Plan your holidays in Austin with these family events
Christmas is coming! This weekend marks the start of the season as kids have the week off school for Thanksgiving break and the holiday music is playing in every shopping location.
Today we offer a few (OK, a lot) of our favorite Austin holiday events for the whole family. Mark your calendar, buy your tickets and plan your next six weeks.
Trail of Lights at Emily Ann Theatre. Walk through this lighted trail. Free; donations appreciated. 6-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 6-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Nov. 24-Dec. 28. 1101 Ranch Road 2325, Wimberley. emilyann.org
Zilker Tree Lighting. Be the first to take a spin under the Zilker Tree. 6 p.m. Nov. 25. Zilker Park. austintexas.gov
Driskill Hotel Tree Lighting. 6 p.m. Nov. 27. Free. Driskill Hotel, 604 Brazos St. driskillhotel.com
Winter Wonderland at Circuit of the Americas. Look for a Chinese Lantern Festival, a tunnel of lights, an outdoor skating rink, the North Pole and Santa's Workshop, singing trees, carnival rides, a petting zoo and live music. Tickets start at $16, with some activities costing extra; ages 5 and younger get in free. 6-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 6-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday — including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day — Nov. 23 to Dec. 30. Circuit of the Americas, 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd. circuitoftheamericas.com/winter-wonderland
Austin Trail of Lights. Zilker Park turns into a lighted trail. This year, the trail adds a lighted carriage, 12 lighted guitars and a 25-foot spiral holiday tree. 7-10 p.m. Dec. 10-23 in Zilker Park. Free Dec. 10-13, 17-19; $3 other nights; children younger than 12 are free. austintrailoflights.org
Wildflower Center's Luminations. See the Wildflower Center lined with luminarias. 6-9 p.m. Dec. 6-9. $10-$15. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. wildflower.org
Hill Country Galleria Tree Lighting. Santa comes to the Galleria at 6 p.m. Nov. 23 followed by the tree lighting and activities for kids. Then every night from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. the Galleria's holiday tree light show will play every half-hour. Santa will be available for photo-ops noon to 8 p.m. Nov. 24-25, and 4-7 p.m. Nov. 26-30. Hill Country Galleria, 12700 Hill Country Blvd., Bee Cave. hillcountrygalleria.com
Chuy’s Children Giving to Children Parade. The parade returns the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Free. 11 a.m. Nov. 24. Bring an unwrapped new toy to donate to Operation Blue Santa while you see the floats go by. chuysparade.com
Turkey Trot and Kids K. The Kids K starts this Thanksgiving tradition. $10-$38. 8:45 a.m. Nov. 22. Long Center for the Performing Arts, 701 W. Riverside Drive. thundercloud.com/turkey-trot
Holiday Launch Party. Face painting, balloon twisting, games, Springfree Trampoline jumping and more. 4-6 p.m. Nov. 17. Free. Domain, on the Lawn near iPic Theaters. Plus at 6 p.m. the first light show of the season will be at Dillard's. simon.com
Pictures With Santa. Through Dec. 24, Barton Creek Square, Domain and Lakeline Mall; Nov. 24-Dec. 24, Round Rock Premium Outlets. Reserve your time slot ahead of time at simon.com.
Pictures With Santa! Get pictures taken in a more low-key setting. $12. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 6. Toybrary Austin, 2001 Justin Lane. toybraryaustin.com
Caring Santa. Children with sensory, physical or other developmental differences can visit with Santa. 8:30-10:30 a.m. Dec. 2 at Barton Creek Square; 9:30-11:30 a.m. Dec. 2 at Lakeline Mall. Reserve a time slot at simon.com.
Teddy Bear Teas. Bring a new teddy bear to donate to Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas. Hear Santa read "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" while enjoying tea and caroling. 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Sundays Nov. 25-Dec. 16. While there, check out the White Christmas Gingerbread Village. Four Seasons Hotel Austin, 98 San Jacinto Blvd. Make your reservation, 512-685-8300; fourseasons.com/austin.
