By: Jocelyn Tatum
Christmas season is upon us, which means that you can finally take out those decorations you’ve been waiting all year to hang up. The most wonderful time of the year brings multiple festive events to Fort Worth and surrounding cities. So just in case you don’t have anything planned yet, here are 50 different things to do in our area, featuring everything from concerts to 5K runs.
Image via FortWorthParadeofLights.org
Taking place in downtown Fort Worth is the annual XTO Parade of Lights. Attracting a crowd of tens of thousands every year, the XTO Parade of Lights marches through the heart of Fort Worth featuring a lineup with over 100 participants including Fort Worth high school marching bands, Mayor Betsy Price, local radio stations and many other organizations from the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Volunteers will be going around the route to collect donated toys from those attending, which will be distributed to children in need. Show up early to find a parking spot, or use the shuttle bus that departs from Farrington Field.
Presented by Pinnacle Bank Texas, West 7th’s Starlight Symphony is a fun holiday event that goes on through January. Starting on Nov. 23, Santa Claus will arrive, followed by the annual light show. Starlight Symphony will have carolers and free horse rides, and new this year is a sledding hill with real snow.
Arlington has a holiday parade of its own, too. Entertainment will include the Arlington Master Chorale, the City Band and other performers. The parade itself will last about an hour and will be followed by the annual tree lighting and pictures with Santa Claus.
Image via Brian Luenser YouTube channel
It doesn’t feel like Christmas in Fort Worth until you drive by the towering 57-foot-tall Christmas tree in the middle of Sundance Square. On Nov. 19, the annual Christmas tree lighting kicks off with giant decorations, holiday carols, hot cocoa and a visit from Santa.
Image via dallas.culturemap.com
Texas Motor Speedway is hosting an annual light show that benefits charities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. It is a 1.5-mile drive-through light park that features over 500 original displays. After the show is over, visit Santa’s Village where you and your kids can take pictures with Santa and enjoy other fun activities.
The Interlochen Christmas Light Display is another free, unique light show. Multiple people visit this northwest Arlington neighborhood during the holiday season to experience the homeowners’ spectacular Christmas light displays. This is a popular Christmas attraction for Dallas-Fort Worth, so we recommended visiting during the week due to the high traffic on weekends.
Taking place in Lynn Creek Park, Prairie Lights is a drive-through light park with 4 million lights stretched across two miles. The light park’s Holiday Village will have food, gifts and, of course, Santa. The Holiday Village also has an indoor laser show and the Holiday Magic Lighted Walk-Through Forest.
Image via FWSisterCities.com
Starting in November, Santa Claus will be in Fort Worth’s Sundance Square to meet children and pose for pictures. Feel free to bring your camera or let one of the volunteers take the photo for you. A suggested $10 donation for the photo will benefit Fort Worth Sister Cities International Scholarship Fund.
Image via Bass Pro Shop
Bass Pro Shop is offering a fantastic Christmas event this year with Santa’s Wonderland. Not only can your child get a free picture with Santa, which you can put in your free wooden picture frame, but your child can also participate in many arts and crafts activities and games.
Image via Dallas Observer
If you’ve ever, oddly enough, wondered what Santa Claus looks like underwater, you can find out at Grapevine’s Sea Life Aquarium this holiday season. Come to this event to pose with Santa on the other side of the glass while he’s surrounded by sharks, fish and stingrays in a 160,000 gallon tank.
Image via visitSouthlakeTexas.com
Part of Southlake’s Home For The Holidays events, Breakfast With Santa is another opportunity for your child to meet Santa Claus while enjoying arts and crafts and a breakfast meal.
The Fort Worth Club is hosting a breakfast event featuring food, live performances, Mr. and Mrs. Claus and more to honor and benefit the nurses of Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The Fort Worth Club will be covered with festive decorations for this fun, family-friendly event.
Image via TCU Choirs Facebook
On Dec. 5, TCU’s talented choir groups perform holiday tunes in their annual Christmas concert at Ed Landreth Auditorium. This event is free and open to the public.
Image via QCountry 103.7
Billy Bob’s, one of Fort Worth’s most cherished music venues, will be hosting Grammy Award-winning artist Kacey Musgraves on Dec. 21. She will be performing songs from her upcoming Christmas album, A Very Kacey Christmas. Tickets start at $20.
Image via SWBTS Facebook
On Dec. 1, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s School of Church Music is hosting a concert showcasing Christmas-themed songs and carols. This event is free.
Rose Marine Theater, located in Fort Worth’s historic Northside, is hosting a performance with mariachis and guest performers from Louis Zapata Resident Acting Company. According to Rose Marine Theater, this has become a sellout holiday tradition you and your family can truly enjoy.
For a more classic Texan approach to Christmas, look into award-winning Michael Martin Murphey’s annual concert at Bass Hall. He’ll be bringing country/western-influenced poetry, music and storytelling to Fort Worth, making it a unique holiday experience for all who attend.
