Breckenridge Vacation Guide: Why Visit Breckenridge in December

Seasons: Holidays

Breckenridge in December is like stepping into a real-life snow globe. Sparkling holiday lights and glittering snowflakes are enough to make any Grinch believe again. The entire month is filled with special events, holiday celebrations and plenty of reasons to head outside so be sure to mark your calendars for a December trip to Breckenridge this winter!

Breckenridge in December: Events

Breckenridge Lighting of the Trees Christmas holiday tradition.
The entire town converges onto the Blue River Plaza to witness the Lighting of Breckenridge.

It’s a truly magical time of the year. Here’s a lineup of the signature events:

The Lighting of Breckenridge and the Race of the Santas

  • The holiday kickoff event typically falls on the first weekend in December and features hundreds of Santas racing down Main Street with milk and cookie “aid” stations followed by caroling, the official lighting up of the holiday lights in Blue River Plaza and throughout town and visits with Santa. This event is perfect for the whole family and includes a Holiday Dog Parade for your furry friends and a Reindeer Run for kids 12 and under.   Everyone will enjoy seeing Santa’s early visit to Breckenridge to light the town tree and the holiday spirit.
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Dew Tour

  • The annual winter Dew Tour ski and snowboard competition and festival will return to Breckenridge, Colo. December 13-16, 2018. The four-day event includes the world’s best male and female skiers and snowboarders competing in individual Halfpipe and Slopestyle competitions, Dew Tour’s signature Team Challenge and Streetstyle competitions and a calendar of fan-based activities. Watch the world’s top athletes compete and catch live performances that include The Motet and Gramatik.
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  • Snowboarder Catching Air on Breckenridge Dew Tour's Super Pipe
    Local pro halfpipe rider and Olympian, Arielle Gold, sends it out of the pipe at Dew Tour.

Don’t miss out on seeing the Super Pipe snowboarders catching air!

Handmade Holiday Market

  • Head to Breckenridge for Handmade Holiday, December 8-9th! Meet local artists, tour the Breckenridge Arts District, shop for hand crafted holiday gifts or sign up for a class and make your own handmade items. This open house event in downtown Breckenridge coincides with the Lighting of Breckenridge, Holiday Dog Parade and Race of the Santas, all on December 8th.

New Year’s Eve

  • Ring in the New Year with a bang and a boom. Breckenridge hosts an on-mountain Torchlight Parade followed by a dazzling fireworks display (weather permitting). Continue the celebration at one of Breckenridge’s 80+ bars and restaurants.
New Years Eve fireworks in the sky above downtown Breckenridge
Breckenridge is one of the most energetic mountain towns in the United States.

Get in the Holiday Spirit

There’s nothing better than a white Christmas filled with lights and holiday cheer. Join us in our own little winter wonderland to see what Breckenridge has in store this holiday season.

If you’re not here during the Lighting of Breck, have no fear! The lights are up throughout the rest of the Holiday season, perfect for a romantic stroll down Main St. If you’re looking for fun for the whole family, don’t miss the chance to paint your own Christmas ornaments at Ready, Paint, Fire! If painting’s not your thing, shop at The Christmas Store, open year-round, to stock up on decor and gifts for everyone on your list.

After a fun day on the slopes or out on the town, bring the whole family to see “A Christmas Story” live, presented by the Breckenridge Backstage Theatre, or head to the Speakeasy movie theatre for a fun Christmas film.

Santa is stopping by the Stephen C. West Ice Arena to see all the good boys and girls before he heads back to the workshop. Come take a spin on the ice with Santa on Christmas Eve from 1:00pm-3:00pm!

Many restaurants in Breckenridge provide holiday dining with special promotions, but be sure to make reservations as spots fill up quick!

As far as church services, you can attend a Christmas Eve service at one of Breckenridge’s beautiful historic churches. Father Dyer Methodist Church offers a family service at 3:00 and four candlelight services throughout the evening. St. John’s Episcopal Church offers a children’s pageant and sermon at 4:00, and three other services throughout the evening. On Christmas day they offer a 10:00 am service with guitar-led carols, which tends to be less crowded than their Christmas eve services.  The Catholic church usually hosts masses at 4:00 and 6:00pm at the Riverwalk Center, and St. Mary’s will host a mass at 9:00pm at the church.

December Activities

Breckenridge is an outdoor paradise in the winter making December one of the best times to visit.  The ample amounts of snow mean there are tons of great activities to enjoy.  From days on the mountain to one of a kind experiences, there is plenty to do.  If you are looking to fully embrace the holiday spirit, fill your vacation with classic holiday activities.

Check out more winter activities here.

Tips For Visiting in December

Weather & Layers

It’s winter in Breckenridge so be prepared to dress in layers and waterproof gear.   You’ll also want to bring sunglasses, googles and sunscreen because with 300 days of annual sunshine, you’re bound to catch more than a few rays.  Know the forecast and when the next powder day is expected by checking the locals favorite weather forecasts, On the Snow and Open Snow.

Plan Ahead

During the last two weeks of December, the key to success is to plan ahead.  It’s one of the busiest times of the year and some of the most popular activities will sell out.  Make reservations as far ahead as possible, especially for any guided tour that has limited space (dog sledding, snowmobiling, guided fly fishing).  If you are going skiing or snowboarding, buy your lift tickets at least 7 days in advance for the biggest savings, pick-up rental gear the night before heading out and book any ski lessons online ahead of time.  These tips will save you money and tons of time in the morning.

Dinner Reservations
Many of Breckenridge’s nicer restaurants are on OpenTable we suggest booking a month or more in advance during this timeframe.  If you are going to a restaurant that doesn’t accept reservations plan to arrive an hour earlier than normal and expect a wait. Most restaurants have buzzers so you can check-in and stroll town until a table opens up.  If you are looking for holiday reservations, our Holiday Dining Guide is the best source of who is offering what.  Book as far ahead as possible as space is limited.  The local grocery stores offer holiday dinners for pick-up if you are looking for a stay-in option with minimum prep.

By Breck Editorial

The Breckenridge Tourism Office works to enhance and promote the unique character and experience of Breckenridge as a world-renowned destination resort and to represent, serve and perpetuate the common interest and character of its membership and community.

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