Plan some 2020 Christmas and winter holiday fun in Corpus Christi

Allison Ehrlich
Corpus Christi Caller Times

2020, huh? As the year winds down, you can still take time to have fun with the family and celebrate the Christmas season and other winter fun. Many events in Corpus Christi have been modified to allow for social distancing and other COVID-19 precautions, so don't feel like binge-watching Hallmark movies is the only thing to do in December.

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This list is continually updated throughout the 2020 holiday season.

The H-E-B Christmas Tree at the Water's Edge Park glows bright as the sun rises on Christmas Eve on December 24, 2018.


Visits with Santa Claus at La Palmera

What: La Palmera is offering two options for visits with Santa in 2020. For in-person visits in Center Court, there will be a life-size plexiglass holiday photo frame separating Santa and his guests, which will be incorporated into photos. Guests will also have the option of reserving a virtual online visit with Santa, which includes a recorded keepsake of the call. All Santa visits are by appointment only. This year La Palmera will not host separate pet night events, but visitors may still schedule pet visits (dogs and cats only) through the online reservation system during any available time slots. All pets must be on a leash or in a carrier.

When: Nov. 20 through Dec. 24; In-person visits are noon to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday; Virtual visits are 8-11 a.m. Monday through Thursday and 6:30-8:30 p.m. Sundays.

Where: La Palmera mall center court, 5488 S. Padre Island Drive

Cost: Photo packages start at $25.95; Recorded virtual calls $25

Contact: 361-991-3755 |

11th annual Christmas Tree Forest: A Reading Wonderland

What: Join the Art Museum of South Texas, H-E-B and the Junior League of Corpus Christi in celebrating the Christmas season with this annual tradition. Thirty school groups read their chosen award-winning childhood classic book, created related decorations, and trimmed their trees accordingly. After the exhibition concludes, all trees will be donated to families in need to enjoy during the remainder of the holiday season. COVID-19 social distancing will be in place and masks are required.

When: Open Nov. 21 through Dec. 16; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, 1-5 p.m. Sundays.

Where: Art Museum of South Texas, 1902 N. Shoreline Blvd

Cost: Admission is free for everyone through Nov. 30 thanks to a generous underwriting from Kleberg Bank. Starting in December admission is free  for AMST members and A&M-CC students with ID; $8 adults, $6 seniors (age 65+) and military, $4 students with valid ID, free for children ages 12 and under. 

Contact: 361-825-3500 | |

Holly-Days at South Texas Botanical Gardens and Nature Center

What: The South Texas Botanical Gardens presents Holly-Days at the Gardens with plenty of outdoor seasonal activities on Friday evenings and all day Saturdays into the evenings. Featuring a large, lighted Frazier Fir as a centerpiece, guests will have the opportunity for photos with Santa along with the resident macaws (by appointment only) and tortoises. New this year are hayrides and a petting zoo, and guests will also enjoy kids’ crafts, story times, caroling sing-alongs, evening s’mores and hot cocoa. Check the website for the schedule of activities.

When: Friday evenings and Saturdays Nov. 27 through Dec. 19. Friday hours 5:30-7:30 p.m., Saturday hours 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Where: South Texas Botanical Gardens and Nature Center, 8545 S. Staples St.

Cost: Free for members; $9 adults; $7 seniors (60+)/military/college students with valid ID; $5 children 3 to 12 years old; Free children under 3 with adult admission. Additional charge for macaw photo sessions and s’mores and hot cocoa.

Contact: 361-852-2100 |

Christmas in the Dog Park with Gulf Coast Humane Society

What: The Gulf Coast Humane Society invites the community to come out in November and December to enjoy their scenic three-acre dog park as it is turned into a winter wonderland for you and your pups. They’ve added more lights, more events, and an extra day of festivities every weekend. Enjoy movies, hot cocoa, raffles and more.

When: 6- 9 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays Nov. 27 through Dec. 20; 6-9 p.m. daily Monday, Dec. 21 through Thursday, Dec. 24

Where: Gulf Coast Humane Society dog park, 3118 Cabaniss Road

Cost: $5 per person Fridays; pay-what-you-can Saturdays and Sundays; Free children 12 and younger

Contact: 361-225-0845 |

Christmas on the Beach at Rockport Beach

What: Enjoy some holiday cheer and stay safe and healthy in your car by visiting this drive thru light display on Rockport Beach. Sixteen organizations participated to create a festive display.  As you drive to the circle at the beach, stop by the “Christmas on the Beach Welcome Center,” where volunteers will hand out treats donated by Copano Bay RV Resort.

When: Nov. 29 through Jan. 3; 6-9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 6-10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays (closed Saturday, Dec. 5)

Where: 210 Seabreeze Drive, Rockport

Cost: Free, donations appreciated

Contact: 361-729-6445 |

Harbor Playhouse presents ‘A Christmas Carol’

What: The Harbor Playhouse is pleased to present the beloved classic “A Christmas Carol” during the 2020 holiday season. Multiple COVID-19 precautions are in place including required use of masks, limited seating, social distancing between seated groups, and additional cleaning and sanitizing between performances. See the website for a complete list.

When: Friday, Dec. 4 through Sunday, Dec 20. 7 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 2:30 p.m. Sundays.

Where: Harbor Playhouse, 1802 N. Chaparral St.

