Santa and his helpers entertain guests at his North Pole workshop.

The flurry of Christmas activity has kicked into high gear. For all that said they’d finish their shopping much earlier this year, only a fraction actually did. And for the children who are counting the days ‘til Santa’s visit, the excitement level is about to explode.

For more information, visit the Grapevine Convention and Visitors Burea’s website.

More Holiday Hot Spots

Christmas light displays across Texas

Galveston’s Winter Wonderland

High Plains Illuminated at Amarillo Botanical Gardens

Waxahachie Wonderland

A recent visit to Grapevine, The Christmas Capital of Texas, alerted me to a few options for shopping and feeding the spirit of children with Christmas beaming in their hearts.

I Love a Parade

The community that promises more than 1,400 events in 40-plus days, kicked off the season in Historic Downtown Grapevine with the annual Parade of Lights down Main Street, the largest lighted parade in North Texas. A cool breeze in the air helped carry the wafting smells of hot chocolate. Those who had staked a claim along the parade route earlier that afternoon were soon rewarded with 100-plus floats, marching bands and carolers advancing through the historic route that is decked out for the season in draped garland, red ribbons, wreaths, lights and more. The pay off? The appearance of Santa who is bringing up the rear.

Adult tip: With a well-placed reservation, adults can watch the revelry while sampling a wine flight from a wine bar along the route.

Icy Wonderland


Photos with Santa

Each year, The Gaylord Texan Resort dons all the bells and whistles to create a themed Christmas wonderland. This year’s theme, Lone Star Christmas, features a 54-foot-tall Christmas tree, magical miniature train villages, 25-foot-tall nutcrackers, 2,300 decorated wreaths, 5,600 feet of garland and 15,000 festive ornaments.

Simply walking through the courtyard instills holiday comforts, but children will be ecstatic at bundling up in a provided parka to traipse in 9-degrees of pure, icy fun at ICE!, a magical little world made up entirely of … well … two million pounds of ice carved by 40 Chinese artists. Be sure to bring gloves. You’ll need them.


Discovering Santa in the icy toyland at Gaylord Texan ICE!

This year’s ICE! theme, Christmas Around the World, imparts the beauty of human diversity and world peace. The message (always an important one to hear) is built around impressive ice sculptures that create a Christmas wonderland of joyful elves, two-story ice slides, photo opportunities galore and, of course, Santa with his “naughty” and “nice” list.

The visit culminates with a full nativity scene in crystal clear ice.

Just outside the ICE! Exhbit, for an additional fee, you can hop on a tube and start sailing gleefully down lanes of snow.


Children and adullts gleefully slide down the ice at Gaylord Texan ICE!

Adult tip: Let yourself be a kid! Take your turn on the ice slide or tube down the snow.

Adult tip No. 2. There’s an Ice Bar. It’s cool.

Look to the Gaylord for other holiday happenings, too, including a Friends of Rudolph Meet & Greet, Elf on a Shelf Scavenger Hunt, Snowball Throwing Workshop, photos with Santa and more.

North Pole Express

MrsClausNext, catch a ride on the North Pole Express. Grapevine’s Vintage Railroad coach is decorated for the season and ready for the trip to Santa’s Workship. With festive elves as your guide, the trip comes to life with a Christmas sing-a-long and a special visit from Mrs. Claus who encourages children to “believe.”

When you arrive at the North Pole, walk through falling snow to reach Santa’s workshop and a showcase presentation by St. Nick and his helpers.

Your family will walk away with a commemorative cup of Chocolate Snow Milk, complimentary photo with Santa and a memento that reminds you to believe.

Adult tip: Enhance your child’s experience by being an active participant in the sing-a-long … and believe.

Adult tip No. 2: Tickets sell out fast, so buy them as soon as you can. Miss out this year? Plan for next year.

There’s More

snowinlobby offers holiday events for its guests, including the Great Clock Tower holiday show, nightly Snowland-themed Story Time and daily indoor snowfall in the lobby

At LEGOLAND® Discovery Center meet LEGO® Santa at the Center’s Holiday Bricktacular Dec. 12, 13, 19 and 20. Also, help the Master Model Builder create a Winter Wonderland.  

See classic Christmas movies this season at Grapevine’s Historic Palace Theater including “A Christmas Story” at 7 p.m. on Dec. 13 and 2 p.m. on Dec. 21, as well as a double feature of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas “ at 2 p.m. on Dec. 22 and 23.

grapevine square

Families at Town Square Gazebo.

Sparkle at the Settlement to City Museums – Bring the entire family to Grapevine’s Settlement to City Museums’ Christmas SPARKLE offers Christmas crafts and activities, including painting, making cotton wreaths, printing on the 1881 printing press and more through Jan. 3. Tuesdays – Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Sundays, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.


Cinnamon and cranberry bread wreaths at the market.

As for shopping, Historic Downtown Grapevine has more than 80 locally-owned shops, boutiques, winery tasting rooms and more! You can also find gifts at the Country Christmas Market at the Town Square Gazebo, featuring local produce, baked goods, local cheeses, nuts and gift baskets .

If all of this comes too late for you to enjoy this year, know that Grapevine embraces its role as the custodian of Christmas cheer, and they’re promising to make it better and better each year.

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