Growing up in Richardson, the Spring Park neighborhood in Garland was the place to go for lights. Each street had it’s own theme, and almost every house was over the top with decorations. I haven’t been since high school, but I hear that Spring Park is still a Christmas destination.
Now that we have a little one of our own, we thought seeing the Christmas sights might be a fun activity to do on a chilly, overcast evening. Instead of heading to our old destination of Spring Park, we decided to head north to Plano to another, more recently popular, neighborhood called Deerfield.
According to the DHA, when Deerfield was being built, it was considered to be the “Celina” of Dallas with only fields and farms surrounding the neighborhood. To encourage buyers to come purchase the new homes in their neighborhoods, the builders set up a friendly Christmas light competition.
The 1st place winner would receive $5,000, 2nd place would receive $2,500, and 3rd place won $1,000. With only a few homeowners, winning was a very real possibility, so homeowners went all out! From people & pets dressed in costume to “snow” covered lawns using cotton.
Since everyone began owning so many Christmas Lights, the tradition continued long after the buyers discontinued the contest.
Located between Ohio (AKA Hillcrest) and Coit, just north of Legacy, you’ll find a neighborhood that really knows how to get into the Christmas spirit!
You can start your sightseeing on a number of streets, but my advice would be to start on Legacy and head north on either Archgate Drive or Colonade Drive.
Deerfield is divided up into 2 main sections with cul-de-sac’s on both sides. Make sure to use the main thoroughfares but visit the side streets and cul-de-sac’s for some up-close views of some beautiful lights.
Once you’ve reached Quincy Lane, head over to the other street and go south (either on Archgate or Colonade) to see the opposite side of the neighborhood.
There are 2 streets where the neighborhood has made a 1 way during the holidays. Old Pond Dr. and Hallmark Dr. are only accessible from Archgate, and are westbound only.
There are several main entrances to the lights, so your best course of action is to use your phone and pull up the Deerfield Homeowner’s Association Holiday Map.
Don’t Miss It!
The Highland Park Carriage Rides are amazing, and it’s something you shouldn’t miss out on, but if you’re unable to get a reservation, Deerfield also offers Carriage Rides!
Ranging in price from $145-$225 for 50-55 minutes, you can tour the best Deerfield streets via horse and carriage. Small carriages can fit 2-6 people where wagons can fit groups as large as 20. If you can get a larger group, splitting the cost makes it extremely affordable!
At the very tip of the Deerfield neighborhood at 4665 Quincy Drive is a home you won’t want to miss! Who better to put on a Christmas Light display than the owners of Gordon Lights.
Since 2007, the Gordon Family has been synchronizing their Christmas light display to music on a personal radio station frequency you can hear from your car. In exchange for being entertained, they ask that you make a small donation to Operation Homefront via a small box located near their sidewalk. So far, they’ve raised over $17,000 to date.
Warning: The Gordon Family’s home is located close to the entrance on Ohio and Quincy which often causes a backup of cars coming into the neighborhood. It’s also located right in front of a cul-de-sac which can make parking very limited. Be prepared to be patient if you want a great view, or get out of your car and view the lights while listening to the music out of someone else’s car. Chances are others will be doing the same!
I am not a very crafty person, but I managed to find some Christmas themed scrapbook paper I had laying around the house and left over ribbon from the Little Man’s first birthday party.
After a brief lesson on how to Modge Podge on Youtube, I was all set to make my 24 ornaments. Thankfully, I didn’t feel any pressure to make them perfect since emails had been going around about other people’s lack of craftiness as well!
Although there’s not a reason for me to do another A Meaningful Christmas exchange, if you plan on doing one next year, I have a few pieces of advice to make yours successful!
There’s a gourmet breakfast bar with a variety of foods including an omelet station. If you’re more for the lunch in brunch, you can head to the salsa, soup, and salad bar for starters. Then enjoy freshly made tamales, tacos, and fajitas, or more premium entrees like pork tenderloin, rack of lamb, and prime rib. . . And don’t get me started on the desserts!
Once we were sufficiently stuffed, we decided to make the long walk over to ICE and work off some of the few hundred calories we’d just consumed.
After years of standing in lines that last for hours, this weekend, we experienced a first . . .
We handed the attendant our tickets, walked straight through all the ropes…past the movie that’s normally the holding queue, and right to the booth where they hand us our parkas. For a family with an almost 2 year old, THIS was the way to go!
There was no attempting to entertain him while we walked 10 steps per minute. We didn’t have to fight a toddler tooth and nail to prevent him from running past all the crowd and into the exhibit. We just grabbed our parkas and walked straight on in!!
. . . And that’s right, I said run! Again, just as easy as it was to move from the entrance into the attraction, there was even more room to move around inside.
So much room, that when we got to the giant ice slide, we were able to ride it 3 times without having to wait in line!
A year ago, I kept telling Tim that I wanted to go to New York City on my 30th birthday. I wasn’t sure how it was going to happen, but I wanted to make sure it did. At the time, we hadn’t been on vacation since Hawai’i almost 2 years prior, and I thought NYC would be a great way to get away and celebrate!
