100+ Quirky Things to Do in Dallas for Christmas

A group of people dressed as Santa walking together in downtown Dallas at Christmas time

If you like to celebrate Christmas in a big way, Big D is the perfect place to do it. There are hundreds of traditional Christmas events in Dallas. And as I’m fond of mentioning, what some people call Dallas covers a huge area with over 100 surrounding cities, each with its own long list of Christmas events.  This is a good thing, but it can also be overwhelming.

Sure, you have your favorite events you attend year after year, but you might be looking for something new. The big annual events and the outrageously commercial Christmas attractions tend to get all of the attention. GuideLive, the Dallas Observer, and D Magazine all do a great job of compiling thousands of events, but I’m here to help you find some different and downright quirky things to do in Dallas for Christmas. (OK, mostly I’m just good at collecting ideas around a theme, and I’ve got a few of ’em here for you.)

I’ve got something for you if you hate crowds, hate the commercialism, or hate Christmas altogether. If you’re tired of Christmas by December 10th or tired of the typical traditions, I’ve got something for you. If you love dogs, love beer, love fashion (with or without ugly Christmas sweaters), I’ve got something for you too.

⬅️📸Photo Credit: Barbara Brands, AimingForFun.com

With very few exceptions (for truly exceptional events) all of the events on my list are in Dallas “proper.”  You’ll find some you’ve heard of and plenty you haven’t. Despite the long list, this is a pretty quick read, and honestly you better hurry because some of them happen this weekend. Scroll through and find the categories you like or take time to read at your leisure.

Look for the Hurry⌛! warning on listings that happen before December 7th or are likely to sell out. 

I’ve also marked a few of my favorites for you. So without further ado, check out the list and 😍find your happy Christmas in Dallas.

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Keep reading, there’s more.

If You Really ARE a Scrooge

Get some inspiration at Pocket Sandwich Theatre’s 37th annual musical performance of Ebenezer Scrooge.

I am a sucker for twinkle lights. But Christmas light spectacles in the name of Christmas don’t light up my face with a smile. If you love lights, but don’t love Christmas (or competitive yard decorating), check out multiple exhibits that are part of Illuminate at the Perot. This special event runs now through January 6th and is included with general admission (starting at $20 for non-member adults.)

You can also celebrate a different winter holiday at the Winter Solstice Sunrise Celebration at the Perot Museum. Tickets are $25 for non-members and include all day general admission to the museum.

Try celebrating Kwanzaa! Dallas has a FREE Kwanzaa 2-day event on December 8th and 9th: Kwanzaa at Fair Park

If you love modern or vintage toys and don’t think the toy love should be limited to Christmas time, check out The Swap: Free Toy Show hosted by The Lost Toys shop. It’s free!

For magic that has nothing to do with  Christmas, enjoy Potted Potter at the Texas Theatre from December 7th through the 29th.

If You Want to Eat All the Christmas Food in Dallas

christmas-cookies

A great Dallas restaurant can make anyone’s Christmas dreams come true. And Dallas is a great town for foodies any time of year. Check out some Christmas food fun at one of these special Christmas events in Dallas.

Enjoy high tea holiday style at The French Room at The Adolphus Hotel,  Wednesday through Sunday afternoons from now through December 30th.  

If you’re looking for something a little cozier, check out this coffee shop that does Christmas right. Deck the Hall Street is known as Fiction Coffee the rest of the year. Enjoy their Instagram-friendly, Christmas-centric pop-up right inside (and out of) their regular space.

Hurry⌛! Live BUILD on December 3rd. Gingerbread houses aren’t just for kids and these aren’t just any old gingerbread houses. Gingertown Dallas is an entire city of gingerbread, built by local design, engineering, and construction professionals. You can see it at Northpark Center (in the Nordstrom Court) through December 24. This event raises funds for the Children’s Craniofacial Association with a live build competition which you can watch on Monday, December 3rd at 5PM. 

NorthPark Center offers a long list of Christmas entertainment and activities including a bake sale. Now don’t roll your eyes, this is not your mother’s bake sale (even if your mother’s a great cook.) Top chefs at Dallas restaurants donate the sweets for the  Treats of Christmas bake sale benefitting the North Texas Food Bank. The timing is great too. It’s on December 22nd so if you wanted to pass off these goodies as your own  at your holiday table, you could probably get away with it. (I definitely won’t tell.)

