Glad Tidings: The Holidays in Palm Springs - Visit Palm Springs tag-img

Glad Tidings: The Holidays in Palm Springs


It’s the most wonderful time of the year… except for the long lines, sold-out items, delivery delays and general holiday chaos. But before you hit the eggnog (hard) in distress, let’s reconsider our seasonal strategy, shall we?

The bad news: if you’re looking for traditional, cookie-cutter gifts, you might be running out of time.

The great news: time itself is the ultimate present. Share your schedule with that special someone and sync up with all of the amazing shopping and events happening in Palm Springs.


Annual Holiday Happenings

Kick off the season and kick up your heels, because mirth is on the move! The Palm Springs Festival of Lights Parade is marching its way along Palm Canyon Drive in early December to brighten up your mood. Elaborate floats mingle with underrated community displays, harmonizing in a caravan of togetherness. All eyes are on the best fest in the west, which is why the Festival of Lights has earned its spot among the most praiseworthy holiday displays in the country. It truly glows beyond the borders of Coachella Valley!

palm springs festival of lights parade

Even after the last float sets sail, Palm Canyon continues to be the epicenter of excellent events. Every Thursday night, VillageFest welcomes local vendors who are overflowing with Christmas cheer. Stock up on tasty treats and artistic keepsakes, all amidst the sprawling crispness of a temperate desert evening. Browse everything from house wares to resort wear and drink in the spirit of the season (and enjoy some actual spirits while you’re here)!


If family fun is at the top of your wish list, take a soul-satisfying safari to The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens. From November through the end of the year, their habitat illuminates in a WildLights display that will dazzle the most diehard decoration hounds. While you’re there, experience the new rhino exhibit. It’s a tusk-see event! Talk about a horn of plenty.

WildLights photo

Ho, Ho, Ho and Away we go…   Each evening, Dec. 18 – 22, Santa Claus will arrive at the Palm Springs Air Museum to greet all the good little girls and boys who have come to see him! This is a Drive Through Event on the Tarmac with a Christmas light spectacular for children young and old to enjoy. A goody bag filled with holiday treats for each car.

Santa-fly in at Palm Spings Air Museum x1500

All these puns might earn us a stocking full of coal. Let’s move on…

Entertainment for All, and to All a Good Night!

Timelessness waltzes with timely entertainment at the Purple Room. Whether it’s Judy’s boozy antics, Elvis jingling his hips, or jazz arrangements in the key of yuletide, this is a dashing destination. Every year, the Purple Room’s holiday roster boasts an array of classic crooners and throwback allure, but be sure to book your seats early because this Rat Pack mainstay is mega popular! Judy’s Old Fashioned Christmas runs Nov. 28 – Dec. 17.

judy show at purple room

Desert Rose Playhouse is living proof that the art of acting is reacting. They pivoted from the pandemic doldrums to create a calendar of crowd pleasers, and this season is no exception. Christmas with the Crawfords promises to be an irreverent paean to Hollywood excess, so bust out the wire hangers and get hooked!

Christmas wit the Crawfords

You should also try your luck at Agua Caliente Casino, where the festivities are ho-ho-hopping. This year, the theme is Christmas in New Orleans, so let the good times roll well into 2022. Every season offers new opportunities for fantastic shows and unparalleled hospitality. Check in and rock out!

agua caliente casino christmas show

Our hometown is the capital of cool throughout the year, but its spotlight shines especially bright during the winter months. Speaking of Shine, that’s the theme of this season’s Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus lineup. Their annual Christmas concert is an evergreen treat, so raise your voice and order your tickets now for the Sparkle, Twinkle, Jingle! holiday show playing at the Annenberg Theater.

The Nutcracker, presented by the KC Dance Company , is also playing at the Annenberg Theater Dec. 21 – 22.

nutcracker at annenburg theater

Special Christmas Day screening of the 1954 holiday musical classic “White Christmas” will take place at 7 pm at the Palm Springs Cultural Center.

Feast on Festiveness

You must explore PS Underground, the experiential maestros of mischief and mmmarvelous sensory events. Their foodie fare evolves alongside the top-notch shows swirling around each course, so make this an annual outing for you and your crew. Holiday Havoc runs Dec. 10 – 11 and is presented by Santa’s Elves. Sparkle is Dec. 17 and celebrates holiday traditions from around the world.

Give the Gift of Experiences

As you check off the loved ones on your shopping list, think outside the gift box. Quality time is the reason for the season, so consider scheduling a uniquely Palm Springs excursion for the whole gang!

For example, Escape Room provides a gamified getaway for the sleuths in your life. Choose from six intricate puzzle narratives and work together to beat the clock and win the holiday! Gift Certificate

escape room

Attention, adventure seekers: our fair city offers guided expeditions for every appetite. Architect aficionados will discover nirvana behind every bespoke door on the tour. As you emerge from each midcentury masterpiece, look up to the signature structures that power the Valley: Windmill Tours can give you a front-row view of the iconic devices that define our desert landscape.  Book A Tour / Gift Card

Perhaps steel horses are more your speed? Big Wheel Tours puts some vroom in your voyage, whisking you and your loved ones safely through the tough terrain surrounding our serene berg. Gift Card

Explore Palm Spring’s cultural heritage by visiting Indian Canyons.  Gift tickets good for one year.


No matter how hectic your holidays might be, you should always leave room for play. Block off a day, a weekend or a lifetime and fill your calendar with love. We’ll see you out and about, so give us a shout!

 Written By Kevin Perry

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