Sometime around January, I then decided that I wanted to attend the BlogHer ’12 convention and it just so happen to be in New York and within a few weeks of my and Tim’s 8 year anniversary. So. . .change of plans, instead of bugging him to go to NYC on my birthday, I now wanted to go for our anniversary, and now, I actually had an excuse as to why we HAD to go!
Flash forward 7 months later, and we found ourselves repacking our bags after only being home a week from Maui and jetsetting off to New York. It was a whirlwind “vacation” and ended up being nothing like I expected, but I am still so glad we went.
|First night in town and we were already craving John’s.
Good thing it’s the “city that never sleeps” because we didn’t arrive at the restaurant until almost 10pm.
The most moving moment for me was when we sailed past 1 World Trade Center. The last time we’d visited was New Years 2007, and they were still clearing away a lot of the rubble and getting the foundation in place. It was amazing to see the building almost complete again.
|1 World Trade Center|
|Empire State Building lit up for the Olympics.|
Top of the Rock and NBC Studio Tours was probably the best part of the trip! We just had a great time wandering around the city, and taking advantage of the air conditioning.
I also continued the tradition of taking my unborn child to New York. It just so happened that August 2010 was the last time I’d visited the City and it was while I was pregnant with my first.
Christmas is almost here, and I could not be more excited! Having a little one around brings on a whole new feeling about Christmas. Last year I remember feeling beat down by everything. I was about 7 months pregnant, and Tim and I were both working full time. Gifts HAD to be purchased. The tree HAD to be put up. I really just wanted to the day to be over so we could enjoy our vacation and get everything ready for the baby.
This year it’s be a completely different feeling! I’ve had time to relax and enjoy the season. (It’s almost not coming fast enough!) I’ve been able to carefully think about gifts, and had time to shop early and order online. The gifts are wrapped and under the tree. We’ve even been enjoying our weekends by participating in some of the fun festivities around Dallas.
Last Saturday we took in the sights and visited The Trains at Northpark. The Little Man was memorized by the whole set up!
I can honestly say I was more excited on Saturday than either my husband or my son. I had no idea what to expect when we got there, but I just knew there was going to be something magical about taking your child to see Santa for the first time.
And it was so much better than I expected!
Originally we’d planned to go visit the Santa at Northpark, but decided against it after hearing the advice of some of my fellow mommy friends:
. . . arrive at 8:30am to pick up a ticket.
. . . go with someone who can wait in line while you take care of the baby.
. . . expect to wait at least 2 hours once you get in line.
. . . don’t forget that ticket!
As amazing as this Santa sounded, I have a little boy who’s having teething trouble and wasn’t napping. I definitely didn’t have all day to stand in line hoping he was going to cooperate, and didn’t want to waste a beautiful Texas Saturday doing so. Which is why we chose to go to the Galleria Mall and see their Santa instead.
We arrived shortly before 1pm, and found that he was going to be heading to lunch, so we decided to head downstairs and do the same. And I’d say this was the worst part of the experience. (Trying to find a table that was stroller friendly in the middle of a Saturday afternoon at the mall…ugh.)
After eating lunch, we headed back upstairs around 1:45pm, and the line was already wrapping around the little make-shift village. We grabbed our spot in line and waited.
At our last MoPS meeting, we were asked to discuss some of our favorite Christmas and holiday traditions. Pondering some of my childhood memories, I remember shopping with my dad for the right gift for my mom, opening up that one gift on Christmas Eve, and waking up bright and early to open presents on Christmas morning (often having to wait until my parents were awake).
Now that I’m a parent, I’m trying to recreate some of these same memories for my new family. Although my son isn’t old enough to understand the importance of Christmas, or even care, I feel that it’s important to start teaching him from the beginning.
Before December had even started, I’d already packed our calendar with new Christmas “traditions” I wanted to try. I figured some would be a hit and others a miss, but I wanted to make sure and try them all just in case they did work out; visiting Santa, the trains at Northpark, light-seeing through neighborhoods, even baking a cake for Jesus. I wanted our house decorated immediately after Thanksgiving so the Little Man would have the most possible time with all the Christmas cheer.
By December 2nd, I was starting to get slightly irritated as the outside lights hadn’t been put up, and the final decorations still weren’t up in the dinning room. As a matter of fact, our house still looks like Christmas threw up in our living room with red and green storage boxes everywhere!
Somehow recreating and starting new traditions turned into a frenzy and chaos. Irritated by no lights…frustrated by my inability to complete a stocking…annoyed at having to give up decorating to do laundry. I was quickly turning into an Ebeneezer as my holiday spirit had flown out the window, and I was sure the Ghosts of Christmas would arrive at any moment.
. . .which is why the handout we’d received at MoPS on Friday was perfect timing for me. I’m not sure if you’re dealing with the same holiday frustrations as I am, but I hope you’ll take the time to read this little note as a reminder as to what we’re celebrating.
|(Click to make larger if needed!)|