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Photo courtesy of Milan Laser Hair Removal

Remember those shoes you got that you paid almost nothing for? At the time, they were such a steal. But, surprise! A few months later, they’re falling apart. By investing in a quality pair of shoes that cost more upfront, you won’t have to worry about them falling apart and paying more in the end to replace them.

It’s true: You get what you pay for! Laser hair removal is kind of like that. It’s an investment rather than an expense.

To learn more about this cost-effective way of banishing unwanted hair for good, we spoke to Fort Worth's laser hair removal experts at Milan Laser Hair Removal, the nation’s largest laser hair removal provider. Read on to learn if laser hair removal is really worth it.

1. It saves you time
Hate shaving and waxing? We all do. No one enjoys spending that extra time in the shower shaving their legs and planning their shaving routine around wearing a swimsuit or shorts. The average person spends about 39 hours a year shaving. If you choose to wax, you have to make a salon appointment each month and take time out of your day for something that gives you temporary results.

With laser hair removal, you can get those hours back. That’s because laser hair removal produces permanent results when done properly. A laser pulse is delivered directly to the hair follicle, targeting the pigment in the hair. The heat from the laser destroys the follicle, and that hair can never grow again — ever. The average Milan Laser client is 95-plus percent hair-free in their treated areas within seven to 10 treatments. Permanent results mean never wasting time on outdated hair removal methods again.

2. It saves you money
In addition to wasting time on shaving and waxing, you’re also wasting money. Some may not think of laser hair removal as being cost-effective, but it is. About $3,800 is spent over a lifetime on shaving essentials. For waxing appointments at salons, you’re looking at $24,000 over a lifetime. The money spent on waxing appointments, replacing razors, or buying shaving cream becomes cyclical and costs more in the end. Laser hair removal is an investment, rather than an expense.

To get the best value for your money, take advantage of places that offer payment plans. For instance, Milan Laser offers everyone affordable laser hair removal payment plans.

And because our bodies are unpredictable, new follicles can become active, and new hair can grow due to hormone changes, age, and genetics. This is where touch-up fees come into play. To guarantee lifetime results, some places offer unlimited laser hair removal packages, like Milan Laser. If you choose one of these laser hair removal providers, you’ll never have to worry about touch-up fees or other surprise costs.

3. It’s more comfortable than you think
It’s easy to understand why some think a laser coming into contact with your skin is painful. But think about how painful waxing is, and when you accidentally nick yourself shaving? Ouch!

Most people say laser hair removal feels like the sting of a rubber band snapping against the skin, but only for a millisecond — the time it takes for the laser to zap your hair. Many lasers, such as the Candela GentleMax Pro used at Milan Laser, have built-in comfort features. Some less sophisticated, outdated lasers use numbing creams, messy gels, or chilled air that’s blown on the treatment area. On the other hand, the Candela uses a cooling cryogen mist released immediately after each laser pulse to reduce any potential discomfort and provide you with the most comfortable laser hair removal treatments.

4. It’s easy
Because laser hair removal is becoming more mainstream, it’s easier than ever to find laser hair removal providers. For the best results and experience, you’ll want to use a provider with medical oversight that has highly trained medical professionals operating the lasers such as Milan Laser.

If you choose a provider who specializes in laser hair removal, like Milan Laser, you’re likely to enjoy quick, easy treatments. These treatments can usually be done over a lunch break, on weekends, or after work to fit your busy schedule.

Best of all, there’s no downtime with laser hair removal treatments, unlike painful waxing appointments — you’re in and out and can go on with the rest of your day!

5. It’s for everyone
Contrary to popular belief, laser hair removal is not just for a certain age, gender, or skin tone. Men have unwanted hair too, and men’s laser hair removal is becoming more common. The most popular body areas where men get laser hair removal are their backs, face, chest, and shoulders, just to name a few.

Laser hair removal also works for all skin tones when performed correctly. However, not all places that offer laser hair removal services can safely treat every skin tone, so do your research and find a laser hair removal provider with the proper technologies to treat the entire skin tone spectrum.

For instance, Milan Laser’s Candela GentleMax Pro includes two lasers: the Nd: YAG for darker skin and the Alexandrite for lighter skin tones. Because of this, places like Milan Laser can create a customized treatment plan for each client’s exact hair color and skin tone.

