5 Texas Christmas lights displays to catch this holiday season

Rene Anderton, Contributing Writer

Christmas is typically a time for gathering, but 2020 has necessitated social distancing. For many, a beloved holiday tradition has been to attend Christmas tree lighting ceremonies to take photos and catch a glimpse of Santa. Social distancing guidelines make it harder to allow this tradition to happen in the same capacity, but the Dallas-Fort Worth area has not given up the Christmas spirit. Drive-thru Christmas lights displays have become commonplace. These holiday setups are sure to dazzle and impress while keeping visitors safe.

This attraction opened Nov. 30 and will continue until Jan. 3. The display is seeing a few major changes this holiday season. In prior years, the tour was done as a walk throughout the zoo grounds. However, this year brought a need to make the event safe during the pandemic by redesigning the very nature of the attraction. Instead of a leisurely stroll, guests will drive through the grounds. According to the Dallas Zoo’s frequently asked questions webpage, guests are expected to remain in their cars at all times and any guest over the age of 10 must wear a face mask when interacting with zoo staff. The cost of the admission ticket covers one vehicle and is $65 for non-members. Dallas Zoo members will receive a discounted ticket, which is $50.

Located just minutes from Dallas College Brookhaven Campus, the light display at Vitruvian Park is open through Jan. 1. The lights display is free to the public and runs 5 to 11 p.m. each night. The display has not changed from previous years but guests are encouraged to wear masks. Though the lights have not changed, according to an article published by Fox 4 News, no special events will be held this year. Vitruvian Lights is one of the largest free Christmas displays in North Texas; the display boasts over a million lights.

Displays that have been traditionally designed to take place in the car have been the least affected this holiday season. Deerfield neighborhood in Plano is one such attraction. The neighborhood has not changed much for this year’s display, said Lori Antonioli, a Deerfield homeowner’s association board member. The neighborhood has done holiday displays since the 1980s, and used to have cash prizes for the homes voted to be the most impressive. This year, there is no competition.
Antonioli said she wants visitors to enjoy the display while also being safe and respectful. “The only thing we ask is to please abide by state mandated social distancing guidelines,” she said.
Deerfield has no set start and end date, but it is expected for the displays to last from Dec. 1-30. Carriage rides are available through North Star Carriages.

Santa Land has been a Christmastime staple in Texas for 25 years. The display has always been relatively socially distanced, given that it is a drive-thru exhibit. In a statement posted to their Facebook page, representatives from Santa Land said the main change guests can expect will be needing to wear a mask when visiting the gift shop. 2020 marks the 25th year of Santa Land being open, and the park will remain open to the public until Jan. 4, 2021. The hours of the park are from 6 to 10 p.m., and admission is $25 per car.