“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”
One of my favorite holiday events of the year is Holiday at the Arboretum, the annual festival held November 10-December 31st at Dallas Arboretum. Over a million lights twinkle throughout the festival, which is sponsored by Reliant Energy. There’s so much to do and see; it’s no wonder Southern Living Magazine named it the Best Christmas Event in Texas! My friend Kenya had never been before and I was delighted to show her around last night at the members-only opening event!
If you’ve been before, you already know about the magic of the 12 Days of Christmas exhibit. Twelve 24-foot Victorian-style gazebos represent different lines of the 12 Days of Christmas song. You’ll find the gazebos all throughout the garden. Unlike the Christmas village, they aren’t all together. We walked about two miles to see them all, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes. You can of course see them during the day but I think they look even more magical at night!
The Christmas Village is a fairly new part of Holiday at the Arboretum. Located where the Pumpkin Village used to be near gazebos 10, 11, and 12, stepping into the Christmas Village is like stepping into a storybook. Inspired by the German Weihnachtsmarkt, this little village is full of holiday cheer and photo ops galore. You can get some hot cocoa and enjoy a variety of performances on the main stage. Some of the buildings have photo ops and props inside and some are food stalls with Christmas cookies, gingerbread, stollen, nutcrackers, ornaments, and other souvenirs. For this reason, I recommend visiting the Christmas village towards the end of your evening so you aren’t lugging treats around the garden.
One HUGE highlight of the Christmas village is Santa Claus! Of course Santa Claus hangs out here during the holidays. Why wouldn’t he?! It’s adorable! Your kiddos can take photos with Santa and the whole family can have fun with a sleigh photo op right outside. There’s even a 23-foot German-built Christmas pyramid by the Christmas village stage that’s a bit reminiscent of It’s a Small World in Disneyland. In fact, the whole village reminded me a bit of Disneyland.
Do not miss the new Dazzling Music Tree! Follow the path past the 12 Lords a Leaping gazebo to where the Concerts by the Lake series is held and you’ll find a breath-taking 50-foot tree with 42,000 lights twinkling to music. The show takes place every half hour. There are even some little carts with souvenirs and hot beverages in the area. It’s the perfect place to hang out on a picnic blanket and enjoy the magic of the Arboretum.
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Tickets are $10-25 and are purchased for specific time frames, so I highly recommend reserving your date/time early. There are tons of live performances and special events that are part of Holiday at the Arboretum, such as seasonal cooking classes and the holiday tea. For more information, visit https://www.dallasarboretum.org/events-activities/holiday-at-the-arboretum/. See you in the garden!