Did you ever have an Advent Calendar when you were little? The anticipation of each day opening that little door to unlock the candy or treat inside? And then knowing that Santa would come when all the doors were opened? Well we’ve got a treat for you – the Lubbock Moms Blog Holiday Advent Calendar! We’ve captured 24 of our favorite traditions, events, and sights in the Hub City, one for every day of the holiday season.
From our family to yours: we wish you a magical holiday season filled with love, fellowship, and the correct number and size of batteries on Christmas morning! ~ Love, the LMB Team
Get your wish list ready and kick off the holiday season with a visit from the big man himself, Santa! South Plains Mall offers Santa photos throughout the holiday season, but this year they’re also offering a sensory-sensitive experience on December 1 from 10:00am-12:00pm, continuing with sensory-friendly Santa visits until 6:00pm. If you can’t make it today, view the full schedule on their website.
BONUS! Show this post on your device and receive a FREE 5×7 with the purchase of any photo package during the month of December, courtesy of our friends at South Plains Mall!
Alamo Drafthouse is bringing back all of your holiday favorites for family fun, and some not so family friendly (hello, girls’ night!), movie nights. ‘Elf’ is the first film up, showing December 1st-7th. They’re also showing the Polar Express, Scrooged, Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story, the Grinch, Gremlins, The Holiday, It’s a Wonderful Life, Love Actually, and more.
For showtimes and to purchase tickets, visit https://drafthouse.com/lubbock/calendar/lubbock.
One of the best parts of living in Lubbock is that it’s a college town, and this year there are 2 fun celebrations for you to join: LCU Big Blue Christmas -AND- the Texas Tech Carol of Lights. Both are scheduled on the 3rd but there’s still a chance for you to enjoy both! Big Blue Christmas begins at 5:00pm with a “Buddy the Elf” scavenger hunt-style adventure through campus with free crafts, games, and holiday treats. Once you’ve enjoyed the festivities at LCU, head down 19th Street where the Carol of Lights ceremony begins at 7:00pm. Be there when they light up more than 25,000 lights around Memorial Circle – even if you’ve seen it a hundred times you’ll still say “Ooooh!” when they flip the switch!
One of our favorite traditions is to visit the Angel Tree and select an Angel or two to help spread some Christmas cheer. We like to visit both the Angel Tree at our elementary school, and the community wide tree at South Plains Mall. Our children shop with us while we are fulfilling Angel wishes. It’s a fun and easy way to remind them how we can support members of our community and think of others.
This year the Trans Siberian Orchestra will be returning to Lubbock for a can’t-miss one-night show. Trans-Siberian Orchestra is known for its elaborate staging and effects, and this year’s show is set on Christmas Eve when a young angel is sent to Earth to bring back what is best representative of humanity. Most of the other stops on their tour are in large metropolitan areas, so it’s nice to be able to catch such a hot ticket here.
Barnes and Noble is partnering with Literacy Lubbock to celebrate one of the most beloved children’s books of all time- The Polar Express! Join them at the Polar Express Party beginning at 10am. There will be games, crafts, and best of all- jammies are encouraged!
Need a nighttime event instead? Adventure Park is just the place to create new family traditions! From 4-6pm each Friday and Saturday in December, Adventure Park welcomes “Christmas in the Park!” Christmas lights, crafts and desserts will make this new Lubbock staple feel even more festive!
Every year the Miracles Christmas Parade provides free family fun with a light-up Christmas parade. This year’s parade runs down 34th Street from Avenue Q west to Indiana. Lots of seating is available at the businesses along 34th Street; we like to bring a thermos of cocoa and lot of blankets, and don’t miss a special guest at the end!
During the busy holiday season, it’s important to get in your exercise. West Texas Endurance can help with that! Participate in the annual Carol of Lights run on the Texas Tech Campus! Runners have an option to participate in the 5k or 1 mile course, and everyone enjoys yummy hot chocolate at the end! The race starts at 6:45 and you’ll get a gorgeous view of the lights on campus. Registration details can be found at https://www.westtexasendurance.com/events/carol-of-lights. And if you sign up in advance, you save!
The Salvation Army has such a fun way for families to volunteer during the holiday season: ringing their famous bells in support of their red kettle campaign. Families can sign up for a 2-hour shift at locations around town and ring the bell while they collect donations from the community.
Viva! Kids will be hosting their annual Viva! Posada to celebrate Christmas traditions from Mexico and Latin America. This free cultural event is open to the public and features traditional music, Navidad treats, and a special guest to visit with your kiddos.
Growing up, my grandmother would always make a big pot of hot chocolate on the stove and it is no comparison to the powdered stuff! Start a new family tradition and make a batch of Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” hot cocoa just like my grandma used to make.
Our family *loves* to drive around listening to Christmas music while we look at lights. And fortunately, in Lubbock, there are so many great areas to choose from! Ransom Canyon has a beautiful display with their neighborhood going all out for Christmas. Just a short drive over you can also visit the displays at Buffalo Springs Lake. If you prefer to stay in town, you can’t go wrong with the Lakeridge neighborhood ot Vintage Township. If I’m being completely honest, we love driving around our own neighborhood the most, because it’s fun to see the place you live all decked out for celebrating!
Our friends at Lubbock In the Loop have an interactive Christmas light map to help you catch all the hot spots! https://christmasinlubbock.com/light-map-lubbock/
We are fortunate to have a (literal) national treasure in the National Ranching Heritage center, and Candlelight at the Ranch is in my mind the crown jewel. This two-night holiday event features actors dressed in period costumes matching many of the buildings at the NRHC. They share stories and traditions of the families who settled the South Plains. In addition kids (and kids at heart!) can enjoy traditional holiday treats, crafts, and music. If you grew up obsessed with Laura & Mary, like I did, this is a can’t-miss.
