What takes 48 chef-hours to complete, tastes like Christmas and smells like Grandma's house? Why it's the Ritz-Carlton's Frozen Winter Wonderland Castle, of course. Bear witness to this elaborate construction of gingerbread and icing at the grand unveiling, where guests will be treated to cider and cookies, the John Horn High School Girls Choir and music by a French horn quartet from the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. And as if this event didn't already dot Christmas' "i" and cross its "t," Santa and Mrs. Claus will also put in an appearance. Admission and parking are complimentary.
What it be: Gingerbread Castle Unveiling
When it do: 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1
Where dat is: The Ritz-Carlton, 2121 McKinney Ave.
The Rustic is embracing the holidays in true Texan style: with a boat load of meat and booze. Every weekday from now through Dec. 23, the Rustic's patio is where roasted pig and spiked eggnog will be served on the house with the purchase of any menu item. On these nights, the hognogging will continue until the spit and/or punch bowl runs dry.
What it be: The Rustic's Holiday Hog and Nog Happy Hour
When it do: 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday from now until Dec. 23
Where dat is: The Rustic, 3656 Howell St.
On Friday, the Denton Town Square will be cast in a soft, magical glow — the kind that can only be generated from thousands of twinkling Christmas lights. As the square becomes illuminated as part of the annual Denton Holiday Lighting Festival, merchants will dispense piping hot cups of wassail. In case you didn't know, wassail is a hot beverage made from the blood of young apples, and it is delicious. The festivities will continue on Saturday, so your weekend schedule should read something like this: Friday — wassail. Saturday — more wassail.
What it be: Wassail Fest
When it do: 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2 and 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3
Where dat is: 110 W. Hickory St., Denton
Oh come let us adore them, oh come let us adore them, oh come let us adore them, pork tamales. This marks the second year for the DFW International Tamale Festival and Christmas Market, and with it comes an exploration of tamale-making tradition in the Americas. Stop by and place your order for Christmas, or pick up a dozen or two or 12. Tamales: They're the reason for the season.
What it be: DFW Tamale Festival and Christmas Market
When it do: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3
Where dat is: Dallas Farmers Market, 1010 S. Pearl Expy.
What better way to greet the winter weather than by stripping down to your underwear and testing all 10 speeds on your bike? The Red Star Bicycle Shop presents a 10-mile social ride through downtown and the Katy Trail with stops at two or three breweries. And yes, you do it all in your underwear, so choose your tighty-whities carefully.
What it be: Underwear and Brewery Bike Ride
When it do: 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3
Where dat is: Red Star, 155 Parkerhouse St.
Kids of all ages can put their hand-eye coordination to the test at the Crescent Hotel's gingerbread house decorating workshop. Pastry chef Julie Price will be your icing and candy application guru, ensuring that nary a gumdrop falls prey to ill placement. Kid workshops are $95, while the adult-only workshop is $125 per person or $155 per couple. For reservations, call 214-871-3241 or email Carlee Christy at email@example.com.
What it be: Holiday Gingerbread Workshops
When it do: Kid workshops: 9 to 11 a.m. and noon to 2 p.m Saturday, Dec. 3; 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11; 1 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18. Adult workshop: 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 15.
Where dat is: The Crescent, 400 Crescent Court
Luck and Glazed Donut Works are combining forces yet again as they work to bring an end to as many diets as possible. Their weapons? Beer and doughnuts. If the historic popularity of this event is any indicator, Dallasites are just waiting for a reason to bring their paleo regimens to a crushing, yeasty halt. The pairings this round feature holiday and seasonal flavors including doughnut noisette with HopFusion Ale Works' Fur Slipper imperial milk stout and cardamom knots with Rahr's blonde ale. Tickets are $18.
What it be: Donut and Beer Pairing - December Edition
When it do: 11 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 4
Where dat is: Luck, 3011 Gulden Lane
Sure, you may drive a white pickup truck and vote Republican and know to ask for burnt ends, but do you know how to cook — really cook — like a Texan? Find out at Cook Like a Texan, a pop-up picnic held at Klyde Warren Park. Tasting tickets are $20 a pop and include sips and bites from local chefs, restaurants and Texas brands. The afternoon will also feature culinary demonstrations which will help you learn the cooking techniques every good Texan needs in their holster. Chef-prepared picnic baskets are available for $100 and include lunch and cocktails for two, along with gifts and two tasting tickets.
What it be: Cook Like a Texan
When it do: noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4
Where dat is: Klyde Warren Park, 2012 Woodall Rodgers Freeway
The Bishop Arts District is a real gem, with its original architecture, one-of-a-kind shops and now, thanks to the Bishop Mimosa Walk, a liquid brunch. Have your fill (and then refill) of mimosas as you stroll the district and stop for drinks at participating venues. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 on the day of and may be picked up or purchased from the tents on Bishop and 7th.
What it be: Jingle Bells on Bishop Mimosa Walk
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When it do: Noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4
Where dat is: Bishop Arts District, West Davis Street and North Bishop Avenue