Image via KimmelCenter.org
Bass Hall will be hosting another Christmas-themed concert this December with Mannheim Steamroller Christmas. This performance has amazing lighting effects and overall attractive stage production. This, combined with the music of Mannheim Steamroller, founded by Grammy Award-winning artist Chip Davis, makes for a unique and fun performance that everyone can enjoy.
Grapevine’s recently restored Palace Theatre is hosting a number of holiday performances this December, such as The Texas Tenors, Texas Harmony Chorus, An All Star Country Christmas and more.
Image via North Texas Daily
All local alt-rock fans are familiar with this increasingly popular showcase of well-known alternative bands and musicians. Taking place at Grand Prairie’s Verizon Theatre, How the EDGE Stole Christmas’ lineup features Weezer, Awolnation, Dirty Heads, Capital Cities and more.
Image via PantherIslandIce.com
Starting on Nov. 18, the only outdoor skating rink in Fort Worth is returning and will stay open all seven days of the week, throughout the holidays. Hours are listed on Panther Island Ice’s website.
Fort Worth’s historic Stockyards is holding its own annual event this holiday season, offering family-friendly activities like live music, face painting, pictures with Cowboy Santa and a Christmas parade. This free event will take place on Dec. 3.
Image via Gaylord Hotels YouTube
About 40 minutes from Fort Worth is Grapevine’s Gaylord Texan Resort, which offers the closest thing Texans can get to visiting the North Pole. Once you arrive, you will find 2 million lights, 15,000 ornaments, ice sculptures carved from over 2 million pounds of ice and a 54-foot Christmas tree! There are many things to do and see at this two-month event.
In addition to ICE! and Lone Star Christmas, Grapevine, the self-proclaimed “Christmas Capital of Texas,” has multiple other events to offer starting with Snowland at Great Wolf Lodge. Bring your family to Snowland for a memorable holiday experience featuring lights, Christmas trees and even indoor snow showers and snowfall, which is awesome considering Texas rarely gets snow. You can also book a stay in their Snowland Suites, which come complete with a fully decorated Christmas tree. The staff will even bring your kids milk and cookies.
Image via GrapevineTexasUSA.com
Grapevine also offers a full-blown train to the North Pole. This special experience includes a train ride and a journey through the Christmas tree trail leading to the North Pole, before concluding with a Christmas show, plus an appearance from the man himself – Santa.
Image via arlington-tx.gov
Six Flags’ annual Holiday in the Park event is one of the most popular events to attend in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. In addition to the park’s already famous rides and attractions, Holiday in the Park offers an abundance of different things to do from meeting Santa and watching dance performances, to eating cookies and drinking hot cocoa. Holiday in the Park lasts almost two months.
In early December, the Fort Worth Public Library offers a free Christmas event to local families. Complete with music, crafts, story time and a tree decorating contest, this is a simple, fun event that anyone can enjoy.
The Fort Worth Botanic Garden has hosted this animal-friendly holiday event since 1935. According to the website, children need to bring homemade biodegradable bird feeders to the event to hang in the trees. Characters such as Smokey the Bear – and of course Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus – will be there. This event is free.
Image via Star-Telegram
Keller is another small city to visit for the holidays. The city is home to Holly Days, an event with a light parade, Santa Claus, a snow hill and even a 5K run/walk. There is also live stage entertainment, arts and crafts, and concessions available. The only price you have to pay for admission is a non-perishable food item that will be donated to The Community Storehouse.
Grapevine, home to many Christmas events, has a few other Christmas happenings worth mentioning. Christmas on Main is surrounded by Victorian-style buildings with classic Christmas decorations all over Grapevine’s downtown area. This event offers wagon rides for $1 per person, and all proceeds will benefit the preservation of Nash Farm.
Image via VisitSouthlakeTexas.com
Pictures with Santa Claus is a classic Christmas tradition, but we shouldn’t forget about Mrs. Claus. Southlake’s Story Time With Mrs. Claus, taking place in Southlake’s town hall, is a nice opportunity for your kids to take pictures with Mrs. Claus while hearing Christmas stories over hot cocoa and cookies.
Kids are out of school for a couple of weeks during the holidays, and if there’s not much for them to do during that time, sign them up for Southlake’s Holiday Break Camp Mania. This four-day camp is essentially a summer camp during the winter, providing arts and crafts, playtime, and even field trips. Children must be enrolled in kindergarten or above to participate. Register your child online by the Friday before the camp starts.
Catch one of everyone’s favorite holiday movies, The Polar Express, this holiday season at Fort Worth Museum of Science and History’s Omni Theater.