Mae Simmons Community Center will be hosting its 3rd annual Polar Express Carnival Night from 6:00pm – 8:00pm. This FREE event features games, holiday treats, and a free showing of “The Polar Express.” Kids (and grownups!) are encouraged to wear their pj’s.
Can you really say it’s the holidays without Ballet Lubbock’s Nutcracker?? Lubbock’s oldest pre-professional ballet school stages this traditional show every year, featuring Ballet Lubbock students from Level 1 to Company and always features a phenomenal guest artist or two. This year’s Sugar Plum Fairy is played by guest artist Lori Wilson, a Ballet Lubbock alumna who is a professional dancer with the Saint Louis Ballet. There are several shows throughout this weekend, including a new, slightly-abridged, sensory-sensitive performance for children who need a more accessible show. This timeless classic features incredible (live!) music from the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra, an exciting battle scene, and of course beautiful dancing from hundreds of hard working Ballet Lubbock students. Every scene will leave you with a little bit of holiday magic.
The Overton Hotel will once again host their annual Gingerbread display from December 3rd through the 21st. This event is totally free to the public. Stop by to visit the craftsmanship and artistry, and take pictures with your family! Make sure to save time to write your letter to Santa. All materials are provided, and this is the *official* Santa Mailstop in Lubbock! Like to support great causes while having fun? The Overton will be selling ornaments and collecting donations for the Texas Boys Ranch.
If you just can’t get enough gingerbread, also stop by Red Raider Outfitter at 69th & Slide to view their Texas Tech-themed gingerbread extravaganza!
If yesterday’s visit to the Overton and/or Red Raider Outfitter to see the gingerbread displays has inspired you, why not create your very own gingerbread masterpiece? There’s nothing quite like a gingerbread house or village to liven up your holiday table, and it makes a fun activity if you have friends and family over. You can make your gingerbread from scratch, cheat a little and use storebought graham crackers, or even purchase a pre-made kit at most grocery stores. Plus, our friends at Seacoast Moms and Fairfield County Moms have some awesome recipes and tips – or you can visit West Valley Moms to find a gluten-free gingerbread recipe!
You’ve probably seen a viral video or commercial of an incredible light display choreographed to music. But since you live in Lubbock, you can see an even better show in person! Stop by Wayland Baptist University at 801 N Quaker for their annual show and prepare to be amazed. You won’t even have to leave your warm car! I’ve heard they’ve added new lights and signage to make this year’s show even more spectacular – don’t miss it! The lights are running nightly from November 29-January 5.
Santaland is a 63 year strong Lubbock tradition that is fun for the entire family. Walk through the holiday village light displays, take a free photo with Santa (be sure to bring your phone or camera), enjoy live entertainment, and purchase cocoa and snacks. This event is outdoors at Mackenzie Park, so double check the weather and bundle up so you can enjoy the visit. Santaland runs from December 10-23.
Looking for a great event for kids on an early release day? Elf Camp 2019 is here to help. Sign up your little artist to create holiday projects and participate in fun seasonal activities. Best of all, parents are not required to attend with their kiddo. Get more details and sign up at https://www.facebook.com/events/726018914486500/?active_tab=about
Still haven’t gotten your photos with Santa? Head to Holland Gardens and see Santa while you choose a new ornament for your Christmas tree. The folks at Holland Gardens go ALL OUT for Christmas and their amazing tree display is like nothing you’ve ever seen: dozens of trees in every theme you can imagine. They have Santa most weekends through the holiday season and you can take pictures with your own camera for free – best of all, there’s hardly ever a line, and they have a GREAT Santa!
If you’ve never paid a visit to see Pancho Clos, then what are you waiting for? This unique Lubbock tradition features the “West Texas cousin” of Santa Claus, and he’s been giving out gifts and treats every year since 1971! Admission is free but get there early, hundreds of families will want to visit Pancho Clos at the Maggie Trejo community center.. This event is hosted annually by the Lubbock branch of the American G.I. Forum.
In our family, it’s not really Christmas until we’ve baked and decorated approximately a million Christmas Cookies. We use a cookie recipe and a homemade icing recipe from friends of mine in college, which makes the tradition just a bit sweeter. The best part about this activity is you don’t actually need any artistic ability- trust me 😉 Bonus activity: we are fortunate to have great neighbors, so we like to take over some cookies when we’re done. You could also take some to share in your office or with other friends. Click here to download our famous Akins Family cookie recipe!
We do Christmas Eve BIG at our house. Mostly that’s because I have such great memories of Christmas Eve as a kid, going to church as a family and gathering at my Grandma’s house. If you’re interested in starting new traditions, or adding to what you already do, here’s what Christmas Eve looks like in our family:
- Attend Christmas Eve service – if you don’t have a church home, the Lubbock AJ usually publishes a list of Christmas Eve services
- Drive around our neighborhood for one last look at the lights while we listen to music and follow the NORAD Santa tracker
- Change into new, matching Christmas PJs
- Have “dinner” that’s comprised of our favorite finger foods and sweet treats
- Watch “Twas the Night Before Christmas”- and underrated Christmas Classic, in my honest opinion!
- Have one last round of cocoa and sweets
- Read “the Christmas Story” from Luke (again, a yearly tradition from hearing Grandma read it to us), followed by The Night Before Christmas (yup, we double-dip the story with no complaints)
- Use Santa’s progress on the NORAD tracker to get our littles in bed
- Attempt to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” while finishing up all of the last minute touches
- For a change, curl up in bed and fall asleep with the TV on, running the “A Christmas Story” marathon. (This is the tradition my husband grew up with, so we’ve added it to our list!)