Now that cold weather has finally arrived, we're officially moving full-throttle into the holiday season. Thanksgiving is next week, and that can only mean that Christmas will be here well before you're ready to deal with all your weird relatives. Still, the holiday season can be pretty magical, especially when you're staring at a massive tree with a bunch of twinkling lights.
If you find yourself in need of any holiday cheer, these eight tree lightings across the area should help get you geared up for the season. All eight of these events are free and family friendly, making them a perfect weekend activity for those of you with holiday-burdened budgets and stir-crazy kids. Sure, they're cheesy, but isn't that what the holidays are all about?
Downtown's Holiday Festival Saturday, December 22 Main Street Garden in Downtown Dallas Free
Downtown's Main Street Garden has an impressive tree, and they've planned a fun slate of free events to celebrate its lighting. Starting in the afternoon on December 22, you can buy gifts from holiday vendors, see a performance from Anita Martinez Ballet Folklorio, and hear Christmas carols from the Dallas Symphony Orchestra before Santa comes out to light the tree.
Celebrate the Holidays at Klyde Warren Park Saturday, December 6 Free The downtown park has ditched the
ice plastic rink this year, which allows for a greater emphasis on that gorgeous tree. Stop by the annual holiday celebration from 1-6 p.m. Saturday December 6, which includes free photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, as well as live reindeer and holiday activities and performances. The tree lighting will take place at 5:45 p.m.
Vitruvian Lights Friday, November 28 Free When Addison hosts events, it tends to go all out. At 6 p.m. Friday, November 28 Vitruvian Park will light up with millions of colorful lights. Then, a big holiday party will stretch until 10 p.m. with a concert, photos with Santa and the Holiday Snowman, an Elf balloon artist, food trucks, and a beer and wine garden.
2014 Home For The Holidays Tree Lighting Saturday, December 22 Southlake Town Square Free You'll have to drive out to the 'burbs, but this tree lighting in Southlake is the perfect place to take your suburban mom, if only to prod her for information about what to buy her for Christmas. Santa himself will be flipping the switch on the thousands of lights that illuminate this massive tree, and there will be trucked-in snow for something called "snow tubing." As a bonus, you can wrap up all your holiday shopping at the cute boutiques and craft vendors placed along Southlake Town Square.
Hometown Holidays Tree Lighting Saturday, November 22 Firewheel Town Center Free Even though this event takes place before Thanksgiving gets here, there's no reason to be a Grinch about a longer holiday season. This family-friendly event is hosting activities starting at 3 p.m., including carriage rides, face painting and live performances. After Santa lights the tree at 7 p.m., a free fireworks show will follow.
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Macy's Grand Tree Lighting Celebration Saturday, November 29 Macy's in Galleria Dallas Free The Macy's in the Galleria takes the "grand" in its tree lighting ceremony seriously. Outside of the massive tree, which is the largest indoor tree in the world and a spectacle on its own, there's a crazy ice dancing Santa and gold-medal Olympian skaters, including 2014 Gold Medalist Charlie White. Once you're done taking in the tree, Santa Claus is all set up in his village and waiting to tell you that you've been really, really naughty.
Annual Tree Lighting Event Wednesday, December 3 The Four Seasons Resort Free If you don't have the cash to even dream about a night's stay at the Four Seasons in Irving, the annual tree lighting ceremony is your chance to live life like the 1 percent, if only for a few hours. The 6 p.m. ceremony is open to the public and hotel guests, and there will be plenty of complimentary cider, eggnog, and Christmas cookies to justify the drive to Irving. When you go, bring an unwrapped toy for Toys For Tots.
Sundance Square Christmas Tree Lighting Saturday, November 22 Sundance Square in Fort Worth Free Strolling jugglers, Christmas characters, stilt-walkers and other entertainers will take to the square at 4 p.m. in advance of the lighting of a 58-foot-tall Christmas tree at 6 p.m. The Big Man himself rolls in at 6:30 and will be there for photos with kids until 10:30 p.m.
If a Christmas tree lighting before Thanksgiving is too early for you -- and getting up a 4 a.m. for Black Friday isn't your bag -- come back to downtown Forth Worth on the Friday after Thanksgiving for something more traditional the Fort Worth Parade of Lights. More than 100 lighted floats, music, marchers and, of course, Santa will draw thousands to downtown Fort Worth for the annual charity event. Check out the parade's website for info on the schedule and info on a free shuttle. There are plenty of free parade-watching spots along the route, but you can also reserve special seating in advance.