Spreading Holiday Cheer Across the Valley with Family Fun Activities

Written by Bryce Bozadjian Category: Culture Issue: December 2015

Wonderland MarketPhotos with Santa, gift buying and on-site wrapping, and walking in a winter wonderland are just a few of the holiday traditions families have been repeating year after year. Whether you’re jingling bells or playing dreidel, the Valley has plenty of holiday-themed events for the jolly and festive at heart.

The Arizona Biltmore’s Desert Premier Outdoor Ice Rink
Ice in the desert? You betcha! Lace up your skates or rent a pair for this holiday season’s premier outdoor ice skating rink. The Biltmore’s rink boasts mountain views and festive lights.
Skate rentals: $15 per session
Throughout the Holiday Season: Monday - Thursday: 4-8 p.m., Friday: noon-8 p.m., weekends 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Squaw Peak Lawn
2400 E. Missouri Ave., Phoenix
602-955-6600, arizonabiltmore.com

Cookie Decorating with Mrs. Claus
Kids and adults are welcome to create their own cookie masterpieces. Decorate with frosting, sprinkles and candy for the holidays. You’ll get top-notch decorating advice from culinary creative Mrs. Claus herself!
$15 per person
December 24-27 from 1-2 p.m.
Arizona Biltmore
2400 E. Missouri Ave., Phoenix
602-955-6600, arizonabiltmore.com

Wonderland Market
You’ll be decking the halls at this shopping extravaganza featuring more than 100 vendors selling everything from home décor to jewelry. Wrap and ship the gifts on site. Be sure to save some room for cocktails, appetizers and free samples! There will be two special charity events open to the public to help give back to the community: a V.I.P. Preview Party on Thursday, December 3, with portions of the proceeds benefitting the TGen Foundation, and Girls Night Out on Friday, December 4, with portions of the proceeds benefitting Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center.
December 4-5, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., December 6, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
16601 N. Pima Rd., Scottsdale
480-312-6802, wonderlandmarket.com

Merryvale Holiday Cheer Event
Sleigh bells will be ringing at this family-friendly event, where children will get a chance to sit on Santa’s lap and even see some snow! There will also be arts and crafts to spread the holiday cheer.
Free, with suggested donation of at least one canned food item for St. Mary’s Food Bank
December 12, 1-4 p.m.
Parking lot of MVP Kids Care
4700 N. 51st Ave., Ste. 4, Phoenix

Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides
Giddyup and enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride around the Westgate Entertainment District during the holidays.
Now until December 19, Fridays and Saturdays, 5-9 p.m.
Fountain Park in the Westgate Entertainment District
6770 N. Sunrise Blvd., Glendale
623-385-7502, westgateaz.com

Westgate Nightly Snowfall
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! The park will transform into a wintery snowglobe every night, and you don’t want to miss out.
Now until December 24, 7 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Fountain Park in the Westgate Entertainment District
6770 N. Sunrise Blvd., Glendale
623-385-7502, westgateaz.com

Visit Santa Claus
Jolly Old St. Nick will be at the Westgate Entertainment District to hear the wishes of – and take pictures with – children. You’ll be able to download a free digital photo or purchase a photo package or single prints. Every kid will receive a free gift from Santa!
Now until December 24, Fridays and Saturdays, 12-8 p.m.
Fountain Park in the Westgate Entertainment District
6770 N. Sunrise Blvd., Glendale
623-385-7502, westgateaz.com

Chabad West Valley Menorah Lighting
Celebrate Hanukkah with a Grand Menorah lighting. Check out the activities, raffle prizes, games for children and live entertainment. Traditional potato latkes and other snacks will be available.
December 13, 5 p.m.
Fountain Park in the Westgate Entertainment District
6770 N. Sunrise Blvd., Glendale
623-385-7502, westgateaz.com

Custom Ornaments from STAX3D Printing
What’s cooler than a custom 3D ornament of a loved one or pet to add to the Christmas tree this year? The process involves scanning the person or pooch and graphically placing the image on a pre-designed body of an elf or snowman. Quick, easy and fun to last a lifetime!
$40 per ornament
Now until December 24; select weekdays 4-8 p.m., Friday and Saturday 12-8 p.m., Sunday 12-6 p.m.
Westgate Entertainment District
6770 N. Sunrise Blvd., Glendale
623-385-7502, westgateaz.com

25: A Christmas Market
Mom and dad can shop for ornaments and gifts while children take photos on Santa’s lap and admire the gingerbread and cookie decorating display. Take a ride on a “reindeer”-drawn (ponies in disguise) carriage.
Tickets are $3 at the door or $2 if purchased in advance
December 11-12, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Peoria Sports Complex
16101 N 83rd Ave., Peoria
623-298-5002, azstreetmarket.com

Holiday Nights In Lights
All aboard the “Hilger’s Express” for a train ride through the The Wigwam holiday light show. Enjoy festive music and activities for kids throughout the week. Santa Claus has partnered with Hilger’s Orthodontics and The Wigwam for this fun family event.
$1 donation to the Goodyear Firefighters Charities
December 11, 18, 20 and 23 from 6-8 p.m.
The Wigwam Lawn
300 Wigwam Ln., Litchfield Park
623-935-3811, wigwamarizona.com

Winter Holiday Tea
Nibble on finger sandwiches, scones and miniature pastries at this classy tea. Listen to live holiday piano music and snuggle up for story time. Reservations required.
$25 for adults, $15 for kids ages 3-12 and under 2 are complimentary
December 13 and December 20 at 3 p.m.
The Wigwam Sun Room
300 Wigwam Ln., Litchfield Park
623-535-4919, wigwamarizona.com

Uptown Alley Photos with Santa
Snap a photo with St. Nick on a holiday backdrop perfect for capturing a family moment you can cherish forever. You supply the camera, they’ll supply the smiles.
Suggested new toy donation for Toys for Tots
December 12, 1-3 p.m.
Uptown Alley
13525 N. Litchfield Rd., Surprise
623-975-7529, uptownalleysurprise.com

12 Days of Christmas at Sprinkles Cupcakes
Purchase a cupcake out of the ATM dispenser and you might discover a prize voucher that can be redeemed inside the store. Win a cupcake mix, spatula, gift card or baking bundle pack.
Price varies; donate a new toy and receive a free cupcake in stores (Now until December 15)
Now until December 12
Sprinkles ATM cupcake dispenser
4501 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
480-970-432, sprinkles.com

Phoestivus 2015
Come on down to this open-air market, where more than 130 local vendors will be selling food, festive gifts and homemade holiday decorations.
December 10 and 17, 5-10 p.m.
Downtown Phoenix Public Market
721 N. Central St., Phoenix
602-253-2700, phxpublicmarket.com/openair/phoestivus