Ultimate Guide to Holiday Events and Celebrations

Here is a comprehensive list of events for you and your loved ones to enjoy throughout the remainder of 2021 in the Coachella Valley.

November 18, 2021
Story by Staff Report
wildlights the living desert

The Desert Rose Playhouse: “Hedwig And the Angry Inch”: Nov 4 – 21

Hedwig and The Angry Inch by John Cameron Mitchel and Stephen Trask tells the hilarious, harrowing, and essentially uplifting tale of how a “slip of a girlyboy” from communist East Berlin, Hanschel, becomes the “internationally ignored song stylist” known as Hedwig after a botched sex change operation.

Desert Theatreworks presents “Murder at the Howard Johnson’s”: Through Nov. 21

Is all fair in love…and murder? Murder at the Howard Johnson’s is a laugh-out-loud riot featuring a woman, her husband, and her lover hatching hilarious murder schemes…unsuccessfully.


Marilyn Maye

Marvelous Marilyn Maye: Nov. 18-20

Marilyn Maye is a highly praised singer, actress, director, arranger, educator, and Grammy nominated recording artist. She appeared a record 76 times on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. She was inducted into the American Jazz Museum and earned a spot on its Walk of Fame. See her at The Purple Room in Palm Springs.

“This Side of Crazy”: Nov 18 – 21

The Palm Canyon Theatre presents This Side of Crazy. The singing Blaylock Sisters are all grown up and kind of a mess. When their overbearing mother, Ditty, “volunteers” them for a star-studded reunion performance, all hell breaks loose.

WildLights: Nov. 24 Through Dec. 30

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert glimmers with more than 1 million holiday lights, plus a gaggle of life-size animal lanterns. Bonus: This may be the best time to spot the zoo’s nocturnal critters, like the cute bat-eared fox.



Buy Artisan on Black Friday: Nov. 26

Why get stalled at the mall or brave the big box stores with scarcely filled shelves? Come to the Desert Art Center on Black Friday to shop the largest display of local fine art in the valley. See our artists at work creating one-of-a-kind pieces and get a 10 percent discount on all gallery purchases. This year buy artisan and at the Desert Art Center in Palm Springs from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Dance with Miss Lindsay Presents: Nutcracker & Holiday Favorites: Nov. 27-28

A desert family holiday tradition — “DWML Presents: Nutcracker & Holiday Favorites” at the Annenberg Theatre inside the Palm Springs Art Museum. They feature dancers ranging in age from 3 to adult.


Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony: Dec. 3

The holiday season is official once the golden lights of the Christmas tree are twinkling again above El Paseo. Join the merriment at the annual The Shops on El Paseo tree lighting ceremony where carolers’ voices will fill the air and yummy treats galore will tempt with seasonal flavors.

Merry Movie Nights at The Gardens on El Paseo: Nov. 27, Dec. 4-18

Mark your calendars, bring a few blankets, and dress warm. This cozy, once-a-week outdoor cinema experience screens movies under the stars with winter theme. Settle in and reconnect with family and friends on the center lawn in front of Saks Fifth Avenue and be delighted by the sight of “snow” falling in the desert.

Deck the Walls! Dec. 3

Come one, come all to the Desert Art Center’s very merry holiday gallery party from 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 3. There will be a new Winter Show in the Main Gallery, welcoming just-juried new artists and featuring new work from all member artists. In addition, the Studio Gallery will host a one-weekend-only, pop-up exhibit of fine art photography, abstract painting, and ceramics by member artists Malcolm Macdonald, Molly Preston, and Robert Rogers. To chase away the December chill, we’re dressing up the auditorium in winter wonder, some festive food and refreshments, and a holiday sweet-tooth table.

The Desert Rose Playhouse: Brian Justin Crum, Holiday in the Desert: Dec 3-4

Brian Justin Crum is an American singer and actor from San Diego, California. In 2016, he came to national attention competing on the 11th season of the NBC competition America’s Got Talent, taking fourth place.

“Hairspray”: Dec. 3-5

Hairspray, Broadway’s Tony Award-winning musical comedy phenomenon, kicks off the “Broadway is Back” series at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert. The musical got its start as a 1988 film by the legendary John Waters, featuring then-newcomer Ricki Lake, along with Waters’ muse, Divine.



“The Sound of Music”: Dec 3-19

Palm Canyon Theatre brings The Sound of Music to the stage. The storied musical tells the story of Maria, who takes a job as a governess while she decides whether to become a nun. She falls in love with the children, and eventually their widowed father, Captain Von Trapp.

Shop to the Tune of Strolling Carolers: Dec. 3-30

Fulfilling wishes for everyone on your list feels extra special on Friday and Saturday nights in December along El Paseo in Palm Desert. Joyful carolers will be strolling along the decorated esplanade, creating a must-experience ambiance while shopping for those holiday gifts.


Winter Wonderettes.


Written and created by Roger Bean, this seasonal celebration from Desert Theatreworks features classic holiday pop hits from the 1950’s and ’60’s. The ’60’s girl group“The Wonderettes” entertains at the annual Harper’s Hardware Holiday Party.

BARRY MANILOW’S A Gift of Love V Christmas Benefit Concerts: DEC. 7-12

The concerts will feature Barry Manilow’s hit songs and holiday favorites for the fifth time to benefit 25 Coachella Valley charities. His past holiday concerts have surprised audiences with a children’s choir, Santa Claus, and even snow! Enjoy the show at the McCallum Theatre.

Playtime & Photos With Santa on El Paseo: Dec. 4

The big white-bearded man in the red suit is back in town and ready for a good time. This meet-and-greet for the whole family features lawn games, bubbles on the center lawn, and the opportunity to meet Santa himself on the bridge near The Gardens’ giant holiday tree. The $15 cost to participate benefits Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Desert and includes a photo in a holiday folder.