😍Want to learn some great cooking techniques from one of the most talented chefs in Dallas? Sign up for this Holiday Cooking Class with Chef Stephan Pyles at the Granada on December 15th.

If you feel called to serve instead of eat, the Lover’s Lane United Methodist Church’s Everybody’s Christmas 2018 needs around 200 volunteers. The dinner will be served on December 21st at 6PM. Learn more about it and sign up here

Hurry⌛! December 2nd. If Christmas food brings to mind tamales instead of baked goods, you’re in luck if you hurry. LUCK at Trinity Groves is doing that thing they do with a Tamale and Beer Pairing. (They offer interesting pairings on a regular basis.) Advance tickets are definitely required for this event on Sunday, December 2nd. 

Hurry⌛! December 1st. If you can’t get a seat at the tamale pairing, or if your tamale needs can’t be met all in one sitting, head for the DFW Tamale Festival and Christmas Market at the Dallas Farmers Market this Saturday (December 1st.)  

If you missed these early bird tamale events, you can always go pick up some very good tamales from long-time dallas restaurant La Popular Tamale House.

If You Think Christmas Should NOT Be (All) White

If you’d like a different take on Christmas (or the same take, but in living color) check out a few of these holiday celebrations:

This Christmas pageant is unlike others you’ve seen before – it features spoken word, poetry, and more: Black Nativity by Langston Hughes – December 6 – 23, 2018 at the Bishop Arts Theatre

😍 A celebration of Christmas with Mariachi Rosas Divinas, a band of all female mariachis:  A Mariachi Christmas – December 15th & 16th – Rose Marine Theater, Fort Worth

The 2018 Winter Festival of Faiths at Latino Cultural Center  starts at 6PM on December 19th, and it’s FREE.

Dallas Black Dance Theater performs holiday-themed works and more at its Black on Black performance and party on December 7th and 8th.

If all you want for Christmas is TexMex, you won’t want to miss Los Texmaniacs featuring Flaco Jimenez  on December 20th at the Kessler Theater.

If Your Nice List Consists Only of Four-Legged Creatures

christmas-dog-3009750_640

Attention all dog moms (and dads and grandparents). You can spoil your furbaby this Christmas at a selection of events.

Hurry⌛! December 1st & 2nd – Deck the Paws  is a new and quite unusual two-day pet event at the Centennial Building in Fair Park. It’s $10 for general admission with extras and VIP tickets available.

Hurry⌛! Ends 12/2 – Northpark Bark + Build Dog House Competition and Raffle benefiting the SPCA of Texas. Bid on one of these architecturally significant dog houses or just take a peek at all of them in the mall between Macy’s and Dillards.

If you think you need four more feet in your family, you may also want to visit the “HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS” pet adoption center at  Northpark through December 23rd.

Hurry⌛! December 2nd From noon to  3PM, take your pup for Pet Pictures with the Grinch at Deep Ellum Brewing Company. Your suggested donation of $20 benefits DFW Pug Rescue. 

Santa Paws will be at the Dallas Mutts Canine Cantina  on Sunday, December 9th. This is FREE for MUTTS Members; for non-members a day pass is required and a photo with Santa is $10.

If You Want to Get Dressed Up

If you have passion for fashion and Christmas besides, you might like some of these events.

Hurry⌛! This will sell out! Second Annual Mad Men Xmas Party at Sons of Hermann Hall – Friday, December 14, 2018 at 10 PM – 2 AM

The fine folks at Dallas Fashion Week are holding a Christmas event and fashion show on December 28th at the beautiful Old Red Museum.  

Only in Dallas would you find a whole Society of Women Who Love Shoes. This group is a 501(c)3 charity supporting women and families from abusive situations. They do it by  “Healing One Sole at a time” with some glam parties and prizes for fab shoes (and ties so men can be part of the festivities too. Their Christmas Party is Thursday, December 13th.

The Rhythm of Christmas – An Evening of Elegance  looks to be an enchanting affair at the Orion Ballroom in Dallas (Oak Cliff). Hosted by the BBA Yacht Club & Debonaire Entertainment, the December 15th event will  benefit the scholarship drive of the Continental Societies Inc. Dallas Chapter, 501(c)3.

