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News flash: It’s December. So make a game plan to get out and take in all the holiday cheer around Dallas. From Santa in the Park Cities to gingerbread house building at the Crescent, here are six ways to get your jolly on.


Santa Days at The Plaza

You could wait in line to see Santa Claus at NorthPark (and risk impulsively spending your paycheck on an overpriced designer bag). Or you could see live reindeer and the big guy at The Plaza the first three Saturdays in December. They’ll even have a professional photographer on site to take keepsake photos for a small monetary donation to the North Texas Food Bank.

December 5, 12 and 19. The Plaza, 8383 Preston Center Plaza Dr.;

Gingerbread House Building at the Crescent

Permission to leave the kids at home. This adults-only evening includes all the necessary building supplies, hors d’oeuvres and a cocktail for each person ($155 per couple). Insider tip: Don’t bet your stocking stuffers on taking home a masterpiece--this night is more about fun than skill.

December 10 and 17. Rosewood Crescent Hotel, 400 Crescent Court; 214-871-3200 or


ICE at The Gaylord Texan

Just 20 minutes west of Dallas is the city of Grapevine, the Christmas capital of Texas (or so says its visitors bureau) and the location of the annual ICE! holiday exhibit. Two million pounds of ice have been meticulously carved and kept in a 9-degree warehouse attached to the expansive hotel. Expect a truly Texan-themed holiday showing, complete with ice slides for the kids ($17) and the kids at heart ($30).

Through January 3. Gaylord Texan Resort, 1501 Gaylord Trail; 817-778-1000 or


Carriage Rides Through Highland Park

What could be better than a horse-drawn carriage, holiday lights, warm throw blankets and even warmer hot toddies? Book a one-hour carriage ride ($180) through the city’s toniest neighborhood, Highland Park, and be dazzled by all the holiday-lighted splendor (while also peeking into the well-appointed mansions of Dallas’s 2 percent).

Through December 31. Threejays Carriages; 214-521-6717 or


12 Days of Christmas at The Arboretum

Post pumpkin season, the Arboretum brings the 12 Days of Christmas to life, set in Victorian-themed gazebos filled with costumed characters and whimsical animals. Insider tip: Purchase tickets for the evening exhibit ($20) and take a nice bottle of wine to sip while strolling the grounds.

Through January 3. Dallas Arboretum, 8525 Garland Rd.; 214-515-6615 or

Chocolate Christmas Tour

Indulge in a holiday-themed tour ($39) that stops at various chocolatiers in Downtown, Uptown, Oak Cliff and Deep Ellum--from the classic CocoAndré to the whimsical Kate Weiser. It?s also the ideal way to see the city?s best twinkle-light displays. Fair warning: Tours book up fast since the buses are small, so plan ahead.

Through December 30. Dallas by Chocolate; 972-814-5997 or

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