- December 2, 2014

50 “Don’t Miss” December Events


December is going to be a busy month, jam-packed with holiday festivities!  Check out some of the exciting events featured on our Free Fun Calendar:

Blue Genie Art Bazaar – Daily through December 24, from 10 a.m.–10 p.m. daily 

The Blue Genie Art Bazaar is a fixture of the Austin holiday shopping season. The Bazaar features unique work from more than 200 local and regional artists – with a portion of proceeds going to Make-A-Wish®. Parking and admission are always FREE of charge. Marchesa Hall & Theatre, 6226 Middle Fiskville Rd. 

Mozart’s Coffee Roasters – Daily through January 4 (excluding Christmas Eve and Christmas Day), from 6 p.m. to midnight. 

Mozart’s hosts a FREE 15-minute light show at the top of each hour, starting at 6 p.m. Mozart’s Coffee Roasters, 3825 Lake Austin Blvd.

The EmilyAnn Theatre & Gardens Trail of Lights (Wimberley) – Daily through December 31, from 6-9 p.m. (6-10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays)

Stroll a walking path with more than 100 lighted exhibits created by local businesses, churches, organizations and families. Roast a marshmallow at the yule log and listen to live entertainment on most nights. See the schedule of when Santa will be in his house. FREE! EmilyAnn Theatre & Gardens, 1101 FM 2325, Wimberley.

Lighting of The Driskill TreeTuesday, December 2 at 6 p.m. 

Enjoy choral performances and seasonal music from the Arundel Ensemble String Quartet in celebration of the annual Lighting of The Driskill Tree honoring Ben Breedlove. FREE! The Driskill, 604 Brazos St, Austin.
Mueller Tower Lighting – Tuesday, December 2, from 68 p.m. 

Join Mueller for the ninth annual Tower Lighting. Attendees will enjoy live music from the Reagan High School band drumline, crafts, delicious holiday treats and activities for the entire family. Texas State Representative Dawnna Dukes will help usher in the holiday season by turning on the NOEL lights atop the historic control tower. FREE! Mueller Tower. 

Sights and Sounds of Christmas (San Marcos) – December 3–6, from 5–11 p.m.

Enjoy live performances, pony rides, a carnival, delicious food, an ice skating rink, FREE photos with Santa, a gift shop, arts and crafts for the kids, a petting zoo and more! See the schedule here. Nightly admission: $5; pre-sale four-day wristband: $7 (available for purchase at the San Marcos Activity Center or the Parks and Rec Center office), online purchase four-day wristband: $10; kids 12 & under: FREE. San Marcos Plaza Park, 401 E. Hopkins St., San Marcos.

Caroling at Noon: The University of Texas Bassoon Ensemble – Thursday, December 4, from 12-12:30 p.m.

A pause from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, these half-hour programs of virtuosic music-making and audience-wide caroling feature different performers each week. Led by Kristin Jensen, the fifteen-member UT Bassoon Ensemble has performed to enthusiastic audiences at the Texas Music Educators Association conferences, and many middle and high schools. The group is recognized for its warm sound, rhythmic vitality, and appealing programing. FREE, but donations accepted. Complimentary parking is available in St. David’s garage at 8th and Trinity Streets. Each concert is followed by lunch ($9) at 12:30 p.m. at Cafe Divine in Sumners Hall. Regular and vegetarian entrees are available. St. David’s Episcopal Church, 301 E. 8th St.

Santa at Jo’s “I Love You So Much” Mural – Thursday, December 4, 5-7 p.m. 

Santa will be at Jo’s iconic South Congress mural. Sit on his lap and tell him what you want this year, and maybe snap a photo, too! Vendors will be set up for a First Thursday Pop Up Party and the Texas Tycoons will play from 7-10 p.m. FREEJo’s Hot Coffee Good Food, 1300 S. Congress Avenue.

Texas Memorial Museum’s Holiday Shopping Event – Thursday, December 4 – Saturday, December 6, from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. 

