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New Mexico

Santa Fe Holiday Traditions: Beyond the Ordinary

Program No. 6858RJ
Experience traditional foods, award-winning music, Native American ceremonies and festivals as you celebrate an extraordinary holiday season — New Mexico-style!

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Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
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Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
Dec 23 - Dec 29, 2023
Starting at
DATES & starting prices
Dec 23 - Dec 29, 2023
Starting at

At a Glance

Santa Fe is a magical place to celebrate the holiday season. Christmastime offers an opportunity for the varied cultures of northern New Mexico to celebrate with their own unique and time-honored traditions, from colorful Pueblo Indian dances and feast days to Hispanic customs such as the display of farolitos and burning of luminarias. Join us in the Land of Enchantment for the holiday and revel in the mosaic of exciting traditions that make this time of year so uniquely special in Santa Fe.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to three miles daily on varied terrain. Standing up to two hours outside in cold, possibly snowy weather; some stairs. Elevations of 7,000 feet.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Enjoy the Christmas holiday Santa Fe-style.
  • Experience a range of celebrations and festivities typical for this time of year, drawn from the cultural traditions of the Spanish, North Africans, Mexicans and Native Americans.
  • Explore the delicious variety of the Southwest’s famous cuisine in a cooking class led by acclaimed chefs and customized to reflect the current season.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Jerry Rightman
Who would have ever thought that a retired veterinarian would become a dedicated art lecturer? Jerry Rightman is just that person and is an active member in the art community of Santa Fe, applying his talents as a docent at the New Mexico Museum of Art and the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum. He has received rave reviews for the many years that he has been teaching for Road Scholar.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Jerry Rightman
Jerry Rightman View biography
Who would have ever thought that a retired veterinarian would become a dedicated art lecturer? Jerry Rightman is just that person and is an active member in the art community of Santa Fe, applying his talents as a docent at the New Mexico Museum of Art and the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum. He has received rave reviews for the many years that he has been teaching for Road Scholar.
Profile Image of Elena Junes
Elena Junes View biography
Elena Ortiz-Junes is a native New Mexican and member of the Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo. She has worked for many years as a study leader and group leader for numerous organizations and universities, providing a unique perspective on the region and its rich cultural tapestry. She is a writer and founding board member of Red Media, an indigenous owned and operated media project that highlights Native writers. Elena is also a board member of the University of New Mexico’s Alfonso Ortiz Center for Intercultural Studies.
Profile Image of Louie Hena
Louie Hena View biography
Louie Hena has been an activist in the field of revitalizing traditional Pueblo agriculture and protecting indigenous food and seed sovereignty. A member of the Tesuque and Zuni Pueblos in New Mexico, he is a renowned permaculture design consultant, Rio Grande and Rio Chama river guide, and an educator on traditional land management systems. He helped organize the Traditional Native American Farmer Association, the New Mexico Acequia Association and the Indigenous Food and Seed Sovereignty Alliance.
Profile Image of Sherry Moon
Sherry Moon View biography
Sherry Moon is a certified interpreter for the profession of heritage interpretation and an experienced group leader. She has a bachelor's degree in Mass Communications and has taught communication and art. For nearly 20 years, she has been a group leader specializing in the Southwest and Alaska/Yukon. As president of the Rocky Mountain Guides Association, she is regarded as a local expert. Her interests include the arts, history, heritage, geology, reading, outdoor activities, and socializing with friends.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
New Mexico, A History
by Joseph P. Sanchez
This cooperative effort between three native New Mexicans is the first complete history of New Mexico. It charts the state’s development from 16th-century Spanish colony to frontier province, from its 1912 American statehood to a hub of (often classified) scientific research. A vital source for anyone seeking to understand the complex history of the West.
The Southwest Table, Traditional Cuisine from Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona
by Dave DeWitt
Expert on chili peppers and spicy foods, Dave DeWitt (aka "the Pope of Peppers") blends Southwestern culinary history with 130 authentic recipes and cooking techniques in this tantalizing collection of fiery, flavorful dishes from Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.
Fodor's In Focus Santa Fe
by Fodor's
A practical guide in the popular series, saturated with valuable information on accommodation, shopping, sights, and dining.
The Pueblo Revolt, The Secret Rebellion that Drove the Spaniards Out of the Southwest
by David Roberts
A lively, passionate account of the violent 1680 Pueblo uprising against Spanish settlers.
Santa Fe Map
by MapEasy
A plastic-coated, fold-up map of Santa Fe, including Taos and Albuquerque. Size: 18x27 inches.
Ancient Peoples of the American Southwest
by Stephen Plog, Amy Elizabeth Grey (Illustrator)
This illustrated introduction provides an in-depth look at the ancient cultures that first inhabited the pueblos and cliff dwellings of the American Southwest. Organized chronologically, it features hundreds of maps, mostly black-and-white photographs and site diagrams.
Runner in the Sun
by D'Arcy McNickle
Nickles combined his anthropology background with all the suspense of a mystery to craft this novel about pre-Hispanic Indian life in the American Southwest.
The Art of New Mexico: How the West Is One
by Traugott, Joseph
An illustrated compendium of New Mexico art from the 1880s to the present that considers historical and cultural significance with a wealth of information about the artists and their pieces. Written for a broad audience.
Edge of Taos Desert, An Escape to Reality
by Mabel Dodge Luhan
First published in 1937, this story reveals the spiritual awakening the New York socialite experienced through Taos, the Pueblo Indians and Indian Tony Luhan, whom she later married.
Feast of Santa Fe, Cooking of the American Southwest
by Huntley Dent
An easy-to-follow introduction to the cuisine of the Southwest written by a cooking school instructor.
Santa Fe, History of an Ancient City
by David Grant Noble (Editor)
A revised edition of of this classic history of Santa Fe to the mid-nineteenth century, featuring essays by ten scholars and hundreds of archival photographs, drawings and maps.
Foods of the Southwest Indian Nations
by Lois Ellen Frank
Photographer Lois Ellen Frank spent four years documenting the culinary techniques used on reservations throughout the Southwest, compiling her discoveries into this handsome book, rich in photos and recipes.
Christmas in Old Santa Fe
by Pedro Ribera Ortega
Originally published in 1961, this charming book by the teacher and cultural historian from an old Santa Fe family includes many sketches.
Pueblo Nations: Eight Centuries of Pueblo Indian History
by Joe Sando
An expansive history of the Indian Pueblos of New Mexico from a Native American perspective. The book explores the origins of the tribe to its current struggles to maintain sovereignty, land and water rights.
American Indian Myths and Legends
by Richard Erdoes, Alfonso Ortiz
An illustrated collection of 180 traditoonal stories from all over North America.
Indian Arts of the Southwest
by Susanne Page
Featuring color photographs of the basketry, pottery, weaving, jewelry, and carvings of 200 noted artists, this book is both a collector's guide and cultural history of the Navajo, Hopi, Zuni, Pueblo peoples and other native peoples.
Dark Beauty, Photographs of New Mexico
by Jack Parsons
Southwest photographer Parsons presents the rugged landscapes and the people of New Mexico, exploring religious iconography, far-flung ranches, small towns and wide open spaces in this full-color coffee table book.

Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.