How to Celebrate Christmas Like an Austinite

20 Dec

Austin Christmas GrafittiTraditions 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:

Trail of Lights 2013

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.

Zilker Park Tree

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.

Hawaiin Tree Austin Texas

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.

4 Responses to “How to Celebrate Christmas Like an Austinite”

  1. Dana 21 December 2013 at 3:32 AM #

    Oh how I miss Austin! Pretty sure our lives are mirroring each others in reverse as we just moved from Austin to Southlake. Just found your blog via your comment on D*S (it’s my room with the black canopy stripe). Great minds think alike! Love your blog…spent some time snooping around. Would love to know the antique malls in Ft. Worth that you frequented!

    • gusto&grace 2 January 2014 at 4:29 PM #

      I apologize for the delayed response! I often spent my lunch breaks at Montgomery Street Antique Mall in Fort Worth and also frequented Lone Star Antiques in Watauga. I feel like I’m still getting acquainted in Austin. You’ll have to share some of your favorite places. Thanks for looking around!


  1. The Best of Gusto and Grace 2013 Edition | gusto & grace - 31 December 2013

    […] some tiny gravy boats for the feast. I’ve really enjoyed decorating for Christmas, and making new traditions in Austin. My favorite Christmas DIY was easily the $4 nutcracker stocking holders I […]

  2. Anniversary Weekend in Photos | gusto & grace - 2 May 2014

    […] Did I mention that everyone at the pop-up picnic wore all white and set their tables in all white? Don’t you love the hats? Did I mention that our friend bruleed Creme Brulee tableside for dessert? This is an event I will look forward to every year. It is one of those traditions that make a city feel like home… […]

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