Deck the Halls

Get into the spirit of the season with Austin's best holiday events

Get into the spirit of the season with Austin's best holiday events

Trail of Lights
No Austin holiday is complete without a visit to the Trail of Lights. Photo by Casey Chapman Ross

Editor's note: The original story included a screening of The Muppet Christmas Carol at Irene's. That screening has been canceled and removed from our picks.

Sunny skies and balmy weather don't exactly scream holiday time, but that is the reality for Austinites. Now that December has officially arrived, and we are are only a couple weeks away from Christmas Day (where has the time gone?), it's time to blast the holiday tunes, string up the lights, sip on a steamy cup of cocoa, and make sure to attend these festive events.

Oh Hellos Christmas Extravaganza — December 7
This Christmas Extravaganza isn’t your typical concert. On December 7, sing along to Christmas music and classic carols from siblings Tyler and Maggie Heath of the Oh Hellos at Emo’s. In addition to songs, expect bad jokes, sing-alongs, dancing, and revelry at this critically acclaimed show. California-based The Family Crest opens the celebration. Tickets still available.

Mobile Loaves and Fishes Community First! Village of LightsDecember 7-8
Head to Community First! Village on December 7 and 8 from 5:30 -9 pm for the annual Village of Lights. The display is quite spectacular, with more than 200,000 lights, making it one of the largest light shows in the state, and choreographed to holiday music. End the evening by shopping the Advent Market featuring hand-crafted gifts from formerly homeless artists, and snag the perfect unique gift for everyone on your list.

Ballet Austin presents The Nutcracker — December 7-23
Attending The Nutcracker is one of those holiday traditions you can’t pass up. The Austin Symphony Orchestra provides the beautiful soundtrack to a beloved show that dazzles with stunning original sets and costumes. Tickets still available.

Pup-A-Palooza Party at The Collaboratory — December 8
There’s officially nothing cuter than puppy pics with Santa. This year, Austin Eastciders and Emancipet are throwing the ultimate party for dogs and their humans from noon-4 pm at The Collaboratory. There will be pet adoptions from Austin Pets Alive!, a "pupsicool" eating contest, a costume contest, and pictures with Mr. Claus himself.

Santa Con 2018 — December 8
Seeing hundreds of men and women in Santa suits ho-ho-hoing down Rainey Street is quite the sight. For those 21-and-up, there will be drink specials and merriment a plenty, a dodgeball-style snowball fight, and Christmas carol karaoke. Registration and costumes required, as is the $20 cover charge which benefits the Boys and Girls Club of Central Texas.

Austin Trail of Lights — December 10 through 23
This would not be a proper Austin holiday roundup without mentioning the Trail of Lights. One of Austin’s most celebrated traditions, the Trail of Lights is a must-do on our list. Grab the family and bundle up for an evening of magic in Zilker Park. As a holiday bonus, on December 13, the Trail of Lights will be partnering with the Austin Parks Foundation to screen The Polar Express. Daily tickets, VIP passes, and seasonal passes available. 

Austin Film Society presents It’s a Wonderful Life — December 22, 24, and 25
It’s the most wonderful time of the year at the Austin Film Society. Catch this cult classic starring Cary Grant, Donna Reed, and Lionel Barrymore on the big screen, a rare holiday treat. Tickets are available now for each screening, and are priced at $9 for both members and non-members. Just remember that “every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings.”

Dine inside a gingerbread house at the Westin Downtown — through December 28
If you’re looking for an out-of-the-box holiday treat, we’ve found it. Head to the Westin Downtown to dine on holiday dishes from Stella San Jac inside a real gingerbread dining room. In keeping with the spirit of the season, a portion of all proceeds will be donated to local nonprofit Back on My Feet.

Circuit of The Americas presents Winter Wonderland at The Circuit — through December 30
A trip to the Circuit of The Americas is well worth it this holiday season. Skate at the biggest ice rink in Texas, take in the beauty of the Tunnel of Lights, enjoy the petting zoo, and snap some photos with Santa. Tickets available by day, and priced beginning at $16.