SAN ANGELO, Texas — The season of Christmas may bring to mind images of a winter wonderland, fireplaces and warm sweaters – but here in Texas, Christmas looks a little different.
A regular appearance on Christmas Eve in Texas is a plate of tamales. This dish is enjoyed year-round but makes for a delicious addition to a Christmas feast. The tradition of tamales is believed to have first originated from ancient Mesoamerican civilizations and was picked up by Europeans. As Mesoamerica became more Christianized, the tradition developed further into the celebration of Christmas, according to Texas Monthly. Being that Texas was originally a part of Mexico, the state has naturally developed a beautiful mesh of Tex-Mex traditions.
Green beans, cornbread, dressing, sweet and mashed potatoes, roast or even fried turkey, cranberry sauce and rolls are additional staples of a Texan Christmas dinner. Barbecue is another favorite entrée present year-round, but especially on Christmas Day. The big meal is often followed up with a pumpkin pie or pecan pie for dessert.
Texan pride runs deep and is often reflected in the Christmas decorations. Trees are often bigger and adorned with Texas-themed ornaments such as carvings of the state, the Texas flag, cowboy boots, and favorite Texas sports teams.
Christmas lights are also bigger in Texas, with some neighborhoods offering thousands of dollars for the best or biggest decorated home along with TV shows such as The Great Christmas Light Fight.
You’ll often find Santa wearing a cowboy hat instead of a stocking cap and boots with spurs instead of thick tread being pulled by longhorns instead of reindeer. Wreaths may be made of barbed wire and your stocking hung up with care may be a cowboy boot.
Luminaries are another popular tradition folks may see this time of year, which Texas adopted from its Spanish roots.
Texans will typically have two kinds of boots, one for work and then a fancy pair only worn for special occasions, and Christmas definitely makes the list for special occasions. Paired with the boots will usually be a dark-colored felt cowboy hat, shiny belt buckles, and bolos — (leather straps worn around the neck under a collar with decorative metal tips secured by an ornamental clasp or slide).
Everything is said to be bigger and better in Texas, and that includes Christmas festivities across the state. Below we have listed a few of the events around Texas that folks have been preparing for all year.
- Concho Christmas Celebration – San Angelo, TX
- Trail of Lights – Austin, TX
- Zoo Lights – Houston, TX
- Hidalgo Festival of Lights – Hidalgo, TX
- Christmas in the Gardens – Amarillo, TX
- Wonderland of Lights – Marshall, TX
- El Paso WinterFest – El Paso, TX
- Santa’s Wonderland – College Station, TX
- Dickens On The Strand – Galveston, TX
- The Polar Express Train Ride – Palestine, TX
- 13th Annual Christmas Tree Forest exhibit and competition – Corpus Christi, TX
- Eisbahn Outdoor Ice Skating and Trade Days Holiday Encore – Fredericksburg, TX
- Lights of West Christmas Light Park – West, TX
- Tomball German Fest Christmas Market – Tomball, TX
- Christmas Gruene Market Days & Christkindlmarkt – New Braunfels, TX
- The Christmas Capital of Texas – Grapevine, TX