The holidays are full of traditions, right? Perhaps it’s eating Mamaw Betty’s potato salad, Uncle Ronnie’s fried turkey, sorting through hundreds of Black Friday ads, or watching the Dallas Cowboys play on Thanksgiving Day. Your family and mine are full of traditions around the holidays. As I was reflecting on those holidays that are soon approaching, I was quickly taken back to a tradition from my childhood that was a favorite for my family when I was a child. 

Every Thanksgiving weekend, my family would drive around local neighborhoods and look at Christmas lights and wooden yard decorations. Back then, the various streets in each neighborhood had specific themes, and our family of  four would marvel at the lights and decor as we drove up and down each street. 

What was popular for neighborhoods in the 1980s and perhaps even before that, has now become must-see attractions across the state in multi-acre winter wonderland parks. That was a tradition that has since carried over with my kids for several years and likely even yours. 

I want to take a moment though and share with those who are looking for a new tradition to start with their family this year. Whether you are a lifelong traditionalist or new to this thought, the tradition of travel may just be the place you would like to start with your family this year. Here is a list of unique experiences and fun destinations that can help spark new lifelong memories for your family this upcoming holiday season. 

• The Polar Express Train Ride, Palestine, Nov. 19 – Dec. 26. Visit texasstaterailroad.net for more info. And don’t forget to wear pajamas for this fun train trip! 

• Dickens on the Strand, Galveston, Dec. 3-5. Visit 

galvestonhistory.org for more info. Dress in costume for some extra fun and 


• Santa’s Wonderland, College Station, Texas Nov. 12 – Dec. 30. Visit santas-wonderland.com. Santa’s Hayride Tour is so much fun!

• Lights of West in the city of West, Nov. 19 – Dec. 31. www.lightsofwest.com for more info. Get some yummy kolaches while in West! 

•Christmas Carriage Rides, Highland Park, Nov. 26 – Dec. 25. www.highlandparkcarriagetours.com/christmas-tours to schedule. Don’t forget the hot cocoa and cookies! 

I’d love to hear all about the traditions you are carrying on or creating this year. Make it a weekend getaway whether it’s to Galveston, East Texas, or around the DFW area. Take the time to see and do new things with your family this holiday season. 

Wishing you a great big beautiful tomorrow!

—David Maddrom can be reached at davidmaddron@travelmation.net

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