Holiday teas, Santa sightings and special activities throughout the season round out a holiday visit to the Dallas Arboretum, one of the 15 most breathtaking gardens in the world, according to Architectural Digest, and one of the South’s Best Holiday Experiences according to Southern Living Magazine.
Celebrate Dallas’ favorite holiday tradition during the most wonderful time of the year with Holiday at the Dallas Arboretum, featuring the return of the magnificent 12 Days of Christmas outdoor exhibit from November 6 to January 8, and the new Claus Collection Santa exhibit, November 25 to December 31 at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden.
For The 12 Days of Christmas, 12 elaborate 25-foot-tall Victorian gazebos displayed in the 66-acre-garden are filled with the charming costumed characters, whimsical animals and winter scenes made famous by the beloved Christmas carol. Each gazebo is encased in glass and extravagantly decorated on all sides to provide a dramatic, three-dimensional experience that adds to its “music box” quality, depicting the old English carol from the Victorian era.
“Everything is bigger in Texas, including our holiday displays,” said Mary Brinegar, president and CEO of the Dallas Arboretum. “Live music, special holiday performances, appearances by our favorite North Pole residents, and holiday treats make this evening display a one-of-a-kind, not-to-be missed family outing.”
Wednesday through Sunday evenings, the garden re-opens for The 12 Days at Night exhibit, which displays the illuminated gazebos for magical viewings. With 500,000 lights throughout the garden, trimming the architecture of the historic homes and lighting the canopies overhead, including a 30-foot-tall Christmas tree at the center of property, this display is sure to warm the hearts of holiday guests this season.
12 Days of Christmas Sponsors
Day 1: Partridge in a Pear Tree
Sponsored by Jeanne R. Johnson. The Pear Tree has gold branches sprinkled with rhinestones, green mirrored leaves, and gold, rhinestone encrusted pears. The partridge sits “center stage,” intricately painted and adorned with rhinestones. The tree revolves with the partridge in it.
Day 2: Two Turtle Doves
Sponsored by a Friend of the Dallas Arboretum. The Two Turtle Doves cuddles on an arrow that pierces a heart-shaped cage suspended from the roof of the gazebo. The feather-tailed turtle doves are intricately painted and covered with rhinestones. The outer cage of crystal beading is decorated with fleur de lis banding on top and bottom.
Day 3: Three French Hens
Sponsored by Faye C. Briggs. Day three reflects the native countryside of the Three French Hens. White and gold oval French mirrors bolster Victorian perches for the hens, and this base turns. The hens, black-and-white with red accents,sits in gold straw nests.
Day 4: Four Calling Birds
Sponsored by a Friend of the Dallas Arboretum The Four Calling Birds sit on filigreed, jeweled, Victorian hanging bird perches within an inner oval cage made of iridescent bead strands. The calling birds are multi-colored, with feather plumes and long tails.
Day 5: Five Golden Rings
In honor of Great Grandparents Dolph and Evelyn Bosley and their 5 Gold Rings. The Five Golden Rings feature a Victorian circus with a ceiling draped in red and white fabric to mimic a circus tent. The center circus ring has a pedestal with oval mirrors on which a white bear wearing a vest and collar balancing a spinning gold ring on his nose. The bear is surrounded by four seals wearing ruffled collars that are seated and balancing spinning bedazzled gold rings on their noses.
Day 6: Six Geese A-Laying
Sponsored by Marilyn R. Corrigan The Six Geese A-Laying is set in a snow-covered forest. Snow-flocked trees of varying sizes sit on a mirrored floor that turns. Snow and rhinestone “rocks” are piled high around the edges of the gazebo. Two geese are sitting on nests, two are standing in their nests to reveal golden eggs, and two are nested in the trees. The geese have feathered and rhinestones heads and necks, and feathered bodies.
Day 7: Seven Swans A-Swimming
Sponsored by Tom and Phyllis McCasland The seven swans float in a snowy, ice crystal palace. The gazebo feature a pond with a tiered fountain and frozen water and icicles in the center of a mirror, or “frozen” pond. The swans, six white and one with black feathers with small crowns on their heads, are around the fountain.
Day 8: Eight Maids-A-Milking
Sponsored by Kathy and Gene Bishop This gazebo feature a truly spectacular English barn divided into four wedge-shaped stalls. There are four intricately painted cows and four beautifully costumed maids sitting on stools while milking. Four other maids are carrying pails.
