It’s the most magical time of year… and we make it extra magical in my family by creating a 25-day activity advent calendar every year! And this year I want to share our favorite Christmas Activities in New Braunfels, San Antonio & beyond so you can get out and make some memories with your families!
It all started in 2016 when my son was a year old and I was spending way too much time on Pinterest (c’mon, I still do!). I searched for activity advent calendars and only found crafts. My son, bless him, is not crafty at all. As a result, I created this activity calendar because we all share the joy of EVENTS!
My husband and I loved doing all the things (hello, bar crawls!) before baby, now we are all about family Christmas fun (hello, Santa & snow & jumpy houses!). So with this being our fourth year of absolute fun, I wanted to share the joy with all my fellow locals and visitors!
I have included a few alternatives mixed in, and a whole lot of optional items at the end of this post. I have come to accept that even though I have this list ready to go, we never get to do all the things. Gotta love cold season! So keep this handy to come back to as you plan your Christmas activities in New Braunfels, and above all know that you can be super flexible and have FUN!
25 days of Christmas activities in New Braunfels & beyond:
Dinner with Santa & Mrs. Claus at Don Strange Ranch
I am beyond excited to have this event kick-off December and our 25 days of activities! The evening begins with a traditional Christmas meal with the jolly one and his wife, followed by a hayride through the “Best Holiday Light Display in South Texas” with over 3 million dazzling lights and light displays. The evening ends with Santa’s Villiage, singing reindeer, s’mores and hot cocoa. Who could wish for anything more magical?! Dinner with Santa & Mrs. Claus will be held on Sundays and Thursdays, December 1 – 22.
Unwrap and read a new Christmas book
We’ve kept this tradition since the very beginning! Instead of doing 25 days of books, because that is seriously overwhelming, we do 3 books per year and include it on slow days in our advent activity calendar. Here’s my favorite Christmas book so far for preschoolers!
A texas favorite drive-through light display in our own backyard! Drive through over a mile of winding country roads while taking in the beautiful lights, animated Christmas displays, and enjoying homemade hot cocoa, kettle corn, and snacks. Santa’s Ranch is open November 8 – January 4, and I highly encourage you to avoid weekends!
Alternative: Make & Take Popsicle Tree Craft at The Book Haus
Winter Wonderland at CTMC
Enjoy a mid-week snow break at Winter Wonderland! CTMC in San Marcos will have reindeer games, cookies and cocoa for everyone to enjoy….plus pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus!
Alternative: Annual Tree Lighting at La Cantera Resort & Spa, San Antonio
Wassailfest in Downtown New Braunfels
The annual Wassailfest celebration features food, shopping, wassail sampling and entertainment. Stroll through the streets of Downtown New Braunfels sipping warm wassail and see what your local merchants have to offer for your holiday gift-giving needs. And don’t forget to catch Caroling at the Plaza during Wassailfest!
McKenna’s Merry Celebration
This is one of the best Christmas activities in New Braunfels for preschoolers! The event will include a meet & greet and photo-op with Santa and Mrs. Claus, holiday-themed crafts, Christmas games, holiday treats and of course museum playtime!
33rd Annual Weihnachts Parade in Boerne
Nothing is quite as magical as a nighttime parade! We experienced this for the first time last year and it is one of my favorite Christmas events. The ever-popular Weihnacht Parade is one of Boerne’s greatest Christmas traditions and their theme this year is Christmas Songs.
Alternative: Gruene Grove Christmas Spectacular Kick-Off Party
Pancake & Pajama Party at Little Land Play Gym
Take your little ones to Little Land for this fun experience especially for babies & toddlers! Santa and Mrs. Claus will kick off the event with a special storytime at 12:30. Enjoy holiday activities, snow sensory, pancake and private sessions with Santa.
Alternative: Santa is Coming! to Freiheit Country Store
Christmas Movie Night
All these activities we gotta have some quiet nights at home! This is one of our designated official Christmas movie nights, and I can’t wait to dive into some great classics with Jericho!
Alternative: The Polar Express 4D Experience at the Tower of the Americas, San Antonio
Bake Christmas Cookies
What’s Christmas without a little baking?! Jericho is always eager to help in the kitchen, so I plan to make these sugar-free, gluten-free Christmas cookies for us…and bake a yummy batch of regular cookies to take to a neighbor or maybe the Fire station!
Sights & Sounds of Christmas in San Marcos
Celebrate the holiday season with thousands of lights, photos with Santa, ice skating, a petting zoo, carnival rides, shopping, food, and much more. The event runs Dec. 4-7 and 11-14.
Alternative: Unwrap & Read a new Christmas book
Pick 3 gently used toys to donate
We try to do this every year to show our son how important it is to be giving. We do new gifts with our church, but also ask Jericho to pick his own toys before he receives more on Christmas. Some local nonprofits that may accept your donations (but check with them first) are: New Braunfels Foster Closet, Hope Hospice Thrift Store and Children’s Shelter in San Antonio.
Alternative: A Charlie Brown Christmas at Majestic Theatre
Jingle Jam at River City Church
Come chill with us at the coolest party this side of the North Pole! River City Church is hosting a Christmas Party for the whole family, and we went last year so I can tell you it certainly is a lot of fun! This event is jam-packed with dancing, music, the Christmas story, and more!
Alternative: Elf Jr. Musical Theater by New Braunfels Performing Arts
Breakfast with the Grinch at Landa Haus
Jericho is super excited about this, he really digs the Grinch! Straight from Mount Crumpit, the Grinch is back for the second annual Breakfast with the Grinch. The Green One himself will be posing for pictures with all the guests throughout the breakfast, followed up for holiday-themed crafts!
