Grapevine is TRULY the Christmas Capital of Texas, officially designated so by the Texas Senate in 2009, and the season from mid-November till the first week of January is THE place to catch the spirit! Grapevine itself is a hidden jewel just five minutes from the Dallas Fort Worth airport. But Grapevine is NOT just a stopover! Grapevine is also a DESTINATION for any time of year, but especially during Christmas season.
Opening the season in early November is ICE! at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center. Each year professionally trained ice carving artists fly in from China to turn two million pounds of ice into a sparkling and colorful wonderland of larger-than-life Christmas scenes. DreamWorks’ “Shrek the Halls™” is the current theme and changes each year, but always Santa at the Nativity Scene with the enormous Angel is my favorite and leaves me reverently in awe. When you leave the ice sculptures, you MUST stop at Panda Awesome Snow Tubing, enormous fun for any age!
You’ll want to stay at the Gaylord Resort for as long as your budget can afford. Meals at any of the numerous restaurants are excellent, and if Dad prefers sports to shopping, eat at Texas Station and watch ESPN on many screens, including the giant 52 foot big boy! Even if you have no money to spend you can enjoy special Christmas scenes throughout the enormous central area of the Gaylord, colorful in daytime and magical with a million lights at night! My favorite is the life-sized real Gingerbread and Candy house. (But don’t take a bite from the outside; just purchase your sweets inside.) The electric train village scenes are also beautifully created with gingerbread.
Christmas is everywhere on Grapevine’s Historic Main Street in over 80 one-of-a-kind shops! Shop from 10 a.m. until lunch and then choose one of over 200 terrific restaurants, most unique to Grapevine. To mention a few: at Weineberger’s Deli select from 500 kinds of sandwiches; smokers can indulge at historic Willhoite’s Restaurant with it’s Texas fare buffet; at Main Street Bistro & Bakery enjoy delicious soups, sandwiches, and yummy baked goods. Then shop some more for unique clothing, gifts, what-nots, books, home décor and more.
Stop for delicious sweets at Patty Cake Bakery, or The Chocolate Grape, or any number of other delightful places on Main. When your feet are screaming, take a break at one of the eight wineries which feature tastings with snacks from late morning till night. We selected D’Vine Wine, where they make and bottle about thirty of their own reds and whites. Tastings include three varieties with wine crackers you can only find here, the perfect way to cleanse your palate between glasses. Their Christmas specialty this year is Sleigh Ride. Create very individualized gifts for friends or business by sampling and selecting your favorite batch. Then Chad Morrissey, the very personable manager, will help you bottle and cork your own gifts of 15 (half-batch) or 30(whole batch) bottles labeled with your personalized wine labels which he will help you create from the Christmas Capital of Texas.
When the shops begin closing around six p.m. you are ready for an excellent dinne, and Main Street offers many more choices. We selected Farina’s Winery and Cafe for excellent Italian and other cuisine. We ate amidst beautiful antiques, which were also for purchase. We also recommend eating at Tolbert’s Restaurant, which has been a favorite here for nearly three decades and features Bowl of Red (chili con carne) and much more. After dinner we were eager for the Parade of Lights, a delightful small town event once annually in early December. The entire town turns out for this big event lining Main Street, which features 1.5 million lights. Scores of children wave from 100 brilliantly lighted floats with Santa on the last one.
Santa is seen many times in Grapevine. He even lands at the Fire Station by helicopter from the North Pole on one special Saturday morning when volunteers prepare a pancake breakfast for everyone. Santa at Bass Pro Shop communicates with deaf mute children in sign language.
A fun experience for families with little children is the North Pole Express ride on a full size train, decorated for the season. The entertainment includes a little show before the ride, an elf singing on each car, and Santa’s visit during the thirty-minute ride. For adults, choose the Christmas Wine Train experience for sipping in the luxury of the lovely vintage first class train.
Would you like to create the perfect, one of a kind gift for someone special or for yourself? Go to Vetro Glassblowing Studio beside the North Pole Express and learn how to blow glass ornaments in the explicit demonstration. Then you can actually participate in creating a beautiful glass ornament of your own. Watching the demonstration is fascinating, as the glass master David Gappa and his team share their skills with you. Mitch McCormack helped us. You can purchase many exquisite gifts here, which anyone on your list will treasure forever!
During Christmas Week another perfect gift for those difficult spots on your gift list is to treat friends and family to the EXCELLENT The Texas Tenors Concert at the historic Palace Theater on Main Street. A winning ensemble in the finals of America’s Got Talent, the Tenors have beautifully trained voices and sing a range of everyone’s favorites from Country and Gospel to Opera. They are superb entertainers as well and will delight anyone.
Afterwards, you MUST walk to the Town Gazebo Park for the Light Show, which repeats every 45 minutes after dusk throughout December. The lights keep time with the seasonal music playing and even the Christmas tree sings. The glorious display was created by managers of the Grapevine Parks System, Randy Sell and Tony Steele. If your December visit to Grapevine includes the one night of the magically beautiful Boat Parade at dusk on Lake Grapevine, view it from the patio of the Glass Cactus Bar (near the Gaylord Resort,) which features live music Wednesdays through Saturdays and many special event concerts throughout the year.
This is just a sampling of all the fun your family will have in Grapevine, Texas, during this holiday season. There are over 1400 ways you can find the Christmas Spirit here. Make it your Christmas Destination now and every year in December, but that is not all… Grapevine has festivals and unique opportunities for a great stay any time of year.
For More Information:
Grapevine Christmas Capitol of Texas