Enjoy Holiday Magic in Calaveras – Open Houses & More

Imagine stepping into a Norman Rockwell painting for the holidays. That's the kind of magic we offer up here in Calaveras County when our small-towns are illuminated by fairy lights, parades and Christmas-tree lightings.

Holiday magic in Calaveras means you’ll be singing along with carolers, enjoying street musicians, munching on free goodies from downtown businesses and warming up with wine strolls. To top it all off, we’ve even got chestnuts roasting on an open fire. And it’s all happening over the next several weekends from Thanksgiving weekend through to New Year. Read on for details.

Happy Holidays! Find what’s happening today, or on the day of your trip on our on-line calendar of events here.

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Annual Angels Camp Gold Country Christmas – Lighted Parade & Wine Hop – Saturday Nov. 24th

The weekend of Thanksgiving brings the beloved annual Angels Camp Christmas Lighted Parade & Wine Hop taking place on Saturday November 24th goes from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Caroling in historic downtown Angels Camp begins at 4:00 pm, serenading the lighting of the Christmas tree. Next up is the Parade of Lights beginning at 5:00 pm through historic downtown where locals and visitors alike line this classic Gold Rush street to enjoy the pretty sights. After the parade, little ones will have a chance to meet and greet Santa Claus.

Angels Camp downtown holiday season | Lisa Boulton

Historic downtown Angels Camp in holiday finery | Lisa Boulton

Looking to taste a little Calaveras holiday hygge? Beginning at 4pm, warm your heart with a taste of Calaveras with the Angels Camp Wine Hop, featuring wine poured by various downtown businesses with the purchase of a $10 commemorative glass.

Enjoy shopping in historic downtown Angels Camp, before and after the festivities. During and after the event, Main Street merchants serve up treats, discounts on merchandise and wine tasting. Check out the 2018 Calaveras Holiday Shopping Guide for suggestions. Food trucks will be selling delicious eats, hot chocolate and other toasty goodies for an evening’s entertainment of carols. It’s the kind of classic, small-town-America-celebration that will warm your heart and jump start your holiday spirit.

Calaveras Events Calendar

Angels Camp Christmas Parade | Lisa Boulton

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Old Fashioned Holiday, Copperopolis Town Square – Friday & Saturday Nov. 23rd and 24th

Taking place annually the weekend of Thanksgiving weekend, you can’t get much more old-time-Americana than horse-drawn carriage rides around the square. Copperopolis Town Square’s Old Fashioned Holiday free annual event offers that and much more. For one thing, those free carriage rides feature a special guest you’ll love to ride with… good old Santa Claus himself. He and Mrs. Claus are happy to feature in your photos of you and your family.

Holiday Magic in Calaveras: Santa at Copperopolis Town Square | Charity Maness

Santa arrives by carriage in Copperopolis Town Square | Charity Maness

Enjoy hot chocolate and cookies, an artisanal holiday food and craft fair and live music during this two day event. The Town Square’s boutique shops and restaurants will be offering holiday specials and staying open late on Friday and Saturday. Check out our holiday shopping guide for recommendations.

Early festivities kick off on Friday, November 23rd with the Copperopolis Annual Christmas Tree Lighting in Copperopolis Town Square, featuring not only the lighting of the christmas tree, but also caroling and a visit from Santa. Round off your evening by enjoying dinner at a local restaurant, and a little holiday shopping.

On Saturday, November 24th, the festivities continue with the annual Copperopolis Town Square Holiday Celebration. A day of holiday cheer begins at 11:00 am and continues until 7:00 pm. So, if you have little ones that struggle to stay up past dusk, here’s your perfect opportunity to get them started on their holiday celebrations with maximum enjoyment and minimal fuss.

This is an event guaranteed to brighten the hearts of children and adults alike, and a perfect example of holiday hygge in Calaveras.

Festivals & Events: Copperopolis Town Square | Jack Forkner

Copperopolis Town Square Annual Christmas Tree Lighting | Jack Forkner

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BONUS: White Pines Parade of Lights near Arnold, CA – Friday Nov. 23rd

The day after Thanksgiving, don’t miss the 4th Annual Christmas in White Pines Parade of Lights. Santa and Ms.Claus will be in the Linebaugh Gazebo for Santa pictures with the kids giving out candy canes starting at 6pm. and the parade starts at 7pm. The Carlin family with Arnold Auto will once again be serving free popcorn and the Ladies of the Moose with be selling hot chocolate and coffee.will be heading down Blagen Road.

