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9 traditions that defined the holidays in DFW
Some of these events are old enough to be passed down among generations.
November 10, 2023
Some holiday events in DFW come and go, while others become so entrenched in the culture that we can’t imagine the season without them. Whether you’re a lifelong resident or newcomer to North Texas, these defining events are something to experience at least once. Take a scroll through some of the performances, destinations and attractions that have endured through time to create some magic for people of all ages and proclivities.
Turtle Creek Chorale’s annual holiday concert
For most of its 40-year history, the Turtle Creek Chorale has created some of the most imaginative holiday performances in DFW. The “most recorded male chorus in the world” has perfected its over-the-top holiday show, and this year’s Celtic theme continues the tradition, featuring a full orchestra and muse Chloe Agnew (of the Celtic Woman). The TCCC website promises a concert “that will have you leaping from your seat with joy” — which is something we can probably all use. Buy your tickets and add this event to your list of things to do in dfw during the holidays.
Holidays at NorthPark Center
NorthPark Center has transformed into a holiday destination for kids and families for more than five decades. The most enduring display dates back to 1965: A candy Santa helming his team of pecan reindeer, “flying” near the Neiman Marcus on Level One. This year, visit the adorable miniature train exhibition, visit Santa Claus himself, hear stories from the Children’s Puppet Theatre and more. See a full list of activities if you want a shopping experience that’s heavy on the experience.
The Gaylord Texan
For kids and the young-at-heart, Christmas the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center is a monument to holiday chaos in the best way possible. Located in Grapevine – the self-proclaimed “Christmas Capital of Texas,” — the showplace features a dizzying array of activities, from snow tubing, ice sliding, gingerbread decorating and even a brunch alongside The Grinch himself. (No word on if green eggs and ham will be served to stay on the Seussian theme.) Take in the eye-popping Christmas decorations and larger-than-life ice sculptures during your stay — you can choose from plenty of packages that allow you to get the most out of this memorable DFW Christmas tradition.
Dallas Cowboys Games
Fun fact: Did you know that The Dallas Cowboys have played more games on Christmas than any other team in the NFL? While best known for their annual Thanksgiving game, The Cowboys typically have a busy schedule during the entire holiday season, and many fans have created special traditions to support the ‘Boys. This year, you can catch a Christmas Eve game on Fox, when The Cowboys take on the Miami Dolphins at the Hard Rock Stadium in Florida.
Dallas Holiday Parade
Dating back to 1988, the Dallas Holiday Parade is Dallas’ largest one-day outdoor event, aired in more than 100 markets and attended by tens of thousands of visitors. This holiday spectacle offers elaborate floats and giant balloons (including a 45-foot-tall inflatable nutcracker), oversized character costumes like Curious George and the Berenstain Bears, plus numerous community groups, performers and more. While it’s free to the public, you can purchase tickets to reserve a seat. It’s held on Dec 2. From 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.; make sure to bring a cozy coat to create warm memories.
Christmas in the Stockyards
If you like your Christmas with a little bit of country, look no further than Fort Worth, where Christmas in the Stockyards riffs on the standard holiday offerings. Enjoy classics like ice skating on the Stockyards Rodeo Rink, photos with Santa and story-time with his better-half Mrs. Claus. But look for distinctive draws, like horse-drawn wagons, cowboy poetry, strolling Dickens Carolers and reindeer games. Stroll through the many shops and eateries to grab some gifts while you enjoy the festivities, or take advantage of Hotel Drover’s 12 Days of Drover, where guests can enjoy spirited experiences at the resort. See the full list of events and enjoy a very Texan holiday.
Holiday at the Arboretum
Called “Texas’ best Christmas event” by Southern Living Magazine, this annual extravaganza hosted at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden has been a family favorite for years. Visit the Christmas Village and be transported to a “quaint European hamlet” by way of large, themed houses and charming shops offering candy, baked goods, flowers, books and more. It also includes the beloved 12 Days of Christmas, an exhibit with (you guessed it) 12 Victorian style gazebos, decorated with twinkling lights, mechanical parts and music. The festivities kick off with an opening ceremony on Nov. 8, but check out the full list of activities that run through the holiday season.
For many years, one home in University Park created an eye-popping experience that outmatched even professional Christmas light exhibits. The homeowner — who suffered a major health episode in 2021 — erected more than 500 Santa figurines and the original head of The State Fair of Texas’ beloved Big Tex. Though details are scant on if this tradition is on for 2023, drive by the 3700 block of Southwestern Boulevard to check out the best holiday lights in DFW. This is the one that started the go-big residential home decorations you might notice in your own neighborhood.
A Christmas Carol
The Dallas Arts District offers plenty of holiday-themed events and performances, from perennial fan-favorite performances of The Nutcracker to Reliant Lights Your Holidays and Klyde Warren Park’s Tree Lighting Celebration. But the Dallas Theater Center’s adaptation of the Charles Dickens play has become a holiday must for theater lovers and Christmas enthusiasts. Witness the change of heart for miserly, miserable Ebenezer Scrooge as he becomes generous captain-Christmas and just try not to feel merry — especially if you’ve got that “bah humbug” spirit. Get your tickets here.
