2014 Holiday Happenings in Austin


Holidays at The Domain

Annual Holiday Tree Lighting – Sunday, November 23 (The event date has changed from Saturday due to rain in the forecast.)

The Domain will kick off the holiday season with the lighting of its 40-foot Christmas tree – featuring 6,000 twinkling lights, 400 ornaments and a 5-foot star topper – during the eighth annual lighting of The Great Tree. The 30-minute tree-lighting show will feature dynamic musical performances, culminating with the lighting of the tree by Santa himself at 6 p.m. Starting at noon in the Domain II, guests can enjoy free holiday entertainment, performances by area schools, special in-store events, craft activities, face painting, caricature drawings, balloon twisting stations and more. FREE! 

Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides at The Domain Fridays & Saturday, November 29 – December 24, 5–9 p.m. 

Enjoy complimentary horse-drawn carriage rides each Friday and Saturday night between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Pickup locations near Santa’s Workshop and at the Macy’s north entrance by California Pizza Kitchen. The Domain, 11410 Century Oaks Terrace.

Breakfast with Santa at The Domain – Saturday, December 6, 9 a.m.–noon 

Don’t miss The Domain’s annual Breakfast with Santa in its biggest and best year yet! Enjoy breakfast, live music, character appearances, holiday games (with prizes!), letters to Santa, face painting, balloon twisting and more fun! FREE! Domain II, 11410 Century Oaks Terrace.

Featured Event


Austin


Christmas in the Community – November 22- December 22, various times 

The Austin Symphony is excited to announce a brand new program this holiday season that will bring FREE music to all Austinites. Christmas in the Community is a series of twelve concerts held throughout the city of Austin featuring different ensembles of the orchestra playing familiar holiday music. The program kicks off on November 22nd at the Domain with their annual tree lighting ceremony and concludes December 22nd with a performance at the State Capitol. All twelve dates, times, and locations are listed on the website. Christmas in the Community is proudly sponsored by Macy’s. 

2ND Street District’s 4th Annual Holiday Window Walk – Starting November 23 


The 2SD Holiday Window Walk is an annual competition open to local theatrical design students, where 2SD businesses let their storefront windows become the students’ canvases for an opportunity to win collegiate scholarships. On Saturday, December 6, the winning window design, chosen from a theme of lyrics from holiday songs and Christmas carols and lines from classic holiday stories and films, will be announced during the “Deck the District” event from 1-6 p.m., where window walkers can stroll the 2ND Street District, enjoy carolers and an appearance by the one and only Santa Claus, and take advantage of the in-store specials at 2ND Street District shops.


Blue Genie Art BazaarNovember 28 – December 24, 10 a.m.–10 p.m. daily 

 The Blue Genie Art Bazaar is a fixture of the Austin holiday shopping season. The Bazaar features unique work from more than 200 local and regional artists – with a portion of proceeds going to Make-A-Wish®. Parking and admission are always FREE of charge. Marchesa Hall & Theatre, 6226 Middle Fiskville Rd. 

Chuy’s Children Giving to Children ParadeSaturday, November 29, starts at 11 a.m. 

This parade starts at 11 a.m. at the Texas Capitol and moves south on Congress, all the way to Cesar Chavez, ending just north of the bridge. The hour-long procession features giant inflatable balloons, festive holiday floats, marching bands, cool classic cars and Santa! At a designated time towards the end of the parade, Santa’s Helpers will line the parade route and help spectators donate new, unwrapped toys to Operation Blue Santa, which brings Christmas magic to children under 15 years old that otherwise might not receive any gifts. FREE! Congress Ave. 

Zilker Holiday Tree LightingSunday, November 30, 6 p.m. 

The Zilker Tree has been lighting the Austin skies during the holiday season since 1967. The tree, which is located in Zilker Park, will be lit for the first time this year by the winners of a citywide coloring contest. The ceremony begins at 6 p.m. and features local entertainment, food, novelties and live music. (Please bring cash if you’d like to patronize the vendors.) Performers include the Austin Civic Wind Ensemble and the Barton Hills Choir. FREE! Zilker Park. 

