Now, before everyone gets all uppity because I’m talking about holiday events before Thanksgiving, lets have a seat. I am a holiday fanatic. I countdown to the Christmas season starting in July and for me the season starts right after Halloween and here’s why: Thanksgiving is a holiday, when I say Happy Holidays, I am wishing you a Happy Holidays SEASON! As I explained to my husband this morning, the holiday season is basically my Super Bowl and World Series wrapped into one. I dance to Christmas music in November and pull out my Christmas movies on the first chilly fall morning. Why you ask? Well, because it’s the happiest times of the year. People are nice and jolly and there are more cookies being baked than any other time of the year. It’s not about the gifts, I could care less about whats under the tree Christmas morning. In fact, Christmas morning is a little sad for me because I know once midnight hits, it’s all over! If this bothers you than I am sorry but I’m also sad for you. The holiday season brings about a happiness in me that I refuse to let the holiday season haters squash. So, Merry Christmas! Happy Thanksgiving! Happy Holidays Ya’ll!
Last year, we spent our very first holiday season in the city of Dallas. For a New Yorker, the warmer temperatures will always feel odd to me but we were able to celebrate and get in the true holiday spirit. What I love about Dallas is how much the city does to celebrate the season! I wanted to share some of my favorites for any new Dallas friends out there or anyone traveling here during the holidays. I also included two new events that my family will be trying this year.
This was actually our very first Christmas Event we attended last year as a family. My husband spent every waking hour last holiday season studying for the CFA so we had to really squeeze in holiday fun where we could. This is a fantastic event! Last year Little J was 13 months when we attended which I worried would be too young to even understand what was going on. I was wrong. They have several areas to grab snacks and drinks and by drinks I mean beer and wine along with those of the nonalcoholic genre. The main event takes place in Belo Gardens but trickles down Main Street with almost a flea market type set up with people selling holiday items.
The main event is huge! Each year Santa enters Belo Gardens in a different way. Last year, he jumped out of a helicopter to light the tree so we are excited to see what his grand entrance will be this year. If that isn’t exciting enough for your LO, after Santa lights the tree fireworks begin and people dressed as wooden toy soldiers on stilts roam the crowd. My helpful tip is to park with an exit strategy. It’s worth it to walk a little bit further to your car than sit for 20 minutes with a screaming toddler trying to exit a parking garage.
Parking: Several parking garages in the area, most range from $5-10
Date: Has yet to be announced. Last year it was held the weekend before Thanksgiving.
Snider Plaza Christmas Tree Lighting
The tree lighting at University Park obviously doesn’t disappoint. This is an excerpt from The University Park Event Page “The 9th annual University Park Tree Lighting in Snider Plaza is scheduled for Sunday, November 22 from 1 to 6 p.m. The event will include live performances on the LegacyTexas Bank main stage, children’s activities, bounce houses and over a dozen vendors offering treats, food and drinks. Children will have the opportunity to meet the “Rein-Steer,” have their faces painted and to snap a picture with jolly Santa Claus. The tree lighting will culminate the festivities.”
Last year we went right when it began at 1pm and due to City Lights occurring that evening we only stayed for a short period and missed the actual Tree Lighting. However, for the short time we were there, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The venders have several free items and samples to give away. Last year, I left with a very full belly after getting several food samples from local restaurants! YUM. Little J was a little nervous taking a picture with the Rein-Steer but I sure loved it. If you have a toddler, I recommend bringing a stroller however the streets are closed off so there is a little room to let them roam safety.
Price: Free, however you are able to make a donation of any size to support Phil Romano’s Hunger Busters Program and The North Texas Food Bank
Parking: Parking was simple and easy for us. We parked at the SMU Law School Garage and easily walked the one block to the event.
Date: November 22, 2015 1pm-6pm Sadly, I’m realizing we may be out of town the weekend of the tree lighting this year!
