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How to Safely Celebrate the Holidays This Year

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We don’t let the Grinch steal Christmas, so we’re not allowing the coronavirus to hijack the holidays either! Since it’s not safe to travel, and large indoor gatherings are out this year too, we just need a little creativity to carry us through this season. Fortunately, Boulder was named one of the 20 best places to celebrate Christmas, so there’s plenty of outdoor, socially distanced cheer to be had here. So, grab your family, throw on some flannel, and learn how to safely celebrate the holidays this year!

Note: Most of these events have been modified to accommodate COVID restrictions so please check event websites for rules and limitations.

Chanukah on Pearl (Virtual)

Thursday, December 10 | 5:30 – 6:30 pm | FREE

For more than 20 years, the largest Hanukkah menorah in Boulder has been lighted on Pearl Street. This year, for the first time ever, the Jewish community will virtually gather on Zoom for the first night of the holiday. All are welcome to register to attend the festivities which include virtual latkes, inspiring words from the Rabbi, and holiday music.

Chautauqua Bear Cub and Light Displays

Starts December 11 | Sundown | FREE

It’s always best to stay in your car when looking for BEARS! Starting at sundown on December 11, Colorado Chautauqua Historic District invites you to drive around the park to see 15 lighted bear cub sculptures. Each statue is the work of a local artist and compliments the Chautauqua Auditorium’s new 8-foot bear installation.

CU Holiday Festival (Virtual)

Dec 4, 2020 – Jan 4, 2021 | 7:30 – 11 pm | TICKETS $20 – $80

The halls of CU’s Macky Auditorium have been decked for the holidays for the past 40 years. For the first time in its history, however, the beloved holiday concert will be streamed into homes. This year enjoy College of Music choirs, orchestras, ensembles, and solos performed by faculty and students in your PJs with a cup of cocoa on the couch! Purchase tickets here.

Find Freezie Bingo

Nov 28 – Dec 19 | All Day | FREE

Each year, Downtown Boulder is invaded by Freezie, a tiny stuffed snowman who jumps from store to store for a rousing round of bingo! Starting November 26, download a play card then dash into downtown retailers to find Freezie. Your completed entry could win you $25 gift cards from participating shops. Find downloads, rules, and participating merchants here.

Find Freezie Bingo
Downtown Boulder

Flagstaff – Boulder Star Lighting Ceremony (Virtual)

Now – Early January | All Night | FREE

Lit every year in December since 1947, the Flagstaff Star began shining on Nov. 11, this year, as a sign of hope in the midst of a pandemic. Comprised of 365 energy-saving LED bulbs, the star is visible from anywhere in Boulder. Supported by sales of Star Wine and the annual Boulder Star Card, painted by local artists, the beacon is a cherished community treasure.

Boulder Star Card
Boulder Chamber

Due to COVID restrictions, hiking to the star is prohibited this year. Instead, you’re invited to watch the annual lighting here.

Letters to St. Nick

Nov 28 – Dec 19 | Mon – Fri, 7 am – 6 pm – Sat, 9 am – 6 pm | FREE

Sadly, Santa won’t be stopping by Pearl Street this year, but your kids can still communicate with him! Drop letters in Kris Kringle’s red mailbox, in front of the Capital One Café, during business hours. Once received, Santa’s elves will email to say hello.

Holiday Hikes

Ongoing | FREE

The safest way to celebrate this season is with outdoor, socially distanced activities. Taking a holiday hike gives you that with the added bonus of fresh mountain air and exercise! Though the guided Christmas day hike has been canceled due to COVID, here are 5 beautiful winter walks to take with your family.

Snow Much Fun

Now – Jan 10, 2021 | All Night | FREE

Downtown Boulder is aglow with holiday cheer along this self-guided, family-friendly light display tour. Just grab the map and take in the sights, sounds, and smells of the season with jolly-themed exhibits including:

  • 55 Degrees
  • Candy Cane Lane
  • Frozen Playground
  • Gumdrop Lane
  • Holiday Bear (Picture Op)
  • Home Team Grove
  • Purple Rain
  • Rainbow Bridge
  • Reindeer Family (Picture Op)
  • Tulip Fairy Garden
  • Woodland Animals Pond

Zoo Lights 30th Anniversary

Now – Dec 31 | 5 – 10 pm | TICKETS $15 – $25

This year marks the 30th time the Denver Zoo has illuminated over 80 acres with more than a million holiday lights! Due to COVID, the zoo is taking additional measures to keep you and your family safe. Certain weeks are reserved for members to be sure to check the website before heading out. Member tickets can be purchased here. General public tickets are here.

Restaurant S.O.S.

Now – Dec 30 | 24 Hours | VARIES by order

Of course, the safest thing to do this season is staying home, but even so, you still gotta eat! What’s really neat, though, is that now you can fill your family’s bellies with festive food AND help out local restaurants while you do it. The City of Boulder recently launched a program called S.O.S. (Safe Ordering Service.) You order food and the city uses a portion of its CARES Act funding to pay some of the delivery fees. Doing this allows restaurants to keep more cash in-house for operating expenses while you still have a delicious meal delivered. A total win-win!