The Grackle

Observations, Reflections and Miscellany from the Wacoan

Holidays in Waco

Your guide to all things merry and bright

2 months ago

By Katelyn Patterson

The holiday season is here! Christmas lights tours, visits from Santa, snow hills, Christmas carols and so much more are on their way. Look no further for your guide to celebrating the holidays in Waco this December!

Waco Wonderland

Photo courtesy of Waco Wonderland.

The holidays kick off with Waco Wonderland from December 2-4. This three-day event is full of fun for everyone, featuring live entertainment, fireworks, shopping vendors, a Christmas parade, lighting the city’s holiday tree and a snow hill. Waco Wonderland begins Friday December 2 at 7 p.m. at Heritage Square with the tree lighting ceremony. Saturday includes the holiday parade down Austin Avenue, the Mistletoe Marketplace with over 30 vendors, visits with Santa and so much more. Most events are free with admission charged for the Ferris wheel, snow hill rides and the holiday train. Visit here for more information and to purchase wristbands.

Cultivate 7Twelve Christmas Gala

Stay warm at the Cultivate Christmas Gala from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on December 2. Artwork by Katie Ward will be on display, and guests can also enjoy music, champagne and warm cider. The new back gallery Holiday exhibition will debut as well. This event is free to the public.

Camp Fimfo

Camp Fimfo is ready for the holiday season. Starting December 2 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., they’re hosting a Christmas Movie Night with popcorn, drinks and candy. December 3, they have a number of events all day long, like Christmas Candle Making, Decorate Your Own Christmas Cookie, Build Your Very Own Gingerbread House and more. Visit here for more information.

A Dr Pepper Christmas

Photo courtesy of The Dr Pepper Museum.

What says Waco Christmas more than Dr Pepper? Take a visit to the Dr Pepper Museum for pictures with Santa, musical performances from local choirs, themed crafts and free admission to the museum December 2 at 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. The soda fountain will be open and serving hot Dr Pepper. Guests can purchase tickets to participate in the Holiday Make-A-Soda and Holiday Taste-A-Soda events here.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

Waco Civic Theatre performs the widely beloved Christmas tale, “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.” The warm and funny story is full of characters that are both relatable and completely unique. The show runs December 2-4—7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $12 to $15 and can be purchased here.

“A Baylor Christmas”

Photo courtesy of Baylor School of Music.

The annual tradition of central Texas is back in front of a live audience. Baylor Symphony Orchestra and the Baylor University Choirs join to perform a combination of hymns and Christmas favorites. They will also present a procession with candles and an audience sing-along of treasured Christmas carols. Performances are December 2 at 7:30 p.m. and December 4 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased here.

Christmas on the Brazos

Historic Waco is hosting Christmas on the Brazos dinners on December 3 where guests can attend a catered dinner at East Terrace House, McCulloch House or the Earle-Harrison House from 6-9 p.m. Tickets cost $85 and can be purchased here or by calling 254/753-5166.

A Dreamy Christmas

Join Dreamy Picnics and Cultivate 7Twelve for a Dreamy Christmas. Enjoy holiday crafts, a story time and photos with Santa, a hot cocoa bar and local mini market to shop small this holiday season. The event is December 4 from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Tickets are $40 a family and can be purchased here.

Mayborn Museum’s Christmas Lights in the Village

A growing Waco tradition returns to the Gov. Bill and Vara Daniel Historic Village. Lights fill the village, and the nighttime walk offers an immersive, family-friendly experience. The event will also feature a petting zoo, visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus, food from local vendors and more. Christmas Lights in the Village runs December 9 through 11 and 16 through 18 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tickets range from $5 to $10 and can be purchased here.

H.O.T Dog Park Christmas Carnival

H.O.T. Dog Park is hosting a special way to celebrate you’re your fur babies. The new agility course will be unveiled on December 10 at 9:30 a.m. and the carnival begins right after and goes until 3 p.m. Shop at vendors to purchase presents for your pup, play games, participate in the costume contest and enjoy light refreshments. Santa will deliver snowballs for snowball fights throughout the event as well. He and Mrs. Clause will also be available for pictures for a small fee. Details can be found in the HOT Dog Park group at

Breakfast with Santa

Visit Santa and his helpers on December 10 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Helen Marie Taylor Museum to enjoy food, a hot chocolate bar, activities, crafts and a vendor market. You may even find the Grinch lurking around the corner at this event by Historic Waco. Tickets cost $5 and are available on the website or at the door. For details, visit here.