Santa at the Arboretum
If you are a Dallas Aboretum member already then I’m sure you know they pull out all the stops for the holiday season. One of my very favorites is seeing their Santa Claus. Readers, he is the real deal, I am not kidding. This is Santa! Now, Santa arrived promptly (or 5 minutes late) at noon and just like most seniors at the Arboretum, he travels via golf cart. Let’s not give him flack for that, he is Santa and he needs his rest before the big night. Your child can get a picture with Santa for free (as long as you bring your own camera and trusty Smart Phone) and afterwards they can see Santa’s Reindeer! Sounds like a blast to me!
Price: Normal Garden Admission
Parking: $15 for non members, free for members
Date: Every Saturday & Sunday November 28-December 20 12pm-4pm
The Trains at North Park
Do you have a train obsessed child like I do? Because this is basically their version of Disney Land! The Trains at North Park are so impressive even I had to stand back and take it all in. Little J was in his element when I took him last year at only 13 months old! He ran back and forth between all the train exhibits and starred at the Thomas & Friends trains for quite some time. We cannot wait to go back now that he is a little older.
Price: $7 for adults, $3 for children (under 2yo- free admission)- Proceeds benefit the Ronald McDonald House!
Parking: I would suggest parking by Nordstroms as the event is in that area.
Dates: November 21, 2015-January 3, 2016. Mon-Sat 10am-9pm and Sun 2pm-6pm
12 Days of Christmas at the Dallas Arboretum
The Dallas Arboretum boasts 25 foot Victorian Gazebos with mechanical moving displays to represent the beloved Christmas carol, 12 Days of Christmas. During the evening hours, seasonal snacks and drinks will be available for purchase. I have heard such wonderful things about this event and can’t wait to attend. Last year we purchased tickets but unfortunately it was raining so we bailed. The arboretum will allow you to trade in tickets for a different night due to weather however they do not offer refunds. s
Price: Daytime admission is the same as general admission.
Evening Admission is as follows:
Adults: $20 nonmembers/ $12 members
Children: 3-12yo: $10 nonmembers/ $9 members
Under 3- Free
Parking: Included in ticket price
Dates: November 8- January 3rd Daytime 9am-5pm Evening 6pm-9pm
North Pole Express Christmas Train- Grapevine, Texas
From what I have been told, Grapevine is officially known as the Christmas Capital of Texas. Along with the North Pole Express, they also host ICE at the Gaylord Texan. For my train loving toddler, this is so exciting. We will be attending for the first time this year and are on pins and needles with excitement. Here is an excerpt from the website:
As the train departs and the anticipation of arriving at the North Pole builds, elves will welcome the guests and sing traditional Christmas music. Then, a magical moment! As the train draws closer to the North Pole, Mrs. Claus makes a special appearance to give each child a “We Believe” silver Santa bell. Guests then arrive at the North Pole and walk along a snowy Christmas Tree trail, where, as they wait for an appearance by Santa, guests are entertained with songs and magical Christmas moments. Finally, Santa arrives! Santa wishes everyone a Merry Christmas and then shares his Frosty Chocolate Snow Milk served in a memory mug to all the boys and girls. Families will also receive a voucher for a complimentary Family Photo with Santa.
Are your eyes wide with wonder yet??? Well hurry up and purchase your tickets because they sell out quickly with many dates already completely sold out!
Price: $25 per person including any child over 1yo.
Parking: Signs will direct you to parking lots and free shuttles are provided
Dates: Fri, Sat & Sun: 11/27-Dec/23
A McKinney Christmas- Home for the Holidays
Like the Polar Express, you’ll have to travel a bit outside of Dallas to see this festival but it has received great reviews in the past. Downtown McKinney turns into a winter wonderland with fake snow for the children, visits from Santa as well as performances, food and shopping for all! This is a full weekend event which kicks off Friday evening with the McKinney Tree Lighting and continues on throughout the weekend.
Parking: Free parking available in downtown area
Dates: November 27 & 28 10am-8pm, Nov. 9 12pm-5pm
There is so much more to explore during the holiday season in Dallas so please don’t limit yourself to my list! Comment and let me know what I forgot, or which event your family just can’t live without!
Happy Holidays Loves!