ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – After a year, a favorite Albuquerque Christmas Eve tradition is back. While neighbors have been busy setting up, locals are ready to hop onto the ABQ Ride buses for the annual luminaria tour. The warm glow of luminarias throughout Albuquerque neighborhoods brings a new theme — “A Storybook Christmas” as people come back together this holiday season.

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The tour first started back in 1955 and has brought years of Christmas Eve memories ever since. Following last year’s cancelation because of COVID-19, this year’s tour will require masks, both inside the Convention Center’s waiting area and on the buses during tours.

While some have worried Friday’s rain would put a damper on the luminarias, other neighbors say they’re just ready to see this Christmas Eve tradition return to the city. “I think it’ll be fine. I think people soldier on and I think it’ll be fun. If it’s not pouring rain, I think we’ll do fine,” said Tim Sample.

“It’s really pretty. It’s like a big community gathering and everyone feels really connected so that’s always an awesome feeling to see everyone out here together,” said another person.

Some teens have made a business of making luminarias in the Country Club neighborhood over the past four years — spending much of the day making the luminarias and dropping them off to neighbors while trying to keep them dry. They returned later Friday afternoon to start setting up and they say they’re ready to see the buses of people come through and see their hard work pay off.

If you don’t have tickets for the bus tour, you can still check out the glowing neighborhoods on foot. The 45-minute bus tours leave the Convention Center every 20 to 30 minutes. The last one departs at 7:25 p.m. Past luminaria tour themes have included an Elvis-centric blue Christmas, the Grinch, and giving back to those in need.