The 12 Days of Christmas at the Dallas Arboretum
Don’t let the weather outside or the date on the calendar confuse you. Christmas is right around the corner and it’s never too early to start planning your holiday outings with friends and family.
Here at the Arboretum, we’re already gearing up for our holiday festival, The 12 Days of Christmas, with an incredible lineup of holiday activities, hosted right here in the gardens. (In fact, tickets for The 12 Days at Night are on sale now for only $5 through September 1!)
Dallas has never seen anything like what we have planned. Our new holiday display, The 12 Days of Christmas, features a lavish collection of original, life-size, Victorian gazebos filled with the charming characters made famous in the iconic carol.
Two years ago, supporters Phyllis and Tom McCasland contacted the Arboretum about an idea they had for Christmas.
“Dallas needs a Christmas exhibit for families to enjoy,” Phyllis McCasland says. “It seemed to me that The 12 Days of Christmas would be perfect, and the Dallas Arboretum has the space to house it. Plus, it’s educational, teaching people about traditions, the countryside, animals and Christmastime.”
The idea took root and grew from there. Along the way, it evolved into showcasing each verse of the carol in gazebos—12 of them. As the project advanced, new ideas were proposed, including adding lights, music and moving parts.
Dallas Opera production designer Tommy Bourgeois, who was commissioned for the job, was open to every suggestion. “The 12 Days exhibit will also be lit at night, similar to the Chihuly, so we made several enhancements to make it even better than I first envisioned it.”
Bourgeois then approached Greg Blackburn, president of Dallas Stage Scenery, whose company works with the Dallas Opera to create elaborate sets, among other things. Bourgeois’ plans began taking form, producing a Christmas exhibit so large, all the pieces couldn’t fit in Blackburn’s warehouse.
The process took almost two years, but the end result is spectacular.
Each gazebo is encased in glass and extravagantly decorated on all sides to provide a dramatic, three-dimensional experience. Most of the displays include working mechanical parts, making for more lifelike characters. Take your time passing through the exhibit, as great care has been taken in constructing these remarkable spectacles!
On select evenings, the garden will remain open for extended hours for The 12 Days at Night, when we illuminate the gazebos for evening viewing. Visitors will be treated to live carolers and holiday music at each gazebo.
The nighttime festivities will be complemented by festive libations and tasty treats. A menu of traditional holiday favorites, including hot chocolate, warm nuts, eggnog and cider will be available at the snack bars.
For the duration of the exhibit, visitors may enter through the main entrance to view the gazebos in numerical order as they stroll through the garden, or park in our brand-new parking garage at the north end of the property.
We are grateful for the hard work of Tommy Bourgeois and Phyllis McCasland, as well as the The 12 Days of Christmas Presenting Sponsor, Amegy Bank of Texas, and its Supporting Sponsor, Dallas Tourism Public Improvement District.
For more information about The 12 Days of Christmas, click here. To purchase tickets for The 12 Days at Night, click here. Please note, we will be offering special pricing and promotions throughout the event, including Military and First Responder Mondays, BOGO Wednesdays, Senior Thursdays and Pearl Harbor Day.
Trust us—you will not want to miss this event for the ages. See you at the Arboretum this winter!