Christmas is always a special time of year – but even more so when you see how excited the kids get. It’s a magical time. And while we all strive to make sure they understand the true meaning of the season, it’s still fun to indulge a bit as well. Below are a few of my favorite Christmas traditions for families in Dallas. What are your favorites?
To say Dallas is fortunate to have a world-class children’s hospital, is an understatement. So any time we can support Children’s and share enjoy the holidays with our family, we’re in.
Whether you just head out for the parade or splurge on a beautiful breakfast with Santa at the Adolphus Hotel, it’s the perfect way to kick off the holiday season.
Breakfast with Santa is an annual tradition (in it’s 27th year!) in Dallas put on by the The Women’s Auxiliary to Children’s Medical Center. Festivities include photos with Santa, face painting, balloon artists, clowns magicians and so much more! It’s quite the experience. Tickets are $85 per person (regardless of age) and include a plated breakfast, 5×7 photo with Santa, and reserved bleacher seating at the parade.
Quick Tip: The parade is free and open to everyone, but if you can, it’s worth paying for reserved bleacher seats – you don’t have to get there crazy early to scout out a good spot. Tickets range from $20 – $40 depending on the location. Get them here!
Neiman Marcus Santa and Breakfast with Eddie Coker
The Northpark Santa is amazing. I know. I get it. But, I just can’t. Long lines, a bazillon people, parking nightmare…not my thing.
Especially when I can slip into downtown Dallas, valet park at the door, and window shop at Neiman Marcus. At first glance, the incredibly cool Neiman Marcus Santa looks like your typical department store Santa. But upon closer inspection you’ll notice some of the more fashionable details of his attire, and best of all a much trendier take on his chair and background setting.
Neiman’s also hosts a fabulous, sign-a-long Breakfast with Santa in the Zodiac Room, featuring Eddie Coker. After breakfast, Eddie Coker performs a mini holiday concert – kiddos dance around and sing, before heading down for pictures with Santa. Tickets are $50 per person (anyone 2 years or older) and includes a seated breakfast.
For reservations, call 214-573-5800.
Once a little know secret, the Downtown Neiman’s Santa experience is becoming a bit more popular but still much more enjoyable than fighting the crowds elsewhere. Plus, if you’re stuck in line with your husband, you can always point out a few last minute Christmas gifts. Santa sits near the jewelry and handbag section. Just sayin’….
It’s worth braving the mall to check out this annual Ronald McDonald House fundraiser. Each year, an empty storefront is transformed into over 4,000 square feet of trains! With scaled down Dallas landscapes and iconic landmarks, the personalized trains chug along to the amazement of kids, young and old.
If you’re looking for a very special treat, consider purchasing a personalized rail car. These make for a wonderful annual tradition – and kids love seeing ‘their’ train in the exhibit and you can collect one each year to create your own train set. It’s a great way to give a unique gift and help a wonderful organization.
Tickets are available online or at the event. This year, the exhibit runs from November 21st – January 3rd.
Did you know there’s an authentic marionette theater hidden underneath the Anatole? Well, me either. I had to find out from my dad, who lives in Houston! He saw it featured on Texas Bucket List and suggested the kids might like to see a real Marionette show. Geppetto’s has shows all year long, with a special Winter Wonderland show starting right after Thanksgiving.
I had fairly low expectations, and boy was I wrong! Once inside the Anatole, you descend down a few flights of stairs into a hidden gem. A cute little snack and puppet shop opens into a quaint wooden theater that seats about 80 people. Right before the show, there’s a brief but entertaining explanation of how the marionette’s work and what goes into making each one.
And then it’s time for the show. I’m always worried about our kids’ attention span, but all three of them sat through the WHOLE show, and it’s almost 45 minutes long. It’s a story of a Winter Wonderland – and the winter wizard introducing everyone to the North Pole. Santa, the reindeers, elves, Rudolph, sugarplum fairies – everyone had a song. They did a great job with the tempo of the show – switching from Christmas carols to poppy kids songs that had all the little ones dancing.
And are you even allowed to put on a kids musical without a Frozen cameo? Probably not, so of course there’s Elsa. Everyone sang along. Box checked.
After the show, guests are invited backstage to see the puppets and learn how the show works. My boys were totally intrigued and the folks backstage were happy to answer all their questions.
I know it sounds a bit strange, but go. It’s worth it.
Quick tip – it’s best to reserve your tickets online. Click here for more information.
A few other family fun filled activities, if you’re looking for something more things to do: