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Countdown to Christmas: Holiday events to get you in the Christmas spirit

Christmas is now eight days away, so if you're not feeling jolly yet, attending a holiday event might be the cure you need to rid any Grinch-like emotions.

Although 2020 has meant coming up with new traditions, beloved events around town are still happening in a safe and unique fashion.

Here are nine holiday events happening throughout town:

The Nutcracker: Home for the Holidays

A cherished pastime for many families, the Austin Ballet Nutcracker will be held virtually this year. The beloved tradition is available as a digital film through on-demand viewing with a donation to the Austin Ballet, starting at $30 for a nine day viewing. Other donation options include an exclusive access alternative for a $100 donation, with three weeks on-demand viewing of the film, extra bonus material and fun virtual events. The last option available is a VIP exclusive access for a $250 donation, which includes another exclusive access ticket that can be gifted, plus all the benefits.

This year, don't miss out on the magical tale and battle against the evil mouse king, instead get the family together with snacks and blankets and watch the special Christmas event comfortably from home. More information on the event can be found here.

Trail of Lights

The 56th annual Trail of Lights transitioned to a drive-thru experience this year to provide a COVID-19 safe experience. The Austin tradition will illuminate the city with over 2 million lights at Zilker Park until Jan. 3.

General admission tickets range from $25-$35 per vehicle, depending on entry time. Guests can also purchase a dash pass on selected dates for $60 per vehicle, including a box of holiday cookies, an ATX Lights Saving Card and early entry between 5:45-7 p.m. Tickets and more information on the Austin Trail of Lights can be found here.

The SoCo Stroll

Music Lane and the South Congress Avenue Shopping District are celebrating Christmas this year with a new tradition: The Soco Stroll. The event will last until the end of the month and is a self-guided walking tour of Music Lane and South Congress Avenue featuring lighted window displays, local shops, food and beverages, live music and more.

The event is completely free and masks are encouraged, so wear your favorite coat and strut around town to this new holiday tradition. More information on the SoCo Stroll can be found here.

Pop! A Rockin' Holiday Concert

Zach Theatre will host an hour long holiday concert with performances from Chanel, Kenny Williams, Daniel Rowan, Leslie McDonael, Roderick Sanford, Jessica O'Brien and Judy R. Arnold.

The event will be held outside of the Topfer theater with socially distant seating. Pods can be reserved for two to six people and tickets range from $92-$383 depending on seat location. Guests can enjoy performances of holiday classics while enjoying drinks available at their outdoor bar. Tickets and more information on Pop! A Rockin' Holiday Concert can be found here.

Peppermint Parkway

Peppermint Parkway is hosting its first holiday drive-thru experience at Circuit of the Americas. With millions of lights and a carnival, Peppermint Parkway is the perfect event for people of all ages. After driving through the light show, COTA will also host Peppermint Plaza, where guests can enjoy the COTALAND Kiddie Amusement Park with a ferris wheel, games, trains, food and a meet and greet with Pepper and Mint, the Peppermint Parkway mascots. Tickets are $35 per vehicle for standard admission. Guests can also purchase three different types of upgraded tickets ranging from $60-$90 per vehicle. Tickets and more information on Peppermint Parkway can be found here.

Downtown Holiday Stroll

The 26th annual Downtown Holiday Stroll is returning for a month-long celebration with free activities throughout downtown. The stroll is back for 2020 as a safe and socially-distance experience, including family-friendly activities, window displays, photo-ops, live music, holiday shopping and appearances from beloved Santa and Mrs. Claus until Dec. 31.

Holiday strollers can pick up a downtown holiday passport filled with deals, discounts and activities for the whole month from any participating business or can print one at home. More information on the Downtown Holiday Stroll can be found here.

Luminations at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Stroll through Luminations at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center to view the botanical oasis covered in thousands of sparkling lights. The event is a one-way one-mile path through the Texas Arboretum, with select structures of Fortlandia and audio and visual art installations.

