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 I (DAYS 1-7)
DECEMBER 1 / SATURDAY
CHILDREN'S MEDICAL CENTER HOLIDAY PARADE: This year marks the 25th anniversary of the annual holiday parade that takes place in downtown Dallas. Spectators can watch entertainment ranging from bands to dancers to Mr. Potato Head, and of course Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus, march along a route on the downtown streets starting at 10 a.m. For those who want a more intimate experience with Claus, attend the "Breakfast with Santa" event preceding the parade at the Adolphus Hotel, which is hosted by The Women's Auxiliary. While the parade is open and free to the public, you must contact Amanda Campbell for details on how to attend the breakfast. (10 A.M. DOWNTOWN DALLAS / FREE OR RESERVE BLEACHER SEATING)
DECEMBER 2 / SUNDAY
HOLIDAY IN THE PARK AT SIX FLAGS OVER TEXAS: If Six Flags Over Texas' rides aren't enough to put a smile on your face, the annual "Holiday in the Park" promises "magical winter wonderland features" in addition to some "Holiday Thrills." It's definitely a holiday event the whole family can enjoy. And if you can't make it December 2, don't worry, the event runs through January 6, with the exception of Christmas Eve and Christmas day. Have a fried s'mores and hot chocolate for us! (ARLINGTON / BUY TICKETS STARTING AT $34.99)
DECEMBER 3 / MONDAY
MESSIAH AT BASS PERFORMANCE HALL: Live trumpets and choruses will definitely get you in the Christmas mood at this annual performance. Messiah was composed by George Frideric Handel in 1741 and tells the story of Jesus Christ through music. The Fort Worth holiday event will feature the Southwestern Seminary Master Chorale and guest soloists, who will join the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. (7:30 P.M. FORT WORTH / BUY TICKETS STARTING AT $19)
DECEMBER 4 / TUESDAY
HIGHLAND PARK LIGHTS: Get a look at some holiday magic with a drive through Highland Park. Pack some holiday snacks and take the family car to view the holiday lights and decorations. Popular areas for viewing are at Armstrong Parkway and Preston Road, bordered by Preston and Mockingbird. For those who want to get extra traditional, break out the blankets and reserve a carriage for up to 16 passengers. (EVENING HIGHLAND PARK-DALLAS / FREE OR RESERVE A CARRIAGE)
DECEMBER 5 / WEDNESDAY
MEDDLESOME MOTH'S DOUBLE DOWN: DOGFISH AND STONE: This one is strictly for those 21 and over and sounds like a nice after-work event in which you can relax with friends while enjoying seasonal brew. Every Wednesday, Meddlesome Moth in Dallas highlights a special beer on tap. On this day, it's a double treat with Dogfish Black and Blue, a limited Belgian-style golden ale, and a keg of Stone's Enjoy By. You only have until December 21 to get a taste of "Enjoy By" because as Stone says, their "brewed not to last," so why not on a hump day? This is one of the more casual events, but aren't those sometimes the most fun? Cheers! (5 P.M. DALLAS / COST OF BEER)
THE TRAINS AT NORTHPARK CENTER: The trains at NorthPark Center in Dallas are not only a visual treat, but also support a good cause, the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas. With over 1,600 feet of track, it now includes the new Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge among the Dallas skyline. The train moves onto Washington D.C.'s White House to San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge. One of the highlights is the WFAA building (wink, wink). Give a wave to all of us little people inside. The exhibit runs through January 6. (DALLAS / $6 ADULTS; $3 CHILDREN AGES 2-12 AND SENIOR CITIZENS & CHILDREN UNDER 2 ADMITTED FOR FREE)
DECEMBER 6 / THURSDAY
ICE! FEATURING DREAMWORK'S MERRY MADAGASCAR AT THE GAYLORD: Oh boy, we like this year's "Madagascar" theme. Around two million pounds of carved ice were used to create an interactive world of ice slides, holiday-styled "Madagascar" characters and of course, Santa. There are also plenty of other holiday events at the Gaylord Texan, including Kung Fu Panda Awesome SNOW Tubing, DreamWorks Dragons Holiday Adventure and more. And the great thing about going on this day is that it's a non-peak day, saving you several dollars per ticket. However, if you can't make it on December 6, the event runs through January 1. (GRAPEVINE / BUY TICKETS STARTING AT $21.95 FOR ADULTS AND $11.95 FOR CHILDREN)
KXT HOLIDAY CONCERT SERIES: DELTA RAE WITH THE ORBANS: Music can definitely put you in a merry mood, and KXT is hosting a series of musical events to do just that. American folk rock band Delta Rae will kick off the series with a Dallas show at The Kessler. (7 P.M. DALLAS / BUY TICKETS $12 ADVANCE, $15 AT DOOR)
DECEMBER 7 / FRIDAY
SANTA'S HELPERS WITH PETE DELKUS: Maybe we'll see you at this one! It's our very own annual Santa's Helpers. This year marks the 43rd year of WFAA collecting holiday toys, which has benefited more than 50,000 children throughout North Texas. The first in the series of five collections kicks off in Cedar Hill at the Uptown Village at Cedar Hill. Come see some familiar WFAA faces and drop off a new unwrapped toy. (5-10 P.M. CEDAR HILL / FREE! JUST BRING A TOY FOR DONATION)
CHRISTMAS LIGHTS, CHOCOLATE AND WINE TOUR: This one sounds pretty romantic, and they had us at chocolate, or maybe it was the wine. Enjoy the lights in Highland Park and Kessler Park with hot chocolate or coffee on a bus tour. And for those who want to really sit back and relax, sip on some wine and nibble on some chocolate. This event could be a fun lady's or date night. Either way, it sounds like a cozy holiday treat to us. Dallas By Chocolate Tours are hosting other events as well, and they seem to be selling out fast. (6-9 P.M. DALLAS / BUY TICKETS FOR $30)
Stay tuned! We have 18 more days of events. We will post "Part II" Monday and "Part III" Tuesday.