“Bakersfield Mist”: Dec 7-12

The Coachella Valley Repertory play spotlights Maude, an unemployed bartender living in a trailer park, who has bought a painting for a few bucks from a thrift store. Despite almost trashing it, she’s now convinced it’s a lost masterpiece by Jackson Pollock worth millions. But when world-class art expert Lionel Percy flies over from New York and arrives at her trailer home in Bakersfield to authenticate the painting, he has no idea what he is about to discover.

The Desert Rose Playhouse — “Christmas With The Crawfords”: Dec 9-26

Christmas With The Crawfords, written by Richard Winchester, Mark Sargent, and Wayne Buidens, finds Ms. Crawford prepping for her infamous 1940’s Christmas Eve radio broadcast, with Christina and Christopher in tow.


Branden and James.

Branden & James, “A Christmas Gift”: Dec. 10-11

Branden & James come to The Purple Room in Palm Springs for their first-ever holiday show that marks the recent release of their 2021 holiday album by the same title.

Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus, Sparkle, Twinkle, Jingle: Dec. 10-12

They are baaaaack and ready to perform at the Annenberg Theatre. Under the new artistic direction of Jerry R. Soria-Foust, the Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus boats 90 singers in their annual fun-packed holiday show. They will put a smile on your face, illuminate the season, and leave you wanting more.

The Desert Ensemble Theatre — “The Beebo Brinker Chronicles”: Dec. 10-19

Based on the pulp-fiction classics by Ann Bannon and set in pre-Stonewall Greenwich Village, The Beebo Brinker Chronicles follows the lives and loves of Laura, Beth and Beebo as they navigate uncharted territories of desire. The play celebrates the era when “the love that dares not speak its name” began breaking the old rules. Directed by Judith Chapman.

Circovia 2.0: Dec 10+11

Agua Caliente Casinos Rancho Mirage presents Circovia 2.0 by DreamCast. The show combines fantastic talent from around the world, including dancers and motorcylists from the United States; acrobats from Russia and Cuba; and daredevils from Canada and Mexico performing heroic stunts.



Paws N’ Claus on El Paseo: Dec. 11

Whether your pup has been naughty or nice, don’t let them miss out on all the fun at the annual Paws N’ Claus event. See your sweet canine pal photographed with jolly old Saint Nick for a worthy cause that helps children and animals. A $15 donation to participate benefits the Bianca Rae Foundation and includes a darling commemorative photo.


Jackie Beat


Yes, the undisputed queen of crass Christmas carols is full of the holiday spirit and more lit than that annoying neighbor’s house. And it’s all because she’s just so happy to be back with her first nativity-knockin’, Santa-smackin’, menorah-manglin’ live holiday show in over two years at Oscar’s Café, Palm Springs.

Palm Springs Cultural Center — “HIGH SOCIETY”: Dec. 12

Heiress Tracy Lord (Grace Kelly) is engaged to one man (John Lund), attracted to another (Frank Sinatra) and, just maybe, in love again with her ex-husband (Bing Crosby) in this effervescent musical reinvention of Philip Barry’s play The Philadelphia Story featuring a delightful Cole Porter score.

Holiday Sparkle: Our Holiday Concert: Dec. 15

Palm Canyon Theatre presents an evening of “Holiday Sparkle” to make your season merry and bright! PCT Company members and special guest artists will delight audiences with an array of holiday music – from classic ballads to contemporary favorites.


Oscar’s presents a holiday variety show starring comedian Selene Luna called “a polished spitfire” by the New York Times and “a walking ball of comic defiance” by LA Weekly. She is best known for being the voice of Tía Rosita in Disney-Pixar’s Academy Award winner, Coco.

Dionne Warwick, A Holiday Celebration: Dec 17

Six-time Grammy Award-winner Dionne Warwick is bringing her Favorite Time of Year holiday concert to Fantasy Springs Resort Casino. The music legend will be accompanied by a 14-piece string section, performing a mix of Christmas and pop classics including “Silent Night,” “Silver Bells,” “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” “Joy to the World,” and “My Favorite Things.”


Jose Feliciano

José Feliciano: 50th Anniversary of Feliz Navidad: Dec. 18

His name synonymous with music and an international presence that has influenced popular music for two generations. This year marks the 50th for his popular rendition of “Feliz Navidad”. See him at Spotlight 29 Casino.


Starring Jonathan Butler, Richard Elliott, Rick Braun and introducing Rebecca Jade, a holiday tradition returns to the McCallum Theatre as Dave Koz and Friends Christmas Tour 2021 brings together a magical combination of musicians to celebrate this special season.


The Nutcracker

Starlight Dance Center’s “The Nutcracker”: Dec. 19

Starlight Dance Center presents a ballet performance of “The Nutcracker” at the Annenberg Theatre.

“The Nutcracker” by CK Dance Company: Dec. 21

CK Dance, Palm Springs’ award-winning dance company, returns to the beautiful Annenberg Theater for its 25th anniversary performances of “The Nutcracker” the quintessential holiday ballet of Tchaikovsky’s classical masterpiece.

“An Actor’s Carol”: Dec. 22

Melissa Morgan Fine Art Gallery in Palm Desert presents An Actor’s Carol, which tells the story of Hugh Pendleton, a cranky veteran actor who is sick and tired of playing Scrooge every holiday. He subsequently suffers a nervous breakdown, and is visited by three ghosts of his own. The adaptation is a loving send up of the Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol. Admission is free.

Palm Springs Cultural Center — “WHITE CHRISTMAS”: Dec. 25

A successful song-and-dance team become romantically involved with a sister act and team up to save the failing Vermont inn of their former commanding general. Stars Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Vera-Ellen, and Rosemary Clooney.