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The best Thanksgiving to-go meals for your buck
Holiday-ready meals for every taste and budget
It’s that time of year when the leaves are changing into their fall colors and pumpkin spice everything is everywhere. Thanksgiving will be here before you know it. This holiday, let the pros take care of the cooking. From homestyle feasts and deli-inspired dinners to Tex-Mex meals, these are the best Thanksgiving packages for your buck.
Closed Thanksgiving Day
Packages starting at $21.00 per person; order through Nov. 30
It’s the season of giving, Phoenix. Fox Restaurant Concepts’ Doughbird is giving back to the community this Thanksgiving with its Grateful Plateful initiative. Now through Nov. 30, Doughbird will be donating a portion of the proceeds from each Grateful Plateful sale to St. Vincent de Paul. The individual-sized Grateful Plateful entree includes a half rotisserie chicken, winter squash, roasted Brussels sprouts, seasoned stuffing, cranberry sauce and gravy. Families, don’t fret. Doughbird has a family-sized Grateful Plateful option that serves up to four.
Closed Thanksgiving Day
Pricing options per side; must order by Nov. 19
Beckett’s Table is a Phoenix favorite for its homey atmosphere and elevated takes on classic comfort foods. The award-winning restaurant is offering traditional holiday fixings to accompany your turkey, which you’ll have to prepare at home in this case. The sides-only package feeds six people per side, starting at $40 (about $6 per side, per person) and includes classic options like buttery whipped mashed potatoes or a fig and pecan pie that’s big enough for your entire guestlist.
Closed Thanksgiving Day
Packages starting at $23.00 per person; served on a first-come, first-serve basis until Nov. 22
If you’re searching for a holiday season miracle this Thanksgiving, look to Miracle Mile Deli. While the Phoenix deli is best known for its tasty pastrami sandwiches, Miracle Mile is working its magic this holiday season to bring you an unforgettable Thanksgiving meal. First up is Miracle Mile’s individual-sized Oven Roasted Turkey Dinner, a plateful of white or dark turkey meat served alongside homemade mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce and rye bread with butter.
Families and Friendsgivingers can indulge in Miracle Mile’s Family Feast, a much larger version of their personal plate that can serve up to six people, which features all of the same eats plus baked macaroni and cheese and a whole pie. Can’t get enough mashed potatoes? Miracle Mile is offering quart-sized containers of all of their sides in portions that are big enough to serve up to four people. Don’t skip the pies. There’s an apple pie with your name on it, dessert fans.
Closed Thanksgiving Day
2023 pricing to come (family-sized meal was $55 in 2022); Order by Nov. 22
This Arcadia eatery is popular for its convenient drive-through, noshable burgers and secret menu. But this holiday season, take advantage of Eat Up’s family meals. Opt for a nontraditional (but delicious) Thanksgiving feast with a Whole Chicken meal, a spread that includes an entire rotisserie from Red Bird Farms and your choice of two family-sized sides, like roasted broccoli, potato gratin, bamboo rice, cauliflower potato-less salad, house slaw, plain or loaded baked potatoes, Caesar salad or a medley of tomatoes and cucumber. The restaurant will also be serving up a Turkey Dinner option with traditional sides, with specifics coming soon on its social media and website.
Open Thanksgiving Day
Packages starting at $29.99 per person; Order whole turkey and large dinners by Nov. 20
Chompie’s has been a Valley staple since the late 1970s. And it’s really no wonder why — the New York-style deli knows a thing or two about really, really good food. Chompie’s Thanksgiving menu is no exception. Available for dine-in or takeout, Chompie’s holiday package includes a helping of white meat turkey breast, stuffing, mashed potatoes dressed in pan gravy, homestyle string beans, candied yams, cranberry relish and fresh-baked knot rolls with butter. Of course, you can’t forget the pie. Chompie’s has two options to choose from: apple or pumpkin. Need to feed a big group? Chompie’s also offers large packages and à la carte options, all of which are cooked from-scratch the same day of your scheduled pick up.
Open Thanksgiving Day
Packages starting at $125.00; Pick up Nov. 21 or Nov. 22
Add a little spice to your Thanksgiving dinner this year. No, we’re not talking pumpkin spice either. Z’Tejas is adding its signature Tex-Mex touch to the traditional Thanksgiving meal with a holiday takeout package big enough to feed six. The package includes white and dark meat turkey slices, poblano mashed potatoes, cornbread stuffing, seasonal vegetables, cranberries and a chorizo gravy. Plus, you can add on to-go margaritas or an ancho fudge pie for dessert.
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6 local Thanksgiving meals that are affordable and delicious
Because sometimes you don’t feel like cooking.
The holiday season is imminent, which means it’s time to get the most important aspect nailed down: the food. Whether you’re hosting a Friendsgiving, family gathering or holiday date, keep reading for some solid local choices (for dine-in and to-go) that speak to every dining style. Since we’re all looking for a deal, we made sure to offer Thanksgiving packages with the most bang for your buck, bringing you a considerable amount of delicious food for a price that won’t bite. (Plus, one splurge option, because … ‘tis the season.)
