Holiday Fun in the Santa Ynez Valley
The Santa Ynez Valley is filled with holiday celebrations in each of our six distinct communities. With so many festive, spirited celebrations, it’s no wonder the town of Solvang was named one of Time Magazine’s “Most Christmassy Towns in America.” We encourage you to spend your Christmas holidays with family and friends in the Santa Ynez Valley this year. Our charming towns of Ballard, Buellton, Los Alamos, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez and Solvang will welcome you in style for a Christmas Santa Ynez vacation.
With so many wonderful events to ring in the holiday season, we came up with our Top 5 Holiday Celebrations in the Santa Ynez Valley not to be missed.
- Santa Ynez 3rd Annual Christmas Tree Lighting, Thursday, Dec. 1, 4 – 5:30pm
Enjoy the lighting of a 75-foot tall redwood tree, the largest Christmas tree in the Santa Ynez Valley, along with the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus, visits with Santa, live entertainment, cookies and cider.
- Holiday Soirée, Thursday, Dec. 1, Thursday, Dec. 1, 5:30pm – 9pm
SY Kitchen, Plenty Boutique & Third Window Brewing are partnering for the Holiday Soirée of the season to benefit Old Yeller Ranch Rescue. Don your best ugly sweater of the season for a chance to win a prize, enjoy appetizers by SY Kitchen, craft beer by Third Window Brewing, and wine by Fess Parker Winery. Also, enjoy music by DJ Peetey, photo booth fun, holiday shopping at Plenty Boutique, silent auction packages & more!
- Olde Fashioned Christmas in Los Olivos, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2 – 8pm
A fun-filled day of activities for the entire family, including crafts and activities for the kids and shopping for adults. You may also want to take a relaxing break at Los Olivos restaurants and tasting rooms.
- Buellton Winter Fest, Sunday, Dec. 4, 9am – 9pm.
The mild climate of the Santa Ynez Valley may never bring snow. But with a holiday village that piles some 20 tons of snow for all to enjoy, the dream of a white Christmas is indeed possible at the Buellton Winter Fest. The Winter Fest begins with Breakfast with Santa and ends with a light parade and the traditional Buellton Christmas Tree Lighting. In between, enjoy food trucks, vendors, holiday libations, and all the snow in the Holiday Village.
Enjoy two concerts under the baton of new director Dr. Michael Eglin at Solvang Veterans Hall.
- Julefest Celebrations in the Santa Ynez Valley, Dec. 1, 2016 – Jan. 6, 2017
One of our biggest holiday celebrations, the annual Solvang Julefest (Yule-Fest), runs from December 1, 2016 through January 6, 2017. This year’s theme is “Celebrate Together,” and features fun activities for everyone. Plus, there will be many open houses at local retailers, special concerts and more throughout the season.
Solvang is known for its delightful Danish-inspired Julefest Christmas celebration. Here are some of the holiday festivities that are planned:
- Tree Lighting Ceremony: Kick Julefest off on Friday, December 2, from 5-6:30pm in Solvang Park. Enjoy free live entertainment with area bands, choirs and caroling culminating in ballerinas performing around a 22-foot tall tree.
- Julefest Parade: Saturday, December 3, at 11am, featuring over 300 participants including dancers, musical groups, vintage vehicles, horses, carriages and animals. The parade originates at Solvang Veterans Hall and ends on Alisal Road near the village Post Office. After the parade, enjoy a free performance of “The True Meaning of Christmas—Through the Eyes of a Donkey and Mouse” in the Solvang Park Gazebo with area children presenting an original play.
- Holiday Marketplace at Wildling Museum of Art and Nature: Saturday, December 3 from noon-5p.m. Browse among over a dozen local artists and craftspeople to find unique gift items. Booths will be placed throughout the museum so you can also enjoy the exhibitions. Carolers add to the festive atmosphere, free cider and cookies, and a visit from a “polar bear” with family photo opportunities will round out the afternoon.
- Santa in the Park: December 2-4 and 10-11 at Solvang Park. Welcome Julemanden (The Christmas Man), and bring your camera for some great photo opportunities. First come, first seated with the jolly old elf.
- Shop, Mingle and Jingle: Holiday celebration featuring thousands of twinkling lights, open houses, special concerts, 100 plus Christmas trees at shops, holiday shopping discounts and more. More than 150 one-of-a-kind boutiques and specialty shops offer everything from clogs to Danish porcelain to handmade lace, leather, iron art, jewelry, clothing, elegant antiques and collectibles, beautiful imported objects, vibrant arts and crafts, and colorful home furnishings. This year’s event spans two weekends, December 2-4 and December 9-11, 2016
- Julefest Wine & Beer Walk: Saturday and Sunday, December 10-11, 11am-4pm. Your passport features 16 wine and beer tasting rooms throughout the village offering samplings. Tickets are $45 per person (21 years or older only) for the 2-day passport, and include a souvenir wine glass.
- Nativity Pageant: Saturday, December 10, 5 & 7 PM, at the outdoor Solvang Festival Theater. Free admission. Enjoy an elaborate stage presentation of the nativity story with musical accompaniment and narration. Performance includes a choir, actors in traditional costumes, and live animals on stage.
- Christmas Lights & Sights Trolley Tour: Tuesday, December 13, 2016, 6:00-7:15 p.m. and 7:30-8:45 p.m., presented by Solvang Parks & Recreation Department. Features the best of holiday décor throughout Solvang and Santa Ynez Valley. Seasonal music and hot chocolate will be served on board. Departs from Solvang Veterans Memorial Hall. Tickets are $13 per person in advance. Call 805-688-7529 to reserve your spot.
- Solvang Third Wednesday Holiday Edition: Wednesday, December 14, 2016. Featuring deals at local merchants, restaurants and gourmet food purveyors, the weekly Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market from 2:00-6:00 p.m., and the Third Wednesday Wine & Beer Walk.
- Come back on Friday, January 6, 2017, from 5-7p.m. for Solvang’s Annual Christmas Tree Burn in the fields of Old Mission Santa Inés. This is one of the largest fire safety demonstrations and community gatherings on California’s Central Coast. It includes live entertainment and refreshments for purchase.
Even More Activities in the Santa Ynez Valley
Stop by our website at VisitSYV.com to review our complete listing of things to do in Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Ynez Valley restaurants, and Santa Ynez hotels and inns, or check out our suggestions below for special Christmas events. We are always thrilled to share the spirit of the holiday season with visitors to our area.
Happy Holidays from Visit Santa Ynez Valley!
About VisitSYV.com: Visit Santa Ynez Valley provides listings of the best Santa Ynez wineries, best places to eat in Solvang, Santa Ynez hotels and inns, and things to do in Santa Ynez Valley. Visit the website at www.VisitSYV.com for complete travel and visitor services. “Like” the Facebook page for ideas on planning Santa Ynez vacations. Email info@VisitSYV.com for help planning your next vacation in the Santa Ynez Valley.