Thanks to the vaccine, the holidays are looking much more cheerful this year compared to last. But now that we can safely attend events, gatherings and philanthropic fetes, where do we begin? From shopping smart to indulging in a Champagne-infused holiday tea, here are 12 can’t-miss activities to add to your 2021 holiday season bucket list.

RELATED: 12 Dallas Charities That Need Your Help This Holiday Season

1. Register for the Turkey Trot

Meet at Dallas City Hall on Thanksgiving morning for one of the largest multi-event races in the country. We know, we know. Exercise on a holiday? But you can run or walk and for those that make this a holiday tradition, it is adored as a quick and easy way to get the family together to get the blood pumping before its stretchy pants, turkey eating time. The race starts at 8:30 a.m. and you can register here.

2. Cheer on the Cowboys

Those that are from Dallas know this, but the Dallas Cowboys always, always, ALWAYS, play on Thanksgiving. It is a tradition that started in 1966, and except for two years, America’s team has been going strong on Turkey Day ever since. And with this year’s Boys getting off to such a promising start, it is tempting to grab the squad and head out to AT&T Stadium to start a new tradition. This year they are taking on the Las Vegas Raiders and tip-off is at 3:30 p.m. This time makes it possible to do brunch, lunch or even a later post game Thanksgiving feast totally doable. Buy tickets here.

Dallas Holiday Bucket List Get Tickets for the Trains at NorthPark
Photo courtesy of NorthPark Center

3. Get Tickets for the Trains at NorthPark

We can all agree that doing something that gives back to the community during the holidays is what the season is all about. One of the most beloved traditions in Dallas, for kids and adults alike, is the Trains at NorthPark event which benefits the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas. Since 1987, the Trains have raised more than $13 million for the organization and have been able to serve 40,000 families. And to put a cherry on top of this already sweet situation? The exhibit is impressive and a great way to spend time as a family regardless of the age group. This year the Trains at NorthPark exhibit is running through January 2nd. Buy tickets here.

4. Sign Up for a Horse Drawn Carriage Ride

EVERYTHING is bigger in Texas, obviously, and that includes the area’s Christmas lights displays. And what better way to enjoy the lights than by jumping in a horse-drawn carriage with your family and strolling through Highland Park? Whether you are sipping hot cocoa or Champagne, the magic of the season is sure to hit hard. Our picks for carriage rides are linked here and here. Be advised, spots fill up quickly.

Dallas Holiday Bucket List Check Out a Holiday Home Tour
Photo by Sean Gallagher

5. Check Out a Holiday Home Tour

Speaking of pretty homes decked out for the holidays, why not take it one step farther and tour the magical spaces that make the Park Cities so special? The Armstrong Bradfield Preschool Association is hosting its 22nd Annual Homes for the Holidays Home Tour that features four homes decked out in haute holiday décor. From traditional to transitional and even downright eclectic, these homes are the epitome of Highland Park pristine. The tour is taking place on Friday, December 3rd and tickets can be purchased here.

6. Celebrate at the Galleria Dallas Chanukah Celebration

Join Galleria Dallas on November 28th from 5 to 9 p.m. for the lighting of a Chanukah menorah located on Level One near Tiffany & Co. One candle on the menorah will be lit every evening through December 6th. The ceremony features remarks by Mark Zilbermann, board chair of the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum and complimentary treats.

Dallas Holiday Bucket List Treat Yourself to a Holiday Themed Spa Treatment
Photo courtesy of Hiatus Spa + Retreat

7. Treat Yourself (or Someone Else) to a Holiday-Themed Spa Treatment

Sometimes we get so run down over the holidays that we forget to treat ourselves to a little rest and relaxation. One of our favorite holiday-inspired ways to take a deep breath and restore our mind, body, and soul is with a spa treatment and this year, we’re really digging the seasonal selection from Hiatus Spa + Retreat. Named Merry and Bright, Peace, Love +Joy, and Wrap You Up, services in this series range from facials to body wraps and everything in between. Check out details and booking information here.

Dallas Holiday Bucket List Enjoy Holiday Tea with Friends
The Adolphus

8. Enjoy Holiday Tea with Friends

While there are many holiday teas in Dallas to enjoy, we would be lying if we said that we didn’t have a favorite. The Adolphus, one of the most storied hotels in town, puts on an all-out show for Christmas, part of which is the highly anticipated holiday tea. Set amongst the grandeur of the French Room, the tea features three courses, two teas and a complimentary glass of Champagne. The tea runs through January 15th, and you can make reservations here.

Dallas Holiday Bucket List Go See  The Nutcracker  at the Winspear Opera House
Winspear Opera House

9. Go See ‘The Nutcracker’ at the Winspear Opera House

Looking for a little holiday culture in your life? Nothing gets our Dallas arts adrenaline firing on all festive cylinders like The Nutcracker put on by the incredible company at the Texas Ballet Theater. This year’s show runs from November 26th through December 26th, and tickets are on sale here. We’ll see you there, twinkle toes!

Dallas Holiday Bucket List CAT
Enchant Christmas Dallas/Facebook

10. Explore Enchant at Fair Park

Lovers of bright, holiday lights need to make plans to head to Fair Park for this epic show of all things that glitter. Now through January 2nd, Enchant is offering Dallasites a change to explore a Christmas light maze and village that will stick with you for years to come. This includes ice skating through an illuminated trail and visiting with Santa. Buy tickets here.

Dallas Holiday Bucket List Step Up Gifting with  A Little Personalization
Photo courtesy of Leatherology

11. Step Up Gifting with A Little Personalization

What to gift the person on your list that has everything? Something personalized, of course, and Dallas-based Leatherology’s new NorthPark Center boutique is the perfect spot to do exactly that. Not only is this the first brick-and-mortar for the brand, but the attention to detail in these leather products is going to impress even the pickiest person on your list. Think wallets, passport holders, duffle bags, phone cases and more. The hand painted customization of these items really takes these gifts up a notch, however, in-store debossing personalization is going down every day.

12. Outsource your gift wrapping

Looking for a way to minimize stress this holiday season? (Who isn’t?) Take your gifts to the St. Michaels Woman’s Exchange and have them gift wrap your presents for you. The process is simple: Just walk in, tell them which paper you want (they provide), and pick up when they are ready. Not only do all proceeds go to charity, but you will no doubt have the best-looking gift wrap job in town. Pro tip: get your gifts in as early as you can to avoid long wait times.

RELATED: The 80 Best Gifts for Men in 2021

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