Lighted Christmas Parade

Community-built floats in White Pines

Explore shopping in nearby Arnold here: Arnold Shopping

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Valley Springs Christmas Parade, Craft Fair and Christmas Tree Lighting – Saturday Dec. 1st

Looking for a little holiday spirit in the Valley Springs tri-lake area? Look no further than the Valley Springs Christmas Parade, Craft Fair and Christmas Tree Lighting this Saturday December 1, 2018.

Valley Springs Christmas Parade, Valley Springs Christmas Craft Fair, Christmas Tree Lighting

Members of Power Up Fitness’ Hip Hop Class Valley Springs Christmas Parade I Sean Thomas Courtesy of Calaveras Enterprise

Sponsored and organized by the Valley Springs Area Business Association, join the celebration December 1st for a full day of holiday fun. Festivities kick off at 9am at the Valley Springs Christmas Craft Fair (located at the Jenny Lind Memorial Veteran’s Hall), with the annual Valley Springs Christmas Parade beginning at 10am in downtown Valley Springs. Featuring show horses, dance teams, floats and more, the Valley Springs Christmas Parade celebrates the holiday season with small town flare.

Valley Springs Christmas Parade

Courtesy of Valley Springs Christmas Parade Community

Before or after the parade, you’ll have a chance to shop for the perfect gift for that special someone at the Valley Springs Vet’s Hall Christmas Craft Fair (open from 9am to 1pm). Featuring vendors offering unique gifts, artwork and crafted items, plus other products available from vendors from Calaveras and beyond. Don’t miss the chance to visit with Santa at the Vet’s Hall Christmas Craft Fair as well.

After enjoying the festive parade and Valley Springs Christmas Craft Fair, grab some lunch in Valley Springs or take a stroll along the Mokelumne Coast to Crest Trail or around one of the three lakes near Valley Springs before heading out to the Terrace Shopping Center for the annual Valley Springs Christmas Tree Lighting and Terrace Craft Fair from 5pm to 8pm. Featuring vendors, hot chocolate, cookies, a cozy fire pit, live entertainment and much more, you’ll be glad you stopped by.

Valley Springs Holiday Home Tour – December 2nd

Want to get some inspiration on decorating your home for the holidays? Don’t miss the Valley Springs Annual Holiday Home Tour on December 2nd from 2:00 – 5:00 pm. This Friends of the Library fundraiser is a fun activity for those of us who just can’t get enough of festive decorations! Tickets are $20 per person, available at the Valley Springs library, or call 209-772-1000 or 209-772-8630. Refreshments will be served from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm at Gold Creek Clubhouse.

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Murphys Holiday Open House + Holiday Festival of Wines – Friday Dec. 7th

Murphys Holiday Open House and Parade takes place annually the first Friday in December, which this year falls on Friday December 7th from 5pm to 8 pm. This free annual event transforms Murphys Historic Downtown into a winter wonderland with an old-fashioned celebration featuring a lighted holiday parade, treats, and local wines hosted by Main Street merchants, restaurants, wineries and the Murphys Business Association.

Murphys Holiday Open House | Maria Camillo

Murphys Historic Hotel at Christmas | Maria Camillo

Lighted wands are handed out to parade participants each year, so make sure to get there early to get yours.

Musicians and carolers fill the streets of charming, historic Murphys with the sounds of the season. Santa arrives with the parade, lights the tree and stays for photos with the kids in the Native Sons Hall. We’ll even have chestnuts roasting on an open fire at Murphys Spice Tin.

Businesses stay open late so you can get a start on your holiday shopping during this magical evening.

Happening in tandem with this great annual event is the Annual Holiday Festival of Wines, an event that extends the magic of Murphys Open House over an entire weekend from Friday Dec. 7th through Sun. Dec. 9th and includes exclusive tastings, holiday gift specials and food and wine pairings from more than 20 award-winning Calaveras wineries.

This is a great opportunity to sip a glass of wine in a cozy tasting room while making a dent in your holiday gift list. You will receive significant discounts only available during the event. Come shop, taste and catch up with old and new friends while Murphys is at its most festive and charming.

Want to scout out where to shop in Murphys? Check out the 2018 Calaveras Holiday Shopping Guide to get the inside scoop on where to shop throughout this great event.

