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Celebrating Christmas COVID-Style

Mental Health

While 2020 has been a year full of surprises, there is still so much to be thankful for. Here at The Source we are thankful and excited for this Christmas season. For some, the holidays are hard because they bring back memories of people who are no longer around. For others, the holidays become a season of rushing around at lightning speed and spending more money that you probably should. For a number of people, however, this is simply the most wonderful time of the year. We recognize that there is a wide spectrum of emotions when it comes to this season and we want to acknowledge that and say that wherever you fall on that spectrum, you are not alone.

For us at The Source, this season serves as a symbol of hope and joy. HOPE for what is to come, HOPE for restoration in this broken world, and HOPE for change.

We also see the holidays as a time to celebrate and find joy in the little moments. While you may have felt like The Grinch about Christmas in years past, we hope after this wild year that this season provides a glimmer of hope and joy for you as well. And as you all know…everything is BIGGER in Texas and that includes the holidays.

Cities across Texas have many Christmas traditions to get people in the holiday spirit. COVID-19 has caused the creative people behind these activities to pivot and make adjustments so the show can still go on! There are a number of family-friendly, COVID-conscious Christmas activities in the city closest to you. Here is our Texas-wide list of Christmas activities for 2020.

Austin  

1. Trail of Lights

Let’s take a step back in time. Native Austinites are getting a blast from the past with the drive-through Trail of Lights experience. From 1965-1998 The Trail of Lights, formerly known as Yule Fest, was a drive-through experience. This year, due to COVID, the Trail of Lights has returned to a drive-through experience. Located in Zilker Park in the heart of downtown Austin, lies the magical Trail of Lights. Don't forget to check out the Zilker Tree which can also be seen from the Mopac bridge.

Tickets: $25 to $35 per vehicle depending on entry time and night. Entry begins each night at 7 PM. Get your tickets here!

Dates: now through January 3, 2021.

2. Mozart’s Light Show

Have you ever watched Christmas lights dance to the beat of Christmas Music? Now is your chance at Mozart’s Coffee on Lake Austin. Typically people pack the outdoor deck every night of the Christmas season to watch the show. This year you can reserve a 4-person socially distanced table to watch the show and sing along. The show begins every hour on the hour starting at 6 PM.

Tickets: $10 to $20 per table. Tickets are selling fast, so get yours here today!

Dates: now through January 6, 2021.

3. A Buda Christmas

The historic town of Buda celebrates Christmas in a big way and all of their activities are COVID-conscious and most are FREE! Whether you want to take a drive through the Trail of Lights, enjoy a Christmas movie at the drive-in theater, or admire the Festival of Trees, you can - thanks to Visit BudaTX. For $25 you can decorate a tree to contribute to the Festival of Trees.  

Tickets: free! Check out the schedule and full list of activities here!

Dates: now through January 10, 2021.

Dallas

1. Holiday Movies at the Drive-in at the Central

Some of us here at The Source watch Christmas movies year-round, while others strictly watch them between Black Friday and Christmas day. Which boat do you fall into? A number of movie theaters have remained closed because of COVID, however drive-in theaters are booming. Rooftop Cinema Club has an incredible selection of Christmas movies that you can enjoy from the back of your car, cozied up with a fluffy blanket and your favorite Christmas snacks!

Tickets: $35 to $45 per vehicle. See when your favorite Christmas movie is playing here!

Dates: now through December 23, 2020.

2. Radiance: A Holiday Light Spectacular

What Texas lacks in snow, we make up for in lights. Enjoy the synchronized music and two-million lights with your close contacts from the comfort of your very own car! Not only can you enjoy the show in Frisco, but also in Weatherford, and Decatur.

Tickets: $30 per vehicle. Tickets can be found here.

Dates: now through January 3, 2021.

3. The Concert Truck

Who doesn’t love a pop-up socially distanced outdoor classical concert? Some of Dallas’ most talented from the Dallas Symphony Orchestra are coming to an outdoor location near you, so you can enjoy the symphony without having to pay a fortune.

Tickets: free! Check out the schedule and locations here!

