Sometimes no matter how hard you try, no matter what videos you watch or how much your special someone tries to help, it’s hard to get in the mood. The Christmas mood. You know you’re being a Grinch while everyone around you is preparing roast beast, but you can’t do anything to help it. You miss how easy it was when you were a kid and the mere thought of presents under the tree had you singing "Jingle Bells" while trick-or-treating.
Don’t stress. The more pressure you put on yourself, the harder it’ll be to maintain the holiday spirit. Let us help you with your yuletide dysfunction with a list of some of the best things to do in Dallas to put that kick back in your winter wonderment. Be warned: If your Christmas mood lasts more than four hours, seek immediate help from a qualified Santa.
Christmas at the Star
1 Cowboys Way, Frisco
Every Friday and Saturday through Dec. 22 at 6 p.m.
Every Friday and Saturday evening through Dec. 22, Dallas Cowboys fans can visit Tostitos Championship Plaza to watch performances from the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders and the Dallas Cowboys Rhythm and Blue Dancers and Drumline. Each night a special guest will light the 52-foot Christmas tree on display, such as Miss Texas 2018 and former Cowboys standouts DeMarcus Ware and Jason Witten. Parking and admission is completely free, and for an additional $40 the kiddos can take a picture with a Santa, who will hopefully explain that because of him, they just lost $40 worth of presents.
Elf: The Broadway Musical
Music Hall at Fair Park
909 1st Ave.
Nov. 27 – Dec. 2
Tickets starting at $35
The adventures of Buddy the Elf and his quest to leave the North Pole to find his dad are brought to life live in front of audiences, when the touring company of Elf: The Broadway Musical steps onstage. It’s the story you love, now with more catchy songs. Probably not the one, though, where Zooey Deschanel is singing in the shower and Will Ferrell just listens to her with that creepy look. Yeah, you were raised by elves, but they probably weren’t listening to the other elves take a shower. Maybe they were.
Globe Life Park
1000 Ballpark Way, Arlington
Nov. 23 – Dec. 30
Tickets start as low as $19
Children 3 and younger are free
For a completely unique experience, check out Enchant Christmas at Globe Life Park. Get lost in what is advertised as the world’s largest Christmas lights maze. As you explore the maze, children are encouraged to help Santa in his search for eight hidden presents that a tricky elf named Eddie placed throughout. Rent some ice skates and take to the ice skating trail, where you can glide along while taking in the light displays around you. There’s live music, food and drinks, and of course, Santa ready to hear what everyone wants for Christmas.
Hilton Anatole’s Peppermint Park
2201 N. Stemmons Freeway
Fridays and Saturdays, Nov. 23 – Dec. 15
5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Open daily Dec. 20 – 23
1 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Kids 3-17: $19.95
Kids 3 and younger: Free
Free for all guests of the hotel
The Hilton Anatole is turning their three-acre lawn into a full Christmas attraction called Peppermint Park. Featuring train rides with Santa and Mrs. Claus, a nativity petting zoo and an elf school to train the smallest believers into premier Santa’s helpers, Peppermint Park has something for all ages. The park boasts over three million lights, totaling 2.5 miles, spread out around 15 Christmas trees adorned with an estimated 7,500 ornaments. A portion of the proceeds will be going to Make-A-Wish.
8687 N. Central Expressway
Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sunday, noon to 6 p.m.
While the Galleria does have a gargantuan-sized tree planted in the middle of their ice rink, NorthPark Center has countless shows and interactive areas for the kids and kids at heart. The 1,600-foot-long miniature train exhibit that makes up the Trains at NorthPark will once again be on display, with all ticket sales being donated to the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas. Hourly puppet shows featuring everyone’s favorite Scrooge, Scrooge, will have the crowd laughing even when the surly cheapskate is making them the butt of the joke. Be sure not to miss the 12 Days of Christmas Clock, a 28-foot display that plays the titular song, that’s making its return to the shopping center for the first time in 12 years.
Lone Star Christmas at the Gaylord
1501 Gaylord Trail, Grapevine
Nov. 9 – Jan. 1
Tickets start from $13.99 per child to $22 per adult
The Gaylord Texan’s annual ICE! exhibit will showcase scenes from the beloved television special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Patrons can walk through the story of their favorite brightly-nosed reindeer in the form of carefully crafted full-color ice sculptures. Dress warm, as the temperature in the exhibit is low enough to keep the over two million pounds of ice sculptures perfectly preserved. Before you leave, climb up one of the five two-story ice slides for a quick frozen thrill.
A Christmas Carol
2400 Flora St.
Nov. 21 – Dec. 30
Tickets starting at $13
Often imitated but never surpassed, A Christmas Carol will run at the Wyly Theatre now through the end of December. For those of you not familiar with the story, and weirdly those people exist, miser Scrooge is visited by three Christmas ghosts that teach him the error of his ways. Audiences should expect to be prepared for up-close interactions with the actors, flying ghosts and a light snowfall indoors.
Holidays at the Arboretum
8525 Garland Rd.
Nov. 9 – Dec. 31
6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Children 2 – 12: $10
Put on your coat and scarf and make a night of it at the Arboretum Dallas. Grab a glass of wine and stroll through the 12 Days of Christmas outdoor exhibit, but feel free to take in the decoratively lighted gardens along the way. A 30-foot-tall Christmas tree at the center of festivities is an ideal photo op for couples and families, with the nearby Cafe on the Green ready to warm you up with their offerings.
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A Christmas Story: The Musical
Winspear Opera House
2403 Flora St.
Dec. 12 – 18
Tickets starting at $65
The story that made everyone think twice about licking anything cold, the classic holiday movie A Christmas Story is given the musical treatment by the songwriting team from the film La La Land. Relive the adventures and errors of youth through a hysterical lens of storytelling and music in the production that was nominated for three Tony Awards.
Dallas Zoo Lights
650 R.L. Thornton Freeway
Select nights Nov. 16 – Jan. 1
5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Children 3 – 11 and Seniors: $12
The real party starts at the Dallas Zoo once the animals are put to bed. Dallas Zoo Lights is a post-sundown lights display that turns the animal exhibits into a twinkling holiday experience. Grab a hot chocolate and funnel cake, then take your time looking at the displays made up of over one million lights. (Did we mention this was sponsored by Reliant?) Shake hands with Santa, visit Rudolph’s Sugar Shack and take home an ornament you made yourself as a souvenir.