Your 2022 guide to holiday events and activities in Salem

Here’s a list of fun events in or near Salem for the whole family this holiday season. Events in each category are listed chronologically, and addresses are in Salem unless otherwise noted.

Crafts, gifts and art events

Silverton Christmas MarketVisit the Oregon Garden Resort for a light display and German Christmas Market market. The market has Santa, live music, Biergarten, and a snowless tubing hill. The market runs from Nov. 25 through Jan. 1, between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. The Oregon Garden Resort is at 895 W. Main St., Silverton, and admission ranges from $15 to $18. 

Christmas Craft FaireBrowse from more than 45 vendors with homemade items and scones, cookies and candy. The event includes a raffle to support The Sister Joan Jett Scholarship Fund. The faire will be on Saturday, Nov. 26 between 9:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. and Nov. 27 from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 4227 Lone Oak Road S.E.

Holiday Maker’s MarketShop from 12 vendors at IKE Box cafe, and listen to live music. The market will be Saturday, Nov. 26 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at 299 Cottage St N.E.

Salem Etsy Handmade MarketShop from over 100 local vendors offering handcrafted and vintage holiday gifts, jewelry, art and more. The event is Saturday, Dec. 3 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the Oregon State Fairgrounds, 2330 17th St N.E. Admission is free. 

Deepwood Holiday Open HouseEnjoy handmade ornaments and other Victorian decorations throughout the historic home, and say hello to Santa Claus in the front parlor. Dec. 3 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., 1116 Mission St. S.E. Free admission.  

Keizer Toy SwapCome to Keizer City Hall, 930 Chemawa Road N., Sunday, Dec. 4 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to browse free, gently used toys donated by local families. Drop off donations ahead of the event through Dec. 2 at Keizer City Hall, Salem Public Library, 585 Liberty St. S.E., or Marion County Public Works, 5155 Silverton Rd. N.E.

Salem Holiday MarketOver 250 vendors are bringing handmade and homegrown products to the Oregon State Fairgrounds. The market will have prize baskets, a Santa village, kids’ activities and pet adoptions. There will also be a gingerbread house contest and a tree decorating contest. The market is Dec. 9 to 11, at 2330 17th St N.E. Admission is free.

Silver Falls Winter Festival – Enjoy educational activities and make seasonal crafts at the South Falls day-use area and Smith Creek Village at Silver Falls State Park. Guided walks will include lessons about waterfalls in winter and local wildlife, and visitors can build bird nesting boxes, make wreaths and more. The festival is Dec. 10 and 11, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Activities are free, but a $5 day-use parking permit is required.

Oregon Garden Holiday Bazaar – Visit Santa at an event that features local artisans, seasonal refreshments and live entertainment. The Bazaar is Dec. 17 and 18, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 879 W. Main St. in Silverton. Admission is $8. 

Public Paint-Party with Jackey – Socialize and paint a “Peaceful Winter Afternoon” at the Dallas Event Center, 939 Main St. in Dallas. All ages are welcome, and participants can bring their own food and beverages. The event is Dec. 18 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Space is limited, so reserve a spot online. Tickets are $35 for adults and $25 for children under 18.

Santa, light displays and festive decorations

Santa at the CarouselTake photos with Santa himself at the Salem Carousel. Walk-in dates will be Friday, Nov. 25, Saturday, Nov. 26 and Dec. 18, with times listed online. 10-minute reservations through Dec. 23 have sold out, according to the carousel’s website. Visits without photos are free, it costs $5 to take your own photos and $15 to get a keepsake photo. The carousel is at 101 Front St N.E..

Holiday parade and tree lightingSalem Main Street Association is hosting holiday festivities in downtown Salem, including a parade with over 50 local groups and Santa himself. The parade begins at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 26. It will start at Northeast Church Street between State Street and Northeast Court Street, meandering through several blocks before ending near the intersection of Northeast Court and Liberty streets.

Prior to the parade, people can stop by the Historic Elsinore Theatre, 170 High St. S.E., for a free holiday open house from 3-5 p.m. Visit with Santa, sip cocoa and enjoy seasonal music played on the Mighty Wurlitzer Organ.

Riverfront Park holiday lights – The city has prepared over 4,000 LED lights for the holiday season, and is hosting an opening night celebration with reindeer, music, performances, free horse and carriage rides and a visit from Santa. The event is Friday, Dec. 2 and starts at 5 p.m. by the Rotary Pavilion, 200 Water Street N.E. in Riverfront Park. Activities are free.

Holiday Sparkles at PowerlandTake the family to see holiday lights from the comfort of your car at this annual drive-thru event. It will be Dec. 9 through 11 and 16 through 18, between 5 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. The show will be at Powerland Heritage Park, located at 3995 Brooklake Rd. N.E. Admission is free and donations are welcome.

Keizer Miracle of Christmas Lights DisplayRuns Dec. 2-26, beginning in the Gubser neighborhood at Northeast Lockhaven Drive and 14th Avenue in Keizer. The display benefits Marion Polk Food Share with a drive that accepts shelf-stable food and financial donations, with each dollar donated providing three meals.