If PJs sound better to you than high heels or a tie, check out these chances to party in your pajamas:

Hurry⌛! December 2nd Cozy Night In at Bowl & Barrel 

December 15th – Check out the Onesie Pub Crawl in Uptown Dallas. (Keep reading for more beer, wine, and pub crawls)

If You Think Christmas Sweaters Couldn’t Possibly Be Ugly

ugly-sweater

 

Friday, December 21st is National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day. I can share a great place to find one and a handful of quirky events to wear it to.

Head over to Mockingbird Station to visit the Ugly Christmas Sweater Shop (or visit their second location in Frisco) to choose from a huge assortment of Christmas sweaters.

Wear your favorite new sweater to one of these events:

Ugly Christmas Sweater Party at Harley Davidson Dallas (which is in Allen – go figure.)

Ugly Christmas Sweater Bingo at Reunion Tower The iconic tower in downtown Dallas also hosts Geo-Deck the Halls special events throughout the season.

Hurry⌛! December 2nd is the day for  Ugly Christmas Sweater Yoga at The Caruth Apartments. 

Adult night at Legoland Discovery Center is the last Friday of every month and these fun events are usually themed. In a sign of excellent tasted, the December theme is Ugly Christmas Sweaters and the party’s on Friday, December 28th. This event isn’t in Dallas – it’s in Grapevine – but I  made an exception because LEGOS.

 

If You Want to BE Santa

This might be the quirkiest thing you can do in Dallas (or anywhere else) this Christmas. Hop on a DART bus dressed as Santa and meet up with a bunch of other Santas. It’s a mobile party that surprises and delights people all over Dallas and has been doing so for 17 years. This year’s event will be held on Saturday, December 15th. The route will be published to their (public) Facebook Event page the night before with details about routes, stops, and drink/food/shopping specials along the way. You’ll want to particpate or at least observe this wacky, super-fun annual event, Dallas Santa Rampage 2018.

Hat tip to Barbara Brands for intriguing me with her rampage photo from last year, which is now the cover photo for this post. I’m going to have to check this out.

 

If You Need to Lose the Kids for a While

These fun events are for grownups only.

Hurry⌛! Sunday, December 2nd – Guinness World Records Attempt: Mistletoe Kiss at Klyde Warren Park benefiting the North Texas Food Bank

😍Top Pick!! A Very Judy Christmas runs from December 1st through the 16th at 6th at Kalita Humphreys Theater. It’s Christmas “Judy Garland style” and it’s intended for mature audiences. You’ll love this charming historic theater too.

Paint and Sip Shops are popping up all over, and they’re a great place to enjoy some Christmas Spirit without a bunch of kiddos around. Pinot’s Palette on Mockingbird has a great lineup this December with more than a dozen dates with different Christmas-y paintings. It’s not particularly Christmas-y, but I gotta say, I like the llama.

Is this real (life)? Yup, it’s A Drag Queen Christmas starring the queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race. If you’re intrigued, get tickets in advance for this December 20th show at House of Blues Dallas. You’ll see House of Blues again a little further down this list.

Hurry⌛! December 1st! If that one sounds good, you might also enjoy Viva Dallas Burlesque Festivus Follies at Viva’s Lounge.

This looks so fun! It’s on multiple nights; check the calendar twice so you don’t miss this midnight (11:15PM) show: Sleigh Hard with a Vengeance at Pocket Sandwich Theatre. There are even more fun Christmas shows at Pocket Sandwich Theatre – keep reading to find out what they are!

I don’t even know what to say about this, but I’m guessing the regulars in Dallas’s Deep Ellum music scene do: A Cannabis Christmas with Curren$y at Trees Dallas

If You Need a Drink

Christmas-drinks

If you like drinking events, you’ve got a few to choose from!

12 Days of Holiday Beer at the Dallas Arboretum –  11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m December 1,2,8,9,15,16,22,23  This beer tasting is included with admission to the Arboretum You’ll want to check out the Arboretum’s many other Christmas events too. 

If a holiday-themed bar crawl is right up your alley, check out Santapalooza in Uptown on December 8th

More Bar Crawls:

12 Bars of Christmas Crawl in Uptown (also) on December 8th

12 Bars Of Charity Dallas on December 14th

Naughty or Nice Greenville Ave Bar Crawl on December 15th

1st ever Drinksgiving Block Party in the Knox / Henderson Area on December 29th

3rd Annual Very Beary Christmas Bar Crawl at Woody’s Sports and Video on December 8th

You might also like:

December Jingle Bell Pub Run on December 13th at  AJ Vagabonds & Oddfellows

Beer & Carols at Oak Highlands Brewery on December 21st

Oh so sorry, but the Christmas Beer Tasting at the Skellig on December 12th sold out!

