Finding Christmas Magic Across The Best Southwest

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two ladies in front of Christmas tree
Photo courtesy of Mansfield

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Now that the holiday season has officially kicked off with Thanksgiving, football and Black Friday shopping, it’s time to take in the festivity of the Christmas season. And one doesn’t have to go far to enjoy a plethora of happenings.

Nothing warms the heart like a good ol’ fashioned Christmas, skating on an ice rink, lighting of the community Christmas tree, and, of course, kiddos visiting with Santa to reveal their under-the-tree wishes.

Top it all off with a cup of hot cocoa and you’ve got yourself a holiday to remember, just like the ones many of our local communities are offering – one year removed from many adjustments in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, pre-vaccine.

Cedar Hill Holiday on The Hill December 2

holiday on the hill poster

The annual Holiday on the Hill celebration will be Thursday, Dec. 2 from 5:30-8:30 pm in historic downtown. The evening will feature plenty of holiday kids activities and games, live performances, an ice rink, a polar extreme obstacle course, festive photo-ops, trackless train, and the official lighting of the City of Cedar Hill tree.

And what would a holiday event like this be without Santa? There will photo opportunities for kids to visit with jolly Saint Nick.

The event is sponsored by Methodist Charlton Medical Center and the Friends of the Zula B. Wylie Public Library.

Ennis Annual Christmas Parade & Block Party Dec. 2

horse drawn carriages
Photo credit City of Ennis

Downtown is the site of the annual Christmas Parade and Block Party from 5-9pm. Contact 972-878-4748 or visitennis.org.

Activities include:

  • Ennis Junior High Band Ensemble performing at Minnie McDowal Park, 5:30-6 p.m.
  • Open House at the Railroad and Cultural Heritage Museum, 5-8 p.m. Refreshments will be served.
  • Prancer (live reindeer), 5-8 p.m.
  • Children’s Christmas crafts at the Welcome Center, 5-7 p.m. and 7:30-9 p.m.
  • Train display at the Welcome Center, 5-7 p.m. and 7:30-9 p.m.
  • Christmas Bluebonnet Market on North Dallas Street, 5-9 p.m.
  • Santa Claus will be at the Welcome Center for free family photos, sponsored by City Real Estate, 6-9 p.m.
  • Christmas Parade of Lights, 7 p.m.
  • The Nativity performed by GO! Dance & Gymnastics Studio at Minnie McDowal Park, 7:45 p.m.
  • Food trucks will also be available on North Dallas Street starting at 5:30 p.m.
  • Along with Santa and Mrs. Claus photo opportunities, there will be a toy soldier, sugar plum fairy and the Grinch.

Other Ennis holidays events include:

  • Carriage rides Nov. 26-27 and Dec. 3-4, 10 and 17-18.
  • Cookies with Mrs. Claus and Lucky’s Car Show and Toy Drive, Dec. 4.
  • Holiday roller skating, Dec. 10-12.
  • Snow Hill, Dec. 17-19.
  • Ennis Downtown Countdown, Dec. 31.

Grand Prairie Lights

girl hanging out car window
Photo credit City of Grand Prairie

When the holiday season arrives the lights shine bright in Grand Prairie. Once again the city will be hosting the premier holiday light park in Texas, located at Lynn Creek Park on Joe Pool Lake.

The fun begins on Thanksgiving day, Thursday, Nov. 25 and runs through New Years Eve, Friday, Dec. 31. It opens every day at 6 p.m.

This year will feature the return of Holiday Village, which was not open last year due to COVID-19. At the halfway point of the tour, visitors can exit their vehicle to enjoy carnival rides, concessions, the magical walk-thru forest, photos with Santa and more.

There will also be a variety of new indoor and outdoor attractions.
The end of the general admission line will be marked on busier nights with a designated Prairie Lights vehicle. This park status will also be posted each night to Prairie Lights website.

Admission includes the drive-thru experience, Holiday Village, carnival rides and the lighted Walk-Thru Forest for all guests in each vehicle.

