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Winter Wonderland: Palestine, Texas

Christmas has the power to make you feel like a kid again, and there’s no better place to let loose and experience it than Palestine, Texas. From mid-November to just after Christmas, this East Texas town is loaded with memory-making pageantry and festive good times, Palestine welcomes you to its whimsical holiday celebrations. Start by throwing on your PJs for a ride aboard The Polar Express Train Ride™. Sip cocoa and munch on cookies as dancing chefs come to life when the Texas State Railroad transforms its vintage train into the ultimate story remix. Held November 18th through December 26th, this cheerful ride will have you in the Christmas spirit in no time!

Visit the Grinch at the Historic Anderson County Jail where our cranky green friend has been thrown in the slammer for stealing Christmas, and he’s eager to express remorse to holiday visitors and it seems he brought all his junk with him. Head to the Texas Jailhouse, where the Grinch awaits with characteristic wit and wisecracks. This ticketed live theatrical experience of the Grinch’s Lair is spontaneous and interactive, with the Grinch posing for photos and bantering with guests. Max, the reindeer dog, and residents of Whoville are also on hand to make sure guests enjoy some zany Christmas fun. The Grinch’s Lair takes place each weekend between mid-November through mid-December. Located in Old Town Palestine, it’s a fun event to pair with drinks and dinner at a local bar or eatery.

Raise Your Glass at the Whiskey and Wine Swirl™ because we all know the hectic holidays require a little self-care, and an evening of wine, spirits, shopping, and sumptuous cuisine is a satisfying way to de-stress. Held the second Saturday in December in Palestine’s historic Main Street, the annual Whiskey and Wine Swirl™ pairs sipping, snacking, and shopping in one jovial location. Check-in to grab your wine glass, then stroll or ride the trolley to reach each tasting spot. Wineries and distilleries are set up inside local shops to give visitors an opportunity to sample their product as they enjoy last-minute shopping and bites prepared by some of Palestine’s many talented chefs. The event culminates with the ‘Top it Off at TAH’ after party, complete with live music a dessert bar and more at Tahwahkaro Distilling Co., a grain-to-glass, family-owned distillery. For one ticket price, attendees receive a wine glass, whiskey glass, bottle bag, and access to all tastings and the after-party. This merry event makes for a romantic date night or a lively Friendsmas outing. Tickets available at

Get to know downtown Palestine’s sweet and spirited sides and feed all of your senses. Pancakes are the ultimate in breakfast indulgence, but when paired with Christmas, they’re next level. The annual Pancakes with Mrs. Claus, held at the family-owned and operated bakery, Lulu & Kakes Cupcakery & Sweet Shoppe, features stacks of impossibly fluffy Christmas-themed pancakes piled with holiday-inspired toppings. Choose from three Clauscake flavors. This delightful breakfast also features a visit with Mrs. Claus. Visit for the schedule.

Want a taste of something a little more “grown up”? Old Town Palestine’s historic blocks are filled with eclectic shops and eateries, including Pint and Barrel Drafthouse, known for craft beer on draft, interesting wines, and artisan pub grub like grilled cheese and tomato soup, and wintry shepherd’s pie. The Drafthouse takes beer seriously, changing out taps routinely to bring craft beer fans the latest and greatest selections. During the Christmas season, thirsty patrons can sample fall and winter ales, lagers, and IPAs from craft breweries in the U.S. and around the world. Find these and more ways to celebrate Christmas like a kid again at

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