Magic at the Mill

‘Tis the season for festive lights, cozy cuisine and holiday markets

Deck the halls, stuff the stockings and join in on Yuletide fun near Salem, Oregon, this December!  
1. 41st annual Silver Falls Christmas Festival 
Make a wreath, build a gingerbread house or take a winter hike at the Silver Falls Christmas Festival on Dec. 8 in Silverton, Oregon. Festivalgoers will also enjoy live music, holiday lights and a visit with Santa Claus.  
2. “A Children’s Nutcracker” 
See the American Ballet Academy perform “A Children’s Nutcracker,” featuring beautiful dancing and colorful costumes, at Salem’s Elsinore Theatre on Dec. 8-9. Tickets are required.  
3. “A Christmas Story - The Musical” 
The Elsinore Theatre will also host performances of “A Christmas Story – The Musical” on Dec. 20-23. Tickets are required.  
4. “A Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas” by Aumsville Community Theatre 
The Aumsville Community Theatre is performing “A Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas,” a story that celebrates the importance of family bonds, on select dates through Dec. 16. The performances will be held at Rising Star Studios in Stayton, Oregon.   
5. “A Tuna Christmas” 
“A Tuna Christmas” is a hilarious tale that follows news personalities as they report on the Yuletide activities of a small Texas town. See the Enlightened Theatrics’ performance Dec. 12-30 at Salem’s Historic Grand Theatre. Tickets are required.  
6. Arcane Cellars Holiday Chocolate and Wine Pairing  
Celebrate the season at the Arcane Cellars’ Holiday Chocolate and Wine Pairing, in Salem, on Dec. 2. There will be wine and chocolate pairings, Christmas plays, handmade gifts for sale and live entertainment. 
7. Aurora Wine and Chocolate Walk 
Grab a passport and take a tour of historic Aurora, Oregon, on Dec. 1-2. The passport will take you to several businesses throughout town, where you’ll be able to taste local wines and artisan chocolates.  

8. Bjornson Vineyard Art and Craft Show 
Shop for the holidays, support local artists and sip wine at the Bjornson Vineyard Art and Craft Show on Dec. 8. The vineyard is located in Salem. Admission is free.   
9. Bush Barn Art Center Holiday Showcase
Buy art, including jewelry, textiles and greeting cards, from regional artisans at the Bush Barn Art Center’s Holiday Showcase. The shop is open through Dec. 23 in Salem. 

10. Capitol City Classic  
The Capitol City Classic returns for its fourth year Dec. 18-22 at Willamette University in Salem. The holiday invitational basketball tournament will showcase 16 high school teams. There will also be a three-point shooting contest and dunk contest.  
11. Christmas in Hudson Hall 
Slow down and focus on the spirit of the holiday season with an evening of choral singing and audience carols Dec. 6-7. Hudson Hall, located at Willamette University, will be decorated for the season. Tickets are required.  
12. Christmas in the Garden 
The Oregon Garden, in Silverton, will boast more than one million Christmas lights this holiday season. This award-winning event will also feature ice skating, a traditional German Christmas Market, snowless tubing, festive music, photos with Santa Claus and holiday treats throughout the month of December. 

13. Colony Candlelight Tour 
Go back in time as you are led through an 1878 version of an Aurora Christmas. This lantern-lit experience on Dec. 1 will take you on a tour of the Old Aurora Colony Museum, as lifelike scenes play out in each building. Tickets are required.  
14. Court-Chemeketa Historic District Holiday Open House 
Thirteen homes from the Court-Chemeketa Historic District, in Salem, will open their doors to the public for one day on Dec. 9 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. This includes the Waller-Chamberlain House, the Presbyterian Manse and the Queen Anne/Eastlake William H. Byrd House, which is undergoing a restoration and will give guests an inside look into the progress. The event is free, however, visitors are asked to bring food or monetary donations to St. John Lutheran Church or Court St. Christian Church, where you will receive a map of participating homes, for the Marion-Polk Food Share. 
15. Dallas Cinema Holiday Movie 
The Dallas Cinema will show the holiday classic “A Miracle on 34th Street” on Dec. 8. Admission is $1 or one can of food for donation.  
16. Dallas Winterfest
Historic downtown Dallas, Oregon, will host Winterfest on Dec. 7. There will be live music, food trucks, sing-alongs, shopping, refreshments and, of course, Santa. 

17. Free Carousel Rides 
On Christmas Day, enjoy free, unlimited carousel rides at Salem’s Riverfront Carousel. Please consider bringing non-perishable or canned foods to donate to the Marion-Polk Food Share. 
18. Hazelnut Fest 
The annual Hazelnut Fest in Mt. Angel, Oregon, is Dec. 1-2. This German-style holiday market showcases regional arts and crafts, Oregon wineries and breweries and foods that feature hazelnuts. 
19. Holiday Open Museums 
The Bush House Museum and Deepwood Museum & Gardens, in Salem, will offer free admission on Dec. 2 and Dec. 9. Adorned in holiday decorations, the historic homes will offer live music, self-guided tours and histories of holiday traditions.  
20. Holidays at the Capitol 
Celebrate the holidays at the Oregon State Capitol in Salem. The Capitol will host free musical performances and festive decorations in the Rotunda through December 21. 

21. Holiday Shopping 
Find the perfect gifts for your loved ones at the area’s three major shopping centers. Salem Center and Willamette Town Center are both located in Salem and are in close proximity to other downtown retail stores. Woodburn Premium Outlets is located 25 minutes from Salem and boasts more than 100 stores.

