Everything is bigger in Texas—especially Christmas! There are several holiday light festivals and illuminated trails throughout the Lone Star State during the month of December. These extravaganzas of light provide opportunities to take in how different towns express their holiday cheer. No matter which Texas town you mosey into, you'll enjoy the ways locals decorate their trees and houses with animations and colorful lights.
Cleburne's Whistle Stop Christmas Lights
In Cleburne, a snug suburb south of Fort Worth, the Whistle Stop Christmas Lights show has been dazzling visitors for over 20 years. The main draw is the charming Market Square in downtown, which gets decorated corner-to-corner with twinkling lights, nativity scenes, and other seasonal displays.
It all starts with a Lighted Christmas Parade in Downtown Cleburne on December 6, 2019. Once the parade reaches the Market Square, there will be food and gift vendors, visits with Santa Claus and, of course, strolling through the lighted displays.
Whistle Stop Christmas also offers many opportunities to take in musical performances from choirs to orchestral concerts. Theater fans can attend performances of both "Over the River and Through the Woods" and "White Christmas the Musical" for much of the month.
The Texas Hill Country communities include 10 towns that informally create a Hill Country Lighting Trail. Each of these towns offers visitors shimmering, electric displays among the picturesque rolling landscape that stretches from San Antonio to Austin. As you travel through the Hill Country towns, a few of the must-see communities are Burnet, which transforms into a recreation of biblical Bethlehem right down to live animals and traditional bread making, Fredericksburg where they display their German heritage proudly with a European-themed Marktplatz and an ornate 28-foot tall wooden Christmas Pyramid filled with delightful figurines, and the Marble Falls Walkway of Lights, which features more than two million individual light bulbs.
Richmond's Campfire Christmas
For an only-in-Texas experience, you could celebrate the holiday just like the original pioneers did. It's a cowboy Christmas in Richmond near Houston, where the George Ranch Historical Park features an old-fashioned roast chicken dinner with all the fixings. As a part of Campfire Christmas, visitors can take a ride through the park on a classic hay wagon, take a look at the Christmas-decorated Jones Stock Farm, and listen to stories told by candlelight. The park also provides events throughout the entire month of December, like Christmas in the Park, Children's Campfire Christmas, and the New Year's Eve Historical Bash.
It's always magical to walk along the River Walk in the evening. But on the Friday following Thanksgiving, over 100,000 twinkling lights are turned on to form a colorful canopy over the San Antonio River Walk. A one-hour river parade kicks off the season and throughout the month of December lighted boats glide along the waters, some with musical entertainment and others with diners enjoying full meals aboard. There is always something happening at the River Walk during the holiday season.