Santa in the Garden. Meet Santa and make fun crafts. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 1. Zilker Botanical Garden. 2220 Barton Springs Road. austintexas.gov
Breakfast With Santa. 9 to 11 a.m. Dec. 8, Dittmar Recreation Center, 1009 W. Dittmar Road. austintexas.gov
Elgin Christmas Tree Farm. Hayrides, pick-your-own trees, crazy maze, playground and more. Open for the season beginning 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Thursday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 23-Dec. 21. Check Facebook page for tree sales status as it gets closer to Christmas. 120 Nature’s Way, Elgin. elginchristmastreefarm.com
Evergreen Christmas Tree Farm. Cut your own tree and then play old-fashioned games or roast marshmallows. 10 a.m. to dark Nov. 23-Dec. 24. Check website for tree sales status as it gets closer to Christmas. 242 Monkey Road, Elgin. evergreen-farms.com
"The Nutcracker": A Literature Live! Production. 3:30 p.m. Nov. 19, Spicewood Springs Branch. 1 p.m. Nov. 27, Central Library. 3:30 p.m. Nov. 27, Twin Oaks Branch. 6:30 p.m. Nov. 28, Carver Branch. 4 p.m. Nov. 29, Little Walnut Creek Branch. 3:30 p.m. Dec. 3, Pleasant Hill Branch. 3:30 p.m. Dec. 5, North Village Branch. 6 p.m. Dec. 7, Southeast Branch. 1 p.m. Dec. 8, Recycled Reads Bookstore. 3:45 p.m. Dec. 10, Old Quarry Branch. 11 a.m. Dec. 11, University Hills Branch. 6 p.m. Dec. 13, Spicewood Springs Branch. 11 a.m. Dec. 19, Terrazas Branch. 3:30 p.m. Dec. 18, St. John Branch. 10:30 a.m. Dec. 20, Windsor Park Branch.
"A Christmas Carol." For ages 6 and up. Nov. 21-Dec. 30. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday except Thanksgiving, 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets start at $25. Topfer Theatre, 202 S. Lamar Blvd. zachtheatre.org
Emily Ann Theatre presents “A Christmas Carol.” See this classic children’s tale onstage. $8-$10. 10 a.m. Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, Nov. 24-Dec. 16. 1101 Ranch Road 2325, Wimberley. emilyann.org
"Pippi Longstocking's After Christmas Party." 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Dec. 1-2, Dec. 8-9, Dec. 15. $10-$15. Scottish Rite Theater, 207 W. 18th St. scottishritetheater.org
Ballet Austin’s “The Nutcracker.” The classic holiday ballet returns to the stage. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7-8, 14-15, 19-20, 22 and 2 p.m. Dec. 8-9, 15-16, 21-23. $15-$99. The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org
“Holiday Heroes.” Zach Theatre’s annual Christmas family tradition. 11 a.m. Dec. 8 and Dec. 15. $18-24. Topfer Theater, 202 S. Lamar Blvd. zachtheatre.org
Circus Chickendog "The Mutt-Cracker (Sweet!)" See the dogs perform the classic story. 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Dec. 20-23, Dec. 26-31, Jan. 4-6.4:30 p.m. Jan. 1. $15-$35. The Vortex, 2307 Manor Road. vortexrep.org
Bullock Museum Free First Sunday: Giving. Celebrate the season with activities that focus on giving. Noon to 5 p.m. Dec. 2. Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave. thestoryoftexas.com
Thinkery Gingerbread Workshops. Traditional. 9:30 a.m., 10:45 a.m., noon, 1:30 p.m., 2:45 p.m. and 4 p.m. Dec. 1-2, 8-9, 15-24. $12, plus $20 per house kit. Seriously Sweet Structures for ages 8 and up. 2:30 p.m. Dec. 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 21-23 and 10:30 a.m. Dec. 24. $12, plus $30 per house kit. Candy Chemistry. 10:45 a.m. Dec. 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 21-23, and 10:30 a.m. Dec. 24. $12, plus $30 per house kit. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org
Contemporary Austin. Families Create: Gingerbread Villas. Make art in gingerbread. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 8. Free. Laguna Gloria, 3809 W. 35th St. thecontemporaryaustin.org
Science Mill. Lights Spectacular LED Craft Corner. Nov. 23-24. Design a card or gift with LED lights. $5 per participant. Science Mill, 101 S. Lady Bird Lane, Johnson City. sciencemill.org
Toybrary Austin. Make a holiday ornament. 10:30 a.m. Dec. 7. $7. Let's Pretend It's Winter! Make your own snow, create a snowman and more. 10:30 a.m. Dec. 8. $12. Christmas fun with Milly McSilly the Elf! 10:30 a.m. Dec. 14. Happy Time Holiday Portraits. 10:30 a.m. Dec. 15. 2001 Justin Lane. toybraryaustin.com
"The Muppet Christmas Carol." Miss Piggy, Kermit and the gang retell this classic tale. 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. Dec. 1. Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave. thestoryoftexas.com
"The Nightmare Before Christmas." 1 p.m. Dec. 6, Terrazas Library Branch.
"How the Grinch Stole Christmas." 3:30 p.m. Dec. 14, Old Quarry Library Branch. 1 p.m. Dec. 20, Terrazas Library Branch.