22. Holiday Tree Lighting Events 
Head to Walery Plaza in Keizer, Oregon, on Dec. 4 for the community tree lighting. Santa Claus will make an appearance to help light the tree. In Silverton, Santa will sprinkle magic dust to light the Christmas tree on Dec. 7.  
23. Keizer Holiday Lights Parade 
Celebrate the holiday season in Keizer as River Road transforms into “Christmas in Candyland” on Dec. 8. The road will be lit with many colorful and festive floats.   
24. Keizer Jingle Dash 5K 
Keizer will host a 5K run/walk on Dec. 8. Participants are asked to dress in their best holiday outfits and costumes. Registration is required.  
25. Magic at the Mill 
Attendees can appreciate the beauty and history of the Willamette Heritage Center, in Salem, during its annual holiday lights display Dec. 19-23. The event will feature children’s activities, thousands of twinkling lights, tours of historic buildings, demonstrations, seasonal treats and shopping. Tickets are required.  

26. Menorah Lighting 
Salem’s third annual Menorah Lighting will take place at Mirror Park on Dec. 2. This year, the lighting will be dedicated to the 11 victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting.  
27. Newell Pioneer Village Candlelight Tour 
Newell Pioneer Village, in St. Paul, Oregon, will come alive on Dec. 1 with costumed interpreters. Partake in holiday activities, listen to music and stories and enjoy snacks throughout the village. 
28. Noon Year’s Eve 
Children can ring in the new year during the day at the Gilbert House Children’s Museum, in Salem, on Dec. 31. There will be a balloon drop, crafts and activities!  
29. Pajama Party with Santa and Friends 
Visit with Santa and friends in the comfort of your pajamas at Salem’s Riverfront Carousel on Dec. 21 and Dec. 22. There will be unlimited carousel rides, a keepsake craft and snacks. Tickets are $20 per person and reservations are required.  
30. Salem Ale Works Local Makers Fest 
Drink beer, eat food and shop for holiday gifts at Salem Ale Works on Dec. 15. The brewery will host eight local businesses, who will be selling home décor, clothing and organic, handmade soap.  
31. Salem Etsy 2018 Holiday Handmade & Vintage Market 
In need of unique Christmas gifts? Make your way to the Salem Etsy Holiday Market at the Oregon State Fairgrounds on Dec. 1, where you can browse more than 140 vendor booths for jewelry, décor, baked goods, vintage items and more. The first 100 shoppers will take home a free swag bag! Admission is free.  
32. Salem Holiday Market 
The Oregon State Fairgrounds will host the Salem Holiday Market on Dec. 7-9. More than 250 artisans will sell handmade and homegrown products. The market will also have holiday contests, children’s activities, entertainment and door prizes. 
33. Salem on Ice 
Salem on Ice, downtown Salem’s seasonal, outdoor ice skating rink, is open every day through Jan. 21 at Riverfront Park. The rink will offer extended hours on Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Year’s Eve.  

34. Sing We Now of Christmas 
Celebrate the season Dec. 23 at Salem’s Elsinore Theatre with traditional carols performed by an ensemble dressed in Victorian costume. The audience can participate in sing-along carols and a special story for children. 
35. “Something Red” 2018 
 “Something Red” is an art walk to highlight the holiday season in downtown Salem. Works of art, all featuring the color red, will be displayed in local businesses. There will be a reception and awards ceremony on Dec. 5 at Elsinore Framing and Fine Art Gallery. 
36. Stayton’s Holiday Kickoff 
Star Cinema, in Stayton, Oregon, will show “Miracle on 34th Street” on Dec. 8. Afterwards, there will be Christmas carols and a community tree lighting. Admission is $1 or a canned food donation.  
37. Theatre 33’s “A Christmas Carol, A 1940’s Radio Show” 
Four actors bring dozens of Charles Dickens’ characters to life in this hilarious adaptation of “A Christmas Carol.” Catch the show on select dates between Dec. 15-20 at Willamette University. Tickets are required.  
38. The Fanciest 5K. Ever. 
The Fanciest 5K. Ever. is a recreational, fun, community race where everyone participating runs in formal wear. Dresses, tuxedos, bow ties, top hats, tiaras, all the glitz and glam—but on the run! The race is Dec. 29 at Courthouse Fitness in West Salem.  
39. Ugly Sweater Contest Holiday Party 
Don your ugliest ugly sweater at Brooks Winery, in Amity, Oregon, on Dec. 21. There will also be a white elephant gift exchange. Admission is free.  
40. Wednesday Film Series: “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” and “Home Alone” 
Join the Elsinore Theatre, in downtown Salem, for showings of two holiday favorites this month. The theatre will show “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” on Dec. 5 and “Home Alone” on Dec. 12. Tickets are $6 per person.

41. Willamette Art Center Holiday Pottery Sale
Find mugs, plates, sculptures, jewelry and more, all made from clay, on sale at the Willamette Art Center Holiday Pottery Sale on Dec. 1-2 at the Oregon State Fairgrounds. You’ll even be able to meet some of the artists. 

42. Winter Solstice Illuminata Regatta 
Salem’s 14th annual Winter Solstice Illuminata Regatta is Dec. 15 at Riverfront Park. Decorate your kayak, canoe or dragon boat to join in on the fun.  
To plan your trip to the Salem area, click here