Other parts of the country might be pulling on the mittens, lacing up the snow boots and throwing a log on the fire. In Texas, we’ve got our own ways of celebrating the holidays. Here are 12 of our fun, festive favorites for 2019. Ho-ho-ho, here we go!
Known for its over-the-top holiday decorations, professionally developed cocktails and nostalgic vibes, Miracle is a festive Christmas-themed pop-up cocktail bar that has quickly grown into an international tradition. Launched in 2014, the seasonal pop-up has grown to over 100 locations globally.
For 2019, HIDE, Deep Ellum’s gold standard bar for innovative and distinctive cocktails, is hosting Miracle 2019 for a second consecutive year. Last year, HIDE was the only Miracle bar in Dallas—and the third highest grossing pop-up site in the world. This year, other Texas locations include Austin, Corpus Christi, Galveston, Houston and Waco.
Where: 2816 Elm St, Dallas, TX 75226
For 2019, a brand new Christmas Village debuts as part of Holiday at the Arboretum, noted as “Texas’ Best Christmas Event” by Southern Living Magazine. Inspired by the European Christmas Markets, or Christkindlmarket, the village comprises charming shops and façades that represent a quaint European hamlet. Measuring 16-19 feet tall, each house is themed and large enough that several children and adults can enter at a time and experience that particular business.
During the weekends and evenings, volunteers dressed as shopkeepers pass out samples of their wares. Santa plans to stop by for visits, and there are many planned activities and festivities including local choirs performing on the stage.
Where: 8525 Garland Road, Dallas, TX 75218
There are a few truly iconic holiday images in the United States, and one of them is right here in Texas, when Galleria Dallas erects the country’s tallest indoor Christmas tree.
Galleria Dallas has been one of the top holiday destination spots for shoppers across North Texas and around the world for more than three decades. From the iconic 95-foot-tall Christmas tree to Missile Toes, the ice-skating Santa who shoots fireworks from his skates, the holiday celebration at Galleria Dallas is recognized as one of the grandest nationwide. The nation’s tallest indoor Christmas tree features nearly a half-million lights, 10,000 ornaments and a 100-pound, 10-foot-tall LED star.
Where: 13350 Dallas Parkway, Dallas, TX 75240
Arlington’s Texas Christkindl Market was voted one of USA TODAY’s 10 Best Holiday Markets in the United States last year.
With its festive decorations, holiday music, yummy treats and traditional, timeless gifts, just stepping inside this German-inspired holiday market will immediately put you in the holiday spirit. Eagle eye shoppers will specifically want to look for exclusive Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas decorations and designs from the renowned Rothenburg ob der Tauber Christmas Village in Germany.
But it’s not just the shopping. Sample authentic German treats such as juicy brats, gingerbread, roasted nuts and strudel. And considered the unofficial drink of the German Christmas markets, no trip to Texas Christkindl is complete without a cup of Glühwein, a traditional hot spiced mulled wine best enjoyed while selecting gifts for your loved ones. Bonus: An onsite ice-skating rink runs through Jan 12!
Where: North Plaza at Globe Life Field, 1650 E Randol Mill Rd, Arlington, TX 76011
This year’s Stroll kicks off at 6.pm, Thursday, Dec 5 with a Lighted Christmas Parade. This year’s parade is set to be the largest to date for Salado and includes the 1st Cavalry Division’s Horse Cavalry—always a favorite. The annual lighting of the trees at the Salado Civic Center takes place at the close of the parade.
Throughout both weekends, Salado’s boutiques will be well stocked with a variety of unique merchandise, so you are sure to find something for everyone on your Christmas list. Sip hot cocoa while strolling down Main Street, where you will be serenaded by strolling carolers and enjoy live music throughout the village. Horse-drawn carriage rides will guide you down Main Street as you take in all the lights, sounds and warmth of the season. Bonus: Free parking, with festive trolleys to help get you to and from.
In addition to the free, family-friendly fun and floats that make this Austin parade so special, there’s the opportunity to help kids in need have a happier holiday season – by donating new unwrapped toys during the parade procession along Congress Avenue.
