December in Austin: Trail of LIghts, Holiday Sing-Along and New Years Parties

December arrives in Austin. And, while it may occasionally be chilly, there are many reasons to get out and about and celebrate the holidays.

The city is home to dozens of Christmas celebrations, performances and fundraisers. And there are a few time-honored traditions to dig into, such as the beautiful Austin Trail of Lights and Ballet Austin’s performance of The Nutcracker.

So pull out that calendar and start planning for a fantastic December.

December Events

Dec. 2: It’s the giving season, and nothing seems to capture it quite like #GivingTuesday. GivingCity Austin’s Pop-Up Toy Drive is an opportunity to help people in need have a happy holiday. And, yes, there’s food and beer to reward that generosity.

When: 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Where: Toy Joy, 403 W. 2nd St.

More information
Dec. 6: If you like to go Christmas caroling, this is pretty much the Super Bowl. The Holiday Sing-Along & Downtown Stroll brings together hundreds of people to carol in front of the Capitol during the annual tree-lighting. Then it’s on down Congress Avenue for more festivities.

When: 6 p.m.

Where: Texas State Capitol

More information
Dec. 6-23: Sometimes traditions are just the thing. Ballet Austin and the Austin Symphony Orchestra join forces in the 52nd annual presentation of The Nutcracker at The Long Center. Tickets range from $15 to $84.

When: Shows start at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Where: The Long Center, 701 West Riverside

More information
Dec. 7-21: Get your Christmas lights fix, a little exercise in the great outdoors and a cup of hot coco. It all happens at Zilker Park during the annual Austin Trail of Lights. It can get crowded, but the impressive light displays and festive community vibe make it a blast for the family. This 50-year-old tradition is free Monday-Thursday. Tickets are $3 each on the weekends.

When: Gates open at 7 p.m. nightly

Where: Zilker Park, 2100 Barton Springs Rd

More information
Dec. 16-24: Find that unique artistic gift you’ve been hunting for at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar. There are thousands of handmade arts and crafts, including fine art. And, if shopping isn’t your thing, there’s plenty of music and a bar.

When: 11 a.m – 11 p.m. daily

Where: Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Rd.

More information
Dec. 31: Adios 2014! Get ready to ring in 2015 at Austin’s New Year, a family-friendly, alcohol-free event packed with entertainers, music and other performances. Plus, there’s fireworks!

When: 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Where: Butler Park, 1000 Barton Springs Rd.

More information