Christmas in Abilene

The calendar is already filling up with Christmas events, from The Messiah to Christmas at The Zoo. The following list will be updated continuously. To add a Christmas-related event, email details to editor@spiritofabilene.com

McMurry University lights up for Christmas. Video by Loretta Fulton

ABILENE COMMUNITY BAND CHRISTMAS CONCERT

The Abilene Community Band will present its Christmas concert at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 14, at the Paramount Theater.

Admission is free. Donations will be accepted for the band’s endowment fund. Traditional and contemporary Christmas music will be performed.

DECEMBER ARTWALK FEATURES VENDOR MARKET

Christmas will be on everyone’s mind during the Dec. 9 ArtWalk, set for 5-8 p.m. in downtown Abilene. The monthly free event celebrates Abilene’s cultural and arts’ communities. A schedule and locatons follow:

ArtWalk Artist Vendor Market at Nora Hall (202 Cypress St.)

  • seven and one books will be having a pop-up book shop from 5-8 pm and live storytimes at 5, 6, and 7pm.
  • Mary K and Anthony Huff will be doing live art pieces on stage from 5-8 pm.
  • Artist vendors will be selling their art pieces from 5-8 pm and are as follows: Felt + Whim, Ra Roots, Christi Kuppin, Chimeric Creations, Rifenburgh Gourmet Caramels, Makenzie Bierma Art, and more to come!

McKay’s Bakery (266 Cypress St.)

  • Sergio Hernandez will be doing live paintings inspired by Wayne Thiebaud from 5-8 pm with violin performances by McGlaun Violin students.

Center for Contemporary Arts (220 Cypress)

  • Frush Music Studio will have piano players playing music from 5:30-8 pm

Family Christmas Event from 5:30-8 pm: The Grace Museum (102 Cypress)

  • Enjoy a FREE holiday project-making event for the whole family during December ArtWalk!
  • Visit and take photos with Santa in The Grace Museum Lobby 6-8 pm
  • Participate in various handmade craft projects designed for families and children of all ages in the Education Classroom
  •  Enjoy a special living history event in our 3rd floor History Galleries

Free Fine Art Activities from 5-8 pm at the following Locations:

  • The NCCIL (102 Cedar St.)
  • The Abilene Public Library (202 Cedar St.)
  • Center for Contemporary Arts (220 Cypress St.)

Live Music in Minter Park

  • Musician TBD

CHORUS ABILENE CHRISTMAS CONCERT

All of the Chorus Abilene’s ensembles, as well as dancers from Dance Discovery Studios, will perform at 7 p.m. Dec. 11 in the Wylie Performning Arts Center, 4502 Antilley Road. Guest artists Patricia Vigil (soprano), Abby Alford (oboe), and Sydney Howell (harp) will perform.

SWENSON HOUSE ALL SPRUCED UP FOR CHRISTMAS

The historic Swenson House at 1726 Swenson St. will be decked out for Christmas tours Dec. 11 and Dec. 12. Hours are 1:30-5:30 p.m. both days. Cost is $10 person. Tickets may be purchased online at https://www.swenson-house.org/ or at the door.

The two-story brick home is owned and maintained by the Swenson House Historical Society. It was designed by Abilene architect William Preston for the family of William Gray & Shirley (McCollum) Swenson and was completed 1910. William Gray and Shirley Swenson met as students at Southwestern University. They married and settled in Abilene, where he had grown up.

Swenson was a first generation Swedish-American, and he was a lifelong entrepreneur and businessman in Abilene. His father Swante Johan, who died early, was a nephew of S.M. Swenson, who was the first Swedish person to come to Texas and was Secretary of State under Sam Houston.

Hardin-Simmons University Band performs “Sleigh Ride.” Video by Loretta Fulton

CLICK HERE FOR WINTER LIGHT FEST, PRESENTED BY UNITED WAY OF ABILENE

WALK TO BETHLEHEM (AT THE ZOO)

Beltway Park Church is staging its living nativity, Walk to Bethlehem, at the Abilene Zoo.

