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Desert Companion

Holiday events: Happily Holidazed


Ethel M Cactus Lighting
Photo courtesy Ethel M

Ethel M holiday cactus garden

From North Las Vegas to Boulder City, happenings aplenty evoke the spirit of the season



Nov. 5-Dec. 24

Adventure to Santa

Digital technology and storytelling bring Santa to life in this interactive 12-minute adventure to the North Pole, led by Shrek and his friends, ending with photo opportunities with Ol’ St. Nick. Nov. 5-Dec. 12, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Mon.-Sat. and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sun. (closed Thanksgiving Day); Dec. 13-30, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. daily; Dec. 21-23, 8 a.m.-10 p.m. daily; Dec. 24, 8 a.m.-6 p.m., $40-$74/family. Receive a $5 discount if scheduled Nov. 5-Dec. 5. The Great Hall at Fashion Show Mall, 3200 Las Vegas Blvd. S.,

Nov. 6-8

Christmas Bazaar

Organized by the St. Viator Women’s Guild, this indoor-outdoor bazaar features fine art, fine craft, photography, clothing, jewelry, essential oils and sports items, as well as antiques and collectibles. 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Sun., free admission. St. Viator Parish, 2461 E. Flamingo Road, 702-499-4999

Nov. 6-8

The Craft Festival

A 150-booth art and craft show featuring handmade items from 200 independent crafts workers from seven western states.

Support comes from

10 a.m.-6 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun., $2-$7 (one admission charge is good for all weekend), $4 parking fee. Cashman Center,

Nov. 7

Paper Poinsettia Wreath Craft

Learn how to make paper poinsettias and assemble them into a wreath. 1 p.m., $5 deposit/reservation required and accepted at the Reference Desk until 8:30 p.m. on Nov. 5, adults and teens. Boulder City Library, 701 Adams Blvd., Boulder City,

Nov. 10–Jan. 1

22nd Annual Holiday Cactus Garden Lighting

Ethel M Chocolates’ seasonal exhibit, displayed throughout the 3-acre garden, features more than a half-million lights strung across 300-plus plant species. Cactus Lighting Opening Ceremony: Nov. 10, 5 p.m.-8 p.m., tickets are required and can be picked up beginning Nov. 1 at Ethel M Chocolates; bring a new, unwrapped toy and receive a four-pack of tickets to the event. Holiday Cactus Garden: Nov. 11-Jan. 1, 5 p.m.-10 p.m. daily, free admittance. Santa visits/photos: 5-10 p.m. Thurs.-Sun. Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Botanical Garden, 2 Cactus Garden Drive, Henderson, 702-435-2655

Nov. 13

Santa’s Arrival Parade

This annual parade starts at the West Valet near Yard House in Town Square and ends at Santa’s house in Town Square Park, where Santa lights the 45-foot Christmas tree, followed by the Snow in the Square show and photos with Santa. 7 p.m. Town Square, 702-269-5001

Nov. 13-Dec. 23

Show in the Square

Feel the spirit of the season at Town Square Park with this 10-minute show in which snowflakes fall, choreographed to classic holiday music. 7 p.m. Mon.-Sun., with additional 8 p.m. shows Fri.-Sun., free. Town Square, 702-269-5001

Glittering Lights

Glittering Lights.  Photo courtesy Las Vegas Speedway.

Nov. 13-Jan. 3

Glittering Lights

This annual drive-through light show is Nevada’s largest, with more than 1 million LEDs and 400-plus animated displays stretching across a 2.5-mile course. 5:30-9 p.m. Sun.-Thu. and 5:30-10 p.m. Fri., Sat. and holidays, $20 per vehicle. Las Vegas Motor Speedway, 




Photos with Santa at Town Square. Photo courtesy Town Square

Nov. 14-Dec. 24

Photos with Santa Claus

Kids can visit Santa at his Norman Rockwell-inspired house to take their photo with him, and enjoy milk and cookies from 1-1:30 p.m. and 5-6 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 2-3 p.m. Sun. Photo schedule: Town Square, 702-269-5001

Nov. 14

Delicious Healthy Vegetarian Holiday Dishes for Every Table 

Come to the Downtown Summerlin Farmers Market, under the Pavilion, to learn from top vegetarian chefs how to create rich, hearty and savory dishes for your holiday main attraction or to complement your traditional family recipe. Seasonal produce from the market will be hand. 11:30 a.m., free, Sahara Avenue and the 215 Beltway,

