An Arizona Christmas- What to do with out of town guests for the holidays


North Phoenix Moms Blog-3

For the holidays this year, we will be entertaining out-of-town guests for three out of the four weeks of December. I know… I know… but it’s not as bad as it may sound. Two of the guests are my sisters. Fortunately for me, they don’t care if the house is perfect. They just want to spend quality time with their sweet nephew. However, I do want to show them a very Merry Arizona Christmas so I have a few things planned.

First, we’ll be making a trip north to Anthem to see the tallest REAL Christmas tree in North America. Thousands of lights and ornaments the size of my little guy’s hands adorn this beautiful tree. It’s a pretty amazing sight for out-of-towners and it makes a great picture to show folks at home! The Coach outlet is also a big draw for my youngest sister. (Let’s hope she finds something she likes and I get her MK hand-me-down.)

Photo Courtesy of Outlets at Anthem Facebook Page

My son loves horses. He literally has a herd here at home and they all have names… Prickly Pete, Mr. Pony, Stickers and Outlaw to name a few. So the holidays wouldn’t be complete without a carriage ride. Luckily for us, Westgate is offering free Holiday Carriage Rides on Fridays and Saturdays through the end of the year beginning at 5pm. It’s first come first serve and they run until 9pm. If we time it right, we can catch the Snow Fall in Fountain Park at 7pm or 8pm and then grab a late dinner.

One other great place for a carriage ride is the AJ’s off of 67th and 101. Santa actually rides in the carriage with your kids so they can talk his ear off and tell them what they want for Christmas. The rides are free but don’t forget to tip because he will have certainly earned it… at least with my little guy.

Both of my sisters are excited to hike the mountains near my home. That’s one of the best parts of an Arizona Christmas… the weather is perfect and you can be outside pretty much all day long! I plan on packing some snacks and taking an ornament or two with us. At the top of Deem Hills and Thunderbird, there are a couple of trees that hikers have decorated with ornaments and solar powered lights.

Our dear friends from California will be staying with us the last week of December. They have a 4-year-old too so it may be the perfect time to head back to the Arizona Science Center for Snow Week. From December 26th through January 1st, kids will learn about the white stuff through interactive demonstrations and activities. Bring your gloves! Kids can play outside in 30 tons of snow. Now that’s definitely an Arizona Christmas when you have to truck in the snow.


Finally, if I can squeeze in one date night, I’ll be taking the hubby to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West Night Lights Tour. We’ve been wanting to visit since we moved here 8 years ago. He loves architecture so it’s the perfect Christmas present for him.

Photo Courtesy of

I’m sure we will also be sure to enjoy some sugar cookies, hot cocoa and sunset walks with our family and friends. What do you plan on doing this holiday season that can only be found in Arizona?

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The last few years have brought big changes for Emily. After spending years in high-stress, deadline-driven TV jobs in East Coast metros, family circumstances brought her and her husband Joel to the Arizona desert. Now this former news junkie is a stay-at-home mom to Miles, a fast-talking toddler with energy to spare. She spends her days teaching him about faith, letters, numbers and manners. Whenever he’s asleep she boots up the laptop to write for North Phoenix Moms Blog and other freelance gigs. Whatever spare time she has left is spent on a hike with her family or a rare date night with Joel, at the gym, coffee and dinner with friends, or in her craft room creating simple, beautiful jewelry for her online boutique, Hazel & May, and giving too many treats to her pups, Pepper and Gizmo.


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