It must be December in San Antonio when you see Christmas carolers aboard barges on the San Antonio River or festivals that pay tribute to all things tamale. Alamo City has no shortage of holiday festivities in December. Here’s a sampling of the best:
Ford Fiesta de las Luminarias
Stroll along the River Walk from December 2-18 guided by more than 6,000 luminarias lining the banks on Friday through Sunday nights. While on the River Walk any evening from through December 18, enjoy caroling groups floating down the river. Groups range from schools and churches to civic organizations and businesses.
Schertz Festival of Angels
The Randolph Air Force Base-area city hosts its popular holiday event on December 2 near City Hall on Schertz Parkway. It includes an illuminated night parade, music, refreshments, and snow.
Hecho a Mano
Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center hosts its annual holiday-inspired boutique where local, regional, and national artists combine their talents with traditional and contemporary works of art. The event happens December 2-4.
Tamales! Holiday Festival at Pearl
The seventh annual Tamales! Holiday Festival at the Pearl takes place on December 3. More than 40 restaurants, caterers, and vendors offer tamales, traditional and otherwise, along with other treats. Pro tip: Come hungry, but early, and prepare for the long lines. After you've enjoyed tamales at the Pearl, wander up and down the Museum Reach for more free holiday activities from 4-9 pm, including jazz music from passing river barges and Santa's Wonderland. There will be festivities around the Brooklyn Avenue lock and dam area. Additionally, the San Antonio Museum of Art will offer free admission during this time.
Winterfest takes place 10 am to 3 pm on December 3 at Raymond Russell Park. The free event includes snow, Santa, horse carriage rides, pony rides, a carnival, and more. Bring a new, unwrapped toy to benefit the Elf Louise Christmas project.
Christmas in Gruene
The historic New Braunfels-area district has plenty of holiday festivities happening. The annual town lighting happens at 6 pm on December 3 when Cowboy Kringle arrives on horseback to light up the town and hand out candy canes to children. There will be a brass band performance at 5 pm. On December 10, Gruene will be the setting for the annual Jingle Bell Run/Walk.
La Gran Tamalada
The Guadalupe Center presents this annual, free event from 11 am to 1 pm on December 10. It blends storytelling, explaining the history of tamale-making and promoting cultural pride. People of all ages get hands-on, with the hope of carrying on the traditions and historical techniques to the next generation.
Windcrest Light Up
The suburb hosts its popular annual event beginning at 6 pm on December 10. That’s when residents and visitors arrive at City Hall for music, refreshments, and the arrival of Santa. Then, visitors can grab a map of homes that are participating in this year’s Light Up contest, where the theme is “Safari Through Windcrest.” Drive (slowly) through Windcrest to see all the illuminated, decorated homes and lawns.
Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center hosts this annual event from 6-8 pm on December 21. The free, family-friendly holiday activity includes refreshments.
Magik Theatre presents 'Twas the Night Before Christmas
The Magik Theatre is hosting performances based on the classic holiday tale through December 30. This time, there’s a slight twist as Emily and her friend Amos the mouse try to save Christmas from a disgruntled former elf.