Christmas in Colorado – Customs and Traditions

A road in Colorado in winter.

Christmas in Colorado is particularly enchanting, with a rich tapestry of customs that reflect the influence of neighboring states—New Mexico to the south, Oklahoma to the southeast, and Arizona and Utah. The amalgamation of these influences gives rise to a remarkable Christmas experience.

The state is renowned for its stunning high plains, plateaus, mesas, mountains, and canyons, promising travelers an incredible time amidst nature’s grandeur.

Denver, the capital, is a hub of exceptional Christmas celebrations and traditions. It’s a city where scenic terrains, vibrant culture, and rich traditions converge to offer a captivating holiday experience. Throughout various cities and towns in Colorado, you’ll find an array of festivities, ensuring that your Christmas holiday is a time well-spent with friends and family.

This great state offers a plethora of activities, inviting you to immerse yourself in nature’s embrace during the Christmas season. It’s an ideal setting for fostering cherished memories and connections, making your holiday an impeccable blend of festive cheer and natural beauty

Christmas customs and traditions in Colorado

Colorado’s Christmas festivities offer a magical experience worth adding to your list. The region, blanketed in snow and adorned with charming mountain towns, embodies the essence of the season. Here are some cherished customs and traditions celebrated across various parts of the state.

Christmas tree lighting in Colorado

Joining in the Christmas tree lighting is a delightful activity across Colorado. In places like Cripple Creek and the town of Victor, people gather in homage to age-old traditions dating back to the late 19th century. Lighting up the sky, reminiscent of the region’s gold mining past, is a spectacle worth witnessing. Ancient gallus frames aglow with lights paint a splendid picture, best enjoyed on a scenic drive through the region.

Christmas train in Colorado

Another beloved tradition in various parts of the state is the Christmas train. Offering a unique exploration of the local area and nearby amusement parks, this experience, especially near Colorado Springs, showcases the state’s charm. With over two dozen rides for both children and adults, along with gift shops, train rides, and dining, it’s a festive journey not to be missed.

Botanic gardens lighting

A common Christmas tradition in Colorado involves the annual lighting of the botanic gardens. The Denver Botanic Gardens undergo a stunning transformation each year during the Christmas period. Thousands of LED lights illuminate the pathways, trees, and walkways, creating a mesmerizing spectacle.

A 17-foot-tall animated tunnel of lights adds to the magic, accompanied by synchronized music. Given the event’s popularity, securing tickets early ensures an optimal experience amidst the illuminated trees and warm beverages available to keep you cozy during your Christmas visit.

Santa Express

Exploring the state of Colorado through the Santa Express is a cherished tradition. This train ride offers a delightful journey across various parts of the region, allowing you to witness its unique features effortlessly. With over fifty thousand lights illuminating the surroundings, this train ride becomes an enchanting experience, offering glimpses of some of the most illuminated locations.

It’s an opportunity to engage with both locals and visitors from around the world, enjoying classic holiday songs and warm beverages aboard. Additionally, for a different experience, the Polar Express train in Durango offers a magical journey to the North Pole.

Christmas gingerbread in Colorado

During the Christmas season, indulging in the beloved Christmas dish of gingerbread is a must. The region boasts some of the finest gingerbread creations, showcasing local culinary delights. The renowned Broadmoor gingerbread, a staple since the 1960s, embodies the essence of the region’s holiday spirit, crafted with dark chocolate, eggs, powdered sugar, and other local ingredients.

Explore Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

An integral part of local Christmas traditions, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo stands out as one of the nation’s most diverse zoos. The zoo’s Electric Safari, a delightful Christmas event, offers a chance to connect with nature amid festive surroundings. With over eighty illuminated sculptures and a variety of inflatable animals, along with interactive animal exhibits, this experience promises an unforgettable bonding opportunity with wildlife. Booking tickets in advance is advisable to avoid crowds and ensure a seamless visit.

Christmas camping at Belmar

Embracing Christmas camping is a cherished local tradition in Colorado. This festive camping experience amidst the charming Christmas lights allows for a unique connection with nature. The Belmar village-style display, spanning six acres with lights visible both day and night, offers a serene ambiance away from city life. Visitors can enjoy food, drinks, carolers, and a carousel for children, creating a magical atmosphere for a memorable Christmas holiday. The camp’s nightly music and glowing lights add to the enchantment of the festive season.

Christmas markets in Colorado

During the Christmas season, bustling markets become a hub for shopping and finding gifts. The Cherry Creek Christmas Market, a favorite among Coloradans, offers an opportunity to engage with locals while enjoying holiday shopping. It’s an ideal place to buy souvenirs and Christmas presents for friends and family. With minimal traffic, the area ensures a pleasant shopping experience, offering items that might otherwise be hard to find.

Movie nights at the Colorado ballet

A common tradition across Colorado during Christmas involves movie nights at the Colorado Ballet, creating a shared experience for many. Beyond movies, the theaters showcase performances, providing an incredible atmosphere during the holiday season. Attendees witness locals embracing various costumes, adding to the festive ambiance. Downtown ballet venues offer a mix of dance, music, and theater, promising a diverse range of activities for families to enjoy.

Race of the Santas

The Race of the Santas, a beloved Christmas tradition across various parts of Colorado, is a spectacle not to miss during your visit. Held in Breckenridge amidst the Rocky Mountains, this annual event features participants dressed as Santa Claus engaging in racing competitions. Thousands gather to witness this festive extravaganza, where the Christmas spirit is palpable. Alongside the races, visitors can find food vendors and enjoy the sounds of Christmas carols echoing through the region.


Learn more about the Christmas customs and traditions in the neighboring US states:

Aurimas Bio

Hi there! I’m Aurimas, a man behind Go Look Explore. I’m passionate about hiking, exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations, and everything outdoors related. Let’s connect.