Nov. 17-Jan. 1
View the Northern Lights at the Domain Northside
The shopping district is covered in lights for the holiday season and features a 10-foot-tall Willie Nelson nutcracker. Guests may have their photo taken for holiday cards. 11700 Doman Blvd., Austin. Free. 512-758-7937. www.domainnorthside.com
Nov. 20-25, Dec. 17-Dec. 31
Give the gift of life
Local nonprofit We Are Blood will be hosting mobile blood drives during the holiday season, and each donor will receive a movie pass at Alamo Drafthouse. Lakeline Mall, 11200 Lakeline Mall Dr., Cedar Park. Barton Creek Square, 2901 S. Capital of Texas Hwy., Austin. Hours vary. www.weareblood.com 512-206-1266.
Nov. 23-Dec. 24
Find a unique gift at the Blue Genie Art Bazaar
The bazaar features handmade items for purchase, such as paintings, prints, jewelry and clothing from over 200 vendors. 10 a.m.-10 p.m. daily from Nov. 23 to Dec. 23 (10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Dec. 24). Free. 6100 Airport Blvd., Austin. 512-222-7303. www.bluegenieartbazaar.com
Go to Elgin Christmas Tree Farm’s first day of sales
Customers take a hayride out to the fields, where they can cut down their tree with a bow saw provided by the farm. Hours vary. $11/tree foot. As the season progresses, prices go down. 120 Natures Way, Elgin. 512-281-5016. www.elginchristmastreefarm.com
Nov. 23-Dec. 30
Take a walk in COTA’s Winter Wonderland
Illuminated sculptures will surround the track, and the event will include ice skating, carnival rides and more. Daily 6-10 p.m. $16. Children 5 and under free. 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd., Austin. 512-301-6600. www.circuitoftheamericas.com
Nov. 25-Dec. 31
Be a part of the Zilker Holiday Tree lighting
Since 1967 the holiday tree has been lit nightly during the holiday season. The tree is decorated with a total of 3,309 lights. 6 p.m.-midnight. Free. Zilker Park, 2100 Barton Springs Road, Austin. 512-974-6700. www.austintexas.gov/zilkerholidaytree
Peruse a German-Texas Christmas market
At the event offering food and live entertainment, attendees can shop for German holiday merchandise such as nutcrackers and handmade ornaments. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Free. German-Texan Heritage Society, 507 E. 10th St., Austin. 512-467-4569. www.germantexans.org
Carol your way downtown along Congress Avenue
The Holiday Sing-Along and Downtown Stroll features music, crafts, a petting zoo, food trucks and a tree lighting ceremony. 5-10 p.m. (tree lighting at 7 p.m.). Free. Congress Avenue between Ninth and11th streets, Austin. 512-469-1766. www.downtownaustin.com/holidays
Lace up the skates with Santa at Chaparral Ice
The annual Santa Skate includes photo opportunities with Santa Claus, Christmas music, hot chocolate and a raffle. $15 (includes skate rental). Noon-3 p.m. Chaparral Ice, 2525 W. Anderson Lane, Austin. 512-252-8500. www.chaparralice.com
Watch Mueller’s historic control tower light up
At the 13th annual tower lighting the word “Noel” will brighten the airport tower. Live music and food will be available before the lighting. 5:30-7:30 p.m. Free. John Gaines Park, 2708 Sorin St., Austin. www.muelleraustin.com
See ‘The Nutcracker’ live
The score for Ballet Austin’s 56th annual production is performed live by Austin Symphony Orchestra. Times vary. Performances are Fri.-Sun. as well as Wed., Dec. 19 and Thurs., Dec. 20. $24-$89. Long Center for the Performing Arts, 701 W. Riverside Drive. 512-476-9151. www.balletaustin.org
Grab your Santa suit and head to Rainey Street
The SantaCon pub crawl benefits Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas and will feature food and drink specials, friendly team competitions and prizes. 2-6 p.m. $20. Rainey Street, Austin. 512-472-5437. www.bigmentoring.org
Attend a Hanukkah party with some sweet treats
Congregation Beth El hosts a family-friendly community Hanukkah party with a menorah lighting, live music, face painting and food, including sufganiot, or Israeli doughnuts. 4-6 p.m. Free. 8902 Mesa Drive, Austin. 512-231-0266.
Make your way through Zilker Park’s Trail of Lights
The event features more than 2 million lights and an estimated 400,000 people attend each year. 7-10 p.m. $3 general admission, free entry on Dec. 10-13 and 17-19. Zilker Park, 2100 Barton Springs Road, Austin. www.austintrailoflights.org
Grab a gift at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar
Displaying works of fine art, the bazaar features more than 160 artists, live music and entertainment. 11 a.m.-10 p.m. $8 (adult single-day pass), $8 (parking). 12 and younger free. Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Road, Austin. www.armadillobazaar.com
Ring in the new year with Willie Nelson
An Austin tradition, The Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater hosts country music legend Willie Nelson and guest Lukas Nelson & The Promise of the Real for three nights three nights of New Year’s Eve festivities and performances. 8 p.m. Prices vary. 310 Willie Nelson Boulevard, Austin. 512-225-7999. www.acl-live.com
Looking to hit the pavement for a run this holiday season? Here are three 5Ks in the area.
Austin Trail of Lights Fun Run
The 2.1-mile course starts at the Zilker Holiday Tree and winds through the Austin Trail of Lights, ending with a celebration in the center of Zilker Park. The festival features a DJ, a dance party, a ferris wheel, carousel rides, food trucks, drinks and more.
• registration fee starts at $29 for those 12 and older and $15 for children age 11 and younger
• staggered start times: 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
• 2100 Barton Springs Road, Austin
• for more information visit
Austin Jingle Bell 5k
Participants can walk or run the 5K distance with jingle bells fastened to their clothing. Santa Claus will be in attendance.
• registration fee starts at $35 for adults, $15 for youth ages 12 to 17, $10 for children age 12 and younger
• start time: 8 a.m.
•The Domain, 11410 Century Oaks Terrace, Austin
• for more information visit
Jingle Bell Run
Participants wear holiday costumes and tie jingle bells to their shoelaces for the annual 5K and 1K race. Timed and untimed options are available. The event also includes a costume contest, food, beer, prizes and an awards ceremony.
• registration fee starts at $30
• start time: 2:30 p.m.
Camp Mabry, 200 W. 35th St., Austin
• for more information visit https://events.arthritis.org