepper and Jay García. Tickets $10–15.
November 27–December 13: Las Nuevas Tamaleras at Guadalupe Theatre—A hilarious one-act play that captures three Latinas in an uproariously comical attempt at making tamales for the first time. Tickets $12–25.
December 3–21: A Christmas Carol at The Playhouse—A new retelling of Dickens’ classic story of redemption by local artists Tony Ciarvino and Tim Hedgepeth. Tickets $12–30.
December 21–24: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical at the Tobin Center—Come see all of your favorite characters including Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius, and, of course, Rudolph. Tickets $18.50–47.50.
Holiday Musical Performances
November 28, 7:00 P.M. Handel’s Messiah, A Community Sing-Along at the Majestic Theatre—Join with professional soloists, orchestra, and hundreds of singers in performing the Christmas portion of Handel’s Messiah. Tickets $15.
December 6, 7:30 P.M. Frost and Fire at the Tobin Center Presented by Children’s Chorus of San Antonio—See the combined choirs perform the annual CCSA Winter concert which includes works by Hassler, Elgar, Gwyneth Walker, Sarah Quartel, and Vince Guaraldi. Tickets $8–28.
December 13, 3:00 P.M. Comfort & Joy: Music of Christmas at the Chapel of the Incarnate Word—Benissimo Music Productions’ annual concert featuring vocal chamber ensemble Copperleaf, American Roots duo, Blue Penny, and special guest artists. Tickets $25 for adults, $15 for students.
December 18 & 19, 8:00 P.M. and December 20, 2:00 P.M. Holiday Pops at the Tobin Center—The San Antonio Symphony Mastersingers and San Antonio Symphony present traditional and popular music, complete with a sing-along, special guests. Tickets $25–85.
December 19, 12:00–12:45 P.M. Tubameister Christmas at Arneson River Theatre—All tuba, euphonium, and baritone horn players are invited to participate. Free.
November 27–December 31: Holidays in Bloom at the San Antonio Botanical Garden—Enjoy the season in nature with picturesque backgrounds for family photographs. Free with garden admission.
December 5–31: Winter Wonderland at The DoSeum—Periodic public programs beginning on December 5, including a Reverse Santa’s Engineering Workshop and a Multicultural Holiday Celebration. Free with museum admission.
November 12 & 19 and December 3, 10, & 17, 3:00–7:00 P.M. Holiday Gift Market at Pearl—Select Pearl Farmer Market vendors will set up pop-up tents to sell holiday gifts including artisan chocolate, soaps, and more. Free.
November 21, 10:00 A.M.–5:00 P.M. Articopia at Southwest School of Art—Enjoy shopping for creative, unusual work by local and regional artists. Free.
November 27, 10:00 A.M. Santa’s Annual Holiday Parade at North Star Mall–Featuring Shamu Claus, Brackenridge High School Marching Band, San Antonio Humane Society Puppies on Parade, plus Mrs. Claus and Santa Claus! Following the parade children can then visit with Santa and receive a special gift from SeaWorld. Free.
November 27 & 28, 10:00 A.M.–6:00 P.M. International Peace Market/Mercado de Paz at Esperanza Peace & Justice Center—Over 100 international and local artists/artisans with a variety of handmade items. Live music and affordable food options from chicken con mole to vegan chili. Free.
December 5, 10:00 A.M.–5:00 P.M. Annual Clay Arts Festival at San Antonio Museum of Art—Over 20 vendors showcasing everything from bowls and cups to ornaments, buttons, and decorative sculptures. Free.
December 5 & 6, 12:00–8:00 P.M. Hecho a Mano at Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center—Fine art and handmade artisan items that encompass both traditional and contemporary styles by local artists and students. Tickets $2 (or two cans of food).
Hill Country & Beyond
November 26–December 27: Christmas Light Fest at Don Strange Ranch (Boerne)—Featuring two million lights along two scenic miles. $27 per vehicle or ‘Tis the Season Passes for $65.
November 27 & 28, 1:00–10:00 P.M. Dickens on Main at the Hill Country Mile (Boerne)—Two days full of family activities, holiday entertainment, and shopping as you stroll through a decorated historic downtown. Free.
November 28, 10:00 A.M.–9:00 P.M. Christmas in Comfort at High & Seventh Streets (Comfort)—More than 125 art and craft vendors and a full day of holiday activities. Visit Santa and stay for the evening parade. Free.
December 4–6 & 11–13, 6:00–9:00 P.M. Main Street Bethlehem at First Baptist Church (Burnet)—The ancient city of Christ’s birth comes alive again. Free cookies and hot chocolate/coffee are served at the exit. Admission is free; donations are accepted.
December 5, 10:00 A.M.–6:00 P.M. Winterfest at Cornyval Grounds (Helotes)—Snow, Santa, horse carriage rides, food, entertainment, and much more. Free admission and parking.
December 5, 10:00 A.M.–6:30 P.M. 14th Annual Gruene Pony Express Ride & More at Gruene Historic District (Gruene)—Relay riders carry a “Christmas Greetings” message from the Governor of Texas. Plus, photos with Cowboy Kringle, Old Gruene Market Days, and a “Bah Humbug” performance, ending with town lighting at 5:00 P.M. Free.
December 5, 6:00 P.M. Weihnachts Parade at Main Street (Boerne)—Up to 100 lit entries in this year’s theme of “Christmas Stories.” Free.
December 12, 1:00–9:30 P.M. Christmas at THE ROCK at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area (Fredericksburg)—Join Santa for a hike to the summit, plus hayrides, hot chocolate, and a reading of “The Grinch on the Rock.” Adults $7; children 12 and under are free.
Phew… That’s a lot of holiday happenings!
What did we miss? Send us a comment and let us know. And don’t forget to share this list with your friends. We spend hours putting these handy lists together so you don’t have to. Just spreading the holiday cheer!