Ready to never shave again and make more time to do what you want to do? Give Milan Laser a call at 833-NO-RAZOR or go in for a free consultation. Visit a local laser hair removal expert at any of Milan Laser’s Fort Worth locations conveniently located in Fort Worth South and North Richland Hills.

Learn more about laser hair removal in Fort Worth.

Photo courtesy of Milan Laser Hair Removal

The process is for all skin types.

Photo courtesy of Texas Original

Medical cannabis is legal in Texas — here's everything you need to know.

The Basics

For thousands of Texans, medical cannabis offers a life-changing solution for alleviating many symptoms associated with medical conditions. Medical cannabis is already legal in Texas for over 150 conditions. In fact, Houston’s first permanent medical cannabis pickup location opened this year.

But how does the program work, what are the current laws, and who qualifies for medical cannabis? Here, we’ll break down the basics of hemp products and medical cannabis in Texas.

In 2015, Texas passed the Compassionate Use Act. This law allowed for the first legal use of medical cannabis in the state for patients living with intractable epilepsy.

The bill also established the Compassionate Use Program, the state’s official medical cannabis program. Since 2015, the program has expanded twice, allowing for more than 150 conditions to qualify for medical cannabis.

When the Compassionate Use Program expanded in 2021, the THC percentage for the final weight of products increased from 0.5% to 1%. This means that a 1-gram gummy may contain up to 10 milligrams of THC, a 2-gram gummy may contain up to 20 milligrams of THC, and so on.

However, there is no limit to the amount of milligrams a physician may prescribe. It is still a crime to possess cannabis (over 0.3% THC by weight) not prescribed by a registered doctor for an approved condition in the state of Texas.

How do you get a prescription?
Unlike other states, Texas does not use medical cards. Instead, qualifying physicians write prescriptions that are uploaded to an online registry operated by the Department of Public Safety called the Compassionate Use Registry of Texas (CURT). The registry is accessible across the state to law enforcement agencies and dispensing organizations to verify patient prescriptions.

Qualifying conditions for medical cannabis in Texas include:

Ready to get a prescription? Click here and fill out the form to be connected with a doctor who is registered to prescribe medical cannabis.

So what’s the difference between over-the-counter hemp products and medical cannabis?
In 2018, the Farm Bill was signed into law, removing hemp from the Controlled Substances Act. Hemp is defined as having 0.3% THC, however, the Farm Bill only limits Delta 9 THC, unintentionally creating a loophole for an unregulated market. This loophole in the bill led to an increased interest in the hemp-derived cannabinoid market, especially in states where higher amounts of cannabis-derived Delta 9 THC products remain restricted.

Synthesized hemp-derived Delta 8, 9, and 10 THC products may pose risks for consumers due to harmful solvents and chemicals being added without adequate testing or regulation. Additionally, over-the-counter hemp products may vary in potency due to a lack of regulation, mislabeling, and inconsistent processing methods.

What makes a product “medical grade”?
Medical cannabis products are regulated under the Texas Compassionate Use Program and must follow stringent quality measures. Any product produced by a licensed medical cannabis dispensary must meet extensive in-house testing requirements to ensure the medicine does not contain contaminants and meets the state's potency requirements. Additionally, medical cannabis products should be formulated based on research and patient trials to optimize symptom relief.

What to look for in a medical cannabis dispensary
Medical cannabis dispensaries licensed in the state of Texas must abide by state regulations and ensure all products are made in-house through a vertical integration model.

A medical cannabis dispensary should:

  • Provide a thorough Certificate of Analysis (CoA) that is available online or attached to the medicine package.
  • Make medical-grade products with a rigorous quality process and provide transparency into how they are made, including making product ingredients and testing results easily accessible to the public.
  • Abide by state regulations and ensure all products are made in-house through a vertical integration model.
  • Utilize patient trials, testing research to determine the formulation of medical-grade products to ensure they are optimized to appropriately treat a variety of medical conditions and symptoms.

With the medical cannabis industry only continuing to grow, Texas Original is leading the state with pioneering expansions and new product launches, including opening Houston’s first permanent medical cannabis pickup location, debuting the state’s first fast-acting CBN gummy, and adding a fourth temporary pickup location in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

If you or a loved one are ready to start your journey with medical cannabis, reach out to Texas Original to get started. Plus, enjoy a 20 percent discount on your first order at Texas Original.

Photo by Le Social

Turkey trot your way around Dallas-Fort Worth this November

Hot to Trot

November can mean different things to different people. For some, it's a chance to eat carbs and turkey until we pass out. For others, it's time to lace up your sneakers and trot before the pie ever passes your lips. And for a special few, it means both.

If you're looking for a new studio to try, Row House Frisco just re-opened with new owners. Row House has six class offerings – Signature, Strength, Full Row, Restore, Intervals, and Foundation – to accommodate all fitness levels, and has six studios across DFW. Utilizing 85 percent of the body’s muscles, rowing maximizes calorie burn, activates the core, strengthens and lengthens the body, and ultimately improves posture.

Read on for more healthy inspo this November:

Stroller Strides in the Garden, November 3, 10, 17, 22
Join instructors Becca and Sarah with your stroller-aged children to explore hidden corners of the Fort Worth Botanic Garden and build community through engagement with the outdoors, movement, and connection. Each Stroller Strides session will comprise a warm-up, 50 minutes of cardio (walking or jogging), strength and core movements, and stretching and cool-down.

Sound Bath Journey, November 5
Join Loren Boyd for an evening of energy work and sound healing at The Studio, 620 S. Jennings Ave. in Fort Worth. This 75-minute restorative, meditative experience is designed to help you drop into your parasympathetic nervous system, where the deepest healing occurs.

Free Rockbox workout, November 5
Head to Fabletics in Southlake for a free Fab Fight Club workout with Rockbox Flowermound. The class will concentrate on shadow boxing and functional body weight movements, and stay after class to enjoy a special discount on your entire purchase.

Saturday Morning Yoga at The Harper, November 5 & 12
Start your weekend off right with some Saturday morning yoga flow. This one-hour class is taught by Laura Wright, and beginners to advanced participants are welcome with modifiable instructions. Class starts at 9 am. Bring your own mat and towel, and the gym is located on the third floor of the Kimpton Harper Hotel.

11th Annual Amazing Race Fort Worth, November 6
This skills competition is all about fun, wellness, and testing your two-person teamwork skills against other similarly aged teams. Since 2011, racers ages 5 to 85 have been pairing up with family members, friends, and co-workers to support the fight against pediatric cancer. Modeled after the popular TV show, two-person teams complete a 1.5-mile XC course speckled with fun-filled physical and mental challenges every 300 yards. Clue cards at each station describe a task that requires the participation and cooperation of both racers in order to complete, before advancing to the next station. The top finishers in each age group are declared the winners.

Goat Yoga at Toyota Music Factory, November 6
Come get your yoga on while a tribe of pet goats graze and jump around (or on) you. Class is held outside on the Texas Lottery Plaza at Toyota Music Factory, and proceeds directly benefit the animals and local non-profit initiatives.

Gym & Juice: Trap Yoga Edition, November 13
New to yoga, or looking to switch it up? Join this vinyasa-style yoga flow paired with R&B music held at Project Paragon, 2409 Avenue J in Arlington. Bringing the energy, affirmations, and fun is instructor Alondra. This event is sponsored by Manna Juice Bar, so they'll be free juice and opportunities to interact with other vendors as well.

Sweat Crawl at The Hill, November 14-18
Get your sweat on before this year's holiday eating marathon with Fitness Ambassadors, who's partnering with Garmin, Shine Hot Pilates, D1 Training Bootcamp, F-45, and Movement Gym to offer complimentary community classes to Dallas fitness enthusiasts and newcomers alike. After each class, stick around for refreshments and goodies, product demos, swag, and a raffle for a fitness watch.

Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot, November 24
On your mark for this Dallas tradition, now in its 55th year. Expect a 5K run/walk and a 8-mile race, plus a junior trot, family fun area, and the option to dash with your dog for only $15 more. Virtual options are also available.

Tarrant County CRC Thanksgiving Day Run, November 24
Kick off your Thanksgiving with runners and race walkers from all over the community at the half marathon, 10K, 5K, and 1-mile fun run at Farrington Field. Whether you are a competitive runner, mid-pack runner, jogger or walker, everyone has a good time

North Texas Turkey Trot, November 24
Go on a turkey trot before you gobble 'til you wobble in downtown Frisco. Choose from a one-mile fun run, a 5K, and 10K, and each race also has a virtual option. But be quick — prices go up after November 3. All entry fees benefit the Miracle League of Frisco.

