With Hanukkah recently concluded and Christmas just around the corner, we’re all gearing up to celebrate the holidays the best we can. While the pandemic bars some of our usual traditions, it’s no surprise that Texans are working hard to keep the Christmas spirit alive and doing their part to spread only joy this season.
All across the state, as weather fluctuates unpredictably between warm and cold, cowboy-booted gingerbread men are baking in the oven, tamales are being prepared by families in the kitchen, and Christmas trees are being adorned with lights and homemade ornaments.
Christmas caroling is still on deck – with some modifications – but that hasn’t swayed folks in Lubbock from sharing holiday tunes this season. The Buddy Holly Center’s Caroling in the Courtyard event has gone virtual and will be posted online for those near and far to see. While this isn’t your traditional idea of caroling, it’s just one example of how we can still support each other and stay safe while celebrating this holiday season, all while paying tribute to Texas’s own rock & roll pioneer.
Austinites celebrate the best way they know how – by keeping it weird with one of a kind Christmas gifts. Blue Genie Art Bazar is just one of the local markets that offers a one-stop Christmas shopping event and an eclectic variety of the best art in town, with socially-distanced and virtual options.
Not far down the road in Elgin, Evergreen Farms has set up shop for families to cut their own fresh Christmas trees. More than 120 farmers in our state grow, sell, and promote Texas-grown Christmas trees, and they’re working to ensure the tradition continues. In case you didn’t know, for every tree that is harvested, up to three seedlings are planted in its place for future Christmases.
Rather than walking through a winter wonderland, this year, you can drive. There are dozens of impressive drive-through light shows available for Texans to enjoy from the comfort, safety, and warmth of your vehicles. The largest holiday lights and music show in North Texas continues for its 16th year in Frisco. This year, Christmas in the Square will allow Texans to admire more than 180,000 lights by car or on foot.
Reinforcing the idea that Texans are one big family, so many have banded together to help their neighbors in need. The Weslaco Chamber of Commerce recently hosted their 2nd annual Stocking Drive, filling stockings with donated candy and other knick-knacks, and these two groups from Waco, Grind 4 God Ministries and Women of Worth, teamed up to ensure Wacoans struggling to make ends meet would receive a Christmas stocking stuffed with essential items like toothpaste, masks, and hand sanitizer.
Folks all across the state – in places like Austin, San Antonio and Dallas – have hosted Toy Drives to make sure as many children as possible will have a special gift to open on Christmas day.
As we know, Christmas magic comes in many forms, and this Fort Hood mom has gone above and beyond to bring that magic to boys and girls whose family circumstances require an alternate celebration. Stephanie Davisson sends ‘Santa letters’ to children whose parents are frontline workers unable to celebrate Christmas day with their families. The letter confirms Santa will be able to come on the day the family chooses to celebrate, even if it’s not December 25. This project started one Christmas her husband was deployed with the military. She sent her first “100% certified, Elf-approved” letter from Santa Claus to her own kids in 2018 and has made several since, reminding children that the true purpose of Christmas is “the feeling we keep in our hearts.” This year, Stephanie has created a template for kids of health care workers sacrificing precious family time to keep the rest of us safe.
No matter how you may choose to celebrate this Christmas, as you can see, there are lots of ways to make lasting memories and a meaningful impact. I hope you’re all able to cherish this upcoming Christmas and I wish you a warm and safe holiday season. Stay safe out there, Texas, and Merry Christmas!