It’s a magical, marvelous time to be in Bend. With snow on the rooftops, warm drinks by cozy fires and plenty to do indoors and out, we’ve created this list of five joyful traditions. From tried and true to new school, you’ll delight in festivities that are family-friendly and wonderfully varied.

The Annual Christmas Paddle

The Annual Christmas Paddle is planned for Friday, December 12th

Jingle Bell Run, Saturday December 6th

Celebrated as “One of the Most Incredible Themed Races”, the 23rd annual Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis fundraiser has activities for all ages, canines included. Participants are encouraged to wear holiday themed costumes and jingle bells as they run or walk a 5 kilometer route. A kid’s fun run with the elves begins at 11:30 with the adult race closely following.

Bend Christmas Parade, Saturday December 6th

With a noon start time, rain or shine, the Downtown Christmas parade begins on the heels of the Jingle Bell Run on Saturday, December 6th. This year’s theme is “Under the Christmas Tree.” Be sure to bundle up and bring the mittens as you’ll enjoy waving to all of the season’s celebrities.

Nutcracker Ballet, Saturday December 6th and Sunday, December 7th

Always a favorite family tradition, the Central Oregon Ballet brings the Nutcracker to the Bend Senior High School stage for three showings. This sweet Tchaikovsky adaptation features the talent of local performers on Saturday, December 6th at 3:00pm & 7:00pm and Sunday, December 7th at 3:00pm.

Christmas Light Parade & Paddle with Tumalo Creek & Kayak, Friday December 12

Join Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe for their Bend Annual Christmas Paddle on Friday, December 12. Paddlers will meet at 4pm for a 4:30pm launch with decorated kayaks, canoes and SUPs for an unforgettably festive paddle through the Old Mill District. This distinctly Bend event celebrates community love for adventure on the Deschutes River. Be sure to prepare with hot drinks and warm gear! All participants are invited to return to Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe for discounts, tasty beverages and post-float smiles.

Gingerbread Junction in Sunriver, Ongoing in December

Creativity will be on display throughout the month of December in the Abbot Room of the Sunriver Resort Lodge. The 19th Annual Gingerbread Junction is a showcase of spectacular gingerbread houses that raises funds while building fond memories. This event is open to the public 24 hours a day. Entrance is free with fees for special activities including a teddy bear factory.


We’ve heard from our community that taking a tour of Christmas lights, listening to carolers and SantaLand visits are on their list of December to-dos. What does your family do to celebrate the holidays in Bend? Please share in the comments and by tagging us with #BendHolidays on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You’ll receive gift certificates when we spotlight your contributions.