Cowboys Fit East Dallas, coming fall 2022
The fifth Texas development of this state-of-the-art health and fitness center franchise is coming soon to 411 N. Washington Ave., Unit 1900. Cowboys Fit features the same cutting-edge equipment used in the Cowboys’ own training facility and the same “train like one of us” experience central to the original Cowboys Fit location at The Star in Frisco.

Photo by Canon Elizabeth Photography

Fort Worth guests don Western best to give cancer the boot at 2022 Cowtown Ball

Spurs on the Savanna

On a picture-perfect fall evening, 450 supporters of the American Cancer Society gathered alfresco at the Fort Worth Zoo for the 29th annual Cowtown Ball.

Appropriately themed "Spurs on the Savanna," the September 30 gala welcomed guests outfitted in their best Western chic, from custom cowboy hats to designer boots. First stop? The chance to feed giraffes and pose for photos in front of the majestic animals in the African Savanna exhibit.

Patrons also purchased blinking cowboy-boot lapel pins as a ticket into a rollicking game of "Heads or Tails" later and perused dozens of silent auction items while mingling with top-shelf cocktails. Couples and groups mugged for an interactive photo booth, honored loved ones at an Honor Wall, and purchased embroidered bandanas from Chainstitch Embroidery, who was custom-stitching them on site.

A buffet of chicken and pork entrees, spicy cheese grits, crisp green beans, rolls, and rich chocolate cake was served under The Reserve pavilion.

Emcee Mireya Villarreal, a national correspondent for ABC News, welcomed guests and introduced event chairs Christian Burton and Virginia Durham and Paige Chappell Pritchett and Wade G. Chappell, who paid tribute to their parents and event honorees, the late Ann and David F. Chappell. Both had been prolific volunteers and left a strong legacy throughout Fort Worth, they said.

A live auction of fabulous trips and luxury items brought fast and furious bidding; among the most coveted items were getaways to St. Thomas, Argentina, and Italy; and a package called "Vacation Like a Royal" that included regal hot spots in London. Also up for grabs were luxurious diamond earrings from Bachendorf's; "sweet" suite experiences at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo and Texas Rangers; and a VIP experience at next year's Cowtown Ball.

Those who couldn't fork over the biggest bucks in the live auction regularly checked their phones for bid updates on silent auction items, which ranged from shoes from the new Fort Worth Gucci store to booze, gift cards, jewelry, and works by local artists. Even if last-minute bidders left others empty-handed, everyone got the chance to donate what they could to ACS through a "raise the paddle" initiative.

The party ramped up when featured entertainer Shane Smith & The Saints took the stage. Some couples headed to the dance floor for some two-steps and twirls, while others sang along from their tables or refilled their beverages and lounged on couches just outside.

When the auctions closed, bars shut down, and band played its final notes, guests grabbed their customized wine glass party gifts and left knowing they'd made a difference for those affected by cancer in Tarrant County. In total, the night raised $453,758.

Ninety-five percent of the money used for cancer programs at ACS comes from events like Cowtown Ball - for groundbreaking research and trials, patient care like rides to treatments, and more.

Enjoying the evening were numerous Fort Worth patrons, as well as ACS staff, medical professionals, and Cowtown Ball committee members, including: Paige Pritchett, Blair Chappell, Lindsey Kennemer, Jenna Kincaid, Ashlee Brenner, Janie Skillman, Rachel Quisenberry, Merrill Rhynsburger, Ashlee Brenner, Cortney Pelley, Travis Taylor, Avery Amador, Brian Jones, Terri Jones, Joy Ann Havran, Melissa Mitchell, Harrison Froeschke, Robin Froeschke, Christian Burton, Jordan Burton, Trevor Baker, Loren Baker, Robin Braden, Donna Sudberry, Dena Thomas, Bernadette Davila, Jennifer LeBlanc, Leigh Brown, Wynne Brown, Kelley Roberts, Lauren Von Kerens, and many more.

Photo by Canon Elizabeth Photography

Lindsey Kennemer, Jenna Kincaid, Ashlee Brenner, Janie Skillman

Sweetgreen

Healthy new salad restaurants crisp up this week's 5 most popular Fort Worth stories

This week's hot headlines

Editor's note: A lot happened this week, so here's your chance to get caught up. Read on for the week's most popular headlines. Looking for the best things to do this weekend? Find that list here.

1. Fort Worth gets healthy with 3 salad-themed restaurants opening at once. Fort Worth is enjoying an extravaganza of healthy new eating options, with three restaurants opening in the FW area that are all about salads, bowls, and good-for-you food. Get your greens on at these three new spots.

