It’s a Wonderful Carefree Christmas

Writer Fadi Sitto
Photography Courtesy of Town of Carefree

It’s 80 degrees, palm trees are swaying in the wind and Santa sometimes wears a cowboy hat on weekends. It must be time for Christmas in Carefree.

No snow or reindeer, but Carefree’s distinct identity makes up for it with plenty of decorated twinkling lights, family-friendly attractions and holiday spirit. Just take that scenic drive north from Phoenix or Scottsdale to a classic Arizona setting, and you’ll be transported to a vibrant desert wonderland.

Centered around the prominent Carefree Sundial, this annual extravaganza invites you to explore the sights and sounds of this charming desert oasis town. Carefree Desert Gardens will be all dressed up as you stroll and enjoy the crisp holiday nights amongst the lighted Sonoran flora.

The picturesque laidback community of Carefree is nestled in the Sonoran Desert Foothills and is regarded as one of the most visually inspiring places in Arizona.

Carefree thrives with culture and showcases its elegant desert lifestyle through top-notch architecture, world-class culinary arts and true civic involvement. The neighborly care of this quintessential Arizona town are proudly on display during the Christmas in Carefree event.

You’re sure to have a smile from ear to ear as you look up and see the giant 25-foot-tall Christmas tree. The official tree lighting ceremony is Nov. 30 at 5 p.m., and will be officiated by Mayor Les Peterson. Santa also arrives on this day.

“I’m a film person,” says Beth Renfro, director of marketing and communications for the Town of Carefree. She’s passionate about this new attraction and plans to show holiday films as an annual tradition accompanying the tree lighting ceremony.

An important part of this year’s festivities is the Chanukah menorah lighting ceremony. Beginning Dec. 2, congregants from Temple Chai and members of the Jewish Social Group of Cave Creek and Carefree will host the lighting.

Local families will be invited to light the menorah each evening, with a special ceremony Dec. 9 that will include the Temple Chai Cantor and Choir. The services are open to attendees of all denominations and faiths.

Be a kid again! The full weekend of holiday-themed activities kicks off Dec. 7. Enjoy breakfast with Santa, an open-air holiday market, live music and even Santa’s workshop—not to mention the holiday pet parade, and of course the always-competitive Christmas cookie contest.

Christmas in Carefree peaks with the new-look community holiday parade and the always spectacular Saturday evening fireworks show.

This year’s parade promises to be something special. The route winds around the gardens and will include Miss Arizona, marching bands and, of course, Santa.

As a new attraction this year, classic car owners from Carefree and surrounding neighborhoods are invited to showcase their prized possessions in the parade.

“There’s going to be a reimagining of the parade,” Beth explains.

Christmas in Carefree has been a staple on the Arizona event calendar for the past decade, but this year’s event will offer attendees something new.

Beth has a vision of making this holiday event a unique community experience by bringing it back to its roots. She is focused on making it more community centered and showcasing the Carefree local footprint.

The town’s ultimate vision is to curate an annual tradition for the residents of Carefree, matching the vibe of this town and keeping it Carefree.

The value of this wonderful community event fosters and enhances this essential Arizona town. Having Christmas in Carefree right in our own backyard is sure to get you in the holiday spirit.

Dec. 7 through Dec. 9 | 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. | Free | 8 Sundial Cir., Carefree | 480-488-3686 | carefree.org

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