Pricing can be found at PrairieLights.org/hours-pricing.
For more information, visit https://PrairieLights.org.

Mansfield Hometown Holidays December 3 & 4

Photo courtesy City of Mansfield

For two days of fun make your way to historic downtown Mansfield for this year’s Hometown Holidays/Main Street Midway. The event is taking place Friday, Dec. 3 from 5-9 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 4, from 10 a.m.-9 p.m.

Friday’s activities will include the annual tree lighting, live entertainment at The LOT Downtown, ice slide, ferris wheel, carousel, carnival games, fireworks, art vendor booths and lots of food.

Hometown Holidays Friday schedule

Saturday will feature more of the same, including Graceland Ninjaz performing a holiday show that evening at 7 at The LOT Downtown. The group is billed as the “Kings of party bands” who deliver a high-energy show blending mashups and greatest hits spanning five decades of rock & roll, dance, hip hop, soul, & funk, with a dash of horns and a Vegas-style production.

Hometown Holidays Saturday schedule

 

Also, be sure to bring your camera so you can get photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

“As the end of 2021 approaches, it is my hope that the City of Mansfield’s annual Hometown Holidays sparks holiday joy in those from Mansfield and beyond who attend,” Mansfield Mayor Michael Evans said. “We are blessed to kick off the holiday season with this fantastic, cheerful celebration, and are thrilled to be holding it in Historic Downtown Mansfield for the first time. We hope to deliver a remarkable experience for all who plan to partake in this year’s two days of festivities.”

 

Midlothian Light Up Parade December 4

girl on horse wearing Christmas decorations
Photo credit City of Midlothian

“A Storybook Christmas” has been selected as the theme for the city’s Annual Light-Up Parade to be held on Dec. 4 at 6 p.m. in downtown Midlothian. Additionally, the city’s Parks and Recreation Department has planned an exciting lineup of holiday events to add to the merriment of the season.

It all starts on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 6 p.m. with the tree-lighting ceremony at Heritage Park. A brand-new Christmas tree will be unveiled during the annual ceremony, which will include the reading of the Christmas story and other activities.

On Saturday, from 1 to 5 p.m., Southern Star Christmas Festivities will be held at Heritage Park. Festivities will include arts and crafts booths and food vendors, selfies with Santa, take-and-make crafts, letters to Santa and shopping along North 8th Street.
Additionally, the event will be a Toys for Tots drop-off location.

Also on Saturday at 6 p.m., “A Storybook Christmas” Light-Up Parade will take place. The parade will begin at Avenue B and North 8th Street and end at Avenue F and Overlook.

Awards will be given to parade entries in the following categories:

  • Storybook Wonder – best use of theme.
  • Celebration Illumination – best use of lights.
  • Unforgettable Holiday – most original.
  • Most Enchanted – judges overall choice.

Continuing the festivities, Friday, Dec. 10 at 6:30 p.m. will be the annual Merry Movie Night at Midlothian Community Park. It will feature an outdoor showing of “Elf”.

These events are made possible by various sponsors, including Ash Grove Cement, Earth Tones Greenery, Inc., Manna House, Methodist Midlothian Medical Center, Midlothian Downtown Business Association, Texas Aces Heating & Air Conditioning, and United Rentals. Contact the Midlothian Parks and Recreation Department at 972-775-7177 or visit www.midlothian.tx.us/SpecialEvents.

Red Oak Winter Wonderland Parade

red oak Christmas flyer

The city will be hosting its annual Christmas in Red Oak event at Watkins Park on Saturday, Dec. 4 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. The family-friendly event is free to the public.
The day will kick off with the Winter Wonderland Parade at 11 a.m., featuring holiday floats, decorated vehicles and ATVs, public safety vehicles, school district marching bands, drill teams, cheerleaders and more from Red Oak and the surrounding area.

Also, a collection of area businesses, organizations, nonprofits, and churches will be set up offering a variety of free children’s crafts, edible treats, and festive games.

And free pictures with Santa will be available in the Watkins Park Gazebo following the Parade.