2. Southlake Town Square welcomes a bounty of new shops and restaurants. Southlake's best-known shopping center, Southlake Town Square, is poised for an infusion of new shops and restaurants. The 130-acre mixed-use development with 120-plus retail shops and restaurants will be home to a host of new brands over the next few months.

3. Where to drink in Fort Worth right now: 5 spooktacular bars for Halloween sips. For October's Where to Drink column, here are five Fort Worth bars for grown-ups to celebrate ghoulish Halloween shenanigans all month long. Some are so close together, they'd make for a creepy crawl.

4. World's first water coaster of its kind catapults into Texas amusement park. A popular Texas amusement park is set to welcome a new water flume coaster: Catapult Falls will open at SeaWorld San Antonio in 2023. Called a "launched flume" coaster, the ride will be the first of its kind and will feature the world's steepest drop in a flume coaster.

5. Minus the Dixie, The Chicks make it a family affair at Dallas-Fort Worth concert. The last time the band now known as The Chicks played in Dallas-Fort Worth in 2016, they still had the word "Dixie" attached to their name. The group likely didn't intend for it to be six years before they returned, but they made up for lost time in a 2+ hour concert at The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory in Irving on October 10, the first of two straight nights at the venue.

Photo courtesy of Texas Original

What the federal rescheduling of marijuana means for medical cannabis in Texas

Get the Facts

On October 6, President Biden pardoned thousands of Americans federally convicted of marijuana possession and asked the Secretary of Health and Human Services and Attorney General to review how cannabis is scheduled under federal law. Cannabis is currently classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, and under the strictest schedule, is not considered to have medical value.

However, this classification contrasts with the increasing support for cannabis as a medicine, as medical research and patient success stories continue to grow. In Texas, recent polls have revealed overwhelming bipartisan support for medical cannabis. In particular, a recent poll by Baselice & Associates, Inc. found that 72 percent of Republican primary voters in Texas favored allowing physicians to prescribe medical cannabis as an alternative to opioids for treating chronic pain.

The rescheduling of marijuana would have a far-reaching impact on cannabis as a medicine, including in Texas, where medical cannabis is legal for over 100 medical conditions.

So how does this impact cannabis in Texas? Here’s what you need to know.

What would change?
Moving cannabis to a lower schedule would make it easier to research its medical uses, enabling more clinical trials and studies of its medical benefits. Additionally, a lower schedule classification would be the first step to additional reforms that would lift some of the financial restrictions and regulatory burdens that currently prevent cannabis providers from utilizing banking services, insurance, loans and more.

Is cannabis legal in Texas?
Possession of cannabis remains illegal in Texas, however the state does have a medical cannabis program that allows patients living with qualifying medical conditions to use the medicine.

The Compassionate Use Program, which is overseen by the Department of Public Safety, allows licensed dispensaries to provide medical cannabis to patients with qualifying conditions. Of the three licensed companies in the state, Texas Original is the only dispensary that is Texas-owned and operated. Medical cannabis products must not be ignitable, so the medicine is offered in products like gummies, lozenges, and tinctures.

Photo courtesy of Texas Original

The rescheduling of marijuana would have a far-reaching impact on cannabis as a medicine,

To qualify for medical cannabis, a patient must:

  • Be a Texas resident
  • Have an approved condition
  • Receive a prescription from a registered doctor

Under the current Texas law, the approved conditions for medical cannabis include:

  • Peripheral neuropathy (nerve pain)
  • Spasticity (muscle spasms)
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Autism
  • Epilepsy and other seizure disorders
  • ALS
  • MS
  • Cancer
  • And over 100 more conditions

Click here to see a full list of qualifying conditions in Texas.

How do I get medical cannabis in Texas?
Unlike other states, Texas does not use medical cards. Instead, the doctor will upload a digital prescription to the state’s secure online registry, where it can be accessed by licensed dispensaries. Getting a prescription can be completed in just a few steps.

First, schedule an appointment with a doctor who is registered to prescribe medical cannabis. Fill out the form on Texas Original’s website to be connected to a prescriber.

During the appointment, the doctor will review your medical records and confirm if you are eligible for medical cannabis, then discuss your treatment plan.

Once approved, your doctor will add your prescription to the online medical cannabis registry. After your appointment, call 512-614-0343 to place your first order. A medical cannabis expert will help you select your products, then schedule you for a pickup at a location nearest to you or delivery.