Alternative: Swim with Santa at Das Rec
Santa’s Railroad Wonderland! at the Texas Transportation Museum, San Antonio
Trains and Christmas? That’s every little boy’s dream! The museum will be decked out in its best Christmas finery and ready for your kiddos to come and enjoy.
Alternative: Polar Express Storytime with the Book Haus & Tuff Shed
Unwrap and read a new Christmas book
Crazy Goat Christmas Light Spectacular
200,000 lights that dance to Christmas music in our very own charming town! Open 6-10pm nightly after Thanksgiving, weather permitting.
Alternative: The Nutcracker at the New Braunfels Civic Center
Posada at the Pearl, San Antonio
This was a Christmas tradition for my husband and me growing up and something we’ve missed since living in Central Texas. Inspired by the Mexican tradition of Las Posadas, The Historic Pearl invites the community to join the posada and become pilgrims traveling by candlelight. Las Posadas is a nine-day Christmas celebration in Mexico and Latin America, centered on the ritual re-enactment of Mary and Joseph’s quest to find lodging in Bethlehem. The evening includes live music, children’s crafts, and traditional treats of buñuelos, tamales, and Mexican hot chocolate. You’re welcome!
Alternative: Santa at Chick-Fil-A WestPoint Village
Christmas Movie Night
Alternative: Old West Christmas Light Fest in Boerne
Wonderland Christmas at Morgan’s Wonderland
Celebrate to wonder of Christmas on select nights from November 29 – December 23. Enjoy your favorite attractions covered in twinkling lights, visitors from the North Pole, a simulated ice rink, therapy animals, The Wonder Squad, holiday shows, complimentary cookies and hot chocolate, a petting zoo and more!
Alternative: The Grinch Family Movie at McKenna Children’s Museum
Polar Express at Landa Park Dance Slab
Get in the holiday spirit with a free showing of Polar Express at the Dance Slab. Wear weather-appropriate clothes and bring your own chairs and blankets for the movie. Train rides will be available for purchase too! Another one of many Christmas activities in New Braunfels to add to your list!
Alternative: Breakfast with Santa at JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country
Ford Holiday Caroling at San Antonio Riverwalk
Ring in the holidays by caroling on the San Antonio River Walk! Bask in the glow of 100,000 Christmas lights as boats float throughout the downtown area of the River Walk carrying a different group each hour performing live Christmas Carols. The public is invited to stroll on the banks of the river or sit outdoors in a restaurant. The event runs December 5-22.
Alternative: Storytime with Santa at The Book Haus
Christmas at the Caverns at Natural Bridge Caverns
So many activities to pick from and I am super excited we’ll be around on the 23rd to enjoy them! Hear your favorite carols echo through Texas’ largest underground cavern system, get pictures with Santa “Spelunker” Claus, then round up his reindeer in our outdoor maze. Festivities also include a hayride through the hills, games, music, ice skating, roasting s’mores, and a giant snow globe! In addition to the 23, the event runs Saturday & Sundays, Dec. 7-22.
PJ Party and Christmas Movie!
As things start to wind down, these are some of our most cherished memories at home. Depending on how your family does things this can be a fun morning with pancakes or an awesome way to close out the day before Santa’s arrival. I’m still taking advice on what movies we should include, so feel free to drop your fav preschooler appropriate ones in the comments!
Bake a cake for Jesus!
There is a lot more in store for Christmas Day, but for the purposes of our Advent Activity Calendar, this is our favorite activity because we get to celebrate Jesus! We usually bake it first thing in the morning and enjoy it after a Christmas breakfast depending on where our family is that year.
And because I love to over-deliver, here are a few more Christmas activities in New Braunfels and throughout the Texas Hill Country!
Nov. 21-Jan 5: Christmas Light Show at Mozart’s Coffee, Austin (closed Thanksgiving Day & Christmas Day)
Dec 5, 12, 19: Holiday Night Market at The Pearl, San Antonio
Dec 7: Make and Take Snowglobe Craft at The Book Haus
Dec 7: 4th Annual Hometown Holiday Christmas Parade in Downtown New Braunfels
Dec 7-8: Drive-thru Nativity at Concordia, San Antonio
December 10-23: Austin Trail of Lights, Austin
Dec 12-15: A Charlie Brown Christmas at The Empire Theatre, San Antonio
Dec 20: Drive Thru Bethlehem at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Spring Branch
Dec, various dates: SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration, San Antonio
PLUS! Alternative activities to do at home:
1. Invitation to Play – Snow Playdough
2. Make Reindeer Food
3. Christmas Tree Invitation to Decorate
4. Make a holiday wishlist on Amazon or Target
5. Have a Gingerbread Man Scavenger Hunt
6. Have a Christmas dance party in your living room
7. Hunt for Candy Canes in the backyard (invite some friends over for more fun!)
8. Make DIY Christmas Tree Cards
9. Make Santa Binoculars for Santa sightings!
10. Make a gingerbread house…or even better, a Graham Cracker Nativity!
We keep this list fluid and sometimes even do 2-3 events per day, and throw in some of the crafts above. As I said, it is all about making memories and having a good time!
If you loved this list of Christmas activities in New Braunfels, I’d love to hear about it in the comments! Feel free to tag me in your activity posts on Instagram and Facebook using @lisaalfarostyles. Y’all have a Merry Christmas!!