Holiday Magic: The Nutcracker

Photo courtesy of Waco Symphony Orchestra.

The Waco Symphony and Ballet Frontier of Texas returns to Waco Hall for The Nutcracker on December 11. The beloved holiday tradition features professional dancers, dazzling choreography and eye-catching costumes. Tickets are limited and can be purchased here.


The Most Wonderful Show of the Year

The Waco Civic Theatre’s annual holiday show is back, this year with a cast celebrating Texas’ version of the holiday season. The show will be on December 15 through 17 at 7 p.m. with two matinees on December 17 and 18 at 2 p.m. For showtimes and tickets, visit here.

Christmas with C.S. Lewis

Hear the story of how one fateful encounter changed the meaning of Christmas for beloved author C.S. Lewis. Emery Entertainment brings a powerful yet intimate portrayal of Yuletide recollections to the Waco Hippodrome. This event is on December 18 at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $60 and can be purchased here.

Holiday Cheer Fire Engine

Photo courtesy of City of Waco.

The Waco Fire Department is spreading the Christmas spirit with their Holiday Cheer Fire Engine. The engine is driving through neighborhoods nightly through December 23 from about 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. You can track the fire engine and find the schedule of neighborhoods here.

 The Waco Trolley’s Christmas Lights Tour

Photo courtesy of The Waco Trolley.

Photo courtesy of The Waco Trolley.

Enjoy the best displays of Christmas lights in the greater Waco area on The Waco Trolley’s tour. The 90-minute tour takes guests on a 28-person trolley to the must-see sites this year. The trolley is decorated in a nostalgic, Christmas style, and guests get to enjoy hot cocoa and the scenery. For more information and booking, click here.

Cameron Park’s “Wild Lights”

Photo by Emily Ober.

Photo by Emily Ober.

“Wild Lights” is back at Cameron Park Zoo for its second year. Thousands of lights illuminate the zoo— including different animals made of lights, Christmas trees galore and a Hanukah display. Guests can find food trucks with warm drinks and other treats while they enjoy the lights. The event runs Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. until December 23. Tickets range from $10 to $15 and can be purchased here. 

Waco Tours Christmas Experience

Carols, cocoa and Christmas lights fill the Waco Tours Christmas Experience. The two-and-half hour tour focuses on celebrating the holiday season and takes guests through the Lights of West holiday attraction. Families, companies and organizations can all enjoy this unique Christmas party experience. Tours begin at 5:30 p.m. and run through December 22. Tickets range from $25 to $35 and can be purchased here.

Santa at the Silos

Photo courtesy of Magnolia.

Santa is back at the Silos. Bring your wish lists and cameras to the fireplace on the Magnolia Press patio for a loved Magnolia tradition. Santa will be on the patio on Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m. until December 23. Walk-ups are welcome, but you can also reserve a time here.

Dichotomy Coffee & Spirits

Photo courtesy of Dichotomy Coffee & Spirits.

Spirit of Cheers is in full swing at Dichotomy Coffee & Spirits. This season, Dichotomy has created a special holiday menu of cocktails, shots and non-alcoholic options. The space has been decorated to the nines to celebrate all of the Christmas festivities. Join them now until December 31 for coffee starting at 6 a.m. every day with the bar opening at 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 3 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Check out the new menu here.

Stanton Studios Blow Your Own Ornament

Photo courtesy of Stanton Studios.

Visit Stanton Studios to create your own ornament and a one-of-a-kind holiday memory. Guests choose from over 50 different colors and several different designs for their piece, and a master glassblower brings the design to life. Events are by appointment only and also includes a coffee and hot chocolate area, several decorations, a photo booth, souvenirs and music. Prices vary depending on the piece. Book your appointment and find more information here.