Two-steppin’ round the Christmas tree or bidding hard at Virginia City’s gingerbread house auction, there’s plenty to do in December in Cerca Country. Pick your party from this list.
Through Dec. 22, Williams, Ariz.: The Polar Express. Board the Grand Canyon Railway and listen to children’s classic “The Polar Express,” by Chris Allsburg during a magical journey to the North Pole, where Santa and his reindeer will greet passengers. Hot chocolate, cookies. A silver bell will be presented to children. (800) 843-8724, www.thetrain.com.
Through Dec. 30, Ely: Polar Express. Head to the North Pole aboard steam locomotive 93 to enjoy a visit with Santa Claus and his elves. On the way, there will be a reading of the children’s classic “The Polar Express.” Santa will present a silver bell to all believers. Cookies and hot chocolate. (866) 407-8326, www.nevada northernrailway.com.
Monday through Dec. 21, Virginia City: Christmas on the Comstock. Three weeks of celebration includes arrival of Santa aboard annual Christmas Train O’ Lights at 3 p.m. Saturday at Virginia & Truckee station. (775) 847-4386, www.virginiacity-nv.org.
Through Dec. 22, Flagstaff, Ariz.: Holiday Skies Program. Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings, presentation involving the mythology and science of the winter sky, including a discussion on the Star of Bethlehem. Lowell Observatory, (928) 233-3210, www.lowell.edu.
Through Dec. 22, Ivins, Utah: Tuacahn’s Festival of Lights on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays. Live nativity, holiday music on the plaza, Old Salty Train rides and stunning light show. Santa Claus. Closed Friday for Tuacahn Christmas Concert. Tuacahn Center for the Arts, (435) 652-3300, www.tuacahn.org.
Wednesday-Saturday, St. George, Utah: Dickens’ Christmas Festival. Stroll through a 19th-century English village filled with Dickens characters, carolers, fortune tellers, shops and vendors. (877) 856-6366, www.dixiecenter.com.
Thursday and Dec. 11 and 18, Chloride, Ariz.: Christmas in Chloride. Every Thursday until Christmas, this small but charming town keeps its shops and restaurants open until 8 p.m. (928) 565-2204, www.kingmantourism.com.
Thursday -Saturday and Dec. 11-13, Cedar City, Utah: American Children’s Christmas Festival. An event to bring out the child in all features Santaland, the Enchanted Forest and Storybook Cavalcade Parade. No activities on Sundays. (435) 865-2882, www.christmas-festival.org.
Friday, Lake Havasu City, Ariz.: Christmas Boat Parade of Lights. More than 50 decorated boats will parade under the London Bridge Channel and tour the lake. Lake Havasu State Park. (928) 855-2784, www.pr.state.az.us.
Friday and Saturday, Wickenburg, Ariz.: Cowboy Christmas Poets Gathering. Cowboy poets, singers and musicians gather to celebrate the Old West at various venues around town. Featured poets are Yvonne Hollenback and Jean and Gary Prescott. (800) 942-5242, www.wickenburg chamber.com.
Saturday, Williams, Ariz.: APS Parade of Lights. “It’s a Magical Christmas” is the theme of this year’s light parade that travels down Route 66. Dickens carolers, ice skating rink, fine art show, lighting contest, entertainment and holiday shopping. (800) 863-0546, www.williamsfestivals.com.
Dec. 12-13, St. George, Utah: Nativity Festival. This annual event features more than 750 nativity displays from around the world. Green Valley LDS Stake Center. (435) 674-4685, www.utahstgeorge.com.
Dec. 13, Flagstaff, Ariz.: Geminid Meteor Shower. This evening event features a presentation on upcoming meteor showers such as the Geminids. Telescope viewing of various celestial objects. Lowell Observatory, (928) 233-3210, www.lowell.edu.
Dec. 13, Flagstaff, Ariz.: Christmas Party at Riordan Mansion State Park. Holiday event features a tour of the 1904 mansion at its best, decorated in wreaths, garlands, and greenery authentic to its era. Christmas crafts, music performed by local Suzuki violin students and a handbell choir. (928) 779-4395, www.pr.state.az.us.
Dec. 13, Virginia City: Gingerbread House Contest judging, auction and social at Fourth Ward School, 5:30 p.m. (775) 847-4386, www.virginiacity-nv.org.
Dec. 13-14, Carson City: Santa Train. Take a 35-minute ride on the Santa Train, which will be pulled by a steam locomotive. Nevada Railroad Museum. (775) 687-6953, www.nsrm-friends.org.
Dec. 26-30, Flagstaff, Ariz.: Holiday Star Fest. Numerous telescopes will be set up around the Lowell Observatory campus for visitors to view the winter sky. (928) 233-3210, www.lowell.edu.
Dec. 31, Brian Head, Utah: Fireworks and torchlight parade. This New Year’s celebration features skiers making their way down the slopes carrying torches, followed by a fireworks display and party. Brian Head Resort. (435) 677-2035, www.scenic southernutah.com.