During the holidays, event organizers pull out all the stops to entertain families, making Dallas-Fort Worth one big smorgasbord of holiday cheer. There is no shortage of events to inspire wonder in the young and young at heart, including theater, music, shopping, and light displays, with many of the best listed below. But there are plenty of others from which to choose, so make sure to check out the full calendar for all your holiday happenings.
Enchant: The World's Largest Christmas Light Maze & Market
A world of Christmas wonder awaits as Enchant: The World's Largest Christmas Light Maze & Market makes its U.S debut at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Guests can get lost in the world's largest light maze, take photos around the largest Christmas tree in North Texas, glide around the ice-skating pond, or waltz through the Enchant Christmas Market with over 85 vendors, including Arlington favorite Texas Christkindl Market Lane, now a part of the Enchant experience. The event will go on through December 31.
Texas Motor Speedway presents Gift of Lights
No, you don't actually get to drive on the track at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth during its annual Gift of Lights drive-through holiday lighting spectacular, but it's still impressive. The event includes over two miles of light displays, with almost 3 million lights, while visitors get to stay in their warm cars, listening to Christmas music on KLTY. After they finish with the drive-through, visitors can come to Santa’s Village on the inside track to get a picture with Santa, take a ride on the Reindeer Express miniature train, see a few retired race cars, and more.
Gaylord Texan Resort presents 2017 Lone Star Christmas
The 14th annual Lone Star Christmas event at Gaylord Texan in Grapevine offers a variety of holiday activities, live entertainment, and grand displays to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year. The main attraction is ICE!, a walk-through attraction, kept at a chilly 9 degrees, that features 2 million pounds of hand-carved ice sculptures and five ridable ice slides. The event will go on every day through January 1.
People Generation presents Magical Winter Lights
Magical Winter Lights is unlike any other holiday lighting event in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The festival bases its designs from Chinese lanterns and transforms them into larger-than-life remakes of well-known landmarks like the Dallas County Courthouse, a giant cowboy, and Dallas’ iconic Pegasus. The festival, which has multiple different areas, will be open every day at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie through January 7.
Holiday Wonder at Fair Park
This new event at Fair Park in Dallas features more than 2 million lights, bringing to life holiday favorites in giant illuminated displays. Those displays include winterscapes, floating swans, perennial holiday favorites (including Santa Claus), and more. The event also includes a two-story slide for kids and adults, a snowball throw with real snowballs, an acrobatics show, and more. The event continues through January 7.
Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra presents It’s a Wonderful Life
Multiple venues will be hosting screenings of this holiday classic, but this will be your only chance to hear the soundtrack performed live by an orchestra. The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra will put on this one-night-only performance on December 1 at Bass Performance Hall, playing along as poor Jimmy Stewart gets put through the wringer to figure out that his life is much more important than he had ever imagined.
Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis
For some, it's just not the holidays without a performance by Mannheim Steamroller. The group, which offers up contemporary interpretations of classic holiday songs, will play for one night only on December 28 at the Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory in Irving. The concert will feature Mannheim Steamroller classics, along with dazzling multimedia effects in an intimate setting.
The Polyphonic Spree 15th Annual Holiday Extravaganza
The Polyphonic Spree's annual holiday show has become one of the best traditions in the city. The band leads the audience in a variety of sing-alongs, interspersed with appearances by animals, dancers, other singers, Santa and Mrs. Claus, and an insane amount of confetti and balloons. The extravaganza takes place at Majestic Theatre on December 9.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra: The Ghosts of Christmas Eve
On December 22 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Trans-Siberian Orchestra will present a completely updated presentation of its show The Ghosts of Christmas Eve. The rock opera features fan-favorites like "Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24," "O Come All Ye Faithful," "Good King Joy," "Christmas Canon," "Music Box Blues," "Promises To Keep," and "This Christmas Day." The concert, which will have both a matinee and evening performance, will also feature a second set containing more of TSO’s greatest hits.
Casa Mañana presents Santa Claus: A New Musical
Back for a second year, this family-friendly production is about the search for a replacement for Santa Claus, who's retiring after 1,000 years. Expecting to be the next Father Christmas, Henchy the Elf is disappointed when Santa has someone different in mind. Will Santa and his elves get Nick ready in time to deliver the toys all over the world? Or will the discouraged Henchy successfully sabotage Christmas? The musical will play at Casa Mañana Theatre through December 23.
Dallas Theater Center presents A Christmas Carol
Celebrate the holiday season with A Christmas Carol, Dallas Theater Center's annual reimagined take on Dickens’ enduring classic. In this production, the audience is immersed in the story, with magical ghosts flying above, scary ghosts bursting out of the floor, and snow falling from the sky. Playing through December 28 at Wyly Theatre, this year's rendition features Friday Night Lights' Brad Leland as Ebenezer Scrooge.
Texas Ballet Theater presents The Nutcracker
Another must-see holiday theater tradition is Texas Ballet Theater's The Nutcracker. Playing at Winspear Opera House through December 1-3 and at Bass Performance Hall December 8-24, the ballet features a score by Tchaikovsky and enduring characters such as Clara, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and the Nutcracker Prince. Fort Worth audiences get a bonus of the adults-only Nutty Nutcracker for one show only on December 15.
Theatre Three presents Solstice: Stories & Songs for the Holidays
Most theater companies tend to go with traditional shows this time of year, but Theatre Three in Dallas will buck that trend with this new show. In this world premiere, an aunt helps to keep her niece calm through the winter solstice — the longest night of the year — by eliciting the help of magical creatures and other beings to tell stories and sing songs related to the holiday season. The show, running through December 17, will be performed by an all-star cast, including Denise Lee, Paul Taylor, Marti Etheridge, Ian Mead Moore, and Sara Prejean.
AT&T Performing Arts Center Broadway Series: Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Instead of tuning in to the annual showing of How the Grinch Stole Christmas on TV, you can see this live version at Winspear Opera House in Dallas. Max the Dog narrates as the mean and scheming Grinch, whose heart is “two sizes too small” so he decides to steal Christmas away from the Holiday-loving Whos. The Broadway musical, running December 5-17, features “You’re A Mean One Mr. Grinch” and “Welcome Christmas” from the original animated special.
Dallas Summer Musicals presents Irving Berlin's White Christmas
This show rolled through Fort Worth prior to Thanksgiving, but Dallas audiences get prime holiday season placement when it plays at the Music Hall at Fair Park from December 5-10. It tells the story of two showbiz buddies who put on a production in a picturesque Vermont inn, finding their perfect mates in the bargain. The musical is full of dancing, romance, laughter, and some of the greatest songs ever written, including “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep,” “Happy Holiday,” “Sisters,” “Blue Skies,” and the title song.