Snow Day – Saturday, December 6, Sunday, December 14 and Saturday, December 20, noon–4 p.m. 

It snows every weekend in December before Christmas at the Hill Country Galleria! Enjoy a family fun day with real snow at the Hill Country Galleria! Toss a snowball, build a snow man, make a snow angel, and take fun family photos! Enjoy live holiday music, holiday carolers, and more from noon-4 p.m. every day that it snows! Rain or shine. FREE! Hill Country Galleria, 12700 Hill Country Blvd., Bee Cave. 

Handel’s “Messiah”Tuesday, December 2, 8 p.m. 

The Austin Symphony once again presents its Christmas tradition, Handel’s “Messiah”, accompanied by Chorus Austin for you and your family in its NEW location. This night of musical magic will comfort you through its familiarity and fill you with the joy of rediscovery. Begin your winter celebrations with a performance full of rejoicing! Tickets start at $15. Hyde Park Baptist Church, 3901 Speedway. 

Four Seasons’ Gingerbread Open House Tuesday, December 2 & Wednesday, December 3, 5-6 p.m. 

Get a closer look at the amazing gingerbread houses at a FREE open house with complimentary hot apple cider, Candy Land-themed treats, photos with Santa and the opportunity to meet Javier and the other talented pastry chefs behind the Village. Lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel, 98 San Jacinto Blvd. 

Mueller Tower Lighting – Tuesday, December 2, 68 p.m. 

Join Mueller for the ninth annual Tower Lighting. Attendees will enjoy live music from the Reagan High School band drumline, crafts, delicious holiday treats and activities for the entire family. Texas State Representative Dawnna Dukes will help usher in the holiday season by turning on the NOEL lights atop the historic control tower. FREE! Mueller Tower. 

Ebenezer’s Journey: A Dickens’ Christmas Story – December 5, 6, 13 & 14, 710 p.m. 

This special interactive program based on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol will recreate various scenes of Dickens’ classic 1843 tale on four nights in December. Bring the family to Pioneer Farms this holiday season for a most unusual event, Ebenezer’s Journey. Watch the village come to life with carolers and colorful characters that step out of history. Then experience the classic Dickens tale like never before, as our actors take you into the story with an interactive theatrical presentation staged in the historic old buildings at Pioneer Farms. Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future will come to life as you witness the joys the sorrows and the chills of the unforgettable experience. Of course, you have an important role to play as well, for you are Ebenezer Scrooge! Cost: $12 per person. Pioneer Farms, 10621 Pioneer Farms Dr. 

The Nutcracker: Suite Dreams – Friday, December 5, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, December 6, 2:30 & 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, December 7, 2:30 p.m. 

Come see what has made this ballet a family favorite, but with a new twist on the story. Clara will travel through a second dream before returning to reality, and along the way will meet new characters that will dance their way into your hearts. Keeping in the spirit of Austin Metamorphosis Dance Ensemble (AMDE) tradition, the audience will enjoy many genres of dance as they make their way through these dreamscapes. Featuring the masterfully trained artists of AMDE, The Nutcracker: Suite Dreams is a must-see for the entire family. The Suite Dreams wine reception, sponsored by Whole Foods, will be held prior to the evening production on Saturday, Dec. 6. We invite you to come enjoy delicious food and wine in the lower lobby of the theater from 67 p.m. that evening, and those in attendance will have priority seating for the 7:30 p.m. performance. Tickets start at $15. George W. Carver Museum Theater, 1165 Angelina St. 

Breakfast with Santa at The Domain Saturday, December 6, 9 a.m.–noon 

Don’t miss The Domain’s annual Breakfast with Santa in its biggest and best year yet! Enjoy breakfast, live music, character appearances, holiday games (with prizes!), letters to Santa, face painting, balloon twisting and more fun! FREE! Domain II, 11410 Century Oaks Terrace. 

German Christmas Market – Saturday, December 6, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. 