If you or a loved one are ready to start your journey with medical cannabis, reach out to Texas Original to get started. Plus, enjoy a 20 percent discount on your first order at Texas Original.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

'Lightscape' shines bright in this week's 5 most popular Fort Worth stories

This week's hot headlines

Editor's note: A lot happened this week, so here's your chance to get caught up. Read on for the week's most popular headlines. Looking for the best things to do this weekend? Find that list here.

1. What to expect at 'Lightscape,' Fort Worth's new walk-thru winter wonderland. Fort Worth’s most Instagrammable new holiday lights display is best enjoyed without clinging to a phone. “Lightscape,” which made its North Texas debut at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden on Friday, November 18, walks visitors through a winter wonderland experience unlike any other in DFW.

2. Hoffbrau Steak fires up the grill for new location in Grapevine. A longtime steakhouse is coming to Grapevine: Hoffbrau Steak & Grill House, a small family-owned and -operated chain that's been in Dallas-Fort Worth for more than 40 years, will open a location November 28 at 700 W. State Hwy 114, previously home to a Brick House Tavern & Tap, which closed during the pandemic.

3. Yellowstone and 1883 stars cowboy up at Fort Worth gala honoring Taylor Sheridan. Fort Worth has always been "where the West begins," and now it's where TV's hottest Western drama begins, too. The 2022 Lone Star Film Festival Gala - held November 11 at Hotel Drover in the Stockyards - leaned hard into the city's connections to Yellowstone and its prequel, 1883, with signs and programs that boasted "The Road to Yellowstone Began in Fort Worth."

4. Divine doughnuts and tempting tamales top this Fort Worth restaurant news. This roundup of restaurant news around Fort Worth has tidbits about doughnuts, Cajun food, vegan tamales, and gourmet ice cream, culled from press releases, social media, and the occasional hot tip. Here's what's happening in Fort Worth restaurant news.

5. Here comes Santa House, back to Grapevine for a very charitable 2022 Christmas season. After taking a much-needed break last year, Louie Murillo and his family are once again decking their halls, yard, and rooftop to bring back the Grapevine Santa House — a smash hit during the 2020 holiday season. The half-acre property is a "Where's Waldo?" maze of more than 1,000 Santa statues, which visitors can walk among, snap photos with, and then, they hope, make a donation to Grace Grapevine's Christmas Cottage program.

Texas parks beckon throughout 2022 holidays with festive events and peaceful escapes

If roasting ‘smores and hiking in the great outdoors sounds fun, pack up your family and visit one of Texas’ state parks this holiday season.

Texas state parks and historic sites are ringing in the holidays with a number of festive events. There are drive-thru light tours, special holiday hikes, arts and crafts for the kiddos, and more.

Reservations fill up quickly, so be sure to visit an individual park's website before you head out. And check the Holidays in the Parks page for many more fun options, pricing information, and more information.

Dallas-Fort Worth-area parks

Tyler State Park
Avoid the Black Friday madness with the 15th annual “Walk-off the Bird” Bird Walk, a 2.1-mile walk by the lakeshore at 9 am November 25. Bring your binoculars to relax and enjoy the bird life of the East Texas Pineywoods. At 2 pm the same day, enjoy a Fall in the Savannah fall foliage hike. Enjoy Reading Ranger Campfire Stories around a cozy campfire at 3 pm December 3. Head back December 9-10 for A Pineywoods Christmas, when you can stroll or drive through the Lakeview and Big Pine campgrounds to take in campers' elaborately decorated sites and take a Winter Wonderland Hike.

Lake Tawakoni State Park
Drive through or stay at the park and decorate your campsite with your favorite Christmas decorations to receive your second night of camping free during your stay. There will be a decorating contest, complete with awards, as well as a reading of The Night before Christmas — all part of Twinkle Tour 2022, 5-8 pm December 3.

Daingerfield State Park
Drive through the park lit up like Santa Land during the 10th annual Christmas in the Park drive thru lights tour December 14-17 (times vary). Marvel at the decorated campsites and lights, and enjoy hot chocolate and cookies while waiting for a chance to visit with Santa.

