Archive for the 'Christmas' Category

History of the Christmas Tree in Texas

Monday, December 19th, 2016
Family enjoying holiday cheer at LBJ State park and Historic Site. Photo: Bryan Frazier.

Family enjoying holiday cheer at LBJ State park and Historic Site. Photo: Bryan Frazier.

This is Passport to Texas

The custom of decorating trees for Christmas took root in German villages during the sixteenth century.

A lot of Germans, as you know, settled Texas. And they brought a tradition with them of the tabletop Christmas tree.

Cynthia Brandimarte is program director for Texas historic sites.

When you look at interior photographs of Texas houses, you see many tabletop Christmas trees ornamented for the season, particularly in German households in the late nineteenth century Texas.

Ornaments were handmade then, and small gifts often dangled from branches. Eventually, the tabletop conifer gave way to larger trees that became “floor models,” and the decorations sometimes mirrored the day’s events.

You saw more and more seven or eight feet trees that were placed on the floor. And because we had just ended the Spanish American war in victory, there was a fashion in the early part of the twentieth century to decorate trees with a few American flags here and there. We have photographic evidence for that.

If you celebrate Christmas, we wish you a joyous holiday. And if you do not, then it’s the perfect opportunity to spend time in nature, because Life’s Better Outside.

That’s our show for today… Funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Holiday Gifts for the Nature Lovers on Your List

Monday, December 12th, 2016
Anderson Ranch in the Texas Panhandle

Anderson Ranch in the Texas Panhandle

This is Passport to Texas

Holiday gift giving season is upon us, and if you have nature lovers on your list—the giving is easy—and twice as nice.

A seventy-dollar Texas State Parks Pass is a thoughtful gift for your outdoor enthusiast. Pass holders enjoy twelve months of unlimited visits to more than ninety state parks and historic sites. They also get discounts on camping and recreational equipment rentals. Money spent on the pass supports your Texas state parks.

For thirty dollars each, you can give the drivers on your list a conservation license plate. Twenty-two dollars from every sale goes directly to help fund conservation efforts in Texas.

Give every outdoor lover on your list access to more than a million acres of public land—with the Limited Use Permit—for the ridiculously reasonable price of twelve dollars.

Permit holders receive twelve months of access to Texas’ wildlife management areas, where they can fish, hike, bird watch, cycle, and camp.

When you give one of these gifts, you delight the receiver, and help support state parks and conservation in Texas.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation supports our series and helps keep Texas wild with support of proud members across the state.

Find out more at tpwf.org

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

New State Park Ornaments

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016
New State Park Holiday Ornaments

New State Park Holiday Ornaments

This is Passport to Texas

For those who celebrate the Christmas holiday—or who simply treasure State Parks—a new trio of Texas State Park ornaments is available.

It’s our fifteenth year doing the ornament, actually. We’re really excited about it this year.

Aaron Friar promotes Texas State Parks. When the tradition began, parks rolled out a single limited edition ornament annually that was made from gold flashed brass, and featured three parks. Now it releases three limited edition ornaments annually made from laser cut wood, and each features a single park.

So, this is our fifth year doing that. And we’ve selected three parks. We’re doing Dinosaur Valley, Balmorhea, and then we’re doing Tyler State Park.

Find details about the annual Texas State park ornaments at texasstateparks.org/holidays.

If you go to texasstateparks.org/holidays, you can find out all the information about the new ornaments. An individual ornament is going to be $8.95, but you can get all three for $19.95 as a package. And then, if you want to start adding to your collection of ornaments, there are ways to purchase past ornaments.

Find details and see what’s available at texasstateparks.org/holidays.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

2016 Holiday Events in Texas State Parks

Monday, December 5th, 2016

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This is Passport to Texas

Texas state parks pull out all the stops during the holidays.

All of our parks are doing some kind of event, or having some kind of special event for the holidays.

Aaron Friar promotes parks for Texas Parks and Wildlife. During this season, overnight campers are encouraged to decorate their camp sites.

Which is a lot of fun. A lot of them [State parks] are waiving campsite fees for the folks that will decorate their campsites. It’s just a lot of fun, because everybody can get involved. It’s like a trail of lights.

Nearby communities visit parks during December to enjoy the “light-hearted” creativity of overnight campers.

They’ll do hayrides [at some parks] and all sorts of special things with that—so it’s fun.

Imagine a hayride through your favorite park on a chilly winter evening while enjoying a festive light display along the way…and then ending the evening’s enjoyment with a craft activity or sweet treat.

We have a lot of cool arts and crafts activities that parks are putting on. And cookies and hot chocolate and wassail… I think we’re going to keep Santa pretty busy this year. He’s going to be making a lot of visits to a lot of our parks.

Find a list of events at texasstateparks.org/holidays; you may just discover a new family tradition for the holidays.

That’s our show… Funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Take a Walk on the Twinkly Side

Thursday, December 1st, 2016
Family at Kreische House during Trail of Lights.

Family at Kreische House during Trail of Lights.

This is Passport to Texas

Thousands of twinkling lights illuminate a quarter mile walking trail this holiday season at the Monument Hill and Kreische Brewery State Historic Sites in LaGrange.

The trail of lights is open to the public five nights during the first part of December. That’s December third, ninth, tenth, sixteenth and seventeenth, from 6 pm to 8 pm. And our park is decorated with lots of lights and different ornaments throughout the grounds. Kreische house is open, it’s decorated for Christmas. We have entertainment, refreshments, and Santa Claus is there for children to tell their wishes to.

Dennis Smith is park superintendent.

[It’s] just a really pretty site here. We sit on a 200 foot bluff that overlooks the city of La Grange–and see the night lights of the city. It’s just a really spectacular opportunity for people to come out and enjoy a great Christmas celebration.

Smith says the trail of lights is the perfect family activity for the holiday season.

Every year we have comments from families that say we’ve been coming out here for the last 20 years. Families that come from Houston, Austin, San Antonio–just to come back to the trail of lights each year. We see more and more of that as we go by, and are just really glad to see these families keep coming back with more generations of their families to help celebrate the season.

Find complete details about the tail of lights at Monument Hill and Kreische Brewery State Historic Site in La Grange, including entrance fees at texasstateparks.org.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.