Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas in Austin: The Lighting of the Capitol Christmas Tree and Sing-along

I've mentioned it before, but Austin isn't exactly known for its White Christmases. In fact, when you think of places where the holiday spirit is alive and well, Austin may not come to mind right away, given our warm climate. But I'm here this week to prove just how amazingly Austin does Christmas,

Alongside from both the Theta House cookie swap with Santa, and the Christmas trees alongside Highway 360, we also have the wonderful tradition of lighting the Christmas tree at the Texas State Capitol, complete with holiday "stroll" and singalong.

Unbeknownst to me prior to this year, the Holiday Stroll and Christmas Tree Lighting at the Capitol has been an annual tradition for local families for years, and this year my family and one of the little girls I watch (her older sister was at a sleepover) joined the masses for a festive night in downtown Austin.

The night kicked off with an hour of Christmas carol singing, complete with KUT's own leading the hymns and a songbook to boot! We loved the chance to really get into the Christmas spirit, despite the warm weather:

Afterwards, we headed down to 11th and Congress in front of the Capitol building to shop the holiday "market", which was full with vendors selling everything from treats to tamales to candles and other holiday wares, and then gathered to watch the lighting of our brand-new tree at 7 p.m.

Once we'd finished the countdown to the tree, we walked down Congress Avenue, where activities from photos with Santa (we skipped the long line in favor of our smaller encounter with Santa the next day at the cookie swap) to coloring pictures of gingerbread houses to listening to a street jazz band play carols were going on. All the local businesses were decked out for the affair, too! Such a great way to welcome in December!

Afterwards, since we were already way off schedule as it was, we hung around downtown for some authentic Mexican cuisine, where Ava and S danced to the sound of the Miami Sound Machine - ha! Not your average Christmas celebration, but definitely one that's perfect for us!

Happy Holidays!

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