Now that the annual Thanksgiving feast has come and gone and it’s officially December, we can shift our focus to the all-important holiday of Christmas that is fast approaching. Even though much of our state never really gets the memo that winter is upon us, we definitely know how to celebrate. When you aren’t busy decorating the tree or stringing up lights outside this season, be sure to check out the unforgettable holiday festivities in these Texas towns.
Travel back in time to 19th-century Victorian England with Dickens on The Strand in Galveston from December 4th-6th. Between vendors in costume selling antique wares, carolers, parades featuring the king and queen, and other entertainment appropriate for the era, you'll think you've stepped into an old tale about three ghosts and a Mr. Scrooge. Bah Humbug!
Keeping with the Victorian theme, the Historic Jefferson Foundation holds a candlelit tour on the first two weekends of December featuring some of the town's oldest homes that have been decorated beautifully for the Christmas season. The historic First Baptist Church will be holding performances of holiday music during the hours of the tour. You can also take a stroll through the Enchanted Forest, an attraction with over 100 trees adorned with lights and ornaments.
There's no shortage of festivities in this town, that's for sure! From parades to 11 acres of over 3 million Christmas lights to pictures with Santa and pony rides for the little ones, Whistle Stop Christmas is definitely worth a visit.
The Wonderland of Lights Extravaganza in Marshall, Texas rivals any other light display in the country with over 10 million lights, including illumination of the entire town courthouse. A variety of events take place here through December 31st including a lighted parade, 5K Jingle Bell run, Santa's Workshop & Mrs. Claus's Kitchen and carriage/train rides for the kids, and an outdoor ice skating rink.
Every year, the George Ranch Historical Park in Richmond hosts a Campfire Christmas celebration. Here you can take a wagon ride through a farm boasting old-fashioned holiday decorations and hear carols and stories from the family who lives there. Afterwards, sit around the campfire and share the season's blessings.
Wimberley is home to the Holiday Trail of Lights, a spectacle that captures the spirit of the holiday season perfectly through December 31st. Walk through 8 acres of light displays with the warmth of the Yule Log that burns nightly. You can even roast marshmallows and hot dogs over a campfire! Nothing beats s'mores on a cold, winter night.
4. College Station
Aggieland knows how Christmas is done. At Santa's Wonderland, you can experience a hayride tour through millions of lights, live music, an old western village with unique holiday gifts, visits with Santa, Christmas movies on a giant outdoor screen, snow machines and more.
Grapevine has been appropriately dubbed the Christmas capital of Texas. Gaylord Texan Resort holds a variety of events including an indoor winter wonderland in the form of an ice sculpture maze featuring popular holiday characters and huge ice slides. The city also has a synchronized light show running through January 3rd where you can sing along with a gigantic Christmas tree! And as if that isn't enough, Great Wolf Lodge is transformed into "Snowland" with an indoor heated waterpark and other holiday activities.
2. Grand Prairie
Grand Prairie's light display is a must-see holiday attraction, and it can be experienced from the comfort of your car! Visitors drive down a 2 mile path lined with dazzling displays. Halfway through you'll find a holiday village with seasonal food, a gift shop, an indoor laser show and an animated walk-through forest. The second half of the drive ends with the largest light tunnel in Texas!
1. San Antonio
Rounding out the list is none other than San Antonio. Everyone can agree that with twinkling lights high up in the trees lining the riverwalk and Santa accompanying gondola riders, this city captures the essence of Christmas perfectly.
Christmas is yet another example of everything being bigger in Texas. What towns do you think are the best for celebrating the holiday season? Share in the comments below.