The German-Texan Heritage Society offers shoppers handmade, imported crafts including plenty of Christmas-themed decorations such as nutcrackers and ornaments. It is a festival atmosphere with traditional German Christmas music, tables full of handcrafted items direct from the Erzgebirge region of Germany, a visit by both our historic American Santa Claus and the traditional German Sankt Nikolas with gifts for the children, a hospitality serving of Glühwein (hot spiced wine), coffee, apple cider/juice and gingerbread cookies and plenty of German style baked goodies for purchase. All purchases are Sales Tax Free on this special day. FREE admission. German Free School, 507 E. 10th St. 

A Charlie Brown Christmas: The Music of Vince Guaraldi – Saturday, December 6, 3:30 p.m. 

This is the perfect holiday tradition, with all the music from the original TV holiday classic performed LIVE! Featuring Michelle Schumann, piano, Utah Hamrick, bass, and David Sierra, drums, and presented by Austin Chamber Music Center. Tickets starting at $20. The Paramount Theatre, 713 Congress Ave. 

Holiday Sing-Along and Downtown Holiday Stroll Saturday, December 6, 6 p.m. 

The annual Holiday Sing-Along and Downtown Stroll is a FREE, family-friendly event that celebrates the arrival of the holiday season and the joy it brings. The evening starts at 6 p.m. when crowds gather on the south steps of the Capitol to sing the songs of the season during KUTX 98.9 “Eklektikos” host John Aielli’s Holiday Sing-Along. As the clock strikes 7 p.m., the countdown to the lighting of the Capitol Christmas tree begins, featuring a programmed light show at the top and bottom of every hour, set to holiday songs of local Austin musicians. From 7 to 9 p.m., Congress Ave. will be abuzz with holiday cheer during the Downtown Stroll. Shops, restaurants, galleries and museums will be open late and will feature special activities and offers. Additional Stroll activities include classic holiday cartoons, photos with Santa, live music, a special holiday Farmers’ Market with the Sustainable Food Center, and much more. Support fellow members of the community by bringing non-perishable food or cash donations to the Capitol Christmas tree for the Capital Area Food Bank. 

Tex-Arts’ The Nutcracker – Saturday, December 6, 2 & 6 p.m.; Sunday, December 7, 2 p.m. 

Bring the whole family and be swept off your feet as this holiday favorite comes to life on stage! Come join a festive party, fight off the Mouse King, see the Land of Snow and watch in wonder as the Sugar Plum Fairy hosts a dazzling array of dances! Don’t miss out on this once-a-year opportunity. It’s the perfect holiday treat! Tickets start at $15. St. Michaels Catholic Academy, 3000 Barton Creek Blvd. 

Violet Crown Arts Festival – Saturday, December 6 & Sunday, December 7, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. 

Expect to find unique artwork from talented sculptors, potters, and fiber artists, painters, jewelers, glass artists, woodworkers and metal smiths. Shop for handmade gifts and great quality art, and support local cottage businesses. It’s always FREE admission for the whole family! Live music and food vendors will also be onsite. Brentwood Elementary School, 6700 Arroyo Seco. 

Ballet Austin’s The Nutcraker December 6, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20 at 7:30 p.m. & December 7, 13, 14, 20, 21, 22, 23 at 2 p.m. 

An army of mischievous mice, a bevy of bon-bons, a sprinkle of sparkling snowflakes, and one jovial Mother Ginger … plus the Austin Symphony Orchestra! With an enchanting new production, featuring the set design by the extraordinary artistry of Holly Highfill and exquisite costumes by internationally renowned designer Judanna Lynn, the 2013 premiere thrilled record audiences with new magical moments. This 52nd annual production will bring a fresh new experience to Austin’s beloved holiday tradition. Tickets start at $15. Long Center for Performing Arts, 701 W. Riverside Dr. 

Trail of Lights Fun Run December 6, 7-10 p.m.

Get active and get a sneak peek at Austin’s favorite holiday celebration. The two-mile run will start at the historic Zilker Tree and end within the Trail of Lights. This is a unique opportunity to see the Trail of Lights before it opens to the general public. The Zilker Park route is family-friendly, all speeds are welcome and tots in strollers ride for free. Costumes are highly encouraged. Register by November 25 for $30 for adults, $20 for children 12 and under. Zilker Park.

Zilker Trail of LightsDecember 7–21, 7-10 p.m.

