Friday, November 28, 2014

Totally Texas -- Everywhere for the holidays

When I went in for a flu shot this month, the doctor said, “So, are you ready for the holidays?” Ready? Maybe I’ll be ready by sometime in January! Still, knowing seasons wait for no woman, I’m compiling a totally biased list of my family’s must see and do events. In case we can’t take them all in before year’s end, some actually run into January.

Now through December 24: Illumination Celebration, Galleria, 13350 Dallas Pkwy, Dallas. The country's largest indoor Christmas tree rises from the ice skating rink. Lighting choreographed to music noon, 2, 4, 6 & 8 p.m. (no 8 p.m. shows on Sundays). Today at noon, and tomorrow (November 29) and December 6, 13, and 20 at 6 p.m., also see exhibitions by Missile Toes, the skating Santa, joined by other championship skaters. Free. See

Now through January 4: The Trains at NorthPark Center, Northwest Highway at Central Expressway, Dallas. Yes, my family’s mourning the demise of Joel Occhiuzzo’s Holiday Express Riding Train, which made its last run for the 2013 season. But for train enthusiasts, there’s still the toy trains on their every expanding tracks. This year, the NorthPark trains run on Level One near Nordstrom. Hours are 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon - 6 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $7 for adults, $3 for kids ages 2-12. Proceeds benefit the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas. Closed Christmas Day but open New Year’s. See for details.

Now through January 4: The 12 Days of Christmas, at the Dallas Arboretum, 8525 Garland Road, Dallas. This one I’m prepared for. Several friends and I already visited the Arboretum gardens adorned with twelve 25-foot-high gazebos dressed with representations of the namesake carol. Daytime viewing is free for members. For nonmembers, regular ticket prices apply¾ $15 for adults, $10 children ages 3-12. Children under 3, free. Additional prices and ticketed admission applies for nighttime visits. Or check out the Arboretum’s discounts at Visitors this weekend get a three-fer¾ the 12 Days exhibit plus Pumpkin Village (through November 30) plus the historic DeGolyer House dressed in holiday finery (ends December 31). Closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. See the website for additional information.

December 6-21: Santa’s Village in Richardson. New this year¾ Hometown Thursdays give Richardson residents free, ticketed admission and a chance to skip the lines for this popular story tale village at 411 W. Arapaho Road, Richardson (behind the library). Not from Richardson? It’s still free, Friday through Sunday nights. Regular hours are 6-9 p.m., December 6-7, 12-14, 19-21. See for details.

December 13-14: Candlelight at Dallas Heritage Village, 1515 S. Harwood in Old City Park. The Village's nineteenth and early twentieth century buildings are dressed in traditional holiday decorations and candlelight from 3-9 p.m. Costumed interpreters, strolling carolers and other entertainers bring history to life. Pictures with St. Nicholas, or with the Village’s Mammoth Jack donkeys, Nip and Tuck are a must. Tickets $12 for adults, $8 for children 4-12, or buy discounted tickets through December 11. See

December 24: TubaChristmas at Thanks-Giving Square, 1627 Pacific Ave., corner of Bryan, Pacific and Ervay, downtown Dallas. Scores of tubas, euphoniums and related brass sound amazing in the confines of Thanks-Giving Square. The free concert is at noon, but come early for best viewing and listening spots. Want to play? See for registration and rehearsal times.

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