Dates: now through December 18, 2020.

Houston

1. Ice Skating at The Galleria

While The Galleria offers year-round ice skating, we believe Christmas is the most magical time to partake in this frozen activity. Due to COVID, capacity is limited to ensure social distancing and masks are required for guests over the age of 10. Now is your time to shine and get scouted to join the U.S. Figure Skating team by landing a triple-axel.

Tickets: $20 to $30 per person. Get your tickets in advance here!

Dates: year-round.

2. River Oaks Lights

Grab your close friends and a cup of hot apple cider and enjoy the lights of River Oaks. This free event boasts some of the most extravagant light displays in Texas. You can drive through the neighborhood or get out and stroll (weather and crowd permitting). If you decide to park and walk, make sure to only park in permitted areas or your car might get towed. Locals recommend that you enter River Oaks either by Shepherd Drive or Westheimer Road.

Tickets: Not necessary. Check out the Facebook page for more details.

Dates: now through December 25, 2020.

3. Holiday in the Gardens

Moody Gardens offers seven COVID-conscious Christmas activities at one venue. Bring your family to see the Festival of Lights, Holiday 3D Films, enjoy s’mores, ride the Arctic Slide, and more! Masks and social-distancing are required.

Tickets: $9 to $30 depending on when and what you choose to participate in. Check out the crowd forecast here and find tickets here!  

Dates: now through January 1, 2021.

San Antonio

1. San Antonio Zoo Lights

While maintaining appropriate social distance, enjoy a Lakeside Lightshow, stop by Reindeer Row, gaze at the Starry Safari exhibit, and enjoy a number of other themed exhibits throughout the zoo. You also have the chance to purchase a photo with Santa, grab s’mores, and enjoy a camel ride. Lights begin shining around 5:30 PM. Face masks are strongly recommended for outdoor activities and required for any indoor activities. Social distancing is also required.

Tickets: $19 to $22 for standard admission to the Zoo and Whataburger Zoo Lights. Get your tickets here today.  

Dates: now through January 3, 2021.

2. Contactless Claus Visit at Bass Pro Shops

Visiting Santa is a timeless Christmas tradition. Bass Pro Shops created a COVID-conscious protective case so you and Santa don’t spread the virus and he can still make his rounds on Christmas night. Temperature screenings and face coverings are required depending on local guidelines. All staff will be wearing a face covering and sanitizing regularly. Santa will be protected behind an acrylic barrier, however he will still be able to take notes on your Christmas wishes!

Tickets: free! However it is recommended that you make a reservation in advance.

Dates: now through December 24, 2020.

3. Santa’s Ranch

Santa’s Ranch claims to be one of the greatest light displays in all of Texas. You will have to let us know if you agree! Over the years, Santa noticed all of the beautiful ranches in Texas and decided he need one for himself. During the Christmas season you can soak in the magic of his ranch-style workshop. He is extra busy this year supervising the elves, so you won’t see Santa himself, but have no fear his ranch is top-notch with festive light displays that you can enjoy all from the comfort of your very own car.  

Tickets: $35 per vehicle. Reserve your ticket here today!

Dates: now through January 3, 2020.

Please stay safe and follow the local guidelines in place if you partake in any of these activities. This is not a comprehensive list of COVID-conscious activities across Texas, because like we said, everything is BIGGER in Texas. We hope that this list helps cultivate creativity and gives you some ideas about how you can still celebrate this Christmas.

Regardless of where you are in Texas or beyond, you can always gather your close contacts, jump in a car with a cup of hot cocoa, and drive around your town to look at Christmas lights. Don’t forget your Christmas music playlist. We hope, whether or not you participate in any of these activities, that your heart and home are filled with hope and joy this Christmas season.

Merry Christmas!

Written by:
Madeline Adams

Mattie was born and raised in Austin, Texas and is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin. She is an executive assistant and operations manager at The Source. She finds joy in helping women and youth pursue their passions to live a healthy lifestyle. In her free time, Mattie is probably spending time with friends, coaching cheer at the high school she graduated from, taking photos, or playing outside. 

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