2016 Holiday Event Guide

Whether you are looking to celebrate the holiday season close to home or venture out of your city, there are plenty of holiday events in and around Hays County. From driving tours that wind through Christmas light displays to arts and crafts shows, this list of holiday events has enough cheer to turn even the biggest Grinch into one of Santa’s helpers.

Santa's Ranch

Attendees can see more than 1.5 million Christmas lights and animated displays during a 45-minute drive on more than a mile of winding country road. Food and beverages, such as homemade hot cocoa, kettle corn and other snacks are available for purchase. Souvenirs, including T-shirts and hoodies, are also available for sale.

When: November 4-January 1. Sun.-Thu. 6-10 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 6-11 p.m.
Cost: $28 plus tax (per vehicle), $56 plus tax (Per vehicle with season pass). Passes are not transferable.
9561 N. I-35 New Braunfels
Contact: www. innewbraunfels.com/event/santas-wonderland

Christmas Arts & Crafts Show Luling's Christmas Arts & Crafts Show features more than 75 vendors.[/caption]

Christmas Arts & Crafts Show

The Luling Area Chamber of Commerce hosts the 32nd annual event, featuring more than 75 vendors from throughout Central Texas selling goods, such as antiques, ceramics, jewelry, quilts, paintings, books and other items. Vendors typically also offer fresh produce, jarred goods, salsas and other edibles. Santa Claus is available for free pictures. Last year about 1,000 people attended. Door prizes are given away throughout the day.

When: November 26, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: Free
Where: Thump Pavilion, 313 E. Davis St., Luling
Contact: 830-875-3214, www.lulingcc.org/events/2016/32nd-annual-christmas-arts-and-crafts-show

EmilyAnn Theatre & Gardens Trail of Lights In addition to Christmas light displays, the EmilyAnn Theatre & Gardens Trail of Lights offers attendees free hot chocolate and a chance to meet Santa Claus.[/caption]

EmilyAnn Theatre & Gardens Trail of Lights

Wimberley’s EmilyAnn Theater & Gardens becomes an 8-acre monument to Christmas as more than 100 local businesses and community organizations decorate light displays. Santa Claus makes appearances at the event on Fridays and Saturdays before Christmas. Concessions, such as hot dogs, Frito pie and drinks, are sold, and free hot chocolate is also available.

When: November 26-December 29. Sun.-Thu. 6-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 6-10 p.m.
Cost: Free, donations accepted.
Where: EmilyAnn Theater & Gardens, 1101 FM 2325, Wimberley
Contact:512-847-6969, www.emilyann.org/trailoflights.html

Santa’s Arrival & Tree Lighting Ceremony

Santa takes a ride on a Kyle Fire Department fire truck through nearby neighborhoods and passes out candy canes before stopping at City Square Park for pictures with Kyle residents. He also helps the mayor flip the switch on the city’s Christmas tree located at City Square Park. Choirs from local schools perform holiday songs, and treats from vendors such as hot chocolate will be available for purchase. Free activities are available for children.

When: November 30, 4:30-8:30pm
Cost: Free
Where: City Square Park, 101 S. Burleson St., Kyle

Sights & Sounds of San Marcos Sights & Sounds of San Marcos celebrates its 30th year in 2016.[/caption]

Sights & Sounds of San Marcos

Sights & Sounds of San Marcos began in 1987 and has become the largest Christmas event in the area in the past 30 years. Local nonprofit organizations and charities sell food to raise money for their causes. Last year, the groups raised a total of about $150,000. The food choices include funnel cake, hamburgers, street tacos and other dishes. Around 40 arts and crafts vendors will also sell their wares, and carnival rides are available.

