Things to Do

Holiday at the Arboretum Returns to Dallas: Tour a Christmas Village

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Tony Maples Photography


Holiday at the Arboretum, presented by Reliant, is open to the community at Dallas Arboretum. This beloved annual event features something for everyone to enjoy now through Dec. 31. Attractions like the new 50-foot-tall Dazzling Musical Tree, the 12 Days of Christmas life-size gazebos, and the European-inspired Christmas Village delight all ages.

The DeGolyer House features The Artistry of the Nativity from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. The historic DeGolyer House is also open every Monday-Wednesday evening from 6 to 8 p.m.

The Artistry of the Nativity collection features hundreds of crèches representing a variety of cultures from around the world. In addition to the Ray Harrington and the Joe Christian collections, which the Arboretum owns, the display includes three special crèches worth noting: one from the famous costume set designer Peter Hall, an ANRI Bernardi nativity set, and a handmade paper-mâché set created by intellectually disabled children from India.

Designer Creches

holiday at the Arboretum Returns to Dallas

Photo: Dallas Arboretum

The well-known costume designer Peter Hall has created the figures in his crèche in the same fashion as the 18th century Italians for famous Italian families and churches. They start with a wire frame wrapped with fabric secured with glue and twine. The figures are sculpted out of paper-mâché. Hall had access to costumes and beautiful fabrics and accessories, and he used these to create unique costumes for his crèche figures. This crèche is on loan from Tommy Bourgeois and can be seen in the formal dining room.

ANRI Bernardi nativities are collected worldwide by many who like the simplistic, mostly wooden sets and figurines with innocent expressions. ANRI nativities are the inspiration and creation of Ulrich Bernardi, who was known for designing religious figures and cherubs. While attending art school, he discovered his passion for nativity carving. This crèche is on display in the formal living room.

Pathways India Nativity Set is created by intellectually disabled children in India, handcrafted from paper-mâché. These children, many of them orphans, are part of the Pathways India nonprofit started in 1975 to provide comprehensive care and educational opportunities for them on a 65-acre farm. Pathways co-founder Chandra Prasad created the beautiful design that the children of all abilities help fashion and sell, to help them become self-sustaining. The paper-mâché crèche can been seen in the glass case in the DeGolyer House outside the library.

Themed Christmas Trees

Holiday at the Arboretum Returns

Photo: Dallas Arboretum

For the past two decades, designer Michael Hamilton has created a vision for the décor, and he has playfully decorated the Christmas trees with these holiday favorites:

“Angels We Have Heard on High”/Library: The library has a 15-foot-tall tree, and there’s a nine-foot gold tinsel tree within the 15-foot tree. It’s lit with amber light to give a soft glow to all the angels.

“Joy to the World”/Formal Living Room: This green tree has embellishments of gold ribbon and gold ornaments with a top bursting with gold swag and an angel.

“We Three Kings”/Formal Dining Room: Red is the theme of this tree with red ribbons and colorful red ornaments giving it a formal and regal quality fit for a king.

Dallas arboretum

Photo: Dallas Arboretum

“I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas”/Kitchen Dining Room: This white Christmas tree has gold accents throughout giving it a magical and dreamy feel.

“Ava Maria”/Formal Sitting Room: In Mrs. Nell DeGolyer’s bedroom, the feminine-themed tree is covered with pink flower ornaments along with pink, gold and purple-inspired ornaments.

“Come Let Us Adore Him”/Master Bedroom: As a nod to the nativity family, this tree features the holy family, wise men and characters as large ornaments.

Timed tickets, priced from $10-$25, are required for entry to the garden, so guests are encouraged to reserve preferred dates early. For information, visit

Holiday at the Arboretum

Dallas Arboretum

Photo: Dallas Arboretum

Reliant is the presenting sponsor for Holiday at the Arboretum. Other sponsors include Amazon, Century Glass, Gray Reed, GFF Architects, Move Star, Southwest Data Systems and United Healthcare.

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens is located on the southeastern shore of White Rock Lake at 8525 Garland Road in Dallas. It is also the home of the internationally acclaimed Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden. The Dallas Morning News is the principal partner of the Dallas Arboretum. The Arboretum is supported, in part, by funds from the Dallas Park and Recreation Department. WFAA is an official media sponsor for the Dallas Arboretum.