Thanksgiving weekend is when most people kick off the holiday season in earnest and, appropriately, holiday-related events dominate the list of activities for the next five days.
Below are the best options for your precious free time Wednesday through Sunday. Don't like what you see? Lucky for you, we have a much longer list of the city's best events.
Wednesday, November 26
Gift of Lights
Gift of Lights at Texas Motor Speedway lets visitors circumnavigate the concourses of TMS in their cars, taking in more than 600 unique LED light displays. It'd be better if the event was actually on the track, but then someone would go all Jeff Gordon and ruin everyone's fun. You can look at the lights through January 1.
Dallas Theater Center presents A Christmas Carol
Even though Dallas Theater Center has put on A Christmas Carol for 30 years, they somehow find a way to make each year's show feel new and different. Chamblee Ferguson returns as Ebenezer Scrooge in a production that promises flying ghosts, falling snow and eye-popping special effects. The play runs through December 27 at Wyly Theatre.
Thursday, November 27
There are a handful of events going on Thanksgiving Day, but this should be a time to relax at home with your family. Enjoy the day off!
Friday, November 28
Galleria Dallas presents Macy's Grand Tree Lighting Celebration
The Christmas tree at Galleria Dallas is located in the middle of the signature ice rink, so what better way to celebrate the lighting of the tree than with champion ice skaters? Carolina Kostner and junior champion Amber Glenn perform at the inaugural lighting on Friday, but the real draw is on Saturday, when ice dancing gold medalists Charlie White and Meryl Davis take the ice.
Sparkle! Christmas at the Anatole
Anyone who's enjoyed ice skating, listening to music or just taking in the lights at the Hilton Anatole's annual Sparkle event may like it even more this year because they're bringing everything inside. From now through December 31, visitors can partake in all the fun activities in a nice 70 degrees, no matter how cold it gets outside.
XTO Energy Parade of Lights
There's almost no better way to start the holiday season than by lining the streets of downtown Fort Worth for the Parade of Lights. Now in its 32nd year, it features close to 100 professionally designed flights with more than 12,000 lights each, as well as vintage cars, bands and more. Get there early for a free sidewalk spot or reserve seats in the grandstands.
This lights display at Vitruvian Park in Addison is not as well-known as some others in the area, but it should be. The organizers of the display set it apart by going big and bold with the colors of the lights they use to line the trees, making the scene pop like none other. The lights stay up through January 1.
Saturday, November 29
Shop Small Holiday Market
Saturday is Small Business Saturday, and you can get the bad taste of Black Friday out of your mouth by shopping local at this event at Unbranded in Deep Ellum. Along with gift choices from The Citizenry, Unbranded and other Dallas-based makers, gourmets, designers and startups, the event has free beer tastings from Community Beer Company and Holy Kombucha mimosas.
Design District Market
Much like the Unbranded market, the final Design District Market of 2014, taking place at Community Beer Company, features more than 60 local vendors offering unique holiday gifts, ranging from locally crafted jewelry and clothing to housewares, pet accessories and growlers. Also enjoy holiday films playing on big screens, food trucks and live music.
Sunday, November 30
106.1 KISS FM Jingle Ball
The annual Jingle Ball, presented by 106.1 KISS FM at Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie, is the first of several all-star music festivals put on by local radio stations during the holiday season. The lineup for this event includes perennials like Jason Derulo, Fall Out Boy and Nick Jonas, as well as of-the-moment acts like MAGIC!, Echosmith and Meghan Trainor.