Nov. 15

Thanksgiving Craft and Gift Shopping Event

Features handcrafted knit, crocheted, sewn and wood items, as well as jewelry, candles, cosmetics, accessories, and more. 11 a.m.-7 p.m., free admission. Cannery, North Las Vegas, 702-507-5700

Nov. 18-Dec. 23

Claus & Paws Pet Photos

Bring your dogs and cats to Santa’s house to pose for a holiday photo and enjoy treats. 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Wed. Town Square, 702-269-5001

Nov. 19

Gobbler’s Gala

Join your friends for an old-fashioned holiday celebration, complete with turkey and all the trimmings. Space is limited; preregistration required. 11 a.m., $4. Neighborhood Recreation Center, 1638 N. Bruce St., North Las Vegas, 702-633-1600,

Nov. 19-Dec. 17

Holiday Nights and Lights Community Concerts

Local elementary through high school students entertain crowds with performances that include choirs and holiday musicals. Every Thu. prior to the Snow in the Square show, which begins at 7 p.m., free, Town Square, 702-269-5001

Nov. 20-Jan. 2

The Palazzo Hotel at Christmas

The Palazzo Waterfall Atrium and Gardens unveils its wintery display of snow-capped trees that soar 20 feet tall, glistening holiday lights, enormous pine cones and thousands of poinsettias. 24 hours daily, free. 702-607-7777


Magical Forest

Magical Forest.  Photo courtesy Opportunity Village.

Nov. 20-Jan. 3

Magical Forest 

Opportunity Village’s magical forest is filled with hundreds of trees adorned with more than 3 million lights, as well as a passenger train, 3-D experience, slide, midway, mini-golf and raceway. Nov. 27: Tree lighting with special guest performance. 5:30-9 p.m. Sun.-Thu. and 5:30-10 p.m. Fri. and Sat., $11.99 and $21.99 (all access) for adults, $9.99 and $18.99 (all access) for children ages 3-12, free for children 2 years and younger. Free parking is available in the CSN parking lot. Opportunity Village, 6300 W. Oakey Blvd., 702-259-3741

Nov. 20-Jan. 3

The Rink at the Boulevard Pool

A real-ice rink set high above the Strip — complete with snow showers every 30 minutes — where guests can enjoy skating, s’mores, fire pits and warm cocktails. Times and $ TBA. Children 17 and younger must be accompanied by an adult 21 or older. The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, 702-698-7000,


Downtown  Summerlin ice rink

Downtown Summerlin ice rink.  Courtesy Downtown Summerlin

Nov. 20-21, 27-28, Dec. 4-5, 11-24

Downtown Summerlin Holiday Parade

Downtown Summerlin will officially kick off the holiday season with its first annual Holiday Parade, a spectacle for the entire family. This nondenominational celebration will include eight floats, in addition to toy soldiers, snowflake princesses and princes, nutcrackers, dancers, drummers and festive music. 7 p.m. (except for Dec. 24, when it begins at 6), free, Sahara Avenue and the 215 Beltway,

Nov. 21

Pilgrims and Indians Feast

Give thanks and celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday with food, drinks, entertainment and more. 2 p.m., $2, all ages. Silver Mesa Recreation Center, 4025 Allen Lane, North Las Vegas, 702-633-2550,

Nov. 21-22

Holiday Craft and Gift Festival

Santa and his elves greet shoppers when they come to view a vintage Christmas train display and browse a variety of handcrafted items for sale. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sun., $5 for adults, free for ages 12 and younger. South Point, 702-656-2337

Nov. 21-22

Pre-Black Friday Craft and Vendor Bazaar

Get a head start on your holiday shopping at this two-day event featuring a variety of gift items, including handmade crocheted and knit items, candles, ceramics and art, as well as soaps, lotions, candles and more. 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sun., free. Galleria at Sunset, 1300 W. Sunset Road, Henderson, 702-271-5263

Nov. 21-30 and Dec. 1, 13-16, 18-22

Christmas, Motown and More!

This family Christmas show starring Las Vegas headliners Human Nature features 14 holiday classics and some of Motown’s greatest hits. 7 p.m., $49-$140, The Venetian, 702-414-9000

Nov. 24-28

’Twas a Girls Night Out Before Christmas: The Musical

Christmas comedy sequel to Girls Night: The Musical featuring five ladies out for a night on the town during the holidays to laugh, cry and gossip about everything. 7 p.m. daily with additional 2 p.m. performance on Sat., $35-$43, ages 5-plus. The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, 361 Symphony Park Ave., 702-982-7805