Cost: $20 adults; $15 seniors/military/students (with valid ID); $10 child 13 and younger. Tickets must be purchased by calling 361-882-550.

Contact: 361-888-7469 |

Rialto Theater presents ‘All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914’

What: The Rialto Theater presents “All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914.” The Western Front, Christmas, 1914. Out of the violence a silence, then a song. A German soldier steps into No Man’s Land singing “Stille Nacht.” Thus begins an extraordinary night of camaraderie, music, peace. A remarkable true story, told in the words and songs of the men who lived it. COVID-19 precautions will be in effect including limited seating and social distancing; masks are encouraged but not required. See the website for the complete list of precautions.

When: Weekends Dec. 4-13. 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays

Where: Rialto Theater, 327 S. Commercial St., Aransas Pass

Cost: $20 adult reserved seating

Contact: 361-758-0383|


Aurora Arts Theatre presents Winter Mini-Camps for kids

What: Aurora Arts Theatre presents Winter Mini-Camps for kids. Campers ages 7 to 14 will spend three days learning various elements of theater that will spark the imagination and awaken the theatrical genius in all who attend. Interactive learning will help sharpen skills that will give campers the confidence needed to nail that next audition, play, or class presentation. Three sessions available with 20 campers per session.

When: Session I is Nov. 23-25; Session II is Dec. 21 -23; and Session III is Dec. 28-30. Hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with extended hours to 5:30 p.m. for an extra fee.

Where: Aurora Arts Theatre, 5635 Everhart Road

Cost: $140 per camper per session for regular hours; $210 per camper per session for extended hours

Contact: 361-851-9700 |

Annual Joe Salem Thanksgiving Dinner

What: The family of the late Mr. Joe Salem invites the community to partake in the annual Joe Salem Thanksgiving Dinner, drive-through style. Guests may line up in their vehicles in the Sokol parking lot beginning at 11:00 a.m.  Serving will begin after the invocation at approximately noon and continue until all the food is gone. Guests are asked to wear their mask, remain in their vehicle and volunteers will load their cars with their meals. Guests will receive meals based on how many people are in the vehicle, you must be present to receive a plate. Anyone wishing to volunteer should contact event staff and arrive at 10:30 a.m. with an apron and a mask.

When: noon to 2 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 26

Where: Sokol Corpus Christi Gym, 5502 Kostoryz Road

Cost: Free

Contact: 361-946-3395 for event information | 361-739-8706 or 361-331-2006 to volunteer

Vishal Raju Bhagat Foundation Thanksgiving Meal Giveaway

What: The Vishal Raju Bhagat Foundation presents a Thanksgiving Meal Giveaway on Thursday. When the annual golf tournament had to be postponed until 2021, the foundation wished to continue to give to the community. With that mission, 500 meals will be given away on a first-come, first-served basis in a drive-thru pickup. Meals include turkey and dressing, glazed ham, sweet potato scuffle, green bean casserole, a hot roll and pumpkin pie. The Vishal Raju Bhagat Foundation celebrates the life of Vishal Bhagat and carries forward his mission of fighting juvenile diabetes.

When: noon Thursday, Nov. 26

Where: Holiday Inn Bayfront Hotel parking lot, 601 N. Shoreline Blvd.

Cost: Free

Contact: 361-643-1546 |

Virtual Christmas Tree Lighting

What: H-E-B and the Downtown Management District present a live-stream of the lighting of the downtown Christmas tree. The broadcast will include performances by Clarissa Serna Band and a mariachi band.

When: 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 27


Cost: Free


A Drummer Boy Drive-In: The Christmas Tour with For King and Country

What: Four-time Grammy Award-winning duo recording artist For King & Country bring their A Drummer Boy Drive-In: The Christmas Tour to the Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds as drive-in concert. The band will be playing songs and Christmas classics from their brand new album ‘A Drummer Boy Christmas,’ as well as some of your year-round favorites like God Only Knows, Together, and more. Gates open at 5 p.m.

When: 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3

Where: Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds, 1213 Terry Shamsie Blvd., Robstown

Cost: Tickets start at $75 per car (maximum 6 people per car)

Contact: 361-387-9000 |

Drive-In Christmas Concert at Grace United Methodist Church

What: Grace United Methodist Church presents a drive-in concert featuring live music and blessings. Grace UMC's Resurrection Praise Band will be performing both Christian music and Christmas carols. There will be a prayer tent and a special blessing for all First Responders. Everyone is invited to come enjoy a night of music, prayer, and community.

When: 5-6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6

Where: Grace United Methodist Church, 14521 Northwest Blvd.

Cost: Free

Contact: 361-933-0109 |

Christmas Tree Forest Free Family Fun Day at Art Museum of South Texas

What: The Art Museum of South Texas presents a Free Family Day in the Christmas Tree Forest. Enjoy the community to enjoy that will include live entertainment, food trucks, art to-go kits and H-E-B goodie bags for children, and photo opportunities with holiday cut-outs. COVID-19 social distancing will be in place and masks are required.

When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12

Where: Art Museum of South Texas, 1902 N. Shoreline Blvd.

Cost: Free

Contact: 361-825-3500 |

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Allison Ehrlich writes about things to do in South Texas and has a weekly Throwback Thursday column on local history. Support local coverage like this by checking out our subscription options and special offers at