Day 9: Nine Ladies Dancing
In Honor of Chloe Simone Shea. Given by Holly & Tom Mayer, Maile and Charles Shea. Nine Ladies Dancing feature a Victorian ballroom. The ladies are costumed in beautiful Victorian beaded gowns and have elegant period hair styles. All of them move around the gazebo, and four make complete turns.
Day 10: Ten Lords A-Leaping
Sponsored by The Margot A. and Carl J. Johnson Foundation. This gazebo features ten ice-skating lords. The mirrored floor is a frozen pond. The lords are dressed in Victorian outerwear and ice skates, and all will be skating.
Day 11: Eleven Pipers Piping
Sponsored by a Friend of the Dallas Arboretum.
The pipers are dressed as Scottish bagpipe players in red and green tartan plaid. Each piper plays bagpipes. The ceiling is draped in green and red tartan to match the pipers’ kilts, and a circle of horns adorned with roping and tassels will suspend from the ceiling over the pipe major. The pipers also move in this gazebo.
Day 12: Twelve Drummers Drumming
Sponsored by Myron K. Martin.This gazebo is a spectacular choice to the exhibit. The drummers are dressed in white pants with red and gold piping, red jackets and red hats with gold trim. They move in concentric circles, with one set moving clockwise and another set moving counterclockwise.
In the historic DeGolyer House, lavishly decorated for the holidays, experience the new Claus Collection Santa Exhibit. Whether you call him Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas, Sinterklaas or Papa Noel, you’ll see the many artistic representations of the jolly gift-giver surrounded by beautiful decorations, on loan from the Junior League of Dallas. The DeGolyer House is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with guided tours, and on Wednesday evenings during the holiday season, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
In special celebration, Restaurant DeGolyer will be open for reservation-only dinners at 7 p.m. on these Wednesday evenings.
The Schedule of Events and Exhibits for the Holiday Season includes the following:
The 12 Days of Christmas (daytime exhibit): Three-Dimensional, Life-sized Victorian style gazebos outdoor exhibit. Daily, November 9 – January 8, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., (excludes Nov.24, Dec. 25, Jan. 1)
The 12 Days of Christmas at Night (special evening showings): Wednesdays – Sundays, November 9 – December 30, 6 – 9 p.m., (excludes Nov.24, Dec. 24-25). Open every single weekend for the first time!
The Arboretum is open every weekend for special lighted nighttime showings. A variety of holiday music is provided throughout the garden. Seasonal sweet and savory treats and hot beverages for children and adults are available for purchase.
Tour of the Santa DeGolyer House Exhibit: The Claus Collection: Treasured Santas on loan from Members of the Junior League of Dallas
Daily: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., November 25 – December 30, Wednesday Evenings: 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Whether you call him Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas, Sinterklaas or Papa Noel, see the many artistic representations of the jolly gift-giver surrounded by beautiful decorations in the lavishly decorated historic DeGolyer House.
Holiday Tea: Daily, November 26 – December 17, 11 a.m. & 2 p.m.
Restaurant DeGolyer. Enjoy an elegant, three-course holiday tea for a special holiday memory for those 13 and older. Tea service begins with a demitasse of select soup, followed by a second course of assorted tea sandwiches and a third course of sweet treats. Price includes general garden admission and parking. Cost is $47 per person and $57 per person for champagne tea. Reservations required: call 214.515.6511 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or purchase online.
Elegant Wednesday Night Holiday Dinner in Restaurant DeGolyer: November 30 – December 28 Wednesdays at 7 p.m. plus Thursday December 22 and Friday December 23. Enjoy an elegant three course dinner. Reservations required at 214-515-6511. Limited seating.
Special Daytime Holiday Festivities: Saturdays and Sundays, November 26 – December 20, Noon-4 p.m. Enjoy visits with Santa, a live reindeer, Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Gingerbread House Contest: November 30, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Join the holiday fun by becoming a contestant in the 1st annual Gingerbread House Decorating Contest. All ages are welcome to join and bring their creations to the Arboretum to be judged. The winning house will be displayed on property during The 12 Days of Christmas festival and receive a membership or Cool Thursdays Concert tickets. All entry forms must be completed and submitted by November 27. Click here for registration form, click here for full contest rules, or contact Megan Lucas at 214-515-6605 with questions. Completed entries must be delivered to the Sewell Boardroom on Wednesday, November 30 between 9 a.m. and noon, judging will occur between noon and 5 pm
Mingle Jingle Happy Hour Series: November 17 – December 29, Thursday Evenings, 6:30 p.m. (Excluding 11/24) Get into the holiday spirit with some spirits behind the bar. Join us for a holiday mixology series with local bartenders who will demonstrate seasonal cocktails. Participating bars include Windmill Lounge, Toulouse Café, People’s Last Stand, Libertine Bar and Savor Gastropub.