Get into the holiday groove with FREE admission to the museum and 20% off all purchases in The Museum Store. View full schedule of savings and events (including FREE kid-friendly seasonal activities hosted by science educators) here. Texas Memorial Museum, 2400 Trinity St.

Follow The Star (Cedar Park) – December 4-6 from 6:30-9 p.m. 

Follow The Star is a living outdoor pageant featuring ten elaborate scenes recounting the life of Jesus. Visitors are invited to stroll along a walkway or stay in their cars to drive through this spectacular musical and visual production. Admission is FREE, but please bring a donation of non-perishable food items to help those in need. Visit the Facebook page for weather updates. Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 700 W Whitestone Blvd, Cedar Park.

Films of 1939: The Wizard of Oz – Thursday, December 4 at 7 p.m. 

FREE screening, but donations are appreciated to support the Ransom Center’s exhibitions and public programs. Harry Ransom Center, 300 W 21st St, Austin.

Holiday Tree Lighting and Santa’s Workshop (Cedar Park) – Friday, December 5, from 6:30-9 p.m. 

Over 60,000 lights will illuminate the largest Live Oak Tree in Cedar Park. Santa’s Workshop will kickoff immediately following the tree lighting ceremony. Enjoy live music, free carriage rides, games and prizes, inflatables, photos with Santa, and arts & crafts projects. Bring the whole family for what promises to be a festive evening. FREE Admission. Heritage Oak Park, 875 Quest Parkway, Cedar Park.

Candle Light Trail at Hancock Recreation Center – Friday, December 5 & Saturday, December 6, from 6-9:30 p.m. 

Come walk the Candle Light Trail, meet Santa and enjoy holiday refreshments and entertainment at this fun free family event. FREE. Hancock Recreation Center, 811 E. 41st Street.

Christmas in the Community – December 5-22, various times 

The Austin Symphony is excited to announce a brand new program this holiday season that will bring FREE music to all Austinites. Christmas in the Community is a series of twelve concerts held throughout the city of Austin featuring different ensembles of the orchestra playing familiar holiday music. The program concludes December 22nd with a performance at the State Capitol. All twelve dates, times, and locations are listed on the website

Christmas Family Night (Round Rock) – Friday, December 5 at 6:30 p.m.

The event kicks off with a welcome from Round Rock Mayor Alan McGraw, followed by the illumination of the street and water tower with holiday lights, and then Santa makes his grand entrance. During Christmas Family Night, downtown historic Round Rock is decorated with small wooden houses that each host various games and activities. This FREE event includes activities for the entire family including live music, dancers, candle making, carriage rides, game booths, Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus and more. Main Street, Downtown Round Rock (FREE parking info here).

Holiday Family Days at The Blanton – Saturdays, December 6 and 13, from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the holidays and join The Blanton for an afternoon that will get your family and friends in the festive spirit. Celebrate the season by creating handmade mosaic tree ornamanets, enjoying music in the galleries, and taking a holiday-themed Storytime Tour. Program is FREE with museum admission (children 12 and under are always FREE). Blanton Museum of Art, 200 E. MLK Blvd. at Congress Ave.

Fairly Silly Holiday Tales & Gingerbread Cookie Decorating at Laura’s – Saturday, December 6 at 10:30 a.m. 

Come get in the holiday spirit at Laura’s Library with the Flying Theater Machine as they perform Fairly Silly Holiday Tales. Gingerbread cookies will be available to decorate after the show. Gluten-free and dairy-free cookies will also be available. FREE! Laura’s Library, 9411 Bee Cave Road.

Breakfast with Santa at The Domain – Saturday, December 6, from 9 a.m. – noon 

Don’t miss The Domain’s annual Breakfast with Santa in its biggest and best year yet! Enjoy a FREE breakfast of juice, fruit and muffins, entertainment from a juggling stilt walker, DJ Mixer Rogers, and Joe McDermott, plus character appearances, holiday games (with prizes!), letters to Santa, face painting, balloon twisting and more! FREE! Domain II, Amy Donovan Plaza.

