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.
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 eventsâ€”or you can find more using the event search tool.
If you’re driving the Hill Country Regional Lighting Trail the evening of December 19, you’ll want to add the 41st annual LBJ Tree Lighting at the Lyndon B. Johnson State Park & Historic Site, east of Stonewall, to your agenda. Although it’s not a designated part of the Lighting Trail, you’ll go right past the park as you travel between Johnson City and Fredericksburg. Witnessing this special tradition is also worth a separate trip, especially if you spend the day enjoying the park before taking in the festivities.
It just isn’t Christmas without observing that time-honored custom—driving around to look at the lights. You say the bigger the display, the better? Well, I have a “must-see” tree for you.
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.