The event, taking place until Jan. 3, is taking reservations and operating at a limited capacity to ensure a safe experience. Tickets are $18 for ages over 18, $10 for ages five-seven and free for children under the age of four. More information on the Luminations at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center can be found here.

Mozart's Light Show

Mozart's Coffee Roasters are continuing their tradition with Mozart's Light Show, featuring shining light displays, live music, beverages and treats. Every show will have a live music experience, varying in musical guests. Mozart's At Your Table trays can also be preordered featuring bottomless hot chocolate and coffee, fresh-baked brownies and cookies and giant cinnamon sugar and salt pretzels.

Table reservations start at $10 per table and are available for parties of up to six people. Mozart's will be spacing tables six feet apart to ensure guest safety. Tickets and more information on Mozart's Light Show can be found here.

Christmas themed trivia nights at Pluckers Wing Bar

Melissa Skorpil

Pluckers Wing Bar is hosting two virtual Christmas themed trivia nights to kick off the holiday season. The first game night hosted by Pluckers will be a Christmas themed family trivia night held on Facebook Live at 6 p.m. Dec. 20. The kid-friendly game night will have three rounds of Christmas themed trivia and fun physical challenges for the whole family.

If you're looking for a trivia night to compete with all your friends, Pluckers is hosting its second trivia night for teams on Dec. 23 at 7:30 p.m. Round up a team of your friends to answer 10 questions in different categories. Guests will also receive a free menu item on their next order at Pluckers. You can register to participate here.

This is part of a holiday series counting down to Christmas, so make sure to visit Austonia tomorrow, as we reach seven days until Christmas.


Tito's releases (not so?) ugly sweater line for the holidays, profits to charity

Tito's Handmade Vodka

Show your love for Tito's and for the community this year with a wide selection of not that ugly, uglyish, ugly, uglier, and ugliest holiday sweaters.

There's lots choose from, and plenty of accessories like scarves and socks, plus gear for your dog, too.

All of the items can be purchased online or at the Love, Tito’s Retail Store in Austin, TX. 100% of all net proceeds from online or in-store purchases go to one of the nonprofits we’ve teamed up with.

Click here to see the entire collection in the Tito's store.

Mac and Cheese Fest and Free Art Exhibit
Waterloo Greenway, Good Vibrations Installation

🗓 All weekend

🎨 Creek Show Art Exhibit

Check out this highly anticipated art exhibition with illuminated art along Waller Creek. Tickets are free and the event includes food vendors, dazzling lights, live music, and hands-on activities

All weekend 6 p.m - 10 p.m | 📍Waterloo Park

✨ Mozart's Light Show

This iconic holiday tradition lights up for the first time this holiday season starting this weekend! Reserve your spot for an enchanting light and sound performance, delicious hot cocoa, sweet treats, and some overall fun with your friends or family. The show runs till January 6th.

6 p.m and 9 p.m | 📍Mozart's Coffee Roasters - 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

🗓 Saturday

🥊 Kickboxing in the Park

This fitness event is free and open to the public. Get your morning started right with a "Fitness in the park" class for kickboxing! The class will be led by certified instructors and is a great way to get a cardio workout in while also honing your self-defense skills.

10 a.m - 11 a.m | 📍 Metz Park

🛍 The Front Market

Support local LBGTQ+ and female artists at this outdoor market with over 150 vendors. Get your holiday shopping out of the way at this event, with vendors for food trucks, handmade goods, raffles, hands on workshops and activities, and more.

11 a.m - 5 p.m | 📍Ani's Day and Night - 7107 E Riverside Drive, Austin, TX 78741

🗓 Sunday

🧀 Mac and Cheese Fest

Did someone say cheese?! If you're like me and always willing to get your hands on a bowl of mac and cheese, then this event is for you. Check out the Mac and Cheese festival happening this weekend to decide which vendor has. the best mac and cheese for yourself, and enjoy the bar with creative cocktails while you're at it. Tickets start at $45.

11 a.m - 3 p.m | 📍Lantana Place - 7415 Southwest Parkway