Snow Days – Saturday, December 6, Sunday, December 14 and Saturday, December 20, from noon–4 p.m. 

Enjoy a family fun day with real snow at the Hill Country Galleria! Toss a snowball, build a snow man, make a snow angel, and take fun family photos! Enjoy live holiday music, holiday carolers, and more from noon-4 p.m. every day that it snows! Rain or shine. FREE! Hill Country Galleria, on the street between the Amphitheater and the Bee Cave Public Library, Hill Country Blvd., Bee Cave. 

German Christmas Market – Saturday, December 6, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. 

The German-Texan Heritage Society offers shoppers handmade, imported crafts including plenty of Christmas-themed decorations such as nutcrackers and ornaments. It is a festival atmosphere with traditional German Christmas music, tables full of handcrafted items direct from the Erzgebirge region of Germany, a visit by both our historic American Santa Claus and the traditional German Sankt Nikolas with gifts for the children, a hospitality serving of Glühwein (hot spiced wine), coffee, apple cider/juice and gingerbread cookies and plenty of German style baked goodies for purchase. All purchases are Sales Tax Free on this special day. FREE admission. German Free School, 507 E. 10th St. 

Christmas on Mercer Street (Dripping Springs) – Saturday, December 6, from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. 

The public is invited to attend a day-long festival on Mercer Street, hosted by the City of Dripping Springs and the Dripping Springs Lions Club. Admission is FREE to the public for this fun-filled day the whole family will enjoy. The charming downtown setting of Mercer Street will be transformed into a winter wonderland, complete with lights, holiday decorations, festive music, fire pits for warmth and plenty of holiday cheer. Photos with Santa, train rides, pony rides and a variety of arts, crafts and specialty food and drink booths will be in full swing. The highlight of the evening will be the annual lighting of the Christmas Tree at the Triangle, located at Hwy. 290 and RR 12. At sunset, attendees are invited to gather for the illumination of the tree, showing off its twinkling lights, and joining in festive songs. This year features a special High Steppers performance, in addition to multiple choirs from local Dripping Springs churches and schools. Hot chocolate and coffee will be available for all to enjoy. Mercer Street, Downtown Dripping Springs.

Holiday Sing-Along and Downtown Holiday Stroll – Saturday, December 6, from 6-9 p.m. 

The annual Holiday Sing-Along and Downtown Stroll is a FREE, family-friendly event that celebrates the arrival of the holiday season and the joy it brings. The evening starts at 6 p.m. when crowds gather on the south steps of the Capitol to sing the songs of the season during KUTX 98.9 “Eklektikos” host John Aielli’s Holiday Sing-Along. As the clock strikes 7 p.m., the countdown to the lighting of the Capitol Christmas tree begins, featuring a programmed light show at the top and bottom of every hour, set to holiday songs of local Austin musicians. From 7 to 9 p.m., Congress Ave. will be abuzz with holiday cheer during the Downtown Stroll. Shops, restaurants, galleries and museums will be open late and will feature special activities and offers. Additional Stroll activities include classic holiday cartoons, photos with Santa, live music, a special holiday Farmers’ Market with the Sustainable Food Center, and much more. See the schedule here. Support fellow members of the community by bringing non-perishable food or cash donations to the Capitol Christmas tree for the Capital Area Food Bank. Texas State Capitol & Congress Avenue (parking info here).

Violet Crown Arts Festival – Saturday, December 6 & Sunday, December 7, from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Expect to find unique artwork from talented sculptors, potters, fiber artists, painters, jewelers, glass artists, woodworkers and metal smiths. Shop for handmade gifts and great quality art, and support local cottage businesses. It’s always FREE admission for the whole family! Live music and food vendors will also be onsite. Brentwood Elementary School, 6700 Arroyo Seco. 