Visit the Trail of Lights and take a spin under the Zilker Tree! It’s the 50th year and all of the stops have been pulled. Kids will enjoy an interactive kids’ area, photo opportunities, visit with Santa, delicious food and more. Zilker Tree on display nightly. With the purchase of a ZiP Pass, trailgoers can enter the trail at 6:15 p.m. Be sure to check the Insider’s Guide for tips on getting there and parking. (Note: December 6, 5K Fun Run.) Cost: FREE Monday–Thursday; $3 Friday, Saturday & Sunday. Zilker Park. 

African Children’s Choir with Sara Hickman – Sunday, December 7 at 6:30 p.m. 

The African Children’s Choir returns to Saint John’s for a concert celebrating the release of the group’s new CD collaboration with Austin musician Sara Hickman. The CD, “Love is a Journey”, will be released in December. The African Children’s Choir is composed of children ages 7 to 10. Many have lost one or both parents through the devastation of war, famine and disease. They represent all the children of the continent and demonstrate the potential of African children to become strong leaders for a better future in their land. Over the past 20 years, the children have appeared in thousands of concerts around the world. FREE! St. John’s United Methodist Church, 2140 Allandale Rd. 

Christmas in Austin Holiday Ice Show – Sunday, December 7, 6:30–8 p.m. 

Figure skaters, singers and dancers perform Austin’s unique holiday traditions on ice! General admission (standing room only) FREE with canned good donation. VIP on-ice seating ($20) and assigned barstool seating ($15) available now for purchase. Chaparral Ice, 2525 W. Anderson Ln.  

14th Annual Austin Children’s Nutcracker – December 12–14 & 19–21, various times 

Share Clara’s adventures she as she battles a giant Rat King and transforms her Nutcracker doll into a Prince. Together, Clara and the Prince visit the magical Land of Snow and travel to the Kingdom of Sweets in an enchanted sleigh. First-timers and seasoned fans alike will be delighted by the magic of our 13th annual production of this timeless classic. $15 for children 3–11 years old; $25 for ages 12 and up. Dougherty Arts Center, 1110 Barton Springs Rd.  

Follow the Elves: Grand Finale Saturday, December 13, 2–4 p.m. 

Watch all four episodes of Austin Public Library’s puppet web series of the Shoemaker & the Elves and craft your heart out! FREE! Austin Public Library, Manchaca Branch, 5500 Manchaca Rd. 

Holiday Heroes Saturday, December 13 & Saturday, December 20, starts at 10 a.m. 

Now in its 15th year! In this hilariously fun holiday sing-along, students get into the holiday spirit with Ernie and Rufus. Celebrate the season with singing, laughter and holiday cheer for all. Tickets start at $20. ZACH Theatre, Topfer, 202 S. Lamar Blvd. 

Cherrywood Art Fair – Saturday, December 13 & Sunday, December 14, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. 

Shop for one-of-a-kind gifts ranging from jewelry to ceramics and more. There’s even live music, an art corner for the kids and more! Visit LiveMom on Sunday, December 14, in the art corner! FREE! Maplewood Elementary School, 38 1/2 St. & Maplewood. 

Luminations – Saturday, December 13 & Sunday, December 14, 6–9 p.m. 

Thousands of luminaries and twinkling lights turn the center into a holiday wonderland during Luminations, an Austin holiday tradition. Admission is FREE with two canned food items for the Capital Area Food Bank. (Find their most requested items here.) Activities include live music, children’s activities, a visit with Frosty the Snowman and more! Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. 

Tex-Arts Holiday Extravaganza – Saturday, December 13 & Sunday, December 14, starts at 2 & 6 p.m. 

The Fourth Annual TexARTS Holiday Extravaganza will put the sparkle in your holiday season! Bring the whole family to experience this holiday spectacular starring the TexARTS Broadway Company. This holiday revue features Rockette-style numbers, classic and current holiday hits, and a special appearance by Santa Claus! This showcase is sure to put the happy in your holidays! Tickets start at $15. TexARTS, Kam & James Morris Theatre, 2300 Lohman’s Spur. 

