There are several places all over Texas, from Hill Country down to the Alamo City and everywhere in between, that light up with holiday cheer. Here are 10 to put on your list in no particular order:
• In the Texas Hill Country town of Fredericksburg, Christmas is celebrated in a style that befits their German heritage. Each year the town hosts multiple community Christmas events. One of the first is the ceremony to light the German Christmas Pyramid and Christmas tree at the Vereins Kirche at Marktplatz. Santa Claus makes an appearance and there is live music. The Eisbahn outdoor skating rink is a local favorite that operates from November to January.
• Throughout the season, Galveston Island brings Christmas to life with several attractions, including the Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens, Downtown Lanterns & Lights and the Santa Hustle, which is a holiday 5K and half marathon. The town also hosts the annual “Dickens on The Strand” festival, which dates back to 1974.
3. New Braunfels
• Visitors to New Braunfels during the holiday season can experience Christmas Market Days and Cowboy Kringle in Historic Gruene, as well as twinkling light displays at Santa’s Ranch. New Braunfels also hosts a Hometown Holiday Christmas Parade.
4. Grand Prairie
• There are several reasons to celebrate Christmas here including the Grand Prairie Holiday Tree Lighting, a Christmas Candlelight memorial service and the Traders Village Holiday market. Those are just a few of the attractions offered. However, the biggest attraction is the city’s spectacular light display. Visitors are able to drive for two miles surrounded by thousands of Christmas lights. The display also features a holiday village with an indoor laser show and a walk-through forest.
• Christmas on the Bayou is what Jefferson residents call their holiday happenings. The traditions include the annual Rail of Lights Christmas train, which runs on the weekends, and the downtown wassail walk is also a local favorite. Additionally, there is the hometown Christmas parade and the candlelight tour of homes.
• The Wonderland of Lights Extravaganza is the highlight of Christmas celebrations. The event is in its 28th year and continues until New Year’s Eve. The celebration features thousands of white lights that turns downtown into a winter wonderland. Among many other events, visitors are treated to a Jingle Bell Run, Lighted Christmas Parade, a Walk to Bethlehem and a Community Christmas Carol.
• Though it may be known for live music, Austin is also a great place to spend Christmas. The annual Trail of Lights runs through Zilker Park and the Holiday Sing Along and Downtown Stroll meanders down Congress Avenue. Completing Christmas shopping is easy at the Armadillo Christmas Bazar, which takes place at the Palmer Events Center.
8. San Antonio
• The Alamo City lights up for Christmas with several parades, including Light the Way, the Ford Holiday River Parade & Lighting Festival and the Ford Fiesta de las Luminarias. The city also has numerous traditions to observe when the festive season rolls around including the Holiday Festival, La Tamalada and Time Travel Saturday, La Gran Tamalada and the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza to name a few.
9. College Station
• College Station has plenty of activities when Christmas comes. The month of December plays host to numerous events such as Christmas in the Park, the annual Holiday Concert and the Downtown Lighted Christmas Parade. The city is also home to Santa’s Wonderland, where visitors can enjoy a white Christmas thanks to snow machines, as well as classic Christmas movies on a large outdoor movie screen.
• The city of Grapevine loves Christmas with more than 1,400 events taking place over 40 days from mid-November to early January. Some of the most notable events include a visit to a man-made Snowland and large ice sculptures with ice slides, created using close to 2 million pounds of ice. Grapevine also has a special train ride for children and features an outdoor movie screen to show popular Christmas films at the Historic Palace Theatre.
BY SPECTRUM NEWS STAFF TEXAS