When: November 30-December 3
Cost:Free (12 and younger), $5 (one-day pass), $10 (four-day pass)
Where: San Marcos Plaza Park, 401 E. Hopkins St., San Marcos
Contact: 512-710-9627, www.sights-n-sounds.org

Dickens Christmas Dickens Christmas in Lockhart features a parade, performances and characters from Charles Dickens novels roaming the city's downtown.[/caption]

Dickens Christmas

Downtown Lockhart is transformed into a scene from a Charles Dickens novel, as iconic characters such as Tiny Tim and Ebenezer Scrooge stroll the city’s streets. The event also includes a Christmas parade that starts behind City Hall and entertainment at the Dr. Eugene Clark Library, 217 S. Main St., Lockhart. Vendors also attend the event and sell food and crafts. Concessions benefit local nonprofit organizations. The event culminates with the lighting of the Yule Log and a proclamation from the Lord High Mayor that Christmas has arrived.

When: December 2-3, 6 p.m. (Dec. 2), 9 a.m.-8:30 p.m. (Dec. 3)
Where: Downtown Lockhart
Contact: 512-398-3223, www.lockhartchamber.com/pages/DickensChristmas, www.library.lockhart-tx.org

Christmas on Mercer Street

Mercer Street in downtown Dripping Springs is closed to traffic from North San Marcos Street to North Bluff Street for the celebration, which includes live music, children’s games and activities, pictures with Santa Claus, pony rides, Christmas carolers and food vendors. The Dripping Springs Lion’s Club also illuminates a large Christmas tree at dusk.

When: December 3, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: Downtown Lockhart
Contact: 512-398-3223, www.lockhartchamber.com/pages/DickensChristmas, www.library.lockhart-tx.org

Buda Trail of Lights The Buda Trail of Lights is a 0.6-mile trail featuring Christmas light displays created by local community groups and businesses.[/caption]

Buda Trail of Lights

Buda’s Stagecoach Park is illuminated with thousands of lights and displays celebrating the holiday season. Local businesses and community organizations sponsor lighting displays throughout the park. Santa Cruz Catholic Church sells concessions, including hot chocolate, popcorn and hot dogs. The trail is approximately 0.6 miles from start to finish. Pets are not allowed, and attendees are encouraged to bring non-bulky strollers. Free parking and shuttle service is available at Cabela’s, 15570 S. I-35, Buda.

When: December 8-10, 15-18, Dec. 8 (senior citizens night, RSVP required) 6-8 p.m., 6-10 p.m. all other nights
Cost: Free 
Where: Stagecoach Park, 880 Main St., Buda
Contact: 512-295-7170, www.ci.buda.tx.us/Index.aspx?NID=397

Lighted Christmas Parade The Lighted Christmas Parade in downtown Bastrop is one facet of the Lost Pines Christmas, which features a variety of festive events.[/caption]

Lighted Christmas Parade

The event is an annual Bastrop tradition, sponsored by the Bastrop Downtown Business Alliance and part of the annual Lost Pines Christmas of Bastrop, a celebration of Christmas in the historic Bastrop community. This year’s evening parade theme is “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays …” At dusk, floats, fire trucks, horses, marching bands and Santa march down Main Street. In previous years the event has attracted about 10,000 people.

When: December 10, 6-8 p.m.
Cost: Free 
Where: Historic Main Street, Bastrop
Contact: www.lostpineschristmas.com

Cookies and Cocoa at the Courthouse This year's Cookies and Cocoa at the Courthouse features a screening of "The Polar Express."[/caption]

Cookies and Cocoa at the Courthouse

“The Polar Express” is shown on a large screen at the event at 6 p.m. Santa Claus is also available beforehand for pictures. Attendees are encouraged to bring a blanket or lawn chairs. Attendees are also encouraged to bring a camera for pictures with Santa. Cookies and cocoa are free. The event is hosted by the San Marcos Parks and Recreation Department and the San Marcos Main Street Program.

When: December 15, 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Cost: Free 
Where: Hays County Courthouse Lawn, 111 E. San Antonio St., San Marcos
Contact:512-393-8400, [email protected]