Traditions make a city feel more like home. When I first moved to Austin, I started thinking about why Fort Worth felt so much like home. After the obvious family and friend connections, and the sheer amount of time I lived there, I think it felt like home because of the traditions I had.
Each September or October I would go to the State Fair, I’d eat a mustard-covered Fletcher’s Corn Dog, and ride the Texas Star Ferris Wheel. Every November I would eat a gyro and chocolate baklava at the Greek Food Festival. Each December I would look forward to my friends’ Christmas In Black and White decade-themed costume Christmas party.
In an effort to make my new home feel more like home, I insisted on finding a few Austin events or activities I could look forward to year after year. If you’re looking to celebrate Christmas as an Austinite, here is what I suggest:
1. Walk through the Festival of Lights in Zilker Park
Take a stroll through the light tunnels. Grab a cuppa hot chocolate. Get dizzy spinning under the tree. This year, there was a flip-book video booth and Anthony and I got an awesome memento our evening.
2. Buy your gifts from a local artist or store.
Austin is filled with small businesses and local artists, buying gifts from these places is just the Austin way.
3. Go to a quote-along at the Alamo Drafthouse
I’m a believer. The Alamo Drafthouse is the best movie theater in the
nation world. They have fun events year round, but during the holidays they host Elf Quote-Alongs and Home Alone All-you-can-eat-cheese-pizza parties. My husband and I learned of them too late to get tickets this year, so I scoured six stores before finding Home Alone on DVD, ordered plain cheese pizza, and had a party at home this year.
4. Decorate a tree on 360, or at least go and look at them
Before I moved here, Anthony told me how people would decorate trees on 360. I didn’t understand until we drove down highway and saw miles of trees decked out in tinsel and garland. My favorite tree was decorated like a reindeer. Next year, you’ll find me on the top of one of the hills, trimming a tree for all to see.
5. Go ice skating on the Plaza at Whole Foods downtown
The skating rink at the Austin-based grocery chain might be the closest thing to a white Christmas you will see in the capital city.
If you’ve moved to a new town and are missing home, I encourage to get out and try a few new things you can repeat at least annually.