Waxahachie Christmas Events

Santa Waxahachie
Photo City of Waxahachie

Talk about Christmas in abundance. The city of Waxahachie pulls out every stop imaginable each year, and 2021 is no different.

  • Running through Jan. 1 is Radiance! At The Races – A Holiday Light Spectacular. The event takes place at the Texas Motorplex. Grab a cup of hot chocolate and marvel at a million lights spread out over a mile, synchronized to holiday classic music. Enjoy it all from your vehicle and drive along a dragster track arched with animated tunnels, racing-themed holiday scenes and sparkling lights galore. For tickets and information visit www.radiancechristmas.com.
  • The Christmas Parade and Community Tree Lighting will take place on Nov. 30 at 6:30 p.m. The lighted parade will culminate with the tree lighting on the courthouse lawn. Various will include Jingle Jam at Railyard Park and photos with Santa.
  • Navarro College will present Beauville on Dec. 1 from 5-7 p.m. on the Waxahachie campus, 1900 John Arden Dr. The evening will feature games, crafts, train rides, story time, a live Grinch and more.
  • “A Christmas Carol” will be presented by the Southwestern Assemblies of God University Theatre at the Hagee Communication Center. Performances will be 7:30 p.m. Dec. 2-4 and 3 p.m. on Dec. 5. For tickets and information, visit https://sagu.brushfire.com.
  • Bethlehem Revisited will take place Dec. 3-5 and Dec. 10-12.
  • Christmas Market 2021 will at the Waxahachie Civic Center Dec. 4 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., sponsored by the Waxahachie Junior Service League. A preview party will be held on Dec. 3 from 6-9 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit www.waxahachiejsl.org.
  • Polar Express Movie Night is Dec. 4 at 6 p.m. at Railyard Park, 455 S. College St. Free admission.

Dec. 10-12 is a very busy weekend for the holiday activities, with events including:

  • Dec. 10 – Candlelight & Caroling, Railyard Park, 5:30 p.m.
  • Dec. 10-12 – “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” will be presented by Waxahachie Community Theatre at University Church, 221 Solon Rd. Tickets are available online at www.waxahachiecommunitytheatre.com.
  • Dec. 11-12 – Christmas Tour of Homes 2021, 2-8 p.m. Celebrate the spirit of the season as seen through the lens of Waxahachie’s historic homes. Decorated in holiday splendor, tour a variety of different architectural styles and learn about what it’s like to live and play in these magnificent homes. Tickets are available at www.historicwaxahachie.com.
  • Dec. 11-12 – TICA All Breed Cat Show at the Ellis County Expo Center, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday.
  • Dec. 11 – YMCA Santa Run, Railyard Park, 9 a.m. For registration information, visit www.waxahachieymca.org.
  • Dec. 11 – Railport 12 Beers of Christmas Stroll, noon-6 p.m., participating downtown merchants. For tickets and information, visit www.downtownwaxahachie.com.
  • Dec. 11 – Danceworks 8th Annual Nutcracker Tea, 2 p.m., Chautauqua Auditorium. For ticket information, visit www.danceworkswax.net.
  • Dec. 11 – Sounds of the Season with The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Hagee Communications Center. For tickets and information, visit www.waxahachiesymphony.org.
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Rick Mauch is a veteran of more than four decades in the media. He began writing in high school and immediately went into broadcasting for almost a decade after graduating, working his way to morning drive in Birmingham, Alabama. However, realizing how much he missed writing (though he did continue to do some during his time in top-40 radio), Rick returned to what he loved and has been doing it ever since. Rick's career has spanned a plethora of media outlets, including community journalism, sports, entertainment, politics and more. He's worked in print, broadcast and online media. He also spent several years doing public relations for a children's home in East Texas - still writing on the side, of course. When he's not writing, Rick loves to play golf and do Bigfoot research. He's an avid believer. He also made his first hole-in-one in June of 2020. Rick is married to Junell Mauch. They have five children and two granddaughters

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