Santa, carolers and a strong sense community highlight the Bend holiday season.

It’s impossible to be in Bend during the holidays and not feel festive.
From SantaLand, holiday lights and roving carolers in the Old Mill District to the tree lighting and Christmas parade downtown, spirits soar in this part of Oregon during the holiday months.

Here are some of our favorite holiday events of 2023:

Santa’s pretty busy during the winter months, so the Old Mill District has enlisted a jolly army of local folks to represent him in our SantaLand. Parents, gather your turtle doves and bring them down to mingle with the elves and get their photo taken with the man in red!
Located between Sunglass Hut and Sweet Tooth Candy Shoppe in the Old Mill District.

Visit Santa in Bend every Fri-Sun until December 23 at the Old Mill District

Santa greeting family and friends upon arrival to the Old Mill District west event lawn

Menorah Lighting for Chanukah
Join the Chabad of Central Oregon for its annual Menorah Lighting in the Old Mill District on Thursday, Dec. 7. Festivities to celebrate the first night of Chanukah start at 4 p.m. and include music, hot drinks, food, and friendship.

Menorah Lighting captured at Old Mill District by Matthew Lasala

Tree of Joy
The Tree of Joy is a radiant symbol of community spirit, holiday cheer, and the enduring power of togetherness. Located inside SantaLand, the Tree of Joy has gift suggestions for families in need. Grab a list and return the unwrapped present to SantaLand before Sunday, Dec. 17 and the Salvation Army and Rotary Club will deliver the gifts.

Downtown Bend Christmas Tree Lighting
A Central Oregon tradition like none other, spend the evening singing carols and listening to local choirs before the traditional lighting of the downtown Bend Christmas Tree on Friday, Dec. 1. Festivities start at 4 p.m. and Santa is set to light the tree near Crow’s Feet Commons soon after dusk.

Bend Christmas Parade
Capture the spirit of Christmas on Dec. 2 at noon for Bend’s annual Christmas parade. The parade starts on the intersection of Newport and Harmon, runs east on Newport, turns south on Wall and then meanders along Riverside Blvd. before it crosses the Galveston Street Bridge and ends.

Holiday Lights Paddle Parade
Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe’s Holiday Lights Paddle Parade is set to sparkle on the Deschutes Friday, Dec. 15 starting at 4 p.m. Paddlers from all over Central Oregon gather at Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe’s shop near the Bend Whitewater Park and make their way upriver on the Deschutes. Kayaks, canoes, paddleboards – if it floats, you might see it in the Holiday Lights Paddle Parade – are adorned with an array of colorful lights and decorations, setting the water aglow, creating a mesmerizing holiday spectacle in the process.

Festive paddle sport enthusiasts parade with holiday decorated lights and clothes Friday evening Dec. 10, 2021 on the Deschutes River in the Old Mill District in Bend, Oregon. Photo by Rob Kerr