Have family and friends in town for the holidays? Want to get off your couch and get in the holiday cheer? We've compiled a go-to list that will keep you merrily busy from December 1 through the Chanukah celebration and up until Christmas day, with a New Year's Eve bonus. We know there is much more to do, so feel free to share more holiday events in the comments sections.
Events with a have additional dates. Check the event's website for details.
PART III (DAYS 18-25 AND NEW YEAR'S EVE)
HOLIDAY LIGHTS AT INTERLOCHEN: One of the largest holiday lights displays in north Texas continues to shine bright in Arlington. The annual display in the Interlochen neighborhood started Friday, December 14 and continues every night through Christmas Day. This year, the popular holiday attraction is 12 days of bright lights and holiday-themed displays involving more than 200 homeowners. Admission into the area is free, but you'll need to follow an established route. Click to download PDF map. (7 P.M. TO 11 P.M. ARLINGTON / FREE)
SANTA'S HELPERS WITH PETE DELKUS: WFAA STUDIO AT VICTORY PLAZA NEAR THE AMERICAN AIRLINES CENTER: This will be our last Santa's Helpers event and we're keeping it close to home. Come visit us outside our WFAA Studio at Victory Plaza. Get a free Chick-fil-A sandwich, say hello to us and drop off a new unwrapped toy. (5 P.M. TO 10 P.M. DALLAS)
DALLAS JINGLE BELL RUN: Lace up those running shoes and put on a Santa hat or reindeer antlers for this Dallas event. The run benefits the Trinity Strand Trail and the Mavericks Foundation. You can join the one-mile run ($20 to $25) or get serious with the 5K ($25 to $35). However, it's isn't all physical. There will also be food, music and other activities. (6:30 P.M. / BUY REGISTRATION STARTING AT $20; $10 FOR KIDS 10 AND UNDER)
MEDDLESOME MOTH ST. BERNADUS CHRISTMAS 2011: Just a week before this, Meddlesome Moth serves up a vertical flight of Anchor Xmas, with years 2010, 2011 and 2012. In this tasting, it's St. Bernardus Christmas 2011. And on December 21, Dogfish Head's Nobel Rot. There is a seasonal tasting every Wednesday to give you a jolly red-nosed look. (5 P.M. DALLAS / COST OF BEERS)
INTERLOCHEN CHRISTMAS LIGHTS: Tune your radio to fill your vehicle with holiday tunes, pack your patience and get ready to view street after street lined with brightly-lit decorations at this festive event in the Lake Interlochen neighborhood in Arlington. From Elvis to pink flamingos and wintry wonderlands, decorations pack the lawns and drape nearly every home, despite the fact it isn't even required. It's all to spread the holiday cheer in a now over 30-year Arlington tradition. If you can't make it this day, that's okay, the display is open starting December 14 through Christmas Day. (7 P.M. TO 11 P.M. ARLINGTON / STARTING POINT: RANDOL MILL ROAD AND WESTWOOD DRIVE / FREE)
'TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS AT CASA MANANA: Twas the Night Before Christmas tells the story of a young girl whose father is off fighting in the war. Molly's mother takes her on a treasure hunt that leads to some entertaining encounters with "dancing elves" and "a rocking Santa Claus." Before the musical production, children get a chance to meet and get a photo with Santa, as well. The production runs from November 24 to December 24. (7 P.M. FORT WORTH / BUY TICKETS STARTING AT $15)
PRAIRIE LIGHTS: Our very own Instant Live 8's Wyatt Goolsby got an early look at this event, which touts the longest light tunnel and four million lights along a two-mile path. However, you don't have to sit in your vehicle the whole drive. About half way into the drive, park and meet up with Santa, eat some food and at an additional cost, check out the "Light Show Theater" or the "Lighted Walk-Through Forest." (6 P.M. TO 9 P.M. SUNDAY-THURSDAY; 6 P.M. TO 10 P.M. FRIDAY-SATURDAY (INCLUDING CHRISTMAS EVE AND DAY AND NEW YEAR'S EVE / $20 FOR EACH CAR MONDAY-THURSDAY; $30 FRIDAY -SUNDAY; ADDITIONAL INFO CAN BE FOUND ON PRICING FOR LIMOS, VANS AND BUSES)
BRAND NEW PRODUCTION OF BEN STEVENSON'S THE NUTCRACKER PRESENTED BY THE TEXAS BALLET THEATER: We can already see the "Rat King" dancing around on his tippy toes and hear the sounds of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's score. The Nutcracker is a magical favorite with "waltzing snowflakes, a flying carpet, a glittering swan sleigh, mischievous mice, adorable children and breathtaking dancing." (2 P.M. & 8 P.M. FORT WORTH / BUY TICKETS STARTING AT $30)
TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA: Get ready to hear the live debut of "The Lost Christmas Eve" in thunderous rock sound, shooting flames and all. The Trans-Siberian Orchestra will also perform favorites such as "Christmas Nights in Blue" and "Siberian Sleigh Ride." (3 P.M. AND 7:30 P.M. DALLAS/ BUY TICKETS STARING AT $30)
REINDEER DASH (A PRE-CHRISTMAS FROLIC) 5K / 1 MILE RUN/WALK: It's another holiday event that may get you to break out a sweat and work off those holiday treats at the River Legacy Parks: Elm Grove Pavilion in Arlington. Proceeds go to Girls, Inc. of Tarrant County. (8:30 A.M. ARLINGTON / MAIL -IN AND WALK-IN FEES ARE $15 FOR 5K AND $5 FOR 1 MILE)
CHRISTMAS EVE DINNERS: With everything closed Christmas day, someone is going to busy in the kitchen. Give that someone a break on Christmas Eve. Reserve a table at a North Texas restaurant featuring special Christmas Eve meals. You can browse your choices at OpenTable.com.
CELEBRATE: Aren't you exhausted from the 24 previous days? Sit back, relax with loved ones and break out the spiked eggnog. It's Christmas Day and those gifts aren't going to unwrap themselves.
BIG D NYE: Come ring in the New Year with us and 35,000 others! There will be live music (including the Forever The Sickest Kids, LEOGUN, Pentatonix, DJ Ro Parrish and Breaking Southwest), fireworks and of course a live countdown at Victory Park. (DALLAS / FREE)