The Ultimate Holiday Fun Guide in Phoenix With Kids: Events Edition
For a current list of 2020 events, please visit this blog post.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year and we have ideas to make it memorable! From soaking up the Christmas decor to showing littles their first lights and Christmas tree, or finding snow to play in — you name it, we found places to make it happen. Whether you are starting your family traditions this year, or looking to add in more fun activities, read on and share your favorites!
Holiday Themed Story Times
This first listing is for the Scottsdale Library System. Call or visit your local library to see if they have specific holiday themed storytimes this month!
Gingerbread Storytime – Ages 0 to 5, lasting approximately 30 minutes.
December 10: 10:00am – 10:30am @ Palamino Library
December 16: 10:30am – 11:00am @ Appaloosa Library
December 17: 10:00am – 10:30am @ Civic Center Library
December 18: 10:00am – 10:30am @ Mustang Library
Enchanted Chapters – 10880 N 32nd St #11, Phoenix, AZ 85028 Holiday themed story times and crafts, plus you can stay to play in the kids room. Toddler Story time every Tuesday at 10:30 and Saturday at 10:30. Complete calendar online.
Barnes & Noble – From The Polar Express, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Construction Site On Christmas Night to build your own Frozen 2 Lego Castle, there are lots of great holiday story times. Check your local Barnes & Noble for times.
Mother Nature’s Farm – Annual snow day December 14th from 9am- 6pm. Kids are $10 and adults are $5 to tag along. Wear your snow coat and mittens. They also have fresh cut Douglas Firs and Noble Firs for sale.
Arizona Science Museum Snow Week – Arizona Science Center’s 8th annual Snow Week with more than 100 tons to blanket the Heritage & Science Park. Make snow angels, build a snowman and sled at the longest running snow day event in the Valley. This event begins on December 26th, keeping the holiday season going past Christmas day.
Free Snow Days at Odysea in the Desert – December 14, 21-22, 26-29, 10am – 12pm.
Free Snow Ball Family Day at Odysea – December 21 11am- 4pm
Rawhide – Let It Snow season begins on Thanksgiving through December 2nd. Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday Santa will lead tree lighting and be available for photos. There is also a place to drop off letters to Santa to find out if you were on the naughty or nice list.
Other Snow Options
Since we don’t get much snowfall in the valley, want to drive to the real thing? Here are a few destinations to check out!
Flagstaff has designated areas to play in the snow safely. Check out this list.
SnowBowl in Flagstaff opens November 22nd
Elk Ridge Ski and Outdoor Recreation in Williams – does not have an opening day scheduled yet but check the website for more information.
Sunrise Ski in Greer
Don’t want to venture out? Make snow at home using these recipes:
Baking soda and shaving cream snow recipe
Pour one cup of baking soda in a bowl and add in shaving cream slowly until you get the snow consistency that you like. You want to use the white fluffy shaving cream not the gel kind. This recipe has a cool touch and a powder like feel.
Baking Soda and Conditioner
Mix 2 1/2 cups of baking soda with 1/2 cup of white conditioner. This snow will also feel cool to the touch but has less of a powder feel. It is feels more like a wet snow.
City Skate, 50 W Jefferson St, Phoenix – Saturdays and Sundays, Dec. 3-18 from 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., also Friday, Dec. 9 from 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Merry Main Street – Visits with Santa on certain days. Christmas Tree on Merry Main St. N. Macdonald, Mesa, When: Dec. 2, 3, 9, 10, 17 at 5 p.m.
Tempe Marketplace – Kids 5 and older can skate in front of Dave & Busters
Westgate – All skill levels welcome, check the calendar for dates and additional information.
Schnepf Farms – Ice skating, bon fires, lights, hayrides, feeding the deer. Check their website for December hours.
Not quite up to ice skating? Try sock skating at The Children’s Museum of Phoenix!
Helping Others Less Fortunate
This holiday season instead of getting caught up in what gifts we want for ourselves or to buy our family, let’s stop and think about those who are less fortunate. Not everyone is having a merry season. There are children and adults out there that are cold, hungry, homeless or thinking Santa has forgotten them. Whether you donate canned food to a drive, drop off toys for a child in need, helping others is a big part of the season of giving. Don’t have extra money? Donate your time to an organization that can use help. It is also important to do this all year long!
Operation Elf – Deceber 6th @ McCormick Stillman Railroad Park 1:30 – 3:30. Bring an unopened or monetary donation. Created by a 6 year old who started giving small stuffed animals to chickdren and the Ronald McDonald house. He expands each year by asking the help of friends and family and all donations go directly to the Ronald McDonald house.
Salvation Army Christmas Tree Angels – For a list of locations between November 21st and December 22nd, see their website.
USPS Operation Santa – Now you can read letters from Santa’s mailroom from less fortunate families and you can fulfill their holiday wish list!
Your NICU – Are you a NICU parent? Call your hospital and see if they need anything.
Additional Local Places In Need of Donations:
Phoenix Rescue Mission
Central Arizona Shelter Services
Safe Haven For Animals – don’t forget the four legged friends!
Here are a few of the fun events going on around town that we are excited about. Please let us know about your favorite annual events so we can add it to the calendar!
11/8 – 1/4 – Ride the train with Santa!
11/22 – 1/10 Vertuccio Farms Light Celebration – Over 2 million lights on display, as well as other activities. Special offers here.
11/25 Tree Ligting at Desert Ridge – Tree lighting at 6:45 pm, caroling, Coco, crafts, giveaways and more.
