There is something special about experiencing the season in North Texas, isn’t there? The pious nature of this southern state ensures a feted season, likely to be enjoyed by even those who reject organized tradition, because in Dallas there’s always something unexpectedly interesting to do. Perhaps the season has escaped you this year and you’re scrambling to find some festive events to partake in during these last few days of the decade. Perhaps you’re searching for ways to distract yourself from a 70-degree Christmas, and the fact that the Earth is heating at an alarmingly fast pace. Or maybe you’re simply in need of an excuse to get out of the house (and away from your family). Whatever the case may be, here are 10 festive activities to allay each and every holiday need.
5610 Lake Ridge Parkway, Grand Prairie
The best thing about this attraction is that leaving the warm cocoon of your car is optional! Therefore, the sight is perhaps best saved for an especially chilly Texas evening. In the company of family, friends or perhaps just a warm hot chocolate and the sounds of KLUV's relentless Christmas playlist, Prairie Lights provides a stunning, two-mile Christmas light experience. Bonus: Santa Claus can be sighted inside the Holiday Village, where performances also occur, concessions are sold and a gift shop awaits.
Ebenezer Scrooge at the Pocket Sandwich Theatre
5400 E. Mockingbird Lane, Suite 119
The Pocket Sandwich Theatre’s annual Christmas show has become something of a Dallas institution. The company has taken the creative liberty of twisting the Dickens classic into something kitschy, memorable and fun, every year since 1981. Its traditionally eclectic cast of noteworthy and newbie Dallas thespians brings it to life, attracting audiences young and old. Take part in Scrooge’s journey as he encounters the past, present and future, with 16 musical numbers and a sure-to-be happy ending.
The Moon Mansion Christmas Eve Party
2200 N. Haskell Ave.
The ever-elusive Moon Mansion has hosted in-the-know Dallas residents for years on end. In spite of the fact that it’s been around since the mid-’70s, it seems as though nobody knows much about the mysterious residence — aside from its nefarious parties, of course. Namely, the infamous Christmas Eve Party, which is open to anyone who knows when and where to go. If in East Dallas on the night of Christmas Eve, keep an ear out for the sound of drums, and an eye for those dressed in festive finery. Perhaps they will lead the way to a doorstep into the deep, dark recess of Dallas counterculture … or just go to the address above around 10 p.m.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Christmas Show
5938 Skillman St.
The Dallas Children’s Theater is known for creating magical experiences for children all year-round. However, there’s something particularly special about taking a young'un to the theater around the holiday season. This year, DCT is putting on a puppeteered production of Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s Christmas, which, in addition to entertaining kiddos, is sure to endear parents as well (mainly because it is not a musical, and will therefore be void of earworms).
An Afternoon at NorthPark Center
8687 N. Central Expressway
There’s nothing quite like NorthPark mall at Christmastime. Whether it’s kids running rampant or parents pushing viciously through crowds to get through the final hours of Christmas preparations, there will always be something festive to see. If the timing’s right, catch Santa’s Toy Shoppe Puppet Theatre. If not, venture to the bottom floor to watch one of the many youth dance and choral performances, go to see the ever-enchanting Christmas Trains (where a diorama of DFW sits covered in snow), and then adopt a furrever friend at the SPCA of Texas’ Home for the Holidays Pet Adoption Pavilion.
8525 Garland Road
Celebrating the holiday season at the Dallas Arboretum is a staple, for good reason. The gardens are transformed into a spectacular wonderland, carols echo through trees and seasonal flora is put on dashing display. This year, though, the Arboretum is embracing a more European tradition. In addition to their usual 12 Days of Christmas-themed walkway, they will also be holding a miniature “Christkindlmarket,” modeled after the cozy Christmas markets of Germany and Austria, complete with interactive activities for children and parents alike.
A Walk Around Highland Park
4700 Drexel Drive
Highland Park is known for its historically decadent culture, particularly when the Yuletide season rolls around. From Highland Park Village to Southern Methodist University, Christmas can be seen on every corner. The main attractions are perhaps the houses within the neighborhood, which seem to one-up each other each year. Expect to see full-size Christmas trees lining walkways, two-story inflatable Santas and animatronic reindeer abound. Though driving through is a nice way to see the sights, walking is even better, as there are often details in the designs that are best seen up-close.
Dallas Classical Christmas Eve Open Mic
5815 Live Oak St.
If you were looking for an unconventional, community-centered way to spend your Christmas Eve, look no further: Dallas Open Classical is holding their free open mic, welcome to any and all who know their way around an arpeggio. Participants are encouraged to bring their own instruments or else utilize a provided piano. An accompanist will also be in participation, so there are no excuses if you get an inkling to chorale it out with your friends and family (or maybe even strangers!).
Christmas Laser Light Yoga
4311 Belmont Ave.
“Christmas” and “yoga” together may sound strange to those who’ve never experienced the delights of City Yoga’s annual Pink Floyd class. Originally taught by Dallas’ favorite curly-locked yoga teacher Julie Wright, the Christmas Day class at City Yoga has become a new and loved tradition for yogis with little to lots of experience. This year, the class will be taught by local teacher Mike Luckock, and lit by — in keeping with the Dark Side of the Moon theme -— colorful “lasers.” Mats fill up quick, so be sure to get there early.