Art from the Streets Show and Sale – December 6 & 7, from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
This year’s annual exhibition will feature more than 2,000 new pieces for sale, including paintings and drawings, photography, jewelry, and pottery. All items are made by homeless Austinites and all proceeds go directly to the artists. Prices start at $35, with a $5 suggested donation at the door to help fund the program year-round. Austin Convention Center, 500 E. Cesar Chavez St.

Budafest (Buda) – Saturday, December 6 & Sunday, December 7, from 10 a.m. to Dusk (about 5:30 p.m.) 

Budafest features over 125 craft vendors, antiques, a wide selection of locally prepared food, a parade at 10 a.m. Saturday, live music both days, and appearances by Santa and Mrs. Claus. FREE! City Park, 204 San Antonio St, Buda.

Santa at Cross Plants and Produce (Kyle) – Saturdays, December 6 & December 13, from 2-8 p.m. 

Join Cross Plants and Produce for one of their Christmas Market Winter Fests! Enjoy an old fashioned Christmas with hot cocoa, carolers, ornament crafts, face painting, snacks, shopping, and photo areas. The Christmas spirit will fill the air when Santa arrives to meet children from 3 to 4 p.m. and your family finds the perfect Christmas tree for your home! Photos with Santa are FREE. 705 N. Old Highway 81, Kyle.

Christmas Stroll (Georgetown) – Friday, December 5, from 5-9 p.m. & Saturday, December 6, from 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. 

Bring the family and walk through the many wonders of Whoo-Village, enjoy live entertainment, a special kids activity area, treats in the food court and browse more than 250 arts and crafts booths. Children will love the various FREE activities and rides and visiting with Santa. There’s even a parade on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. If you can’t visit during the stroll, stop by any evening to see the Downtown Square lit up for the season. FREE. See the website for parking and street closure information. (Map of the Stroll)

Main Street Bethlehem (Burnet) – December 5-7 & 12-14, from 6-9 p.m. 

Main Street Bethlehem is a unique, interactive, outdoor production that will immerse visitors to Burnet in small town Bethlehem life, as it was at the time of Jesus’ birth. Guests will also receive complimentary hot chocolate, coffee, and cookies at the exit. FREE but donations are accepted. Bethlehem will close if it is raining. First Baptist Church, 108 S Vanderveer St, Burnet.

Lighted Christmas Parade (Lockhart) – Friday, December 5 at 7 p.m. 

The annual Lighted Christmas Parade is a fantastic display of lights that travels around the Courthouse Square. For information about the parade, download the Parade Route or call the Lockhart Chamber at 512-398-2818. Following the parade on Friday night, and all day on Saturday, the holiday celebration continues with A Dickens’ Christmas in Lockhart. The Friends of the Dr. Eugene Clark Library host this festival located on S. Main in front of the Library and Market Street on the south side of the square. This unique community event features authentic Victorian decorations, choirs, jugglers, bagpipers, carriage rides, and the culmination on Saturday evening… the lighting of the Yule Log at 7 p.m. Once lit, the Lord High Mayor announces the proclamation that Christmas has come to light. Then, the library and the historic downtown are lit with thousands of lights. For a full schedule of activities and times click here. S. Main, Lockhart.

Tree Lighting and Christmas Parade (Leander) – Saturday, December 6 at 5 p.m. 

Pictures with Santa, Holiday Hayrides, Yule Fire, Choral Performances, Christmas Parade, and Tree Lighting. FREE.  City Hall, 200 West Willis St, Leander.

River of Lights (Bastrop) – December 6-31, from 6-9 p.m. 

The River of Lights features 120 lighted displays and music. The trail continues all the way down the Lower Colorado River to Ferry Park, about a half mile. Head over here for details on the lighting on the trail on December 6, with activities starting at 3 p.m. FREE. Fisherman’s Park, 1200 Willow St, Bastrop.

Zilker Trail of Lights – Sunday, December 7– Sunday, December 21, from 7-10 p.m.