Murphys Holiday Open House

Murphys Open House Parade | Calaveras Enterprise

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Mokelumne Hill Holiday Open House – Sunday Dec. 9th

Discover small town holiday cheer at Mokelumne Hill’s Holiday Open House & Tree Lighting on Sunday, December 9th, from 1pm to 5pm with additional fun until 6:30pm. This quaint, historic, gold rush town comes to life with special free activities perfect for adults and children of all ages.  

Mokelumne Hill Holiday Open House, Holiday Open House, Christmas Parade, Christmas Tree Lighting, Holiday Parade

Artist Takayuki Harada’s portrayal of the annual Mokelumne Hill Holiday Open House titled “The Joyful Day of our Town”

A chance for everyone to join in and celebrate the spirit of the season, Mokelumne Hill’s Holiday Open House occurs annually every December. Feel the warmth of small-town pride and the rich heritage of this historic gold rush community and you too will soon make it a holiday tradition among your friends and family, like a home away from home. 

Petroglyphe Gallery exterior, Mokelumne Hill

Petroglyphe Gallery exterior

Enjoy horse drawn hay rides down historic Main Street, photos with Santa, face painting by Leslie Vasquez at Petroglyphe Gallery, Reindeer Games at McHale’s Revival, gingerbread house decorating at Ed & Brenda’s,  children’s coloring contest and crafts at the Mokelumne Hill Library, and complimentary holiday surprises and sweet treats, including punch, coffee, and tea available at multiple participating locations throughout downtown.

Kids and those young at heart will also enjoy  a chance to mail their Santa Claus wish list at the charming historic Mokelumne Hill post office. There will be live music and wine tasting for the grown-ups from 4:30pm to 6:30pm at Petroglyph Gallery with the Magnolia Rhythm Trio playing their rich diversity of music and impeccable harmonies while sampling wines from 1850 Wine Cellars of Sutter Creek.  Artist Doug Lawler will also be there signing his gorgeous new limited edition book “The Island of ZA, A Wordless Fable”. The Mokelumne Hill tree lighting will take place at 5:30pm at Renegade Winery 

Wondering where to park for the Mokelumne Hill Holiday Open House?? There will be a free shuttle to this fabulous free family friendly annual event in the Wendell’s parking lot.

For more information on the Holiday Open House please contact the Mokelumne Hill Community Historical Trust at (209) 286-1387Historic Mokelumne Hill is located between San Andreas and Jackson, located off Highway 49, just 10 minutes from Jackson and less than an hour from Sacramento in the heart of the Gold Country. We’ll see you there!

Want to scout out where to shop in Mokelumne Hill? Check out the 2018 Calaveras Holiday Shopping Guide to get the inside scoop on where to shop throughout this great event.

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holiday shopping night graphicMore 2018 Holiday Magic in Calaveras

Check out our calendar of events for full details on all the holiday festivities taking place locally over the next several weeks including (but not limited to):

FRIDAY NOVEMBER 2 and DECEMBER 7: Shop Manzanita Open House in Angels Camp, CA.

NOVEMBER 17: Crafty Chicks Roadshow in Angels Camp, CA. Featuring 60 vendors of handmade, vintage, re-purposed & up-cycled wares. There will be lots of yummy food and drink, live music and a popular raffle giveaway.

THANKSGIVING THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 22: Thanksgiving Dinner’s available throughout the county. Check the Calaveras calendar of events for details. I Klassen’s Klassic Turkey Trot – an annual canned food drive (walk/skip/run/have fun!). I Thanksgiving Dinner – Creekside at Bear Valley Lodge

DAY AFTER THANKSGIVING FRIDAY NOVEMBER 23: Old Fashioned Holiday in Copperopolis I Bear Valley Winterfest I White Pines Parade of Lights I Re-boot after Thanksgiving with Yoga in the Barn at Locke Vineyards I

Don’t miss Bear Valley Winterfest the day after Thanksgiving! I Courtesy of Bear Valley Resort

SATURDAY AFTER THANKSGIVING, NOVEMBER 24: City of Angels Gold Country Christmas Lighted Parade & Wine Hop I New Melones Lake Giving Thanks to Nature Hike I Dorrington Christmas Tree Lighting & Visit With Santa I Mountain Ranch Christmas in the Country Craft Faire Bake Sale & Luncheon I Polar Express Train Rides at Railtown 1897 State Park (located in Tuolumne County 24 minutes South of Angels Camp on Hwy 49) I Looking for more Sat Nov. 24th events? Find more Calaveras events by day here. I

