It’s the time of year when Aspen shines and sparkles with a radiance that comes from twinkling lights, fresh white snow and a healthy dose of cheer. Aspenites have been reveling in the wonderful early season snowfall and prepping town for the busy, festive and fun 2013 holiday season. Aspen’s annual homage to the holidays, the 12 Days of Aspen, begins on Friday, December 20 for almost 2 weeks of creative activities to make this an incredibly special holiday in Aspen. Here’s a rundown of the highlights of this year’s 12 Days celebration, for kids, adults or the whole family, and what you don’t want to miss in Aspen the next 2 weeks…
Friday, December 20
The 12 Days of Aspen Kick-Off Ice Skating Party gets things shaking with DJ Trizz at the Silver Circle ice rink from 2-4pm. Come after school or after your ski day for this free family skate to celebrate the start of the festivities! From 3-5pm, kids partner with the Aspen Art Museum and Mrs. Claus for a holiday art workshop at the Limelight Hotel. Grown ups can choose from to 2 stellar options for live music: Stacey Kent at the JAS Café and local band Jes Grew at Bellyup Aspen.
Saturday, December 21
The exciting action of the World Snow Polo Championships (December 21-22) and the legendary songwriter Burt Bachrach (at the grand re-opening of the Wheeler Opera House) both grace the Aspen calendar today. Families will also enjoy a long afternoon of free, pre-Christmas activities; Free Cookies & Cocoa with the Aspen Police Department from 2-4, Santa at the Aspen Rec Center from 5-7, and the wonderful voices of the Local Vocal’s Victorian Carolers at the Hotel Jerome at 6pm.
Sunday, December 22
Teens will love a big-kid craft just for them: free gingerbread house making for teens at noon. Later on visit the Cooper Avenue Fire Pit for a free concert by local songstresses The Harmony Sisters. At 5pm, Santa and his Reindeer stop by the base of Ajax in the Little Nell’s courtyard to conduct the tree lighting celebration, followed by an Ugly Sweater Party inside the hotel.
Monday, December 23
Listen to Christmas stories and carols at Teddy Bear Story Hour; Make Your Own S’Mores with Santa’s Elves by the Cooper Ave Fire Pit; and make and decorate holiday ornaments at a kid-friendly winter craft session….all these kid-centric fun activities are a prefect way to wind down after a fabulous day on Aspen Mountain!
Tuesday, December 24
It’s all about getting ready for Santa on this special Christmas Eve Day….get ready with a rendition of the classic Twas the Night Before Christmas, read by non other than Santa himself! The event takes place at the St. Regis Hotel from 3-5pm and is open to the community. Be sure to bring your camera to snap a photo with Santa after storytime! Several restaurants in town will celebrate Christmas Eve with a special dinner with kid-friendly menus.
Wednesday, December 25
Santa appears once again for an all-afternoon Christmas Brunch from 12-5 at the St. Regis. Wrap up your Christmas Day activities with a hilarious, Christmas-themed cabaret by The Crystal Palace Review at the Wheeler Opera House. There are 2 shows at 5:30pm and 8:30pm, compete with a champagne toast!
Thursday, December 26
It’s National Candy Cane Day, and Aspen will celebrate it with flying colors beginning with free Hot Chocolate, Cookies and Candy Canes at the Cooper Avenue Fire Pit! Afterward, bring the whole family to the ACES Apres-Ski Holiday Open House to celebrate with festive kids activities, food and drink while enjoying the beautiful setting of Hallam Lake in downtown Aspen; 3:30pm-6:30pm.
Friday, December 27
From 5:30pm-7:30pm, the legendary Elk Mountain Rescue dogs, who assist local rescue crews in saving lives in the wilderness, are the center of attention at a canine meet-and-greet in “Santa’s Living Room” at the St. Regis.
Saturday, December 28
It’s the event of the year and the place to see and be seen….The annual Aspen Art Museum Winter Freestyle Winter Benefit- a champagne and caviar-infused fashion show extravaganza to benefit Aspen’s beloved Aspen Art Museum- will be held 4:30-7:30pm at the St. Regis. Later that evening don’t miss the smooth rhythms of the Gypsy Allstars for 2 shows at the JAS Café Downstairs.
Sunday, December 29
More free family activities are on tap today, including a clown-themed face painting session at the Cooper Fire Pit from 12-2pm, and a free, old-fashioned wintry sing-a-long with Cantor Rollin Simmons at the Pitkin County Library at 4pm.
Monday, December 30
Another fun, big benefit day for Aspen, December 30 is the annual Ajax Cup to benefit the Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club. Watch celebrities and ski legends compete head to head in a dual slalom on Ajax Mountain beginning at 9:30am. An après-ski party follows at 3:30 for guests. Other free activities are on the roster as well, including a snowy story hour at 10:30 am at the Library and a 2pm show by the Aspen Skating Club at the Silver Circle Ice Rink.
Tuesday, December 31
New Year’s Eve goes off with a bang beginning with fireworks over Aspen mountain at 8pm and 12am, and a free DJ party with a bonfire at Wagner Park from 8pm-12am. Several area restaurants and hotels present themed New Year’s fun, including the Masquerade at the Sky Hotel.
It’s going to be a wonderful 12 days in Aspen this holiday season- for a full list of events and schedule, please visit the Aspen Chamber website. Happy Holidays from Hotel Aspen!