It was 1965 when the nation first watched Charlie Brown struggle to find a deeper meaning to the holiday season — depressed and lamenting the commercialism around him. At one point, his ever-present buddy, Linus, uttered five words that I’ve never forgotten at this time of year: “Christmas Eve is upon us.” I suppose for me, a real kid watching a cartoon kid use the grownup word ‘upon’ so pragmatically seemed odd or out of character at an otherwise utopian time of year.

And so, as we turn another page and welcome the 2021 holiday season, Christmas Eve is not yet upon us, but Yuletide in Taos certainly is. And the adults who have been planning and adapting schedules to the ever-changing COVID-19 infection rates and best practice protocols are as excited as the kids. Perhaps everyone needs a bit of utopia this year.

On Dec. 2, Holiday Magic, the drive-through experience on Civic Plaza Drive with video walls and holiday music will open and run through Dec. 5. The evening extravaganza will have a designated lane for vehicles with the start on the southbound side of Paseo del Pueblo Norte. The one-way traffic will be routed through to the exit at the corner of Camino de la Placita. With the plaza tree lighting and farolitos scheduled to come alive on Dec. 3, the season will indeed have arrived. 

Santa will have already made his first appearance on the fire truck at Lighting Ledoux on Dec. 4, but he plans to return to the North Pole to pick up Mrs. Claus. The couple will be on site for a special Holiday Magic ‘Grab and Go’ event for kids of all ages from 4 to 7 p.m. Mr. and Mrs. Claus will hand out holiday bags filled with goodies to the first 2,500 children who arrive. All participants must remain in their vehicles and Santa and Mrs. Claus will have town staff and volunteers assisting them.

With the farolitos lit for 30 nights at the Taos Plaza, feeling the holiday vibe can be easy — especially with snow on the ground. The plaza and surrounding adobe buildings throughout the historic district seem to, at times, beckon another era when life was slower and holiday shopping meant looking at the magical displays in storefront windows. We come close to that in Taos, even now with our fast-twitch decisions and abbreviated attention spans. The more than 240 shops and stores in and around the historic district cannot guarantee snow but they can guarantee the holiday spirit will be alive and well. Everyone is encouraged — especially now as we continue to navigate pandemic conditions — to support our local businesses. The Chamber of Commerce is again inviting everyone to put their money where their heart is and shop local — whether it be in person or online. 

Additionally, the annual Yuletide CAV Taos Holiday Market Arts and Crafts Fair features the area’s finest crafts from local artists and Taos Folk, the popular pop-up store, will be open at the Stables Art Gallery through Dec. 24. 

Due to the pandemic, Yuletide in Taos may look different than it has in years past. However, with appropriate social distancing and adherence to safety protocols, including ‘Masks Up’ in stores, it should be a, ‘Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.’

For more information on Yuletide in Taos activities, visit taos.org.

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