Austin Children’s Choir Concert – Tuesday, December 16, starts at 6:30 p.m 

The performance, entitled Postcards: Stories of the Season, will feature holiday and winter music from around the world in five different languages. The suggested donation is $10, and door prizes will be raffled ($2/ticket; 3 tickets/$5) to help fund scholarships and operating costs for the spring. First Presbyterian Church, 8001 Mesa Dr. 

Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Thursday, December 18, starts at 7:30 p.m.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO) will wrap up the year by performing their rock opera, The Christmas Attic, live for the first time in arenas across the nation on their Winter Tour 2014. Stone City Attractions is proud to welcome TSO when they return to Austin! This year will be TSO’s 12th consecutive year to perform in Austin. As in all previous years, TSO and Stone City Attractions will donate a portion of all ticket sales to a local charity. Contributions to date are more than $11 million. Tickets start at $42. The Frank Erwin Center, 1701 Red River St.

Fifth Annual Holiday Lights & Ice – December 19 – January 5, 9 a.m.–10:30 p.m. daily 

Get in the holiday spirit with ice skating, s’mores, twinkling lights and more. Lace up your skates, the rink is just steps away with a breathtaking Hill Country backdrop. Tickets and passes are sold in the lobby Coffee Market Shop. Omni Barton Creek Resort and Spa, 8212 Barton Club Dr. 

Austin Roller Rink Winter Lock In Friday, December 19, 11:30 p.m.–8 a.m. 

Drop the kids off for skating, movies, games and much more! Early purchase $25/child; $30 at the door. Pizza, drinks and breakfast included. Austin Roller Rink, 11600 Manchaca Rd., Ste. 101. 

Tuba Christmas – Monday, December 22, starts at noon 

2014 is the 41st anniversary for TUBACHRISTMAS concerts/events, which are presented throughout the world. Watch a special tuba concert on the south steps of the Texas State Capitol Building. FREE!

Bastrop


Bastrop Lighted Parade – Saturday, December 13, starts at 6 p.m. 

Join the city of Bastrop for the “Winter Wonderland” Lighted Christmas Parade! Of course, Christmas needs a dragon and a merry band of Sherwood marketers! A festival of lights, music and cheer, including decorated floats, fire engines, marching bands, horses and riders, and, of course, Santa Claus and his helpers. Produced by the Downtown Business Alliance, the parade makes its way down Main Street about 6 p.m. FREE!

Cedar Park

Holiday Tree Lighting & Santa’s Workshop Friday, December 5, 6:30–9 p.m. 

The Parks & Recreation Department in Cedar Park hosts an annual coloring contest for kindergartners and first graders. At 6:30 p.m., the winner will flip the switch to light more than 60,000 lights on the largest live oak tree at Heritage Oak Park. Santa’s Workshop will open immediately following the tree-lighting ceremony. Enjoy live music, carriage rides, games and prizes, inflatables, photos with Santa (bring your own camera), and arts and crafts projects. Bring the whole family for what promises to be a festive evening. FREE! 

Snow Spectacular – Saturday, December 6, 4–8 p.m.


30,000 pounds of REAL SNOW will be blown over a 1,230-square-foot area for the kids to play in! Enjoy light hors d’oeuvres, a hot chocolate/coffee bar, a visit from Santa, a hay ride, a silent auction and so much more! $10 per child; $20 per adult. This event is benefiting children fighting cancer and their families. Twin Creeks Country Club, 3201 Twin Creeks Club Dr.


Little Elves Craft Day – Friday, December 19, 3–5 p.m. 

Get some holiday shopping done without the kids! Drop your child off at the Rec Center for a fun afternoon full of holiday themed crafts, games, story time and snacks/drinks. $25 per child, ages 3–10 (must be potty trained). Register at www.cpparks.net or by calling (512) 401-5500. Community Rooms in the Cedar Park Recreation Center, 1435 Main St.

Georgetown


34th Annual Christmas Stroll – Friday, December 5, 5–9 p.m. & Saturday, December 6, 9 a.m.–8 p.m. 

