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Where to Experience Christmas in Texas

Find the Christmas for you

Over 160 countries around the globe celebrate Christmas each year. And one of those – the Philippines – makes Christmas a 4-month celebration, from early September through December. But you don’t have to go that far to find a unique, wonderful and welcoming Christmas experience. Whether you are one of our beloved “Got here as quick as I could” Texans working on your “Lone Star Citizenship” or just the latest of several generations of True Texans, there are several special Christmas towns within easy driving distance. Yes, everything is bigger in the Lone Star State but some of the more enjoyable finds can be in the smaller, out-of-the-way destinations. 

SANTA’S WONDERLAND, COLLEGE STATION TX, the largest outdoor Christmas celebration in the South (REALLY!). Open nightly November 10 – December 30. This beautifully laid out Christmas Village offers Real Texas Snow, festive moments at every turn, and twinkling lights and music everywhere. Add the petting zoo and pony rides, horse-drawn carriage rides, outdoor games, ice skating and special events and there is just about anything a group could want to keep kids of any age entertained - and maybe remind the grownups of a great Christmas past. (Warning: kiddos over 10 will not want to leave. So buy tickets for next year, too.) Traffic is not a serious issue even though College Station is, of course, the home of Texas A&M; Santa’s Wonderland has been sited to make it easy on access and departure. 

GRAPEVINE, “THE CHRISTMAS CAPITAL OF TEXAS,” captures the feel of a typical old Southwest town – except Grapevine today is more fun, with millions of lights and 1400 Christmas Events over 40 days every year (that’s right, 1400!). Board the comfy North Pole Express Train, revisit a classic Christmas movie at Historic Palace Theatre; or treat everyone and enjoy the fabulous Gaylord Texan Hotel’s Lone Star Christmas – ice skating, snow tubing and the famous Gaylord ICE Exhibit. All inside. Along historic Main Street, shopping is fun and safe. Kids? Don’t fret: they will discover all sorts of Christmas sweets and treats in the many shops along your route. 

TEXAS STATE RAILROAD’S POLAR EXPRESS, leaving from PALESTINE TX. Imagine rolling along, riding to the North Pole surrounded by pine forests and original music from the Polar Express motion picture soundtrack, enjoying cookies and hot chocolate and being greeted upon arrival at the North Pole by Santa and the elves, who present each passenger with the traditional First Christmas gift: a silver sleigh bell; it makes the day for any age. And then venture to the Grinch’s Lair in nearby historic Anderson County jail followed by a hearty country breakfast with Mrs. Claus. Unless, that is, the sheriff has your picture on his wall. Or one of the kids. 

JEFFERSON TX CANDLELIGHT TOUR OF HOMES is perfect if you love stately 19th-century homes adorned with generational Christmas décor and bathed in the soft glow of candlelight. You will learn the history and favorite stories behind some of the most spectacular architecture in Texas from knowledgeable tour guides decked out in period outfits and dying to tell you everything about each home. This adventure is probably not something for the youngsters, but it can turn an interesting road trip into a romantic and memorable weekend for those who appreciate the past – or maybe just each other. Either way, you will want to return to this small but once important little jewel only two hours from home. 

Drive safely and enjoy a Merry Christmas!

  • Jefferson Candlelight Tour of Homes by Terri Holmes Photography
  • Jefferson Candlelight Tour of Homes by Terri Holmes Photography
  • Jefferson Candlelight Tour of Homes by Terri Holmes Photography
  • City of Grapevine
  • City of Grapevine
  • City of Grapevine
  • Santa's Wonderland

You don’t have to go that far to find a unique, wonderful and welcoming Christmas experience.