By Carrie Dunlea
There’s something magical about Christmas lights. The way they twinkle and seem to dance before our eyes. Colorful holiday displays can lighten the heart of even the biggest Grinch this time of year. How can one not be happy when there is so much beauty that lights up the darkness?
Residents and visitors to the Dallas-Ft. Worth area will have plenty to see throughout the next few weeks as the season for lights kicks into full swing. So take a minute to peruse our findings for Christmas magic in the Metroplex.
If you’re the type of person who likes to “go big or go home” check out the new exhibit of Enchant, the world’s largest Christmas light maze and market. Visitors can tour the light maze, go ice skating on a real pond, visit Santa or share hot cocoa with your loved ones while listening to live entertainment.
With an attraction such as a magical light maze how can you go wrong? At Enchant, visitors can explore seven unique illuminated worlds to find all of the missing reindeer, help save Christmas, and receive a gift from Santa. Bringing younger children? Sit back and relax while your kids run free in the Mini Maze while you enjoy a beverage.
Want to try skating? Bring back great childhood memories or create new ones as you don a pair of ice skates and take a spin around the real skating pond (hopefully in an upright position!). If you’re from the north, you might even forget you’re in Texas for a brief bit of time! Rentals are available at the pond.
Shoppers will find the experience enchanting as you peruse goods from over 100 food and market vendors, including the Texas Christkindl Market Lane where retailers such as the Dallas Caramel Company, The Pearled
Peacock, and more sell their wares. Bring your Christmas shopping list you never know what you’ll find!
If you’re hungry, Enchant serves up food from 21 food trucks with everything from snacks to dinner to sweets so there’s no need to make a special stop. Entertainment and music is available nightly so bring a warm coat as you relax outside awash in lights.
Just a short distance way, visit Addison this year and enjoy their annual Holiday Lights Spectacular through New Years day. Millions of sparkling lights are wrapped around more than 550 trees at Vitruvian Park – transforming an ordinary park into a magical wonderland for the holiday season. There is plenty of free parking available onsite at the park so visitors can enjoy all that there is to offer.
During the month of December, the park will feature two live performances you won’t want to miss. December 2nd there will be a special performance by Phat Strand, an all-female electric string quartet based in Las Vegas. Then on December 9th get your country on as you tune into The Chris Rivers Band, a band that has opened for several top country artists.
If food and shopping are always on your mind, don’t worry! There is a Holiday Shopping Village and there are plenty of food trucks to keep your hunger at bay. If you have kids in tow, Santa will be there for free photos and to lend an ear for Christmas wishes!
If you’re hosting out of town visitors, wow them with the magic of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Whether you visit during the day or at night you won’t be disappointed. There is literally something for everyone both young and old alike.
For spectacular lights, check out the Twelve Days of Christmas display at night with 500,000 lights illuminating the garden, the architecture of the historic homes, and lighting the canopies overhead-including a 30-foot-tall tree at the center of property. Make sure you visit dallasarboretum.org and purchase your tickets ahead of time to see this amazing display.
Daytime visitors can experience the magic of Christmas in a multitude of ways. Step into a dramatic, three-dimensional experience reminiscent of a Victorian music box as you visit the 12 Days of Christmas display at the Arboretum. There are 12 elaborate 25-foot-tall glass gazebos displayed in the 66-acre-garden filled with the charming costumed characters, whimsical animals and winter scenes made famous by the beloved Christmas carol.
Seasonal events continue with a special Holiday Market on Crepe Myrtle Alley at the Arboretum the weekend of December 3-4. It is an outdoor shopping experience with jewelry, pottery, paintings, and baked goods. Ongoing fun activities sure to add some holiday cheer include the Mistletoe Kissing Booth and a Mingle Jingle Happy Hour Series Thursday evenings at 6:30 p.m. The kissing booth provides great photo ops and the happy hour is a holiday mixology series with local bartenders who demonstrate creating seasonal cocktails. Keep the kids entertained with visits with Santa, a live reindeer, Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer weekends through December 20 from Noon-4 p.m.
For those of you who want to view lights the old-fashioned way; from the comfort of your car while you listen to holiday music on the radio, two opportunities await in Grand Prairie.
Check out the annual Gift of Lights at Texas Motor Speedway. There you will see a fantastic light show, and at the end you can travel to Santa’s Village where you will meet Santa, take your picture, and experience a North Pole Christmas experience. This year there will be over 150 new displays. Santa’s Village is now in a large garage on the inside track, complete with a miniature train ride for the kids. The display is locally owned and operated by Christmas by Zenith. Purchase tickets online at tmsgiftoflights.com.
Another stunning opportunity nearby is the annual Prairie Lights display located at Lynn Creek Park on Joe Pool Lake. A dazzling 4 million lights are set along two miles of path and this year promises to be amazing as hundreds of new displays in shapes of all kinds line and arch over the roads. Halfway through the drive exit your car for a stop at Holiday Village where you will find food, gifts, Santa, the brand-new indoor Snow Maze, and the Holiday Magic Lighted Walk-Through Forest. Once back in your vehicle, the second half of the drive ends with the very animated light tunnel – the perfect finale to a night you will never forget! Purchase tickets at prairielights.org.
This year, unwrap new holiday traditions as you take your loved ones, and your guests, on festive excursions that don’t involve crowds or a trip to the airport as you discover the sights, lights and sounds of Christmas.