Elf the musical

Elf the Musical.  Photo courtesy of The Smith Center

Nov. 24-29

Elf the Musical

The comical Christmas story of a young orphan named Buddy, who mistakenly ends up at the North Pole, then, once grown, embarks on a journey to NYC to find his birth father. 7:30 p.m. daily with additional 2 p.m. performances Fri.-Sun., $29-$129, ages 5-plus. The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, 361 Symphony Park Ave., 702-982-7805

Nov. 25-Jan. 1

Mystic Falls Holiday Shows

The indoor park turns into a winter wonderland with a large decorated Christmas tree, holiday adornments and music and a 15-minute laser show hourly from 5-10 p.m. Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall, 702-456-7777

Nov. 27-Jan. 2

Fountains of Bellagio

One of the world’s most famous fountains presents eight Christmas performances choreographed to holiday classics. Every half hour from 3-8 p.m. Mon.-Fri., noon-8 p.m. Sat. and holidays, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sun. and every 15 minutes from 7 p.m.-midnight daily. Bellagio, 702-693-7111

Nov. 28

Holiday Tree Lighting Spectacular and Arrival of Santa

This year’s annual event is highlighted by a live performance by Las Vegas “Headliner of the Year” singer/pianist Frankie Moreno and American actress and best-selling author Cerina Vincent. 5:30-7:30 p.m., free. Main Street at The District at Green Valley Ranch, 2225 Village Walk Drive, Henderson, 702-564-8595


Dec. 2-6

Steve Solomon’s My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I’m Home for the Holidays … the Therapy Continues

In this award-winning one-man comedy, Steve attends holiday dinner at Grandma’s, where chaos ensues and he ends up defending himself against his wacky family. 7 p.m. Wed.-Fri., 3 and 7 p.m. Sat. and 3 p.m. Sun., $35-$40, ages 5-plus. The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, 361 Symphony Park Ave., 702-982-7805

Dec. 3

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis

Featuring the Christmas music and signature sound of this popular group, set to multimedia effects. 7:30 p.m., $35-$75, Orleans Arena, 702-284-7777

Dec. 3-12

Cowboy Christmas Gift Show

The longest-running gift show of the National Finals Rodeo features 400-plus vendors selling custom jewelry, western wear, boots and spurs, furniture, handmade crafts and pottery. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, free admission, Las Vegas Convention Center, 3150 Paradise Road,

Dec. 3-12

Cowboy Marketplace

Hundreds of Western lifestyle items under one roof, including boots, buckles, hats, jewelry and western wear, plus live daily entertainment. 9 a.m.-5 p.m., free admission. Mandalay Bay, 702-632-7777;

Dec. 3-13

Stetson Country Christmas Western Gift Expo

Find Western lifestyle items and classic gifts, and enjoy live entertainment and fashion shows daily. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, free admission. Sands Expo and Convention Center, 201 Sands Ave.; 817-599-7664,

Dec. 3-Jan. 2

Conservatory & Botanical Gardens

Indoor holiday display featuring thousands of lights and poinsettias; a family of polar bears made of white carnations; and a 42-foot tree with 7,000 lights and more than 2,500 ornaments set among two 12-foot wintertime snow globes and a working train display. 24 hours daily, seven days a week, free. Bellagio, 702-693-7111

Dec. 4

Christmas Tree Lighting

Join in this annual small-town Christmas gathering that includes entertainment by local school choirs and visits by Santa and the town’s Christmas mascot, Jingle Cat. 6-7 p.m., free. Frank Crowe Park, 640 Nevada Highway at Cherry Street, Boulder City, 702-293-2034

Dec. 5

Las Vegas Great Santa Run

Thousands of St. Nick look-alikes run and walk to raise funds for Opportunity Village’s largest annual fundraiser. 8 a.m. registration, 10 a.m. 5K run, 10:30 a.m. 1-mile walk, $30-$45. Registration includes five-piece Santa suit. Downtown Las Vegas,

Dec. 5

Santa’s Electric Night Parade

Boulder City presents its annual Christmas parade downtown. 4:30 p.m., free. 465 Nevada Way, 702-293-2034

Dec. 5

Ward 6 Cowboy Christmas and Car Show

Celebrate the holiday season withy hay rides, a petting zoo, balloon artist, jump house and visit from the jolly man in red, while donating food, toys and clothing to assist local charities. 10 a.m.-4 p.m., free, Floyd Lamb Park at Tule Springs, 9200 Tule Springs Road, 702-229-8100

Dec. 5

Winter Brews Best Handcrafted Beer Festival

The beer festival, held at The Green at Town Square, features more than 25 local and regional breweries offering samples of a variety of beers, live entertainment, activities and food to benefit the local charity New Vista Community. 1-6 p.m., $30 includes beer mug and tasting guide; purchase tickets at, 702-269-5001

Dec. 5-6

The Snowman

This family-friendly merry musical celebration includes the Las Vegas Philharmonic’s traditional holiday concert, a special screening of the film The Snowman accompanied by the orchestra and an audience sing-along. 2 p.m. Sat.-Sun., with an additional 7:30 p.m. performance on Sat., $26-$96. The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, 361 Symphony Park Ave., 702-982-7805

Dec. 5, 12

Ornamental Art-Making Workshop

In this workshop, students create decorative winter-themed sculptural objects, such as an origami globe and beaded 3-D snowflakes, they can use to decorate the tree. 12:15-2:15 pm., $26, ages 7-plus. Registration encouraged. Charleston Heights Arts Center, 800 S. Brush St.,

Dec. 5, 6, 12, 13, 19-24

Santa in the Shipwreck 

St. Nick appears at the Shark Reef Aquarium to greet and take photos with guests who come to explore the exhibit’s 2,000 underwater friends. 10 a.m.-4 p.m., $20 for adults, $14 for children ages 4-12 and free for children 3 and younger (discounted for NV residents); Santa photos and a treat are included. Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay, 702-632-4555

Dec. 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20

Scuba Santa and Elves at the Silverton Aquarium

Santa talks to visitors while submerged in the Silverton’s 117,000-gallon saltwater aquarium among 4,000 tropical fish, sharks and stingrays. 10 a.m.-1 p.m., free. Silverton Casino Hotel, 702-263-7777


Grand menorah lighting downtown

Grand menorah lighting downtown.

Dec. 6

Grand Menorah Lighting Ceremony

Following Mayor Carolyn Goodman’s lighting of the menorah — which will be on display at Fremont Street Experience during the Hanukkah season — a ceremony led by Rabbi Shea Harlig welcomes the holiday known as the Festival of Lights. 4 p.m., free. Fremont Street Experience at Fremont and Fourth streets

Dec. 6

Menorah Lighting at Downtown Summerlin

Chanukah observance begins at sundown, and continues for eight nights, hosted by the Jewish Community Center. There will also be events and entertainment. Free, Sahara Avenue and the 215 Beltway,

Dec. 7

Travis Cloer — Christmas at My Place

The Jersey Boys star performs songs from his new record, “Christmas at My Place,” backed by his swinging seven-piece band. 6:30 and 8:30 p.m., $50-$65, The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, 361 Symphony Park Ave., 702-982-7805

Dec. 7, 14 and 21

Pet Night with Santa

Capture holiday memories with your beloved pet when St. Nick’s Pet Pics visits the mall to take photos of proud pet owners and their four-legged friends — dogs and cats only — with Santa Claus. 6-8 p.m., $TBA. Meadows Mall, 4300 Meadows Lane, 702-878-3331,

Dec. 7, 14 and 21

Sensitive Santa

Santa arrives before the Meadows Mall opens to accommodate children with special needs. 6-8 p.m., free, Meadows Mall, 4300 Meadows Lane, 702-878-3331,

Dec. 8

Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Mayor Carolyn Goodman helps Santa light Las Vegas’ official 50-foot Christmas tree adorned with festive decorations, which will be on display at the Fremont Street Experience through the Christmas holiday. 5 p.m., free, Fremont Street Experience at the Third Street Stage

Dec. 8

Menorah Lighting

Chabad of Green Valley holds its annual menorah lighting celebration featuring live entertainment, balloon creations, donuts, dreidls and gelt on this third night of Hanukkah. 6:30-8 p.m., free, The District at Green Valley Ranch, 2225 Village Walk Drive, Henderson, 702-564-8595

Dec. 8

Winter Parq

The LINQ Promenade transforms into a winter wonderland featuring decorations, carolers, holiday music and a 30-foot hill of real snow for downhill tubing. Beginning Dec. 8, 4-10 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 2-10 p.m. Sat.-Sun. and 2-8 p.m. Christmas Eve, $5 per ride or $20 for all-day pass, 702-322-0560

Dec. 10

Sounds of the Season

Henderson Symphony Orchestra, led by guest conductor Dennis Doubin, performs its annual WinterFest concert. 7 p.m., free, Henderson Convention Center, 200 S. Water St., Henderson

Dec. 10-12


This year’s event, “It’s a Fairy Tale Christmas,” includes a tree-lighting ceremony with Santa Claus, live performances, entertainers, gingerbread houses, family-friendly activities, crafts fair, food and a Saturday evening light parade beginning at 5 p.m. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Thurs., 6-9 p.m. Fri. and noon-8 p.m. Sat., free admission. Henderson Convention Center & Events Plaza, 200 S. Water St., Henderson,

Dec. 12

Night of Lights

St. Jude’s invites the public to its ninth annual celebration, where the campus is transformed into a Christmas wonderland complete with a drive-through light display, holiday decorations, live entertainment, wagon rides and treats. 5-8 p.m., free admittance, St. Jude’s Ranch for Children, 100 St. Jude’s St., Boulder City, 702-294-7100


The Nutcracker

Nevada Ballet Theatre's The Nutcracker.  Photo courtesy of Nevada Ballet Theatre

Dec. 12-13 AND 18-20

The Nutcracker

The Nevada Ballet Theatre presents this winter holiday tradition, complete with a full orchestra and larger-than-life landscapes, which reveals the classic, visually stunning and wondrous story of Clara and her nutcracker prince. 7:30 p.m. Fri. and Sat. with 2 p.m. show on Dec. 19, 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Sun., $29-$179, no children under 3. The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, 361 Symphony Park,

Dec. 19

Breakfast with Santa

Join Santa and his elves for a pancake breakfast, live entertainment, face painting, arts and crafts, Christmas carols and more. 10 a.m., $2, all ages. Silver Mesa Recreation Center, 4025 Allen Lane, North Las Vegas, 702-633-2550,

Dec. 19

Jingle Bell Run

Put on your holiday gear and jingle your way along a 3.1-mile course down the Pittman Wash Trail, then enjoy holiday music and a visit with St. Nick. 9 a.m.-1 p.m., $25-$30 individual registration, $70 family four pack until Dec. 16, all fitness levels welcome, ages 5-plus. Pecos Legacy Park, 150 Pecos Road, Henderson,


Holidays from  the Heart

Holidays from the Heart. Photo Courtesy of The Smith Center.

Dec. 19

Kristen Hertzenberg and Philip Fortenberry: Holidays from the Heart

Songstress Kristen Hertzenberg joins pianist Philip Fortenberry for an encore performance of their sold-out show from last season. 2:30 and 7 p.m., $26-$36, ages 5-plus. The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, 361 Symphony Park Ave., 702-982-7805

Dec. 19

Santa Baby Holiday Show

The Beverly Belles, inspired by the music and look of The Andrew Sisters, celebrate the holiday season retro-style. 7 p.m., $10 advance and $15 at the door, Charleston Heights Arts Center, 800 S. Brush St., 702-229-6383,

Dec. 19-20

Ronnie Spector’s Best Christmas Party Ever

Starring the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer. 8 p.m., $29.95-plus. The Orleans, 702-284-7777

Dec. 27

Kwanzaa 2015: A Celebration of African Values, Culture & Community

Features a marketplace bazaar with village artisans and vendors, master African dance and drum circle workshop, Kemetic yoga class, performance presentations and speakers. 11 a.m.-4 p.m., free, all ages, West Las Vegas Arts Center, 947 W. Lake Mead Blvd., and West Las Vegas Library Theatre, 951 W. Lake Mead Blvd.,

Dec. 30-Jan. 2

Downtown Countdown TributePalooza New Year’s Eve 2016

This downtown New Year’s Eve celebration presents more than nine hours of live music by 12 tribute bands, as well as canopy light shows. Dec. 30 and Jan. 1-2: various show times between 5 p.m.-1 a.m., free, all ages. NYE: 5:30 p.m.-3:30 a.m., $30 advance and $40 at gate, ages 21-plus. Fremont Street Experience, 702-678-5600,

Dec. 31

New Year’s Eve at the Smith Center

Celebrate with a musical extravaganza featuring Broadway hits, favorite classic songs and five spectacular performers: Erich Bergen, Norm Lewis, Capathia Jenkins, Clint Holmes and Patina Miller. 7 p.m., $39-$125. The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, 361 Symphony Park Ave., 702-982-7805

Dec. 31

New Year’s Eve Midnight Hike

Join in a late-night hike along the McCullough Hills Trail, which leads to a viewpoint where almost the entire valley can be seen, and enjoy all the spectacular fireworks displays. 11 p.m.-1 a.m., $14. Anthem East Trailhead in Anthem Hills Park, 2256 Reunion Drive, Henderson, 702-267-5840


Jan. 2

2016 New Year’s Spectacular

A night of music and comedy hosted by Mike Epps and featuring Frankie Beverly and Maze, After 7 and SWV. 8 p.m., $34-plus. Orleans Arena, 702-284-7777





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