Hours are 6-8:30 p.m. Dec. 16-23. According to the church’s website, Walk to Bethlehem was voted the Number 1 attraction at the Abilene Zoo Christmas Celebration in 2020.

FIRST SUNDAY IN ADVENT

Sunday, Nov. 28, marked the first day of Advent, which is the beginning of a new liturgical year. Advent is the month-long period leading to Christmas. Many churches that follow a liturgical calendar observed the day with the lighting of the first candle in the Advent wreath or by decorating the church with greenery.

After a year’s absence, thanks to the COVID plandemic, First Central Presbyterian Church held an Advent Fair to raise money for youth missions. Children assembled Advent calendars as part of the fair. The calendars were made of toilet paper rolls stacked and glued together. The children placed a treat, like a Hershey’s Kiss, inside each roll and covered both ends with Christmas paper. Each day, one slot will be opened and the treat retrieved. Each child also received a calendar with a Bible verse to be read for each day in December.

CHRISTMAS IN THE ALDERSGATE GARDEN

Aldersgate United Methodist Church’s Open Door Community Garden, on the corner of S. 19th and Amarillo streets, will turn into a Christmas playground, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 5.

The evening, topped with a tree lighting, is billed as “A Family Fun Night at the Garden.” Everyone is invited to bring a lawn chair, blanket, and picnic basket. And, wear your best ugly Christmas sweater for a contest. Hot cocoa and cookies will be served. A Christmas movie will be shown.

JACOB MARLEY’S CHRISTMAS CAROL

A year after being postponed due to COVID, “Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol” will be presented over two weekends at Abilene Community Theater.

A synopsis on the ACT website describes the play as follows: “Desperate and locked in a torment of his own creation, Marley gets one chance for redemption: he must redeem his former partner, Ebenezer Scrooge.”

The play is directed by Mike Stephens and will run for a total of six nights, beginning Thursday, Dec. 2. Performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 2-4 and Dec. 9-11. Go to https://www.abilenecommunitytheatre.org/ for tickets and further information.

Hardin-Simmons University Choir performs Dec. 2. Video by Loretta Fulton

ACU PRESENTS CHRISTMAS VESPERS SERVICE

 The Abilene Christian University Department of Music will present Christmas vespers, “What Sweeter Music,” at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5 at First Baptist Church, 1333 N. Third St. The live performance returns a year after a virtual service was presented. Admission is free. The program is under the direction of Dr. Jeff Goolsby, Director of Choral Activities at ACU.

NIGHT SHIFT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

Pioneer Drive Baptist Church has several music events scheduled leading up to Christmas. First up is “Night Shift Before Christmas.”

The program will be presented by the children’s choirs at 6 p.m. Dec. in the sanctuary.

CHRISTMAS LANE

The annual Christmas Lane, with more than 120 outdoor displays, will be open from Dec. 6 through Dec. 26 on the campus of Abilene State Supported Living Center, 2501 Maple St. Hours are 6-10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 6-9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays. Admission is free.

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS PARADE

The 33rd anual Christmas Lighrs Parade begins at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 30, in downtown Abilene. The Abilene Community Band will perform a free concert in front of the Paramount Theater at 5:30 p.m.

Theme for the evening is “Christmas Memories.” Vendors and live music will add to the Christmas atmosphere.

ABILENE PHILHARMONIC CHRISTMAS CONCERT

The Abilene Philharmonic will present “Christmas Movie Magic” at 3 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 4 at the Abilene Convention Center, 1100 N. Sixth St. The earlier matinee showing will be shorter with no intermission.For tickets or information, go to abilenephilharmonic.org.

WINTER LIGHTFEST CONTINUES THROUGH DEC. 26

The 2021 Winter Lightfest, a visual feast sponsored by the United Way of Abilene, is open Fridays through Sundays Dec. 3-5, 10-12, and 17-19. It will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but will be open Dec. 20-23 and Dec. 26. Hours are 6-10 p.m., with the last entry granted at 9 p.m. The parking lot opens at 5:30 p.m. Order tickets online. Tickets are good for any night the park is open.

One comment

  • I hope all these observances remind us to slow down, think, appreciate, and meditate on the importance of our relationships–to God and others.

    Like

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