Eisenhower State Park
Help those in need and spread holiday cheer — and as a bonus, get free entry to the park — by bringing one unwrapped donation item to the park’s Holiday Donation Drive from November 25 to December 19. Come back December 9-10 to visit the Light Up the Park drive-thru lights event, featuring milk and cookies with Santa. This year, the park is taking unwrapped toys to donate instead of collecting entrance fees for the event.

Cleburne State Park
Enjoy Pancakes With Santa and make pinecone bird feeders 9-11 a.m. December 10.

Cedar Hill State Park
Walk off your Thanksgiving Day meal and explore nature in the cool fall air during the three-mile Thanksgiving Nature Walk 7:30-9 a.m. November 26. Search for birds taking their winter break at the park during their Winter Birding Walk, which takes place 7:30-8:30 am December 13. Explore Christmas on Penn Farm on December 17: Learn about the history and pioneers of the Penn Family and the farm they built 150 years ago.

Lake Mineral Wells State Park
Experience Christmas, cowboy style, at Cross Timbers Cowboy Christmas, December 3. Park ranger and cowboy poet David Owens will gather guests around a campfire at the Lone Star Amphitheater for an evening of cowboy culture through songs, stories and poems.

Dinosaur Valley State Park
In partnership with Toys for Tots, the park is hosting Christmas in the Valley, a full day of ranger-led events, programs, family friendly activities, arts and crafts, food and more. Bring a new and unwrapped toy for free admission for the whole family. The event takes place 1-4 pm. December 17.

Austin/San Antonio-area parks

Bastrop State Park
The park’s annual Gobble Till You Wobble hike November 25 has been canceled due to predicted rains. However, you can still follow ornaments with clues through the park every day in December during the annual Fa La La Through The Forest Scavenger Hunt. Enjoy the Lost Pines Christmas Parade, a collaborative event with Bastrop and Buescher Parks, at 6 pm December 10. Tour the inside of the historic Refectory and see how the Civilian Conservation Corps celebrated Christmas away from home during A Lost Pines CCC Christmas 9 a.m. to noon December 17.

Lyndon B. Johnson State Park & Historic Site
Attend Deck the Halls, 10 am. to 3 pm November 26 to explore how early Texans at the Sauer-Beckmann Farm got ready for the holidays by stringing popcorn and decorating cookies to hang on their Christmas tree; learn how to make wreaths out of local cedar and dip candles as the farm staff get ready for das Weihnachten (Christmas). Return to the park at 5:30 pm December 18 for the 53rd Annual Tree Lighting, a holiday tradition started by President and Mrs. Johnson.

Garner State Park
Join the Buffalo Soldiers program and friends as they stop into Garner State Park before leaving for Christmas break during the Marching Towards Christmas event 10 am to 2 pm December 10. Christmas activities will include hand-dipped candles, frontier Christmas painting, Christmas-themed hard tack in Dutch ovens, and stories of the Buffalo Soldiers.

Buescher State Park
Take a Giving Thanks Guided Hike and learn how the Civilian Conservation Corps built the park from 3-4 pm November 26. On the Fa La La in the Forest Scavenger Hunt, you can follow ornaments with clues through the park to secure a prize at the end, December 1 to January 1. Enjoy the Smithville Festival of Lights and Lighted Parade, a collaborative effort between Buescher and Bastrop parks, on December 3.

Hill Country State Natural Area
See how art, history and state parks are connected; learn some basic watercolor techniques and paint a card or two to take home during the Watercolor Christmas Cards event 2:30-4 p.m. December 3. Come back for Horses in History & Ornament Craft from 2:30-4 pm. December 22 and learn how horses played important roles in the lives of vaqueros, native people, ranchers and more. Then, play a round of horseshoes and paint a horse ornament to take with you.

South Llano River State Park
At Christmas at the Ranch, 2 to 5 pm December 3, guests can warm up with hot chocolate and cider, listen to live entertainment, enjoy crafts and cookie decorating, and anticipate Santa's visit while taking in the twinkling lights and Christmas decorations at the historic Ranch House that now serves as Park Headquarters.

Houston and Gulf Coast-area parks

Brazos Bend State Park
Holiday in the Park is an all-day affair on December 10. Events include a self-guided "Elf Hike," Christmas crafts, "Pup Parade," s'mores, and more.

Goose Island State Park
See the park in lights, enjoy holiday activities, and camp for free when you decorate your campsite during Christmas in the Park on December 17. Guests are invited to "Santa's Village" at the CCC Recreation Hall for holiday crafts, games, hot chocolate around the campfire, and to drop off letters to Santa in the North Pole Mailbox.