11/26 Westgate Tree Lighting at Fountain Park –
11/26 Tree Lighting at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
11/26 – 1/4 Christmas at Schnep Farms – Catch a ride on the illumintion express, take a hayride to visit Rudolph and wonder through Santa’s artiv adventure
11/27 Tree Lighting at Tempe Marketplace
11/27 – 1/19 Zoolights at the Phoenix Zoo– Millions of lights, reindeers, polar slide and hundreds of light displays. This year’s Glow Wild has over 60 animals added to the mix for even more fun.
11/27 /12/22 CitySkate – Hot cocoa, ice skating, tree lighting
11/29 – 1/5 McCormick – Stillman Railroad Park – The park decks out for the holidays with more than 50,000 lights, and a train ride through a winter wonderland. Through Christmas, you can also visit Santa
11/29 – 12/22 A Christmas Story: The Play
11/29 – 1/4 Merry Main Street In Mesa – events from ice skating to selfies with Santa. Check the website for more information
11/29, 11/30 Santa + Cactus Hand Print at Westgate – As You Wish will capture your child’s hand impression in clay & create a special keepsake you’ll cherish for years to come!
11/29 – 12/21 Horse Drawn Carriage Ride – Bundle up and meet in front of AMC theatres at Westgate for an old fashioned carriage ride.
11/29 -12/31 Las Noches De Luminarias – Stroll the garden with over 8,000 luminaries. The Wild Rising animals throughout the garden will make this even more entertaining for kids. See website for tickets and all the dates.
11/29 Downtown Tempe Fantasy Of Lights – Kick off the holiday season with a parade. Visit the website for parking and additional information.
11/29 Glendale Glitters – 26th Anniversary of Glendale’s magic display of over 1.6 million lights. Opening weekend is November 29 & 30th with lights up through January 11th Visit the website for parking information
11/29 The Wigwam Front Lawn – Kick off the Holiday season with FREE family fun! There will e a kids zone, crafts, live musical performances, sweet treats available for purchase and apperances from Santa. United Goodyear Firefighter Charities are accepting donations of new & unwrapped toys, stuffed animals, books, & games.
11/30 – 12/26 A Christmas Carol at Hale Center Theatre – This classic story comes to life on stage, but book now it sells out fast!
11/30 – 12/7 Letters To Santa in Old Town Scottsdale – Visit the website to download the template and your kids can write a letter, drop it in a special mailbox and they will get a reply!
11/30 Santa Social – From 10am to 8pm there is something for everyone. From puppy adoptions by The Arizona Animal Welfare, caricature artists, free face painting, and official holiday tree lighting. Special apperances by The Grinch, Frosty The Snowman and Mrs Claus!
11/30 Desert Foothills Festival of Lights Kick Of Party
12/1 – 12/31 Schnepf Farms – Ice skating, bon fires, lights, hayrides, feeding the deer. Check their website for December hours.
12/6 Tree Lighting in Carefree
12/6 – 12/7 Party In Surprise – Free entrance with canned food or toy donations, music, tree lighting ceremony
12/6 – 12/8 Hope For The Holidays A Very USO Christmas – A great place to take your veteran Grandparents. This swingin’ show will be a reminiscent flashback to the WWII era and the performances put on by Hollywood’s top talent for our men fighting overseas.
12/7 Electric Light Parade – The parade is on December 7th this year. See website for the best place to sit on the route and additional information.
12/7 McCormick Ranch 8th Annual Holiday Magic – Over 60 tons of snow, photos with your fav superheros and princesses, face painting, petting zoo, arts and crafts. This free holiday event is a great way for Ranch residents and their neighbors to enjoy the holiday
12/7 4 – 7 Mini Social Holiday – Pre register for story with Auntie Claus and other fun kid friendly activities.
12/7 Tumbleweed Tree Lighting – Free festivities starting at 4:30 and events lasting all night with the tree lighting around 8pm.
12/7 Scottsdazzle – 5th Ave turns into Sugar Plum Ave, a fairy tale village with princesses, snow flakes, candy bounce houses and more!
12/7 – 12/9 Ella Enchanted: The Musical
12/7 Goodyear Glows – Kid activities, the arrival of Santa and the tree lighting.
12/7 Stroll In The Glow – Live nativity, horse drawn carriage and hay rides
12/8 PJs in the park – FREE screening of “The Polar Express” at 5:30 p.m. and “Elf” at 7:30 p.m.
12/8 The Teapot – Build your own gingerbread house. RSVP on their website
12/8 Here Comes Santa 5k Walk – The course goes around OdySea Desert and you will probably run into Santa himself.
12/13 – 24 Ballet Arizona’s The Nutcracker
12/13 – 23 Phoenix Ballet’s The Nutcracker
12/14 Tempe Town Lake Boat Parade
12/14 Old Town Peoria Holiday Festival – Live entertainment, tree lighting ceremony, Santa pictures, kid zone and more
12/14 Mother Nature’s Farm – Annual snow day December14th from 9 – 6. Kids are $10 and adults are $5 to tag along. Wear your snow coat and mittens. They also have fresh cut Douglas Firs and Noble Firs for sale.
12/14 Hometown Christmas Parade in Glendale
12/15 Disney Junior Holiday Party!
12/21 – 12/22 Winter Wonderland Express at Enchanted Island – Ride the snow train, sled, Christmas decorations, a human life size globe
12/22 Santa Hustle – Kids Dash, all participants will receive a Santa hat, Santa beard, race bib and finisher ribbon. Proceeds benefit Glendale Firefighters Charities.
12/22 – 12/29 Christmas In Carefree / Menorah Lighting – Menorah Lighting every evening beginning Sunday, Dec. 22 through Sunday, Dec. 29, at 5:30 p.m. in the Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion.
Don’t miss our ultimate list of where to find Santa this holiday season! Or these suggestions for the best light shows.