FIRST SATURDAY IN DECEMBER, DECEMBER 1 – Holiday Events 10:00 am Valley Springs Christmas Parade & Tree Lighting Ceremony I Holiday Festival of Wines in Murphys I Live theatre: Inspecting Carol at the Murphys Creek Theatre (click the link to see the full run) reviews call it “riotously funny” I ONE SHOWING ONLY: Bret Harte Performance Arts Center Christmas Truce of 1914 play by William Shepard I Polar Express Train Rides at Railtown 1897 State Park (located in Tuolumne County 24 minutes South of Angels Camp on Hwy 49). I Looking for more Sat Dec. 1st events? Find more Calaveras events by day here. I

FIRST SUNDAY IN DECEMBER, DECEMBER 2 – Holiday Events: Live theatre: Inspecting Carol at the Murphys Creek Theatre (click the link to see the full run) reviews call it “riotously funny” I Holiday Cabaret and Dinner at Ironstone Vineyards in Murphys, CA I Polar Express Train Rides at Railtown 1897 State Park (located in Tuolumne County 24 minutes South of Angels Camp on Hwy 49) I Looking for more Sun. Dec. 2nd events? Find more Calaveras events by day here. I

FRIDAY DECEMBER 7 – Holiday Events Murphys’ Open House Parade and Santa event as well as the coinciding Holiday Festival of Wine in Murphys, running Friday December 7th through Sunday December 9th. l Live theatre: Inspecting Carol at the Murphys Creek Theatre (click the link to see the full run) reviews call it “riotously funny” I Mountain Melody Presents “A Nostalgic Christmas” a holiday in Mountain Ranch I Polar Express Train Rides at Railtown 1897 State Park (located in Tuolumne County 24 minutes South of Angels Camp on Hwy 49) I

SUNDAY DECEMBER 8: Holiday Festival of Wines in Murphys l Live theatre: Inspecting Carol at the Murphys Creek Theatre (click the link to see the full run) reviews call it “riotously funny” I Kid’s Santa’s Workshop in Arnold I Mountain Melody Presents “A Nostalgic Christmas” a holiday in Mountain Ranch I Polar Express Train Rides at Railtown 1897 State Park (located in Tuolumne County 24 minutes South of Angels Camp on Hwy 49) I

Caroling in the Cave

Check back for Rappelling Santa  in 2020 – Caroling in the Cave at Moaning Cavern | Serena Deininger

Additional December Holiday and New Year’s Events:

Explore the on-line calendar of Calaveras events by day to find additional holiday events happening through January. Looking for something in particular? Feel free to shoot us an email at [email protected] or give us a call 7 days a week at 1-800-225-3764.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park in Winter | Dave Bunnell

Winter snowshoeing at Calaveras Big Trees State Park | Dave Bunnell

Looking for lodging? We recommend booking early during the holiday season. You can explore available lodging and compare prices here:

Get the full 2018 Calaveras Holiday Shopping Guide

Want to explore more shopping? Get a full list of all the independent boutique shops throughout Calaveras by clicking the link above.

Need help finding a specific gift item? Give us a jingle: 1-800-225-3764 or drop us a line: [email protected], we’re happy to help!

Want to give back to the community? When you’re shopping in Calaveras this year, please consider donating an unwrapped toy, book or stocking stuffer to Toys for Tots at the Calaveras Visitors Center at 1192 South Main Street, Angels Camp, CA–open 7 days a week. Give yourself the gift of knowing you’ve made a difference in a child’s life.

Feel free to share and download a PDF version using the links below:

Happy holidays from Calaveras County to you and your loved ones.

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  1. We are planning to visit Angels camp, Copperopolis and Murphy in late December – 23 -29. What events or activities are available during that time frame in the county?

    • Hi there Ed,

      Thanks so much for reaching out! If you would like to find any event information for any future date you can find it all on our on-line calendar of events here: https://www.gocalaveras.com/calaveras-events-calendar/

      Just click the right arrow next to the month to load the month of your choice, then click whatever day you are interested in visiting and scroll down to see the results. If you see an event that looks interesting to you, you can click that event and it will show you all of the details you might want–including who to contact for further information regarding that event.

      If you have any additional questions, do not hesitate to call 1-800-225-3764.

      Calaveras is such a magical place to be for the holidays, we hope you have a wonderful visit to the area.

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