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shine img 9848With social distancing being a huge factor this year, many holiday celebrations are just not the same. With that being said, many cities have made changes to their holiday celebrations to fit the needs of the community and follow state and county guidelines. Some museums also have Christmas displays that might be of interest.


Harlingen Arts & Heritage Museum

shine Harlingen Museum Christmas Tree 2Harlingen Arts & Heritage Museum has their Christmas Extravaganza every year. This year is no different. The display features creative ways people decorate Christmas trees. Trees range in themes, types, and size depending on the business and organization that set up the tree.

There are several trees inspired by the Spanish heritage in the area and feature sombreros, zarapes and flowers. There are also more traditional trees with white lights and ornaments. There was a small tree decorated with sun hats and flowers, and another with historic photos of the area. Some of the trees are made of wood displays, while another included decorations on the wall.

The exhibit runs through December 31. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. It is located at 2425 Boxwood St. For more information call (956) 216-4901. Admission is free; donations accepted.

Hidalgo Festival of Lights

The Christmas season is not complete without a trip to the Hidalgo Festival of Lights, but, as most things did this year, this event has changed a bit for this season. Hidalgo Festival of Lights presents “Season of Hope” with a drive-through experience at the Payne Arena in Hidalgo. The experience runs through December 30.shine hfl 0904

The event features a two-mile drive-through attraction with millions of lights, castles, tunnels and hundreds of illuminated displays. Santa’s magic portal, a 600-foot tunnel, will teleport guests from a butterfly garden to the Land of Make Believe. Christmas Land will be highlighted with a 40-foot Christmas tree and 16-foot Santa boots. Santa will make an appearance on occasion. Guests can also purchase curbside food, snacks and refreshments.

Tickets start at $20 per vehicle, plus applicable fees, and include a four-pack of 20 oz. Coca-Cola. Guests can purchase a Dash Pass for $40 and skip the lines. Tickets are available for purchase at hidalgofestivaloflights.com.

City of Edinburg

The City of Edinburg is holding a Holiday in the Park. This holiday season, Edinburg Municipal Park will be transformed into a drive-thru wonderland. Thousands of twinkling lights will be on display from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. through January 2, 2021. The event will feature approximately one mile of themed entertainment and lights. For more information, visit www.edinburg.com.

Brownsville Holiday Village

shine Holiday Village KO IMG 6470Another regular holiday event, Brownsville’s Holiday Village, usually a park filled with little houses, has gone virtual. The virtual display will be accessible anytime and anywhere. The Village will include 31 cottages for visitors to explore. And, as always, Fritter will arrive on Thanksgiving night and hide in a different cottage each day. The Virtual Village will be updated throughout the holiday season, so be sure to visit the page often. You can find information from previous years at www.holidayvillagebrownsville.com and their page on Facebook.

Holiday Sandcastle Village

Nothing says South Texas and Island better than sandcastles. You can enjoy a beautiful Holiday Sandcastle Village at South Padre Island. The village is comprised of 10 massive sand sculptures and several smaller ones. The sculptures are created by some of the most talented sand sculptors from around the world.shine Sandcastle Village

Located in the center of the town’s entertainment district, the village is free to view – although donations are welcome – from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The sculptures are preserved, maintained, and updated on a rotating basis throughout the year.

The village can be seen on west Marlin St., right under the Ferris wheel. There is also a light display in the evenings from 6 to 9 p.m.

City of McAllen

McAllen has their South Pole again this year, but it’s an Illuminated Drive and Theatre Experience. The Convention Center District has been transformed into an enchanting one-mile drive-through holiday show of millions of dazzling lights and sound including Christmas trees and illuminated displays. Guests will travel through a 280-foot radiant tunnel with a surround-sound serenade of favorite holiday tunes. The entire drive experience should take about 25 minutes.

shine 2019 IMAS Christmas Tree IMG 0780No holiday celebration in McAllen would be complete without festival food and beverages, which will be available and will include hot chocolate, s’mores, and funnel cakes.

Tickets to South Pole Illuminated Drive and Theatre Experience start at $10 per vehicle. Additionally, VIP experiences are also available, which include fast passes and private holiday trains for the entire family. Hours of operation are 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The holiday event will run through the entire month of December. For more information visit www.SouthPoleofTexas.com.

The McAllen Holiday Parade was originally celebrated and broadcasted on December 5th but will air again on some local networks and Hispanic markets on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.

IMAS has their Christmas Tree Forest exhibit, “Celebrating Essential Responders” available for viewing. Community-decorated trees in this year’s exhibit honor the people who have been helping us through the pandemic including such “angels” as family, friends, pets, medical personnel, police, firefighters, teachers, caregivers, and scientists. The display will be up until January 2.

Community Light Displays

While most cities did not have any huge tree lighting ceremonies, you can still see Christmas lights displayed at city parks. Check out Mission, Alamo, Weslaco, and other cities close to you if they were not mentioned in this article.