The Santa Rampage I mentioned earlier is also a pub crawl type event. Make plans to check that one out on December 15th.

If You Want Some Active Activities

Go watch the skating Santa at Galleria Dallas or get some ice time yourself. There’s a Grand Tree Lighting and skating show every Saturday through December 22nd.

Outdoor skating is available at Panther Island in Funkytown (Fort Worth) and 😍 at a funky little Dallas spot called Squarebody Saloon

 

Get the Christmas juices flowing at the Jingle Barre & Brunch (workout session, mimosas & brunch bites!) in the Adolphus Hotel Ballroom on December 9th

The Christmas Ride & Party at the Red Star Bicycle Shop is December 22nd 

I’m not sure what makes any sane person want to run 26 miles at a time, but plenty of otherwise totally normal and likeable people do just that. The 2018 BMW Dallas Marathon Weekend is December 8th and 9th. Runners can opt in to a half-marathon, marathon, or ultra marathon (50K.) There’s also a business relay plus 5K, 10K and 2 mile runs as well. I’ve listed this as a Christmas event just because the routes will take participants through some already scenic neighborhoods in Dallas and they’all all be decked out for Christmas. For most events, you can sign up all the way up to race day, or if like me, you’re not a runner, there’s room for you on the sidelines to cheer them on.

Bikers get ready, The Texas Toy Run is December 16th and starts in Deep Ellum for Dallas and North Gateway Park for Fort Worth  

Get pics made with Biker Santa one weekend and Bad Santa another at Harley Davidson Dallas

December 20th – Jingle Bell Run by Trinity Strand Trail starting at the Hilton Anatole

If You Just Want to See a Show

Hurry⌛!

There are so many fun Christmas shows in Dallas, I’m just gonna make a nice little (?) list.

Hurry⌛! Series Starts December 1st Holiday Movies at Historic Theaters – Check for all dates, times, and locations here.

12/1 – National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation at the Texas Theatre

12/1 and 2 – Edward Scissorhands at the Texas Theatre

12/6 – Home Alone at the Majestic

12/13 – Nightmare Before Christmas at the Majestic

12/20 – It’s a Wonderful Life at the Majestic

If you prefer your Christmas movies a little campier, check out these special events at Alamo Drafthouse

Love Actually Party at Alamo Drafthouse  – Multiple dates and showtimes at Dallas (Cedars), Denton, Las Colinas, and Richardson

Elf Movie Party – Multiple dates and showtimes in Dallas (Lake Highlands)

Alamo Drafthouse has (more than) 10 other Christmas movies showing on multiple dates with a different lineup at each one of their 5 locations. You’re gonna have to work a little for this one, but here’s a link to the December calendars that list Christmas movies (and more)  for each of the DFW locations.

I think it would be pretty quirky to see Elf a dozen or more times as you can this holiday season. You can see it for free at Griggs Park in Uptown on December 5th (Hurry⌛!) And why not go see the live production too? It’s run at the Dallas Summer musicals ends December 2nd, so Hurry⌛!

So far we’ve covered historic building venues and campy entertainment. There’s more of both with Keith and Margo’s Slay Ride – A Holiday Mystery Dinner Adventure at the Old Mill Inn. This inclusive and immersive performance runs through December 22nd. 

Keith and Margo are also hosting their 28th annual Murder Mystery Midnight Madness at the Omni Dallas Hotel at Park West on New Year’s Eve. (That counts as Christmas, right?)

Dallas’s first gay-themed comedy troupe, Stomping Ground Comedy, brings the funny and a little edge with their Christmas in Queertown show, December 8th through 15th.

If your favorite plays can be described as zany or madcap, Theatre Three’s production of Solstice: A New Holiday Adventure is sure to make you smile. Written by local playwright, Jonathan Norton, it runs from December 6th through December 30th.

Christmas concerts can come in zany flavors too.

Polyphonic Spree is self-described as “a choral symphonic pop rock band from Dallas, Texas.” You can be part of their 16th annual Holiday Extravaganza at the Majestic  Theatre on Saturday, December 15th.