Visit the Trail of Lights! It’s the 50th year and all of the stops have been pulled. Kids will enjoy an interactive kids’ area, photo opportunities, visit with Santa, delicious food and more. Zilker Tree on display nightly. With the purchase of a ZiP Pass, trail-goers can enter the trail at 6:15 p.m. Be sure to check the Insider’s Guide for answers to FAQs. Admission is FREE Monday–Thursday and every day for kids under 12; $3 Friday, Saturday & Sunday for ages 12 and older. Zilker Park (shuttle and parking info here).  

African Children’s Choir with Sara Hickman – Sunday, December 7 at 6:30 p.m. 

The African Children’s Choir returns to Saint John’s for a concert celebrating the release of the group’s new CD collaboration with Austin musician Sara Hickman. The CD, “Love is a Journey”, will be released in December. The African Children’s Choir is composed of children ages 7 to 10. Many have lost one or both parents through the devastation of war, famine and disease. They represent all the children of the continent and demonstrate the potential of African children to become strong leaders for a better future in their land. Over the past 20 years, the children have appeared in thousands of concerts around the world. FREE, but donations will be accepted. St. John’s United Methodist Church, 2140 Allandale Rd. 

Visit With Santa/Visita con Santa Claus – Tuesday, December 9, from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Bring your camera to the Southeast Branch of the Austin Public Library for a photo-op with Santa, and enjoy candy canes and holiday crafts. FREESoutheast Branch, 5803 Nuckols Crossing Rd.

Holiday Party/Fiesta de Navidad – Thursday, December 11 at 3:30 p.m.

Come celebrate at the Little Walnut Creek Branch of the Austin Public Library at 3:30 p.m. with holiday stories, songs and crafts. Say hello and take a picture with Santa Claus. FREELittle Walnut Creek Branch, 835 Rundberg Ln.

Holiday Party/Fiesta de Navidad – Thursday, December 11, from 6-7:30 p.m.

Head to the Cepeda Branch of the Austin Public Library for crafts, music, stories and snacks! Bring your cell phone to take a selfie with Santa. We will feature books and stories by special guest author Tim Tingle. FREECepeda Branch, 651 N. Pleasant Valley Rd.

Trail of Lights (Buda) December 12-13 & 18-21, from 6-10 p.m. 

Get in the holiday mood by strolling through the park and enjoying the lights! FREE shuttle parking is available at Cabela’s. No parking is permitted in the park. Walk in visitors are welcome and may bring leashed pets. The trail is approximately 1/2 mile long. No pets are allowed on shuttle buses. Hot beverages and concessions will be available for purchase. FREE.  For more information, please call the Parks Department at 512-295-7170. Historic Stagecoach Park, 880 Main Street, Buda.

Family Gingerbread Workshop Saturday, December 13, from 10 a.m. – noon

Bring the family for a FREE Family Gingerbread Workshop! Decorate gingerbread men cookies, make holiday crafts, and enjoy light refreshments with your family and friends. South Austin Recreation Center, 1100 Cumberland Rd.

Holiday Party/Fiesta de Navidad – Saturday, December 13, from 1-3 p.m.

Special appearance by Santa at the Pleasant Hill Branch of the Austin Public Library from 1-3 p.m. Music, snacks and children’s activities. Bring your cell phone for a selfie with Santa! FREEPleasant Hill Branch, 211 E. William Cannon Dr.
Cherrywood Art Fair – Saturday, December 13 & Sunday, December 14, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. 

Shop for one-of-a-kind gifts ranging from jewelry to ceramics and more. There’s even live music, an art corner for the kids and more! FREE! Maplewood Elementary School, 38 1/2 St. & Maplewood. 

Christmas Parade and Pfestival of Lights (Pflugerville) – Saturday, December 13, from 5:30-8 p.m. 

