[Editor's note: This story has been updated with information about 2018 events.]
It's beginning to look a lot like you-know-what. If these things aren't happening already, they will be soon.
The Big Pecan Tree sparkles
There's a lot of history behind the Big Pecan Tree at Armstrong Parkway and Preston Road that is lighted for the holidays (this year's official lighting is Dec. 6). According to a 2012 Dallas Morning News story, "With few exceptions — during World War II and the 1973 energy crisis — the tree has been lit each winter. Flippin-Prather Realty decorated it for the first time in 1927 to promote a new development of homes, Highland Park West." Of course, there are also going to be elaborate light displays at homes nearby.
It's tamale time
Sugarplums? Whatever. People here have Christmas tamales on their minds. So much so that the folks at La Popular Tamale House tell us that their business does 70 percent of its business in December. If you aren't fortunate enough to know anyone who makes tamales, you could try one of the many places that sell them, including La Popular, Luna's Tortilla Factory and Lopez Tortillas & Tamales.
Busting out the big brass
TubaChristmas is celebrating its 44th year of bringing big, brassy cheer to audiences. Tuba and euphonium players perform at the free, outdoor concerts. This year, there are four local performances: Dec. 16 in Allen, Dec. 21 in Fort Worth, Dec. 22 in Denton and Dec. 24 in Dallas. The downtown Dallas installment has a particularly cool backdrop, the spiral-shaped Chapel of Thanks-Giving.
Downtown gets twinkly
Many of Dallas' downtown parks have added Christmas trees in recent years (or, in some cases, decorations in the shape of trees). Be sure to check out the one with decorations that include hubcaps and car bumpers at Pegasus Plaza and what's billed as the largest outdoor Christmas tree in Dallas at Klyde Warren Park. While you're in the area, take a gander at the elaborately decorated windows at Neiman Marcus' flagship store on Main Street.
Missile Toes will be doing his back-flipping thing and shooting sparks from his skates at the Galleria Dallas. Plus, from the "everything's bigger in Texas" file, the mall is home to what they say is America's tallest indoor Christmas tree, sparkling with about half a million lights and more than 10,000 ornaments.
NorthPark's holiday classics
NorthPark Center's Santa is consistently awesome. Even as he's handling the millionth not-so-sure-about-this kid, he never loses his cool. Plus, the shopping center has all sorts of other fun stuff going on, including the "Trains at NorthPark" toy train exhibit and the flying reindeer and Santa display (made of more than 18 bushels of pecans, eight bushels of almonds, 10 pounds of raisins and an array of sugary delights).
Dallas' quirkiest holiday show
When it comes to charmingly quirky holiday shows, the Polyphonic Spree's all-ages, family-friendly Holiday Extravaganza takes the crown. Expect music from the symphonic rock group, wacky holiday performers, and a White Elephant raffle featuring items donated by the band. This year's show is Dec. 15 at the Majestic Theatre.
'Bah, humbug' to all
Dallas has some serious Scrooges. Need proof? Look no further than Dallas Theater Center's longtime holiday tradition of presenting A Christmas Carol and Pocket Sandwich Theater's Ebenezer Scrooge, which is in its 37th season.
The Dallas Arboretum lights up
The pumpkins make way for Christmas decorations at the Dallas Arboretum. The $2 million "12 Days of Christmas" exhibit features a dozen elaborately decorated 25-foot gazebos that each have holiday music and mechanical movement. Evening hours make for a particularly charming outing. That's in addition to an "Artistry of the Nativity" display that will be up at the DeGolyer House, holiday teas and special weekend activities.
Snapping a selfie is practically a requirement if you pass the display of giant red ornaments outside the Omni in downtown Dallas. A few stats to impress your friends: Each of the 13 red ornaments are 10 feet in diameter and they weigh 1,200 pounds apiece.