This 12-day event has been an Austin staple for 44 years. With nearly 200 curated artists, 36 bands spanning the 12-days, 2 full bars and new interactive activities, the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar is a special way to celebrate the holidays. Come for the art, stay for the fun.
The packed music lineup includes Gina Chavez (12/13), Dale Watson (12/13), The Peterson Brothers (12/15), Ray Wylie Hubbard (12/17), Marcia Ball and Ruthie Foster (12/21).
Tickets are $10 for a single-day pass; available at the door, or in advance online; Free admission for children 12 and under; $50 for a season pass, which allows entry throughout the duration of the 12-day Armadillo Christmas Bazaar (only available for purchase until 12/12/19).
Where: The Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Rd., Austin, TX 78704
One of the area’s most popular holiday events will draw visitors to the Texas Hill Country for holiday shopping and family fun on November 30, the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
Shoppers arrive early to shop at Christmas in Comfort with vendor booths opening at 10am. There’s a full day of holiday activities in the historic district of town through 9pm. (Comfort has nearly 100 pre-1910 buildings within walking distance of the town center and a large part of Comfort has been designated a National Historic District.)
The highlight of Christmas in Comfort is the Weihnachten Lichter (Christmas Lights) parade, which has grown from an initial eight floats to more than 100 floats today. No admission fee.
To kick off the holiday season, JW Marriott San Antonio hosts a free, public tree lighting event in the resort’s backyard on Nov 23 from 5-10 p.m., complete with the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus, local choirs, live music, pictures with Santa, a DIY children’s train parade and more. Light Up the Night will include tons of over-the-top picture opportunities perfect for the ‘gram, including some with a LIVE reindeer.
This season, resort guests can also look forward to the JW Elves, who are back with JW Elf tuck-ins, JW Elf Express train car making, certified JW Elf classes, holiday crafts at Santa’s workshop, elves dressed as lifeguards to cheer on the resort’s bravest guests during the Polar Bear Plunge Challenge and more.
Where: 23808 Resort Parkway, San Antonio, TX 78261
Holiday magic comes to life at Old West Christmas Light Fest with light displays and twinkling fun throughout an Old West town brimming with lights, music, games, activities and flavor. Experience holiday glow and some of the best Christmas lights in the San Antonio area in a true Texas setting with Santa and his Holly Jolly Herd of longhorns ready to pull his sleigh across Texas.
Delight in a synchronized light show set to music, play laser tag in the lights, escape holiday stress with family fun in the Old West’s Christmas Escape Rooms and snap sweet pictures in Candyland. Bring your family, friends and camera: pictures with Santa are always free at Old West Christmas Light Fest and every snap in the lights is a memory you’ll want to keep. Tip: Check ticket prices, days and times online as they vary.
Where: Enchanted Springs Ranch, 242 State Hwy 46 W, Boerne
Their weather forecast predicts snow all winter long at the Children’s Museum of Houston. So, you’re invited to unwrap the holiday magic, spread the joy and take your friends and family to experience “100% Chance of Snow” this holiday season!
Find a whole new reason for the season, chase the Museum’s colorful lights and dashing colors and take your loved ones for a warm and toasty escape from the past into a bright, shimmering, snowy future! Meet your favorite winter characters, walk through mini blizzards of indoor snow as you journey to Kidtropolis, build a snowman and play in REAL snow plus much more.
Mark your calendars because a winter wonderland is coming, and it’s all included with general admission. Tip: Check days and times online as they vary.
Where: 1500 Binz, Houston, TX 77004
The Deck the Trees Celebration transforms the Alley Theatre lobby into a winter wonderland of trees, festively decorated by Houston’s leading designers and sponsored by generous businesses and individuals. This annual tradition brings new and longstanding supporters together to celebrate the myriad of gifts that the Theatre infuses into the lives of young people and those young at heart.
Where: 615 Texas Avenue, Houston, TX 77002
Cover: The Polar Bear Plunge, JW Marriott San Antonio. Courtesy photo