They say everything is bigger in Texas and the holidays are no different. Thanksgiving and Christmas are taken seriously in the Lone Star State and New Year's Eve is the icing on the cake. December in Texas features enough fun activities to make even a scrooge feel festive, from Christmas lighting ceremonies, cajun fried turkeys, parades, and college football bowl games. Plan your month of holiday cheer around Texas' main events.
If there's one thing Texans love even more than barbecue and George Strait, it's a college football game. Not only is Texas home to some of the nation's top pro, college, and high school football teams, it also plays host to a number of NCAA's post-season games during the months of December and January. Keep your eyes peeled for the Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, the Meineke Car Care of Texas Bowl in Houston, El Paso's Hyundai Sun Bowl, and San Antonio's Alamo Bowl.
Dress Up Like a Dickens Character
Now in its fourth decade, Dickens on the Strand in Galveston transports revelers back to the 19th century. The three-day event takes place from December 6 to 8, 2020, and will feature nonstop entertainment on six stages, parades, street musicians, carolers, and more. Most folks will be dressed to the nines in corsets, bonnets, petticoats, and other bygone garb, but if you need a costume, you'll find at least 150 vendors along the historic Strand, where the event takes place. Guests who come dressed as Dickens’ characters are charged only half of regular admission prices. There will be plenty for the children to do, too, including the Royal Menagerie Petting Zoo and a snow area.
There are holiday light festivals and trails in every corner of the state, it seems, but some of the most popular are:
- Whistle Stop Christmas in Cleburne: Millions of lights illuminate the downtown area while carolers sing and kids take train rides around the park.
- Jefferson Holiday Trail of Lights: Quite possibly Texas' most famous Christmas light trail, Jefferson's over-the-top display is part of a larger chain of holiday lights that extends all the way to Louisiana.
- Texas Hill Country Regional Lighting Trail: Several communities participate in a vast, regional holiday light display that spans across Texas' scenic Hill Country.
- Twice as Bright Festival in Texarkana: Texarkana calls its annual wine festival Twice as Fine, so it only makes sense that the holiday lighting ceremony that takes place at the post office every year would be called Twice as Bright.
Run the BMW Dallas Marathon
Held during the peak of the holiday season, typically in mid-December, the BMW Dallas Marathon (formerly known as the White Rock Marathon) challenges Texans to prioritize health and fitness during a time when most folks are putting on pounds. This event, which has become a treasured Dallas tradition, also offers a 5K run, half marathon, and relay marathon. Additionally, there is a pre-race pasta dinner and a post-race party featuring live music and an awards ceremony.
Those who plan to spend New Year's Eve in the Lone Star State should have no issues finding something to do. Take your kids to a 1940s-inspired outdoor soiree in Fredericksburg or join in on the lively Party on the Plaza in Dallas. There will be fireworks and dancing at Vic Mathias Shores in Austin and a champagne buffet dinner at the River Walk in San Antonio. There's something to suit serious partygoers and laidback family types alike.