Image via GrapevineTexasUSA.com
If you need a more “of age” thing to do this holiday season, Grapevine has yet another unique Christmas event going on this December. The Christmas Wine Trains provide a classic holiday meal for their passengers with turkey, mashed potatoes and green beans, followed by dessert. You will also enjoy two free glasses of wine provided by Messina Hof Grapevine Winery. There are three different days you can attend this event – two depart from Grapevine Depot (Dec. 8, Dec. 15) and one from Fort Worth Stockyards (Dec. 1).
Image via GRACE Fort Worth
Fort Worth also offers a grown-up holiday celebration with GRACE restaurant’s Annual Holiday Wine Tasting event. You can find many of the wines at Central Market, but GRACE will also be offering different wines from their cellar. The best part is that your wine tasting experience will be free – all you have to do is wear an ugly Christmas sweater.
Image via Decorator's Warehouse
With all this talk about light displays, why not make a memorable Christmas display of your own this year, with the help of Decorator’s Warehouse, the largest Christmas store in Texas. Decorator’s Warehouse is open year-round, featuring pre-lit trees, outdoor and indoor lights, flowers, ornaments, and other decorations.
Right next to Globe Life Park stands Texas Christkindl Market. According to its website, Texas Christkindl Market is “one of the largest open-air markets in the Southwest.” Inspired by German tradition, this market also features live German music and, of course, German food. This market runs from Nov. 25th to Dec. 23.
Image via North Texas Made
This show is where you can find many local vendors selling their handmade vintage work. The indoor venue will host over 75 vendors who encourage shoppers to support local artists.
Also part of Grapevine’s Christmas Capital of Texas events, this Christmas shopping experience will feature fresh local produce, baked treats, cheeses, nuts and festive gift baskets. This event will be held at Grapevine’s Town Square Gazebo.
Rudolph the Red-Noised Reindeer is easily one of the most-recognized Christmas characters in America. On Nov. 22-23, experience Rudolph, Mr. and Mrs. Claus, the Abominable Snowman and more beloved characters, live at Bass Hall in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical.
Image via Goldstar
For an unorthodox approach to the holidays, grab a ticket to Cirque Dreams Holidaze at Bass Hall this December. With 20 acts and 30 artists from all around the world, this theatrical event brings stunning colorful visuals, acts with unique talent and a special experience to Fort Worth.
Image via Theater Jones
Presented by Texas Ballet Theater, The Nutcracker is coming to Bass Hall. This ballet is one of the oldest and most popular performances of the holiday season.
North Central Ballet will also have their own performance of The Nutcracker, giving you two chances to see this festive performance. This performance, however, will be held at Will Rogers Auditorium, which is only a short distance from Bass Hall, and walking distance from Casa Mañana.
Casa Mañana, Fort Worth’s go-to venue for great plays and musicals, is hosting multiple performances of Santa Claus: A New Musical from Nov. 25 through Dec. 23.
45. Jingle Bell Run
Image via @DTFortWorth Twitter
Sponsored by the Arthritis Foundation, the Jingle Bell Run is an annual 5K race that helps raise awareness and money to help find a cure for arthritis. You can wear your festive gear and holiday-themed costumes in this run, making it a fun opportunity to show your support for the Arthritis Foundation.
Image via Northwest ISD
Celebrating its ninth year is another 5K run, the Annual Reindeer Romp. You’ll be running while being serenaded by elementary school choirs all along the route, and once you finish the race, you’ll be served Christmas cookies. All proceeds from this run will be donated to Northwest Independent School District’s elementary school physical education departments.
Grand Prairie will also be having their own 5K this holiday season with A Christmas Spirit Classic 5K, benefitting multiple charities and organizations. There will be Christmas carols, along with holiday bandanas for all runners. The race also encourages attendees to be in the giving spirit by bringing toys, socks and children’s gifts to be donated to the Arlington Life Shelter and Arlington Charities.
Part of Keller’s annual Holly Days Celebration, the 10th Annual Santa Scurry is another opportunity to get into the holiday spirit. The race takes place right after the Holly Days Light Parade. The race will start at Keller Town Hall and will go through the Bear Creek Trail System. This 5K is a great conclusion to Keller’s Holly Days Celebration, which features food trucks, vendors and a tree lighting.
49. The Super Run
Taking place in Fort Worth’s beloved Trinity Park, The Super Run 5K won’t necessarily get you into the holiday spirit, but you do get to dress up as a superhero, which is still great. The Super Run partners with many local organizations to raise funds for each of their causes, essentially making you a real-life superhero by supporting these organizations.
Image via Cowtown Marathon
Fort Worth’s Texas Motor Speedway is hosting two runs this December, the Reindeer Dash 1K run and the Holiday 5K. Proceeds from the event will help provide general needs for youth in the area. The route will go around Texas Motor Speedway’s 1.5-mile oval track, then go through the Gift of Lights display. Afterthe race, there will be a drive-in movie for all attendees.
By: Jocelyn Tatum