Archive for the 'Christmas' Category

The Christmas Tree in Texas

Monday, December 18th, 2017
Christmas tree inside Sauer Beckmann SHS

Christmas tree inside Sauer Beckmann SHS

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 season. And if you do not, then it’s the perfect time to immerse yourself 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.

Still Time to Get State Park Ornaments

Monday, December 11th, 2017
Ornaments for the holidays or any days to celebrate Texas State Parks.

Ornaments for the holidays or any days to celebrate Texas State Parks.

This is Passport to Texas

State park users look forward to this time of year because new Texas State park ornaments are available.

For the last several years, we’ve featured three unique parks each year. This year we’re featuring Lake Arrowhead SP, Garner SP and Village Creek SP. Three very different parks from three very different regions.

Thomas Wilhelm, with state parks, says the American made laser engraved wooden ornaments include an iconic image associated with each featured site.

Each year we try to feature a historic site that has a Civilian Conservation Corps component…we [may also] feature either an animal or geography [on an ornament]. This year we’re featuring Lake Arrowhead because of the prairie dog town there. So, the image is a prairie dog. And we try to do an activity as well. So, this year Village Creek, we’re featuring paddling sports that happen there at Village Creek.

The CCC built dance terrace adorns the Garner SP ornament. Purchase ornaments individually or as a group. A limited number of ornaments from past years are also available.

Call our customer service center (512.389.8900) any time during the month of December, and they will walk you through the process, and make sure you get the ones that you’re looking for. It’s usually about a 10 day turnaround from order to receipt.

Find prices and additional information about all Texas State Parks ornaments on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

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

State Parks Offer Unique Holiday Fun

Monday, December 4th, 2017
Abilene State Park Christmas.

Abilene State Park Christmas.

This is Passport to Texas

Get to a state park or historic site this holiday season.

When we get to go outside and integrate holiday nostalgia and mix that with the outdoors and Christmas lights and food—it creates a really unique experience.

Thomas Wilhelm, with state parks, says forty-three sites have planned more than 60 holiday-themed events.

Our historic sites are doing a lot of period appropriate recreations of Christmas. We’ll have a lot of fun outdoors with decorated campsite events, Santa hikes, that sort of thing. We also have a lot of food themed events this year.

Such as a taffy pull and cookie walk. Experience other sweet events like A Very Marshy Christmas at Sea Rim State Park near Beaumont.

Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive by airboat, and hang out with the kids and take pictures. Lake Mineral Wells State Park, near Fort Worth, they are having their Cross-Timbers Cowboy Christmas. And they’ll have Christmas Cowboy Style. They’re having a cowboy poet come in, a cowboy singer. And they’ll gather ‘round the campfire. Palo Duro Canyon is having their Balloon Glow event in the canyon, which is a really unique experience. And they are collecting donations for the High Plains Food Bank, which is a great opportunity to participate in “the season of giving.”

Find all holiday events at

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

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

A Month of Holiday Fun Ahead at State Parks

Friday, December 1st, 2017
Enjoy a festive holiday season at Texas State Parks

Enjoy a festive holiday season at Texas State Parks

This is Passport to Texas

Texas State Parks have what you’re looking for this holiday season.

On December 2 join the festivities at Lake Casa Blanca International State Park in Laredo, for the Fourth Annual Christmas Boat Parade! There’s Music and games. Activities begin at 5:30 pm and the Boat Parade will begin at 7:30 pm.

Also on December 2, from 6 – 8 p.m. at Goliad SP & HS, Dr. James Lee directs the Beeville Community Chorus as they present a selection of sacred and secular Christmas music inside the old mission chapel.

On December 9th, celebrate an 1850’s Christmas at Washington-on-the-Brazos SHS. Explore the farm. Fall in with rowdy revelers. Meet up with St. Nick. There’s an evening service with a traveling minister and a barn dance, too. Reservations are encouraged.

December 15 from 6-8 p.m. enjoy a sparkly evening at Monument Hill & Kreische Brewery State Historic Site when you walk their1/4-mile trail of lights that overlooks the city of La Grange. Experience the 1850s era home of German immigrant H.L. Kreische bedecked in German-Texas Christmas splendor of the period.

In the Galveston area? On Christmas day join Ranger Lisa for 1.5 mile afternoon stroll along the beach. Look for birds, dolphins, sea shells, or the occasional $20 bill. It happens.

Find more events at

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti

How Early Texans Used Their Holiday Time Off

Friday, December 23rd, 2016
Saurer Beckmann Farm

Saurer Beckmann Farm

This is Passport to Texas

We have something in common with early Texans.

Christmas and the month of December—in large part—was the time when Texans gathered.

Cynthia Brandimarte is program director for Texas historic sites. Unlike today when a short trip by car or plane will get us to our holiday destination, travel was difficult for early Texans.

And so when you traveled, you tended to stay. People had time at Christmas to do that—to travel and spend weeks.

Which makes the few days that most of us get off at Christmas seem like a rip off. And early Texans made good use of this block of time.

It was then that they celebrated not only Christmas, but other special events, and planned weddings for the month of December.

Since Texas was mostly rural in the 19th and early 20th Centuries, and there wasn’t a lot of farming that could happen in December…

It almost gave 19th Century and early 20th Century rural Texans an excuse not to work. And thus to play a bit more, and socialize a bit more, than they had time to do many other months of the year.

How will you spend your time off this holiday season? How about making time to enjoy the great outdoors?

We at Passport to Texas wish you a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year…

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