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No matter which ones you celebrate, the holidays are a time to join family and honor history and heritage. In our state, we have a diverse range of cultures, and each of these groups celebrates individual holiday traditions that make Texas unique during the holidays.

Tamales

Many Texas holiday traditions can be traced back to Latin American and Spanish cultures. Tamales are a popular tradition and can be found on tables across Texas during the holiday season. This customary dish is thought to have originated around 7,000 B.C., with the domestication of corn by indigenous cultures in Mexico and Central America. Tamales first made their way to the U.S. with Spanish expansion, and have played a significant role in Texas culinary heritage. In the 1800s, women known as “Chili Queens” sold delicious chili and other fare, like tamales, at makeshift stands in the plazas of old San Antonio. Today you can buy tamales at grocery stores year-round. But the long labor-intensive process of la tamalada, making tamales together, is the key ingredient in celebrating this unique holiday tradition.

Christmas Tree Farms

In Texas, cutting down your own tree out in the country is very common. This is not a process for the faint of heart or the impatient, either. The reason cutting down your own real tree is so important and crucial to the holidays in Texas is because here, we love the great outdoors as well as any chance to bring them inside. While the rest of the world may be cold or even snowy during this season, we usually enjoy fall-like temperatures perfect for tree-selecting. Waking up every morning and coming home each night to the smell of fresh Fraser Fir is soothing for the soul—something no Texan should miss out on.

Lights, Lights, Lights!

Sure, there are lights in every city across these United States, but they’re not as excessive as ones in Texas. Whether you’re checking out the Christmas extravaganza that is the Gaylord Texan in Irving, or are walking through night lights of downtown Fredericksburg, there’s something special about the experience when you’re in this great state. Don’t be shocked if you see armadillos wrapped in lights, or a replica of Big Tex in your neighbor’s front yard. With all of the unique findings city and neighborhood-wide, you’ll be amused for weeks.

Poinsettias

Another sign of Latin American cultural influence in Texas is poinsettias. Poinsettia plants are native to Mexico and Central America, especially an area of southern Mexico known as Taxco del Alarcon, where they bloom during the winter. The ancient Aztecs called them cuetlaxochitl. Stores and homes across the state decorate with this vivid red flower. Ellison’s Greenhouses, famous for Texas-sized poinsettias that grow to a jaw-dropping six feet high, invites visitors into its greenhouses just once a year. One of the magnificent plants is taken to the White House for Christmas each year.

Dickens on the Strand

Dickens on the Strand is an annual Christmas festival in Galveston, Texas, occurring the first weekend in December. Established in 1974 and set against the historical backdrop of Galveston’s Strand, participants come to witness and relive the Charles Dickens era. Saturday features a parade featuring Queen Victoria, and there is a costume contest on Sunday—participants dressed in Victorian fashion are admitted for half price. Admission also includes access to the Elissa (tall ship), a merchant vessel built in 1877. The annual holiday street festival, based on 19th-century Victorian London, features parades, non-stop entertainment on five stages, strolling carolers, roving musicians, bagpipers, jugglers, and a host of other entertainers. Costumed vendors peddle their wares from street stalls and rolling carts laden with holiday food and drink, Victorian-inspired crafts, clothing, jewelry, holiday decorations and gift items.

Happy Holidays from Lone Star Financing

From our families to yours, we wish you a bright, beautiful holiday season.