Friends, food and family. The three F’s of the holiday season. Amid the chaos, lights and Amazon wish lists, there’s one constant: the old-fashioned family get-together. A chance to reconnect with the ones you love.
But not everybody heads home for the holidays. For whatever reason, many of us will be hanging out in Austin for the holiday season. And Austin can become a ghost town over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
But don’t despair. Put on some real clothes, turn off Netflix and head out on the town. For those doing an Austin Christmas this year, here are eight events that’ll make your holiday full of memories and fun.
NOTE: All events are open and available as of this publishing. Some requiring reservations may be closed by the time you book them. Schedules are subject to change.
Gingerbread Workshops at The Thinkery
If your little ones are hopped up on Santa Claus and the excitement of expected gifts, take them to The Thinkery on Christmas Eve morning to blow off some steam. This mecca of kid-friendly fun is hosting their annual Gingerbread Workshop through Christmas.
Providing everything you need to build a rock star gingerbread house, this fun activity may be the highlight of your child’s Christmas season. Just wait until Dec. 26 before they dive into all that sugar.
The Thinkery is located at 1830 Simond Ave. Visit thinkeryaustin.org for tickets and availability.
Holiday Lights and Ice at Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa
Can’t get to Rockefeller Center for the holidays? Swing by Omni Barton Creek Resort and Spa for festive lights and ice skating. Yes, ice skating in Texas!
Taking place at the hotel’s massive 4,100 square foot ice rink, Lights and Ice features family-friendly games and activities. And you’ll be able to enjoy it all under a blanket of over 200,000 sparkling lights. Fun for the whole family!
Omni Barton Creek is located at 8212 Barton Club Drive. Visit omnihotels.com for times and pricing. Rink is open daily until Jan. 6.
The Highball Christmas Eve Party
Welcome Santa’s reindeer with drinks and good times at The Highball’s annual Christmas Eve shindig. The yearly event has the vibe of a yuletide social hour. They’ll be playing classic Christmas movies on the big screen, serving signature cocktails and unleashing a surprise special for all you holiday heads.
With no cover and no reservations required, The Highball is a fun, low-key venue to ring in Christmas Day. Especially if you like your Christmas more The Big Lebowski than It’s a Wonderful Life.
The Highball is located at 1120 S. Lamar Blvd. next to Alamo Drafthouse. The party runs from 7-10 p.m. Details can be found at thehighball.com.
Carson McHone’s Songwriter Showcase at The White Horse
And what’s Austin without a little music? Local singer/songwriter Carson McHone and a host of unannounced musical acts will rock the world-famous White Horse on Christmas Eve. McHone’s brand of down-home-roots country and introspective lyrics are as Texas as it gets.
And did I mention this is a free show? Even the tips are going towards SIMS Foundation, an organization dedicated to providing discounted health care for Austin musicians. This event is a toe-tapping way to give back as you dance the evening away.
Dale Watson’s Annual Christmas Show & Dance at The Continental Club
If you’ve lived in Austin for more than three months and have never listened to Dale Watson, open Spotify right now and give his page a shuffle. Playing traditional country in the vein of George Strait and Merle Haggard, Dale Watson’s yearly bash at The Continental Club is a holiday hoe-down. Don your favorite cowboy hat and lace up your dancing boots. This classic event is Austin through and through.
Doors at 9; show starts at 10. There is a $10 cover. Visit continentalclub.com for the event calendar.
Christmas with Karaoke Underground at Hotel Vegas
Warm up those vocal chords and practice your rendition of Dryer’s “Don’t Steal or Kill This Christmas.” Austin’s own Karaoke Underground is putting on a punk rock sing-along that’ll put an edge on your holiday celebration. And the beauty of it all? Vocal skills aren’t necessary when you’re singing along to “Fairytale of New York.” Rock out, rock on!
DJ Chicken George with DJ Chorizo Funk and DJ Dangit at The Liberty
Opening for everyone from Biz Markie to Grandmaster Flash, DJ Chicken George has been mainstay of Austin hip hop for years. Forget laptops, beat-matchers or samplers. DJ Chicken George is an old school turntableist, delivering organic beats and record-scratching wizardry to the Liberty stage.
With DJ Chorizo Funk and DJ Dangit by his side, two other outstanding DJs, expect some scratch battles and an evening of head-bopping, eclectic mixes. A fun and funky Christmas jam.
The show starts at 9 p.m. at The Liberty, located at 1618 E. 6th Street.
Christmas Dinner at Russian House of Austin
Let’s face it. Nobody wants to be ordering pizza on Christmas. Instead, enjoy a holiday feast courtesy of Russian House. Featuring their full menu in a warm, cozy setting, this ATX classic is one of the few joints in town guaranteed to be open on Christmas Day. Pro tip: Their beef stroganoff is out of this world. Za vas!
Russian House is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Christmas Day and is located at 307 E. 5th St. Reservations are strongly recommended and available as of this writing. Go to russianhouseofaustin.com for more information.
@BillTuckerTSP wants to know:
How do you plan on spending your Christmas?