Check out some incredilbe shows including four more Christmas concerts at the Majestic Theatre.

Penny and Sparrow’s Christmas Boogie calls itself a singalong game show. I could definitely go for that. It’s Friday night, December 7th at Granada Theater.  Also at the Granada, check out The Oh Hellos Christmas Extravaganza on December 9th or one of four other holiday themed shows on their calendar.

If I had you at singalong but you want to throw it WAY back (like back to the 1700s,) Zion Lutheran Church is hosting the Dallas Bach Society’s annual Messiah singalong on December 22nd.

Throw it back another two centuries and you can enjoy the fun at Winter Faire and Market. Period costume is welcome but not required at this event by Shakespeare Dallas  at Samuell Grand Amphitheater on December 8th.

It’s historic, but doesn’t quite go back that far. If you remember Candlelight at Old City Park from the past and wonder what happened to it, it’s still here. It’s just that Old City Park is now Heritage Village. The cool candlelight event is December 8th and 9th.

I’ve got a bunch more fun shows to cover here – check out

The Sons of Hermann Hall Annual Christmas Celebration on December 1th

Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis are performing two shows of their Holiday Shindig at The Kessler on December 14th.

Christmas K-pop Party at Family Karaoke Music Studio

This one’s in Plano, but it’s so unique. Enjoy The Art of Christmas, an art exhibition accompanied by music, at St. Andrew United Methodist Church on December 9th.

I already mentioned a couple, but there are even more Christmas shows at Pocket Sandwich Theater this month.

 

And now, last but not least, a couple of my very favorites:

The Vocal Majority Christmas concert at the Eisemann theater in Richardson.  This year’s show is The Greatest Snowman on Earth; the show will make you laugh, their sweet harmonies will make you cry. This is one of the absoluetly not-to-be-missed Christmas concerts in Dallas! Catch one of 5 performances from December 20th through the 23rd.

This too is one of the quirkiest Christmas activities in Dallas, and you are gonna love it. It’s Tuba Christmas – DALLAS. Once a band geek, always a band geek! The very first Tuba Christmas took place at the Rockefeller Plaza Ice Rink in New York. The idea has spread year after year. The all-volunteer tuba concert started up in Dallas just four years after the original. After 41 years, it’s one of the best little-known traditions in Dallas and there are hundreds of Tuba Christmas events all over the country. The Dallas event is on Christmas Eve, Monday, December 24th at noon in Thanksgiving Square. I thought about saying be there or be square (pun intended), but really, be there and be amazed.  

If you can’t make it, check this calendar for other Tuba Christmas concerts in Allen, Denton, and Fort Worth. 

If You Love, Love, Love Christmas Lights

Christmas-yard-lights

It’s hard to hate Christmas lights, so I found a few events that are unique and not monstrously commercial.

Hurry⌛! December 1st –  Grapevine Twinkle Lights Boat Parade Saturday,  6 p.m. – 9 p.m. at Twin Coves Marina

Hurry⌛! December 1st – Light Up Lowest Greenville  

Hurry⌛! December 2nd – Swiss Avenue Lantern Walk 

Hurry⌛! These are selling out! M-Line Trolley Holiday Express – Monday nights (and one Tuesday) Dec 3rd-18th. Although the M-Line is free, this is a ticketed event ($20 for adults) and several time slots are already sold out.

 

This isn’t too big on lights, but you can see a replica of the 2006 White House Christmas Tree along with other Christmas magic at the George W Bush Museum and Library 

 

See some lights and enjoy some chocolate treats on a Christmas Lights, Chocolate and Sips Tour by Dallas Bites 

Check out the Dallas Zoo all lit up at night for  Zoo Lights –   Select Nights now through January 1st from 5 – 9 PM 

DIY Lights Tours – Last year, D Magazine recommended several Dallas neighborhoods to visit for the best Christmas lights as well as the best in the ‘burbs. The piece includes tips for seeing the best of Swiss Avenue, the Kessler Park area in Oak Cliff, Highland Park (of course) and several other neighborhoods. 

If you feel like a road trip kind of drive, head for Santaland in Tyler (through January 4th.)

The End. Or is it only the beginning. Whichever it is, thatpretty much wraps up my list. I hope you’ve loaded up a Bucket List as long as mine, and I hope you start checking things off right away! Merry Christmas and blessings of the season to all y’all.

-Kristina