Family Traditions

What Silent Night? (Holiday Fun_2018)

“Rib cage, eyeball, nipple, throat,” I croak to Wes upon first waking up.

He sighs and grumbles, “nose, gut, mouth, testicle.”


This is the verbal exchange my sweet husband and I often have when we first wake up on the mornings that our 19-month-old ended up in bed with us, listing off body parts
that were mauled by tiny yet freakishly-strong toddler limbs and digits. It. Really. Hurts. However, what often pains me even more is when my swollen eyes make out the time on the clock across the room. Is that a 5?!  Is he really up for the day?!

On the plus side, these late-night attacks have trained us in more ways than we ever could have imagined.  We’ve learned the art of returning to REM after experiencing excruciating pinches and twists. We’ve developed body contortionist skills that make cirque-du-soleil performers look like beginning gymnasts just to avoid kicks to our groins and intestine. We can wake from a deep sleep to catch a determined toddler in mid-air as he tries to launch himself from the bed. And the greatest skill of all, which every parent I know has mastered, is being able to tackle the challenges of daily life with mini-humans on only a few hours of sleep.

In the past, I have referred to myself as a Mama Bear. It’s a title many of us relate to because of how fiercely we’ll protect our children. But I am now realizing that my Mama spirit animal is a completely different one: the giraffe. Giraffes usually sleep only about 5 minutes at a time for a total of 30 minutes per day. Plus, they are on their feet all day long! Sound familiar? Skip that Mama Bear nonsense; she gets to hibernate all winter. You, my friend, do not.


It is now officially the insanely busy holiday season. With so many parties, events, family traditions, in-law visits, shopping trips, and days without kids in school, we have to accept that a good night’s sleep isn’t happening until the new year. So, I’m going to toss out that cute Mama Bear shirt and matching red plaid pajama pants. Instead, it’s about time to find myself some animal-print sweatpants and ask my friend with that killer cricut machine to make me a “Mama Giraffe” shirt. My family has a holiday bucket list to attend to!


  1. Luminations at the Lady Byrd Johnson Wildflower Center (Austin): Dec 6th-9th, 6 – 9 pm… Gardens will be lit with thousands of luminarias and filled with music and festive fun. Plus, there will be performances by the aerial dance group, Blue Lapis Light. $15 for non-members, free for children 4 and under. (
  2. Emily Ann Theater Trail of Lights (Wimberley): Nov
    24th – Dec 28th, 6 – 9 pm… Stroll through over 100
    lighted exhibits, roast marshmellows, listen to live music, and visit with Santa on select nights. FREE, donations appreciated. (
  3. Johnson City Lights Spectacular: Nightly in
    December – Jan 6th… The courthouse and downtown area are aglow with thousands of lights. Local vendors set up tables inside and outside the courthouse. Carriage and hay rides are available for a fee. (–calendar.html
  4. Holidays in Gruene: Weekends in December… photos with
    Cowboy Kringle, free afternoon shows at historic Gruene Hall, gorgeous Christmas lights and decorations throughout the town, and unique shops to complete your Christmas lists. (

5. Make-and-Take Crafts (Dripping Springs Library): Dec 4th, 2:30 – 4:30 pm… Create your own holiday gifts, all supplies provided for free. While at the library, try to spot the Shelf Elf, guess the number of sweets in the jar to try to win a Kindle Fire, and don’t forget to bring hats, shawls, and throws as donations for the elderly. (

6. Holidays at the Oaks (Lakeway): Dec 6th, 5 – 8 pm … In the children’s courtyard, enjoy family fun with Santa & Ms. Claus, a s’mores bar with H-E-B, coloring contest and catering from Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, hot chocolate bar from Vivel Crepes & Coffee, ornament making, gourmet popcorn and holiday card making, and horse-drawn carriage rides! FREE but bring an unwrapped toy to donate. (

7. Christmas Movie Night at Austin Ridge Bible Church (Dripping Springs Campus): Dec 7th, 6 pm… Bring your chairs or blanket to watch The Star on an outdoor movie screen. Cocoa, popcorn, smores, and coffee will be provided. Suggested donation is $10 per family. ( ALSO, check this link for parents’ night out options through Austin Ridge:

8. Lost Pines Christmas Snow Day (Bastrop – Fisherman’s Park): Dec 8th, 12 pm – 5 pm, followed by fireworks and parade through downtown at 6 pm … Snow Day will have snow slides, snow play area, face painting, balloon animals, games, and food vendors. (


9. Holiday Cookie Festival at the Springs Family YMCA (Dripping Springs): Dec 8th, 9:30 am – 1:30 pm… Cookies, pics with Santa, moonbounce, games, face painting, and crafts. Free event but cookies are sold as a fundraiser for the Y. (

10. A Pioneer Christmas at the Pound House (Dripping Springs): Dec 8th, 9 am – 3 pm… Food, Wagon Rides, Photos with Santa, Make-and-Take Ornament Crafts, Story Readings, Live Holiday Bluegrass Music, Demonstrators, Shopping with Local Artisans, Re-Enactments, and Tours of the House decked out for the Holidays! $5 admission for ages 5+ (

11. Movie on the Lawn at Hill Country Galleria (Bee Cave): Dec 14th, 6 pm… Bring a blanket or chairs and watch The Polar Express. Free popcorn will be provided by Cinemark, and there are several restaurants nearby to grab an adult beverage or coffee before and after the movie. (

12. Frosty Fun at Founder’s Pool (Dripping Springs): Dec 15th, 12 – 3 pm … Swim in the heated pool, enjoy cocoa and cookies, listen to holiday music, and play in the snow. ($2/person)


13. Save the Date: Snow Day at the Science Mill (Johnson City): Jan 19th, 10 am – 4 pm… 20 tons of snow will fill the museum’s backyard. Tickets are $11 for adults and $9.50 for children 3-12. (

By Heather D.

I’m a wife and a mom of 4 amazing kids in Dripping Springs, TX (west of Austin). I had always been a working mom (educator, school administrator)until my last little guy came along. Now, I stay home and find a million ways to keep busy, including planning trips for my family all over the state, doing home improvement projects with my husband, volunteering a ton, cooking/baking, and working out. I'm also a personal finance enthusiast, and I love to share tips on saving money for families!
I’m always looking for more ideas for family fun and frugal living! If you find something really great that you think other families would love, please use the hashtag #drippingwithkids. If you want to see more of what’s going on in the area, follow me on Instagram at dripping_with_kids and/or on Facebook @drippingwithkidsblog.

I'd love to hear from you! What's your favorite thing to do in the Texas Hill Country?

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