Salem Santa Crawl – Travel Salem invites people to dress up as Santa for a tour of the city’s nightlife on Dec. 17, starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Grand Hotel. Raffle tickets will be awarded for a holiday costume and for checking in at venues during the crawl. Other stops include The Best Goose at Fork Forty Food Hall, Ritter’s Housemade Foods, Venti’s Cafe and Taproot.

Magic at the Mill – Liven up winter and enjoy the lights at the Willamette Heritage Center from Dec. 19-23, 5:30-8 p.m. 1313 Mill St. S.E. Ticket sales begin Nov. 25.

Shows, performances and dances

Holidays in Hudson – Choral works and seasonal songs performed by Willamette University’s Voce and Chamber choirs. Performances Dec. 1 and 2 at 7:30 p.m., in Hudson Hall on the Willamette University campus, 900 State St. Tickets $10, free for Willamette students.

Salem Community Chorus Winter Concert – “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” features “classic holiday standards and hauntingly beautiful melodies that will fill hearts with the holiday spirit.” Shows Dec. 3, 3 p.m., at the Salem Public Library Loucks Auditorium, 585 Liberty St. S.E.; Dec. 5, 6:30 p.m., St. Mark Lutheran Church, 790 Marion St N.E.; and Dec. 11, 4 p.m. Christ’s Church, 412 Clay St W, Monmouth. Free.

Wreck the Halls Roller Derby Doubleheader – Holiday themed roller derby double header with junior and adult skaters, along with a silent auction to raise money for Cherry City Roller Derby. Juniors game at 4:30 p.m. and adult at 7 p.m, 1335 Madison St. N.E.. Tickets $10 in advance.

Snoball Mid-Valley Teen DanceThe 69th annual dance is Dec. 3, 8:30 p.m. to midnight at the Oregon State Fairgrounds Pavilion. This year’s theme is disco. Tickets are $30 in advance at area high schools the week of Nov. 28 or online, and $35 at the door. Open to high school students.

Jake Shimabukuro: Christmas in Hawai’iEnjoy a performance from “ukulele master and jolly ambassador of aloha” Jake Shimabukuro at the Elsinore Theatre, 170 High Street S.E. Salem, on Dec. 8, at 7 p.m. Tickets range from $39 to $64. 

A Christmas Carol: A 1940s Radio ShowRuns Dec. 8-10 and Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 11 at 2 p.m. at Theatre 33, in the M. Lee Pelton Theatre on the Willamette University campus, 900 State St. The comedic take on a Christmas classic features live Foley sound effects as a troupe of radio actors battle a snowstorm to stage a broadcast of the Dickens play. Tickets $18 for adults and $15 for students and seniors.

A Very Merry Pops ChristmasConcert by the Salem Pops Orchestra. Dec. 11, 3 p.m. in the Chemeketa Community College auditorium. 4000 Lancaster Drive N.E. Tickets $15 for general admission, $5 for students, $2 for children under 5.

A Children’s Nutcracker – Salem’s American Ballet Academy will showcase nearly 250 local students in a performance at the Elsinore Theatre, 170 High Street S.E. The show is Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 11 at 2:30 p.m. Admission ranges from $17 to $25.

The NutcrackerSalem’s Premiere Academy of Performing Arts students and guest performers will perform the classic holiday ballet. The show is Dec. 18 at 3 p.m. at the Elsinore Theatre, 170 High Street S.E. Admission is $18.

Holiday Film Series at the Elsinore – Catch three classic Christmas movies. White Christmas  screens Dec. 19, Home Alone Dec. 20 and It’s a Wonderful Life Dec. 21 at 7 p.m. at the Historic Elsinore Theatre. 170 High St. S.E. Tickets $10 for adults and $5 for kids 12 and under.

Tuba Holiday – Sing along to a stage full of baritones, euphoniums and tubas as they play holiday classics at the Historic Elsinore Theatre, 170 High St. S.E. The show is Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, at noon. Reserved seating is $10, and tickets are available at the box office or online.

Want to have your event added? Email Managing Editor Rachel Alexander at [email protected].

JUST THE FACTS, FOR SALEM – We report on your community with care and depth, fairness and accuracy. Get local news that matters to you. Subscribe to Salem Reporter. Click I want to subscribe!

Abbey McDonald joined the Salem Reporter in 2022. She previously worked as the business reporter at The Astorian, where she covered labor issues, health care and social services. A University of Oregon grad, she has also reported for the Malheur Enterprise, The News-Review and Willamette Week.

Rachel Alexander is Salem Reporter’s managing editor. She joined Salem Reporter when it was founded in 2018 and covers city news, education, nonprofits and a little bit of everything else. She’s been a journalist in Oregon and Washington for a decade. Outside of work, she’s a skater and board member with Salem’s Cherry City Roller Derby and can often be found with her nose buried in a book.