The Metropolitan Café
2032 Main St, Dallas, TX 75201
Guess what, Dallas? This funky downtown joint is back in action after closing in 2021. The Metropolitan Café debuted this fall with a new owner, a chic new design and a menu that practically screams Thanksgiving joy.
The feast: Your meal for two includes two meats, three sides and not one but two desserts. (Because, let’s face it, it’s not a complete Thanksgiving feast without pie.) Options include stuffed Cornish game hen, smoked gouda mac and cheese, brioche stuffing, garlic-whipped potatoes and cumin-glazed carrots. And to top it all off, indulge in some sugary desserts like chocolate pecan pie and apple pie. This is a good deal at $65 (serves two). Have more than two hungry mouths to feed? Easy. Order more.
Mark your calendar: The clock is ticking! Place your order between Nov. 6 and Nov. 15, then pick it up on Nov. 21 or 22. Call 214-741-2233 and let the holiday feasting begin.
3404 Rankin St, Dallas, TX 75205
Want to avoid diving into cooking this Thanksgiving? (See what we did there?) No problem, this seafood restaurant has you covered. Dive Coastal Cuisine offers a festive Thanksgiving pick-up menu that will impress your guests.
The feast: Mini potato latkes, bruschetta ciabatta crostinis, charcuterie boards, herbed/brined chicken, shrimp cocktail skewers, roasted salmon dip, seasoned and seared beef tenderloin and stuffed sweet potatoes. For dessert, you can pick between key lime pie (untraditional, but delicious) and pumpkin spice (traditional and delicious). Prices vary, but we consider this a good deal. Turkey breast for five people is $50, mini crab cakes for six to 12 people are $42, and bruschetta ciabatta crostinis for six to 12 people are $25. Plus, you didn’t have to go to the grocery store during the holidays. Pretty sure that’s priceless.
Mark your calendar: Place your order 24 hours in advance for pickup on Nov. 22. Head to the website or call 214-891-1700 order.
6740 Winning Dr Suite 1000, Frisco, TX 75034
Bonjour, Thanksgiving! La Parisienne French Bistro at the Frisco Star is putting a Parisian twist on your holiday shindigs. The restaurant serves its regular dinner menu for dine-in or to-go from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving, but they also offer a prix fixe menu with a festive flair.
The feast: Choose from options like lobster bisque or butternut squash soup, Caesar salad or wedge salad, and turkey breast with cranberry port wine sauce or prime rib (with a $15 upcharge) served with bearnaise sauce or au poivre sauce. Don’t forget the sweetest part: an apple pecan caramel tart or sweet potato pie. Consider this a Thanksgiving bargain at just $45 per person or $60 if you choose the prime rib.
Mark your calendar: All to-go orders must be placed by Nov. 21. Call 469-200-5411 for more information.
The feast: Before you scoff at the $369 price tag, do the math. This to-go Thanksgiving smorgasbord from Central Market feeds 12-14 people. That’s roughly $28 per person. The meal has so much food that we’re putting it in list form.
- Hickory-smoked, spiral-sliced, bone-in ham with apricot-ginger glaze
- All-natural oven-roasted turkey
- Mixed greens, roasted carrots and feta salad
- Macaroni and cheese
- Cheesy potato casserole
- Whipped Yukon mashed potatoes
- Green beans with toasted almonds
- Oven-roasted vegetables
- Savory cornbread dressing
- Turkey gravy
- Cranberry sauce
- Roasting pan for turkey
- Roasting turkey bag
- Oven pan for ham
Mark your calendar: If you reserve your chef-made Thanksgiving meal by Nov. 8, 2023, you’ll receive a coupon for $15 off your next $75 in-store purchase. Otherwise, head to the website to order.
1401 Preston Rd, Plano, TX 75093
Turkey’s not your thing? (Not everybody likes traditional Thanksgiving food, and that’s OK.) Andrew’s American Pizza Kitchen is open on Thanksgiving Day for dine-in from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and they’re offering catering for those who prefer pizza and pasta over poultry.
The feast: Savor their signature Dallas-style pizza, Chicago-style pizza, Detroit-style pizza and more. Plus, indulge in holiday delights: pumpkin pie tarts, caramel tarts and pecan pie tarts, each a steal at $9.
Mark your calendar: The deadline to order is Nov. 22, with pickup on Nov. 23. Call 469-825-6500 to lock in your unconventional Thanksgiving feast.
2023 Greenville Ave #110, Dallas, TX 75206
If you do want to splurge this Thanksgiving, Quarter Acre has just the package for you.
The feast: Choose between smoked turkey breast with confit turkey legs or slow-cooked leg of New Zealand lamb. Both options serve four and come with two scrumptious sauces, three sides including and delicious extras like sourdough bread, New Zealand butter and Tajin popcorn. Prices are $295 for turkey breast and $325 for the leg of New Zealand lamb.
Mark your calendar: Reserve your order by Nov. 15 for pickup on Nov. 22 between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. To treat yourself to this lavish experience, call them at 214-647-1616.
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