Last Minute Christmas Eve Happenings

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There’s still plenty of time to catch a holiday show, shop for cool local artisan gifts, see your favorite holiday light displays and catch Santa to whisper last minute wishes before he takes off on his grand sleigh ride for the night. Check out all of the things you thought you missed, but are still there waiting for you to do on Christmas Eve.

Are you a last minute shopper? Or did you finish Christmas shopping in September? Either way, Portland Saturday Market is continuing their holiday tradition with the Festival of the Last Minute. Open every day from Dec 18 through Christmas Eve, you’ll find unique handcrafted gifts, exotic foods and a frosty-yet-festive atmosphere. Shop local artists at this “last minute” event featuring; over categories of arts & crafts. Handmade gifts say so much more, even if you didn’t make them.

photo: Courtesy of Portland Saturday Market


Saturday Market’s Festival of the Last Minute
Need a Portland artisan gift at the 11th hour? This is the place to find unique, locally made treasures at the last minute. The festive environment includes a Santa booth, roving carolers, warming stations and yummy holiday treats.

Dec. 24
11 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
2 SW Naito Pkwy.

FROGZ put Imago on the international map.

Credit: FROGZ by Imago Theatre 

Catch a Show

If you like your holidays with less jingle and waaaay more bells (and whistles), don’t miss this Imago Theatre show. A mesmerizing production that mixes Mummenschanz-like mime and acrobatics with breathtaking, unique costumes and masks, it truly has to be seen to be believed. Best for kids 3 and up.

Dec. 24
7-9 p.m.
$29.50/youth and seniors, $17.50/child
Imago Theatre
17 SE 8th Ave.

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker
What’s Christmas without Marie fighting off the Mouse King? (Or hearing preschoolers try to pronounce “Polichinelle?”) This exquisite Oregon Ballet Theatre production runs two hours, so plan accordingly for small children.

Dec. 24
Tickets: $19-$144
Keller Auditorium
222 SW Clay Ave.


photo: Peacock Lane

See the Lights

Peacock Lane
This super-charming block of English Tudors in southeast Portland is a must-visit every holiday season. Your little ones will love debating which house is their favorite. The event is free, but be sure to bring a little cash for hot cocoa stands. Follow Peacock Lane on Facebook and Twitter to stay abreast of street closures.

Dec. 24
SE Peacock Lane, between SE Stark and Belmont streets, one block east of Cesar Chavez/SE 39th

The Grotto Festival of Lights
See musical performances, carolers, petting zoo, puppet shows, food and beverage, and lights, of course, as well as a petting zoo. Holiday foods and beverages are available, as is shopping in The Grotto’s Christian Gift and Book Store. Don’t forget to bring a donation of canned or dry food benefiting Snow-Cap, the east county’s affiliate of the Oregon Food Bank.

Dec. 24
5-9:30 p.m.
$5/child 3-12, $9/senior, $10/adults, free for children 2 and under
8840 NE Skidmore

Winter Wonderland
Get the little elves into the family truckster and drive around the race track to see the largest light show west of the Mississippi with over 250 displays. We love the giant poinsettia wreath and reindeer that jump over the car. You can also tune your radio to PIR’s special station to listen to holiday music as you drive through.

Dec. 24
5-9 p.m.
Portland International Raceway
1940 N. Victory Blvd.
$18 per carload. Cash or check only.


Downtown Portland Macy's

photo: Army Corp of Engineers via flickr creative commons

Last Chance for Santa

Santaland Downtown Macy’s
Treat your child to the Christmas tradition of Santa in Santaland at Macy’s. He’s located on the first floor, and there’s a vintage monorail car available for photos.

9 a.m.-5 p.m.
621 SW 5th Ave.

Pioneer Place
Line at Macy’s too long? Scurry across the street to this jolly guy in the downstairs Rotunda of Pioneer Place. But what’s particularly cool about this Santa scene is the chance to walk through a winter wonderland once every hour on Christmas Eve. Yes, whether there’s snow outside or not, experience a “snow fall” of white flakes in the Atrium area – no mittens required!

9 a.m.-5 p.m.
700 SW 5th Ave.

Lloyd Center
Head down to the lower level of the mall for this gentle and jolly Santa, perched in front of Nordstrom. Be sure to check the website for photo opp hours – Santa needs to take a break daily to feed his reindeer.

noon-6 p.m.
2201 Lloyd Center

Cedar Hills Crossing
For an unforgettable Santa visit with all the bells and whistles, cozy up to the jolly guy at Cedar Hills Crossing. It’s important to note that this particular Santa crew has moved from Pioneer Square, and will no longer be available there. But if you live closer to Southwest, that may just be a bonus. In addition to meeting him, kids and families may enjoy chestnuts on the fire, hot cocoa, hot cider and candy canes. They totally get the whole “line” thing and offer you options for texting or calling to reserve your spot.

9 a.m.-6 p.m.
3205 SW Cedar Hills Blvd.

Bridgeport Village
All aboard! Why should kids have all the fun? Hop on the Bridgeport Express, a 35-passenger, solar-operated trackless holiday train that transports shoppers of all ages around the Village. And, yes, there is a great Santa here, as well as some iconic holiday characters like the Grinch, Charlie Brown and Friends and Portland’s own Olaf. Santa’s got new digs this year and will be continuing a musical light snow show on the hour from 5-9 p.m. daily.

9 a.m.-5 p.m.
7455 SW Bridgeport Rd.

Washington Square Mall
This mall has a “Santa Fly By” program that lets you wait in a “virtual line,” registering via web, text, phone or in person at “Santa’s Lodge” (click here for details). You receive an approximate wait time and then can go knock a few items off your OWN Santa list instead of standing in line. One of those helpful elves will text you as your time draws nigh. Gotta love elves that text, right? In addition to photos, you can scan yourself at the Naughty or Nice O’Meter, Snap an “Elfie” to star in your own video, and experience Elf-Ray Vision in Santa’s Observatory.

Dec. 24
8 a.m.-5 p.m.
9585 SW Washington Square Rd.

Clackamas Town Center
Get everyone in the family in the picture with Santa. Clackamas Town Center’s Santa offers family portraits and pet photos every Monday. Don’t miss Rudolph Wednesdays on three separate days, when Santa’s elves hand out free activity packet giveaways with the purchase of a photo package.

Dec. 24
9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Lower Level, Macy’s Home Court
12000 SE 82nd Ave.
Happy Valley

What’s your Christmas Eve tradition?  Let us know in the Comments below!

–Suzie Ridgway