Annual traditions you don't want to miss.

Plaza Tree Lighting

The day after Thanksgiving isn't just the first day of holiday shopping, it's also the day the Plaza is transformed into a winter wonderland with a community tree lighting. Come out before dusk and watch the lights go on. Free. Nov. 26.

Las Posadas

This traditional re-enactment of Joseph and Mary's journey in Bethlehem is as popular as the carols and hot drinks afterwards. Free. 7 pm, Dec. 12. Plaza

Winter Spanish Market***image1***

This is a great venue to pick up holiday gifts, made by traditional artisans-everything from pottery to retablos. Artists' demonstrations, music and food make this an annual favorite event. Free, 9 am-5 pm, Dec. 4. 9 am-4 pm, Dec. 5. Sweeney Center, 201 W. Marcy St.

Santa Claus and More

This Christmas event includes musical performances, cookies and Santa Claus. Donations of food for the homeless encouraged. 5:30-8 pm, Dec. 10. Palace of the Governors, 105 W. Palace Ave.

Baumann Marionettes

An unusual annual tradition featuring these marionettes,

stories and snacks for the holidays. Bring food items for The Food Depot, 1-4 pm, Dec. 19. St. Francis Auditorium, 107 W. Palace Ave.

Farolito Walk

There's no holiday tradition more beautiful than Santa Fe's annual trek through the Canyon Road area to see the houses lit up. Free. Dusk, Dec. 24

There are numerous ways to help the less fortunate during the holidays. Here are a few suggestions:

Caring Connections

Visit nursing homes and retirement communities on Christmas morning to carol and hand out handmade cards made by local children, as well as gifts. 992-1008

The Food Depot

If you make a financial contribution to this Santa Fe nonprofit, each $1 pays for enough food for six meals. You also can donate non-perishable food items or get ambitious and hold your own food drive. For hands-on volunteerism Monday through Friday, call to schedule a time to help out. 471-1633

Kitchen Angels

Volunteer for this worthy organization that helps feed a variety of Santa Feans during the time of year when everyone needs a helping hand. 471-7780

Toy Drive

Bring an unwrapped toy or school supplies by SFR's office. We will be a drop-off point for Children, Youth and Families' foster-child program. 132 E. Marcy St.