Lake Livingston State Park
Learn about your favorite Thanksgiving food (the turkey) during Campfire Turkey Talk on November 26. Rangers will cover the history of Thanksgiving, the habits and behaviors of wild turkeys, and share interesting facts about turkeys, including how it nearly became our national bird.

Lake Corpus Christi State Park
Get in the holiday spirit with the second annual Holiday Light Drive Thru 6-9 pm December 10. Visitors can enter the park for a drive through the lighted areas of Javelina and Opossum Bend camping loops, plus the Old Pavilion.

West Texas and the Panhandle-area parks

Franklin Mountains State Park
Pack your Thanksgiving leftovers and hike 1.5 miles up to Aztec Caves during the park’s Turkey Trot at 11 am November 25. On December 3, make ornaments and holiday cards with recycled materials as part of the Art in the Parks series. During Cookies and Cocoa, you can decorate and take home your own Christmas treat while sipping on a cup of hot chocolate 2-4 pm December 23. Come back on Christmas Eve for a guided, two-mile Santa Hike at 11 am.

Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site
Bring your family out for Home for the Holidays guided family hike on December 10 and moderate hike on 17.

San Angelo State Park
Enjoy a drive-thru tour of lights and optional pictures with Santa and Smokey Bear during Holly-Days in the Park 6-8 pm December 10.

Affluent Fort Worth neighbor leads list of lavish holiday spending budgets in U.S.

Santa Baby

As the most wonderful time of the year approaches, holiday shopping budgets are in the spotlight, and a study from WalletHub lists Flower Mound as one of the top cities where Santa doesn't need a whole lot of help.

According to the personal finance website, the average holiday budget in Flower Mound is $3,531 per person, the third highest in the nation.

The town's 2021 population of 77,243 (per the U.S. Census) boasts a median income $139,703 and earlier this year was named by Ventured.com as the richest city in Texas.

In spite of an increase over last year's gift list totals, Flower Mound dropped to the third spot after being ranked No. 1 last year with a budget of $3,427. Newton, Massachusetts (budget $4,233) and Palo Alto, California (budget $3,920) edged out the Texas city this year.

Flower Mound was the only Texas city in the top 10, but there's plenty of holiday cheer to be found in the report, and not just for Flower Mound Santa fans.

Each year, WalletHub calculates the maximum holiday budget for over 550 U.S. cities "to help consumers avoid post-holiday regret," the website says. The study factors in income, age of the population, and other financial indicators such as debt-to-income ratio, monthly-income-to monthly-expenses ratio and savings-to-monthly-expenses ratio.

Despite nationwide focus on inflation strains, holiday spending is expected to be healthy, and higher than last year.

"The seeming social upheaval in recent times may lead households to spend more in an attempt to take some control of the environment which they can control," says Robert Wright, University of Illinois, Springfield professor emeritus who was among five experts consulted for advice about holiday shopping.

This could be good news if your Christmas wishes are on local shopping lists. Eight other North Texas cities landed in this year's top 100 heftiest holiday budgets:

  • Allen, No. 17 , $2,670
  • Frisco, No. 37, $2,150
  • McKinney, No. 45, $2,070
  • Plano, No. 50, $1,999
  • Carrollton, No. 55, $1,837
  • Richardson, No. 58, $1,823
  • North Richland Hills, No. 81, $1,658
  • Lewisville, No. 90, $1,630

Fort Worth landed at No. 366 with a budget of $890, while Dallas landed at No. 401 out of 558 cities with an average holiday budget of $845.

Elsewhere in Texas, spending in the Austin area won't be ho-hum with the Capitol City's budget of $1,705 ranked at No. 78. Two Austin suburbs, Cedar Park (budget $2,855) and League City (budget $2,541) ranked 14 and 20, respectively.

Santa's bag could be a mixed bag in the Houston area with three suburbs in the top 100, but the urban center falling behind:

  • Sugar Land, No. 15, $2,793
  • Pearland, No. 36, $2,172
  • The Woodlands, No. 71, $1,733
  • Houston, No. 366, $890

Things don't look too jolly for San Antonio, ranked at No. 431 with an average budget of $803 or Pharr, which was the lowest ranked city in Texas.

At No. 553 with a budget of $487, the Rio Grande Valley city came in just a few spots ahead of last place Hartford, Connecticut, with a budget of only $211.