Christmas in Carefree Ushers in Holiday Season


The Carefree Desert Gardens illuminated for visitors to the Christmas in Carefree celebrations. Photo: Herbert Hitchon

Christmas in Carefree returns to the Carefree Desert Gardens, with holiday-themed events and special celebrations designed to welcome the spirit of the season.

This year’s official Holiday Tree Lighting will take place Friday, Dec. 6, at 5pm in the Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion and at the iconic Carefree Sundial. The giant 25-foot Christmas tree and the Gardens will be illuminated for the first time during the holiday season with thousands of twinkling lights sparkling throughout the desert landscape. The ceremony will include a performance by various Cave Creek Unified School District student choirs, and Santa himself will handle the tree lighting duties. Following the tree lighting, a special screening of the popular holiday film Elf will be held in the Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion. Free hot chocolate and holiday treats will be available, along with snacks for purchase, and a holiday gift will be distributed to each child/family in attendance.

Santa makes another appearance in town Breakfast with Santa Saturday, Dec. 7, from 9am to 11am, in the Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion. Held in conjunction with Rural Metro Fire’s Holiday Toy Drive, attendees may bring a new toy, canned good or suggested donation of $5 per person for admission, with proceeds benefiting Foothills Food Bank. Enjoy free photos with Santa and a performance of Sing! Sleigh Bells Ring!, a holiday celebration in song featuring talented area youth.

The Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion will resonate with an evening of classic Christmas tunes, harmonies and holly-jolly jazz favorites when area favorites Vicki McDermitt and Chirp, featuring Jerry Donato, take the stage Saturday, Dec. 7, at 6pm. Presented in partnership with Spirit in the Desert and Music Serving the Word Ministries, the evening’s entertainment will be preceded with a performance of holiday favorites from the Cactus Shadows High School Jazz Band, directed by Kevin Brady. Music Serving the Word will be accepting non-perishable food donations, benefiting Foothills Food Bank. This concert is open to the public, and free to attend.

Rounding out the weekend, Pinnacle Creative Arts presents Hope for the Holidays — A WWII Christmas, Sunday, Dec. 8, at 2:30pm in the Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion. Step back in time to Christmas Eve 1944 and experience a serviceman’s holiday celebration. Tickets are $15, and available online at www.pinnaclecreativearts.com as well as at the door.

Congregants from Temple Chai, as well as members of the Jewish Social Group of Cave Creek and Carefree, will host the annual Chanukah in Carefree Menorah Lighting every evening at 5:30pm, beginning Sunday, Dec. 22, through Sunday, Dec. 29, in the Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion. Local groups and families will be invited to light the menorah each evening, with a special ceremony Sunday, Dec. 22, that will include the Temple Chai cantor and choir. Each evening’s service is open to attendees of all denominations and faiths.

For more information about these events, visit www.christmasincarefree.com or call 480.488.3686.

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