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This December, when I string my lights and trim my tree and light my menorah, I have four new friends to help me ring in the holiday cheer. Four miniature ceramic figurines, to be exact. Dressed in wintry clothes and perched on patches of white faux snow, my people are all busily headed somewhere. One lady, clutching a bag of wrapped gifts with another under her arm, is “walking” so swiftly her scarf flies behind her.

Published in TRAVEL

Mission-El-Elizario-xmas09V3Parishioners spill out of the heavy wooden doors of San Elizario presidio chapel and into the village plaza. The December night is cold and blustery, but twinkling lights, glowing luminarias, and tinseled Christmas trees warm the atmosphere. So do spicy bowls of menudo and steaming cups of champurrado, a hot cocoa-and-cinnamon drink thickened with corn masa.

Published in CULTURE & LIFESTYLE

The 70-foot Market Street Christmas Tree dazzles passers-by with evening light performances. (Photos by J. Griffis Smith)

Each year the hectic pace of the holiday season takes me captive, rendering the days between Thanksgiving and New Year’s a breathless sprint devoid of their supposedly inherent jaoy. Every year I vow to change things the next go-round—to shop earlier, do less, enjoy more. So last December, my husband, Matt, children (Caleb, Madi, and Esther), and I took a drastic approach to carving serenity from the holiday chaos: We shoved the entirety of our to-do list to the side (even skipping Christmas-play rehearsal) and embarked on a weekend getaway to a purported winter wonderland, The Woodlands.

 

Published in TRAVEL

Families enjoy the big sleigh at Lubbock's Winter Wonderland at Vintage Township. (Texas Highways photo/Kevin Stillman)

Tomorrow it will officially be December (though I could have sworn it came a few days earlier judging from how much Christmas music I've heard already), and cities across the state are ready to spread the holiday cheer with a huge weekend of Christmas festivals and parades. Check out the list below for a small selection of events—or you can find more using the event search tool.

Published in Blog: Events

I grew up in Oklahoma, where the season often brought snow (or, at least, sleet), throngs of off-key carolers at our doorstep, and aromatic pines that quickly dropped their needles into our shag carpeting. My younger brother and I fashioned tree-toppers and lopsided ornaments from cardboard and silver glitter, and on Christmas morning, we awakened to bleary-eyed folks sporting mussed hair and mischievous grins as they pointed out the Santa-size footprints in the fireplace.

Published in TRAVEL
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