Pflugerville Parks & Recreation Department joins forces with the Knights of Columbus this year and adds activities to the annual Christmas Parade. Blending the two events makes a larger, more fun holiday celebration for the community. The city will bring a stage with live performances from local elementary schools and dancers on the stage at 200 W. Main Street. There will be FREE arts and crafts activities for children, a bonfire, the traditional tree lighting, and photos with Santa Claus at the end of the parade. Donations for the Blue Santa program welcome. For information, call 512-990-6113. FREE. The parade travels south on Railroad Avenue to Main Street. (Parade route map.)

Chanukah in the Hood – Sunday, December 14, from 12-3:30 p.m.

Celebrate Chanukah at Central Market North with a dreidel spinning contest, arts and crafts, face painting and more. The Yiddish Cowboys will play festive music from noon until 2 p.m., and performances by the Temple Beth Shalom Kids’ Choir, Dell Tones, Austin Jewish Academy and the JCC DanStarz will take place from 2:00 until 3:30 p.m. Latkes with all the fixings and sufganiot (jelly donuts), a traditional Chanukah treat in Israel, will be available for purchase. Admission is FREECentral Market North, 4001 North Lamar.

Luminations – Saturday, December 13 & Sunday, December 14, from 6–9 p.m. 

Thousands of luminaries and twinkling lights turn the center into a holiday wonderland during Luminations, an Austin holiday tradition. Admission is FREE with two canned food items for the Capital Area Food Bank. (Find their most requested items here.) Activities include live music, children’s activities, a visit with Frosty the Snowman and more! Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. 

Light Up the Season – Friday, December 19, from 10:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.

The North Village librarians will be presenting a special seasonal story time, fun wintertime crafts, live music throughout the day, snacks and beverages to fill and warm your tummy, and a sing-along screening of Frozen for the young and young at heart alike. Please feel free to attend in festive attire or costume. There may even be sightings of the Jolly Old Elf Himself, Santa Claus! FREE. Austin Public Library – North Village Branch, 2505 Steck Ave.

Storytime with Santa – Friday, December 19, from 10:30 a.m. – noon.

Head to Northwest Recreation Center for Story Time with Santa! Wear your favorite pajamas and enjoy a snack of milk and cookies while listening to a winter classic. Don’t forget your camera to take pictures with Santa. This event is designed for walking toddlers to children 5 years of age. Cost: $2.50 per child. Northwest Recreation Center, 2913 Northland Dr.

Holiday Celebration – Saturday, December 20, from 2:30-4:30 p.m.

This event, which takes place at the Ruiz Branch of the Austin Public Library, will feature a visit from Santa Claus and a Ballet Folklorico dance performance. Light refreshments and a holiday themed craft will also be offered. FREERuiz Branch, 1600 Grove Blvd.

Dreidel Tournament – Sunday, December 21 at 1 p.m.
Come participate in the second annual dreidel tournament! Players of all ages are welcome to participate. There will also be a craft station available where you can make your own repurposed dreidel out of an egg carton. Recycled Reads Bookstore, 5335 Burnet Rd.

Tuba Christmas – Monday, December 22 at noon 

2014 is the 41st anniversary for TUBACHRISTMAS concerts, which are presented throughout the world. Watch a special tuba concert on the south steps of the Texas State Capitol Building. FREE! Texas State Capitol, 1100 Congress Avenue. 

Kwanzaa Family Program – Saturday, December 27 at 2 p.m. 

African native and educator Elizabeth Kahura will bring Kwanzaa to life with storytelling, music and art for all ages. FREE! Carver Branch, 1161 Angelina St.

Austin’s New Year – Wednesday, December 31, from 5-10 p.m.

Austin’s New Year (ANY) is a FREE event where Austin families can come together downtown to welcome in the New Year! ANY is an alcohol-free celebration showcasing Austin’s diverse and talented creative community through art, films, and live music. Kids and adults alike won’t want to miss the exciting fireworks finale! Butler Park, 1000 Barton Springs Road.

You may also be interested in: