How to celebrate the holiday season Austin-style —
August 6, 2020

How to celebrate the holiday season Austin-style

By Carola Rivera

armadillo christmas
The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar

Step out this Christmas and holiday season for diverse activities taking place across the city. December offers several attractions and here are just a few to experience.

Armadillo Christmas Bazaar

The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar returns for its 42nd year this December 14-24 at the Palmer Events Center. The 11-day fine art shopping destination features national and local award-winning artists, a live music stage, two full bars and local food, all in a festive, lively atmosphere. Meet and shop from over 175 carefully curated artists. Fill your holiday season with great stories and handmade gifts with an exciting variety of fine art, heirloom pieces, and stocking stuffers. Make holiday shopping a fun tradition in an upbeat, family-friendly environment.

With over 170 curated artists, this year’s festival boasts nearly two-dozen carefully curated newcomers. Enjoy at least three live bands a day on the Armadillo stage with performances beginning at noon and playing into the night. With a collection of musicians as well curated as the art, the Armadillo stage boasts greats like Ray Wylie Hubbard, Nakia, The Watters, Ruthie Foster, Charley Crockett and Shinyribs.

 Tickets are $8 for a single-day pass and available through Christmas Eve at the door or online in advance. For best value, purchase a season pass, which allows entry throughout the duration of the 11-day Armadillo Christmas Bazaar. Season passes are available online through December 13. Free admission for children 12 and under. Ticket and more information at

Artisan Mercado Offers Shoppers Unique Christmas Gifts

artisan mercado
Art from the Artisan Mercado

The Artisan Mercado, an outdoor marketplace for Latino-themed art and arts and crafts, offers an alternative to mass-produced items found in traditional stores from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 16 at the Frost Bank Plaza (401 Congress Ave.). The Mercado sells locally-crafted, fine jewelry, glassware, ceramics and  tapestry pillows; Mexican, Colombian  and African dresses, handbags and crafts; and Honduran and Texan paintings, prints and mixed media. The marketplace is free and open to the public.

While parents are shopping, children can attend a free wreath-making workshop from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Youth can assemble a Christmas wreath or “corona navideña” similar to those found in Mexico during the holiday season.

In addition to showcasing a variety of handcrafted goods, the Mercado is hosting an Arts and Crafts Charity Sale to benefit Mexico City earthquake victims. The items were donated by Mercado vendors. For more information, call (512) 660-1845.

Hotel Van Zandt’s 12 Days of Christmas

Hotel Van Zandt will be continuing its tradition of hosting 12 free, holiday-inspired events for the second year in a row. From December 4-15, you and your family, friends, significant other (and even your pets!) are invited to warm up by the fire in The Living Room of the hotel and rock along to some Christmas tunes, decorate cookies, take pictures with Santa, and more. There will also be holiday-inspired cocktails available for purchase on most nights.

The event offerings this season includes Jingle Bell Rock Band & Christmas Tree Topping, Laughter & Libations – Christmas Vacation Movie Night & Ugly Christmas Sweater Party, Listen & Sip – Christmas Classics on Vinyl, Holiday Trivia with Taylor Ellison, Christmas Karaoke, Not-So-Ordinary Christmas Carols with Suzanna Choffel, Canines & Christmas (begins at 12:00 PM), Calling all Crafters for Christmas Cookie Decorating (4:00 – 6:00 PM), Comedy, Confections & Cocktails for Elf Movie Night, Pictures with Santa Claus, TJE’s Austin Motown Christmas in Geraldine’s (begins at 8:00 PM). Unless otherwise indicated, events will be held in the Living Room and begin at 6:30 p.m. More details at

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