It’s the most wonderful time of the year. With Thanksgiving now over, people are getting in the spirit of the Christmas season by decorating their Christmas trees and putting up holiday lighting.
You don’t have to go far from home or into Houston to enjoy Christmas festivities. Local communities from Dayton, Liberty, Cleveland, Hardin, New Caney and Coldspring have events planned for Christmas or opportunities to view holiday lighting.
Take a short drive to Coldspring on Saturday, Nov. 30, to take part in a holiday market and town lighting. Businesses and vendor booths around the San Jacinto County Courthouse square will be open until around 6 p.m. Saturday offering Christmas sales, treats, fun, food and friendship. At 6:15 p.m., everyone will gather on the steps of the courthouse to watch as the Christmas lights are officially turned on for the Christmas season. A band will be entertaining guests Saturday afternoon.
The East Montgomery County Improvement District in New Caney is hosting its annual holiday open house starting at 5 p.m. The event features a Kids’ Hot Chocolate Bar where children can customize their own hot cocoa before seeing Santa. The EMCID building is located at 21575 US 59 in New Caney. If you are heading south from Splendora, take the Grand Parkway exit, take the U-turn to head north and turn right into the EMCID Building parking lot. For more information, call 281-354-4419.
The Liberty-Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the City of Liberty, will present Country Christmas on Tuesday, Dec. 3. The parade, sponsored by the City of Liberty, will begin at 6 p.m. at Grand and Travis streets proceeding south on Travis Street, right (west) on Sam Houston Ave. and ending past the Humphreys Cultural Center.
The Liberty-Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce will sponsor events following the parade, including pictures with Santa in the Vara Martin Daniel Pavilion, moonwalks, balloon art, face painting, entertainment, hot chocolate & cookies, trackless train rides, pony rides, mule drawn wagon rides and the popular ‘Dancing Horses’. The Liberty ISD Senior Class will have food items for sale to benefit LISD Senior Class projects and activities. All events, with the exception of the food booth are at no charge and are held at the City of Liberty Municipal Complex, downtown Liberty. Bring family and friends and enjoy this very special season of the year.
For parade information, call 936-336-3684. For other information and questions, contact the Chamber at 936-257-8926 – Dayton, and 936-336-5736 – Liberty.
The City of Cleveland and the Unity Committee of Cleveland will host Hometown Christmas, a two-day event that begins on Friday, from noon to 8 p.m., and continues on Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Vendor booths will be set up in and around the Cleveland Civic Center offering a wide variety of Christmas items. A kids’ zone will be set up outside the civic center to entertain kids while their parents take a break from shopping. Booths also will be selling food and drinks. The event is capped off on Saturday with a lighted Christmas parade through downtown Cleveland. The parade, which begins at roughly 6 p.m., will begin at the 100 block of E. Houston next to the Texan Theater and end at the Stancil Exposition Center on Peach Ave. The parade continues to grow with more entries every year. For more information on this event, call the Cleveland Civic Center at 281-592-2395.
The Spirit of Christmas, hosted by the Dayton Chamber of Commerce, will be held at the Dayton Community Center from 7 to 9 p.m. The Dayton Nutcracker Market will begin at 11 a.m. You can register with the Dayton Chamber to have your business or organization posted on Candy Cane Lane. For more information, contact the Dayton Chamber at 936-257-2393.
The 14th Annual Jingle Bell Ball will take place at the Liberty Elks Lodge starting at 5 p.m. This event benefits physically and mentally challenged children and adults. Admission is free but reservations are required. Come for pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus, dancing elves, Frosty the Snowman and music. Nachos, hot dogs, sodas and desserts will be served. For more information, contact Margie Poole at 936-334-2678 or Vernon Poole at 281-507-2796.
The Fifth Annual Hardin Community Christmas Tree Lighting is set for 6:30 p.m. at Harvest Event Center, just south of the railroad overpass on Highway 146 in Hardin. This free event features Christmas carols performed by local singers, a visit from Santa, performances from the Hardin High School band and Stingerettes, hot chocolate, cookies, gift bags, and fellowship with members of the community.
The 37th Annual Christmas on the Square in Coldspring is set for Saturday, Dec. 14, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. This event draws hundreds of people to Coldspring annually. More than 100 vendor booths will be offering something for everyone on your Christmas list. Food vendors, live entertainment and a kid zone are also part of the festivities. This event is organized by the Coldspring Chamber of Commerce. Stop by the Chamber office at 31 N. Butler or call 936-653-2184 for more information.
The Canterbury Chorale will present Handel’s Messiah at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 15, at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Liberty. Soloists will be Laurie Elliott, Christie Bean, Randy Gunter and David Hargis. Lonnie Tanner is the organist and Jim Sterling is the conductor. A reception will follow in the Parish Hall. This is a free event and the public is welcome to attend. For more information, call Jim Sterling at 936-336-3716.
If you are looking for local places to see Christmas lights this season, Wrights’ Lights, just west of Dayton on FM 1960, is a must-see. The Christmas display at the home of Paul and Patty Wright will be open every evening for visitors through the holiday season.
A driveway with arched lighting and a giant “Merry Christmas” welcomes guests as they enter. Once inside, paths with street names like Gingerbread Lane, Reindeer Lane and Bumble’s Hideout, branch off the main path.
Gingerbread Lane leads to a gingerbread village, then becomes Reindeer Lane where Santa’s workshop is located. Other areas feature a reindeer and sleigh, M & M candy section and a nativity scene.
The Wrights began their Christmas displays 20 years ago and it has grown in popularity with locals since that time. The display is located at 8288 FM 1960, six miles west of Dayton. Be warned: FM 1960 is a busy and dangerous highway, particularly for foot traffic. If you take children to see the display, hold onto them as you cross the highway or park on CR 612 and avoid the highway. Keep your child with you at all times. Wear brightly-colored clothing and carry a flashlight to increase your visibility to motorists. Also consider turning on your vehicle’s flashers to alert oncoming traffic.
For more information on Wrights’ Lights, go online to https://www.facebook.com/wrightslightsandmore/
Santa is spending some pre-Christmas vacation time in the Cleveland area and has transformed the home of Bill and Pat Baker into Santa’s House. Located at 3387 FM 1010, Santa’s House features dozens of inflatable Christmas decorations and a large Christmas tree. There is no charge to visit. Just pull into the driveway and walk through the displays at your own pace. Guests, however, are asked to be respectful of Santa’s House during their visits. Santa also is asking that children send him letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Christmas Ranch in Cleveland is adorned with more than 300,000 lights every year, transforming the home of Bob and Diane Hanley into a winter wonderland. Some of the mainstay lighting displays are a 27-foot tall red reindeer named Big Red, two enormous dinosaurs named Dino and Spike, a Harley-riding Santa Claus, Ferris wheel and Bevo, the University of Texas mascot.
This is a drive-through display, so guests are asked to remain in their vehicle and to stay on the driveway. The display will be lit up through New Years Eve from 6 to 10 p.m. nightly. There is no cost but guests who want to contribute to the Hanleys’ collection box for their church can do so as they exit.
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