Mistletoe Kissing Booth: November 9 – December 31, Daily, Café on the Green. Don’t miss your chance to kiss a loved one under our mistletoe kissing booth. This makes a great holiday photo opportunity.
Lecture and Q&A Session with Adrian Tinniswood: November 19, 10 a.m. The author of The Long Weekend will be in Rosine Hall for a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet, mingle and ask questions of the famous author.
Holiday Market: December 3-4, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Crepe Myrtle Allee This popular market returns, boasting a spectacular outdoor shopping experience. Join in on the holiday cheer at the Arboretum with gift ideas such as jewelry, pottery, paintings, and baked goods.
Holiday Themed After-Hours Classes: Enjoy a plethora of evening activities and classes to get you in the holiday spirit this season. Some activities include holiday photography lessons, wine and vodka tastings with 12 days themed cocktail recipes, fused art glass classes and various holiday gift crafts. Learn more and purchase tickets here.
Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden
Throughout the Children’s Adventure Garden: Thanksgiving Weekend, November 19-27. Get outside and make The Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden part of your family tradition. Join them for stories about nature, crafts made from the garden, a scavenger hunt and more. Look for a special insect visit from the Texas Discovery Gardens Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon.
Storytime: The Christmas Pumpkin by Debbie Reece
Saturday, November 26, 10am, The Moody Oasis
Join author, Debbie Reece, as she reads her children’s book, The Christmas Pumpkin. Stay after the reading for a book-signing and craft.
Craft Corner: Holiday Style
Weekdays, November 28-December 24, 9-11 a.m., Exploration Center
Stop by the Exploration Center every weekday and create a holiday nature craft to take home. Whether you give it as a present or decorate your house, your child’s creation will surely bring joy to those around you.
Letter-Writing to Santa
Saturdays & Sundays, December 3 & 4, 10 & 11, 17 & 18, The Moody Oasis
Make sure Santa knows what you want for Christmas. Come to the letter-writing workshop to write your letter to Santa. You’ll get special paper, pens, stickers – everything you need to catch Santa’s attention. We may even have some of Santa’s helpers stop by with some inside tips.
Plant Lab: Starchy Night. November 14-December 23, 11am, 1pm & 3pm, Exploration Center. Is it solid? Is it liquid? Is it both? In this holiday lab, we use the endosperm of corn to make a non-Newtonian fluid called oobleck with shockingly sticky results.
TECH Truck: December 22, 1-3 p.m., The Moody Oasis. Tinker, Engineer, Create, Hack! Join the TECH Truck staff from the Perot Museum in The Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden for a hands-on experience where the only limit to creating is your brain!
End of the Year Extravaganza: December 24-31, Throughout the Children’s Adventure Garden. Celebrate the last week of December for a blowout of Children’s Adventure Garden programs. The schedule will be jam-packed with exciting, educational programs. Fan of our Plant lab? Stop by every day for a different lab experience.
Don’t Miss a Single Adventure. Visit www.dallasarboretum.org to sign up for the Children’s Adventure Garden email list. You’ll receive weekly updates, including all the exciting programs and activities you won’t want to miss.
The Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden will be closed for preventive maintenance January 1- February 24. We look forward to seeing you in the garden in the spring.
Group Sales: For inquiries regarding discounted tickets for groups 15 or larger, contact email@example.com or 214-515-6520.
Special Pricing and Promotions
Special Nighttime Pricing: Purchase discounted tickets to The 12 Days at Night exhibit early to see the 12 elaborate 25-foot Victorian style gazebos throughout the garden at night and 500,000 lights throughout the garden.
Purchase discounted tickets between October 1 – 31.
$12 per ticket for children, adults and seniors for evening entrance on any day of the 12 Days at Night festival. (This offer excludes dates: November 18 – 27 & December 16 – 23).
**All tickets must be purchased for a specific date, but can be exchanged for another date based on availability.
Buy One, Get One Free (BOGO) Wednesdays, November 9 – December 28, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Buy one, get one free admission. Valid for general garden admission only. Limit one per customer. Tickets can only be purchased onsite and are valid for daytime only. Discount not valid on the 12 Days of Christmas at Night.
C.C. Young Senior Thursdays, November 10 – December 29 Tickets on these Thursdays are $11 for day or evening admission for those 65 and older along with a 20 percent discount that day at the Hoffman Family Gift Store. Daytime tickets cannot be used again at night. Tickets can only be purchased onsite.