Things To Do In East Texas This Weekend: December 20th – 23rd

If you’re looking for fun things to do in East Texas this weekend, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s our rundown of some fun things happening around the area from December 20th – 23rd. This Weekend Preview is brought to you by the Texas State Railroad.

[Jump ahead to Friday | Saturday | Sunday]

Thursday, 12/20


Lights of Kiepersol

  • When: 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.
  • Where: Kiepersol, Tyler
  • Cost: Free

The beautiful twinkle of the season is lit up at Kiepersol. A chill in the air, a Christmas whistle is on everyone’s lips and hope mingles effortlessly with joy. It must be Christmas at Kiepersol! Join us for the lighting of the vineyard, a new annual tradition the Friday after Thanksgiving. Twinkle lights will adorn the vineyard rows through New Year’s.

Holiday Free Child Admission at the Naranjo Museum

Visitors can enjoy FREE Child admission and $5 Adult admission on Thursday and Friday December 20th and 21st from 5:30pm-7:30pm. The Naranjo Museum will be decorated for Christmas and children will be read “The Dinosaurs’ Night Before Christmas” at 5:45pm and 6:45pm.

Polar Express Storytime

Join the Whitehouse community library for a special after hours storytime featuring the book, The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg. Kids are encouraged to wear their pajamas to this cozy story reading. They’ll also serve hot chocolate and cookies!

Christmas Movie at True Vine

Christmas season means Christmas movies! True Vine will be screening the holiday classic “Christmas Vacation” on Thursday, December 20th on the big screen under the pavilion. Bundle up and join them for this must-see movie of the season. They will have plenty of dark beers to keep you warm as well as popcorn. Sola Bread Co. will be open for dinner and Doxology Coffee Co. will have cozy coffee drinks all night.

Reel Talk: It’s a Wonderful Life

  • When: 7 p.m.
  • Where: Liberty Hall, Tyler
  • Cost: $6, Get tickets here or free with a Tyler Public Library Card

Reel Talk is a new program created by the Tyler Public Library and Liberty Hall, where attendees can watch timeless classics and discover new favorites, then stay afterward to connect with like-minded people by discussing the film. For December we will watch and discuss It’s a Wonderful Life. George Bailey has so many problems he is thinking about ending it all – and it’s Christmas! As the angels discuss George, we see his life in flashback. As George is about to jump from a bridge, he ends up rescuing his guardian angel, Clarence – who then shows George what his town would have looked like if it hadn’t been for all his good deeds over the years. Bring your Library Card and get in free!

The Nutcracker

Ballet North Texas will be performing The Nutcracker Ballet at the Performing Arts Center of Palestine. Tickets are available online here.

Friday, 12/21


Merry Christmas TX Light Park

Take a nostalgic stroll through an old-fashioned Christmas park! Enjoy the lights, holiday-themed performances, kids’ activities, cocoa or coffee and cookies, and meeting Santa and Mrs. Claus. Also do a little holiday shopping with on-site vendors. On December 23rd, you can renew your marriage vows, make a commitment, or get married to your holiday sweetie under the twinkling lights with Judge and Pastor, the Honorable James Cowart. Don’t forget to share!

The Grinch’s Lair

  • When: 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Where: Texas Jail House, Palestine
  • Cost: Tickets start at $10

This Christmas season don’t miss a rare opportunity to come see Mr. Grinch locked-up in Palestine at the Texas Jail House (AKA: Historic Anderson County Jail)! It hasn’t always been easy for the Grinch to give gifts but, all that has changed (At least a little)! Admittedly, a bit of a grump from time-to-time, our funny, silly, loveable Grinch is on a mission to make sure all boys and girls have a magical Christmas. Even if that means giving gifts back! The Grinch’s Lair is a fun, festive experience. You will be greeted by our Who’s Who in the Whoville inspired jail lobby and short-term holding cells before they send you up into the lair. From this point on you’ll get an exclusive tour with Mr. Grinch through his Christmas Texas Jail House Lair. You never know what ridiculousness he’ll be up to! Please check their website or call (903)-373-8158 to be sure of exact times and ticket availability.

A Pineywoods Christmas Decorated Drive-thru

Get outdoors, take a break from the holiday rush, and enjoy the season. Drive or stroll through decorated camping areas and savor the sights, sounds, and smells of an outdoors holiday. Come by the Silver Canoe Park Store for some seasonal refreshments and discounted shopping for unique gifts. 1/2 off Admission: $3.00 per person 13 and up (12 and under are free) This is a great inexpensive family outing!

Polar Express Train Ride

  • When: 5, 6:30 & 8 p.m. rides
  • Where: Palestine Depot, Palestine
  • Cost: Tickets range from $20 – $130

The first POLAR EXPRESS™ of the year heads to the North Pole on Saturday, November 17, 2018. Ticket prices start at $20 per child, dependent on the date and time of departure. The magical story comes to life the minute the train departs the Palestine Depot for the journey to the North Pole. (The adventure is even more fun when families and friends show up in their pajamas!) Book here.

An Enchanted Evening with Santa

Giving is a part of Christmas… children are invited to bring a plastic jar of peanut butter for Santa to share with others through the East Texas Food Bank. While visiting with Santa, you may also enjoy our signature Snowman Soup & roasting marshmallows over an open fire for s’mores.

Holiday Laughs Comedy Show

Come see the comedic sensation Nikita B and the hilarious Shuler King bring down the house for the HOLIDAY LAUGHS COMEDY SHOW in Tyler, TX. Hosted By DJ Juice of The Blaze. Learn more here.

Saturday, 12/22


Stuff the Stocking

  • When: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Where: Downtown Kilgore

Skip the holiday rush and come experience a true Christmas shopping experience in Historic Downtown Kilgore. Kilgore Main Street and the Downtown Merchants invite you to come eat and shop for your last minute gifts. There will be a select number of merchants that will be open.

Polar Express Train Ride

  • When: 2, 3:30, 5, 6:30 & 8 p.m. rides
  • Where: Palestine Depot, Palestine
  • Cost: Tickets range from $20 – $130

The first POLAR EXPRESS™ of the year heads to the North Pole on Saturday, November 17, 2018. Ticket prices start at $20 per child, dependent on the date and time of departure. The magical story comes to life the minute the train departs the Palestine Depot for the journey to the North Pole. (The adventure is even more fun when families and friends show up in their pajamas!) Book here.

Christmas Under the Bridge 2018

It’s fellowship under the bridge. Hosted by Hunger for Love this is an event to sing songs, listen to parables and a share a meal centered around Jesus.

2nd Annual ETX Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest & Christmas Party

Fun and Prizes!! Contest Judging will begin at 9:00 pm. No entry fee! Live music with Carter Blackstone and guests 8:30-10:30. No cover! Good times will be had!!

Sunday, 12/23


Polar Express Train Ride

  • When: 2, 3:30, 5 & 6:30 rides
  • Where: Palestine Depot, Palestine
  • Cost: Tickets range from $20 – $130

The first POLAR EXPRESS™ of the year heads to the North Pole on this weekend. Ticket prices start at $20 per child, dependent on the date and time of departure. The magical story comes to life the minute the train departs the Palestine Depot for the journey to the North Pole. (The adventure is even more fun when families and friends show up in their pajamas!)Book here.

*All dates and information are subject to change. Contact us if there are changes to the schedule or if we left anything out.

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You should also check out:

The Best Christmas Lights in East Texas

Head to the North Pole on The Polar Express