Re-capture the magic of memories at the 34th annual Christmas Stroll. Visit Georgetown’s picturesque downtown square when it transforms into a genuine Christmas card come to life. It’s a magical setting of a multitude of trees outlined with twinkling white lights, old fashioned lamp poles, wandering minstrels and carolers, and a myriad of visitors sharing holiday cheer and good tidings. Your journey begins Friday night with the sounds of children serenading with sweet Christmas songs. Saturday, welcome Santa to the square, listen to classic holiday carolers, stroll along magical main street with sparkling lights and jolly window displays, munch on wonderful holiday treats at the bakery and candy store, tease the Grinch in Whoo-Village, lunch on some festival foods, and enjoy shopping in every nook and cranny with our 125-plus vendors. In addition, visit the square’s diverse shops and delectable restaurants. Click the link above for a complete schedule, including parade start time.

Leander


Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting Saturday, December 6, starts at 5 p.m. 

Enjoy pictures with Santa, holiday hayrides, a yule fire, choral performances, a Christmas parade, and the annual Christmas tree lighting.City Hall, 200 West Willis St.


Pflugerville


Drive-thru Luminary – December 6 & 7, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. 

Drive-thru Luminary with live scenes depicting the Christmas story. FREE! Immanuel Lutheran Church Pflugerville, 500 Immanuel Dr. 

Christmas Parade & Pfestival of LightsSaturday, December 13, 5:30–8 p.m.


The city of Pflugerville’s Parks & Recreation Department will be merging its annual Holidays at Heritage Park event with the annual Knights of Columbus Christmas Parade. Blending the two events will make a larger, more fun holiday celebration for the community. The city will have a stage with live performances from local elementary schools and dancers from the Recreation Center. There will be arts and crafts activities for children, a bonfire for roasting marshmallows, the traditional tree lighting, and FREE photos with Santa Claus at the end of the parade. FREE! For information, call (512) 990-6113.


Round Rock

Rock ‘N Lights – December 1–30, times vary 

Come and experience the second annual Rock’N Lights Holiday Light Tour and the new Pioneer Christmas Village at the Old Settlers Association. Rock’N Lights is a drive-thru light show that features thousands of sparkling lights through Old Settlers Park. Christmas Towne opens Saturday, Dec. 6. Times: Dec. 1–17: 6–9 p.m. Sunday – Thursday, and 6–10 p.m. Friday & Saturday; Dec. 18–24: 6–10 p.m.; Dec. 25–30: 6–9 p.m. $15 per car. Get a coupon here. Old Settlers Park, 3300 Palm Valley Blvd. 

Christmas Family Night – Friday, December 5, starts at 6:30 p.m.


The event kicks off with a welcome from Round Rock Mayor Alan McGraw, followed by the illumination of the street and water tower with holiday lights, and then Santa makes his grand entrance. During Christmas Family Night, downtown historic Round Rock is decorated with small wooden houses that each host various games and activities. This FREE event includes activities for the entire family including live music, dancers, candle making, carriage rides, game booths, Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus and more. Main Street, Downtown Round Rock.


San Marcos

Sights and Sounds of Christmas – December 3–6, 5–11 p.m. 

Enjoy live performances, pony rides, a carnival, delicious food, an ice skating rink, FREE photos with Santa, a gift shop, arts and crafts for the kids, a petting zoo and more! Nightly admission: $5; pre-sale four-day wristband: $7 (available for purchase at the San Marcos Activity Center or the Parks and Rec Center office), online purchase four-day wristband: $10; kids 12 & under: FREE. San Marcos Plaza Park, 401 E. Hopkins St.


Wimberley


The EmilyAnn Theatre & Gardens Trail of LightsNovember 29 – December 31, times vary 

Stroll a walking path with more than 100 lighted exhibits created by local businesses, churches, organizations and families. Roast a marshmallow at the yule log and listen to live entertainment on most nights.The trail will be open from 6–9 p.m. Sunday – Thursday, and 6–10 p.m. Friday & Saturday. FREE!



Catherine Prystup is mama to three kiddos ranging in age from 2 to 15. Looking for more wisdom on how to spend your days? Head on over to LiveMom.com, a resource website for Austin-area moms (and dads, too!) where you will find more of her awesome wisdom.

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