Design & Décor, Holiday, Living with Style, Seasonal, Travel Notes


It’s Beginning to feel a lot like Christmas

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I was thrilled for many reasons to return to Texas this month for a talk and book signing at the magnificent sixty-six acre Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. But little did I realize that this event coincided with the opening of their holiday decorations. For one who adores this season of the year, the news was frosting on the cake. These wonderful images give you some idea of just how extensive this undertaking is and how romantically scrumptious it looks at night with more than a million lights throughout. Talk about getting in the mood for Christmas!

What first caught my attention (as one who loves “garden follies”) are the twelve 25’ tall glass Victorian-style individualized gazebos that are styled to represent the twelve days of Christmas. Each resembles a fanciful oversize music box with the most sophisticated animated mannequins and animals that move along with the music. And not to mention the Broadway-worthy costumes that dress these mannequins…from turn-of-the-century dinner gowns (below) to Scottish bagpipers.

And with lighting, the grounds turn into a festive wonderland (it’s truly difficult to believe that after Christmas these elegant gazebos are taken down and put in storage for the balance of the year).

Don’t you feel like a child again?

Which is your favorite? I think mine is the Polar Bear and Seals.

In addition to the twelve Victorian-styled gazebos, the Christmas Village, inspired by European Christmas markets, or Christkindlmarket, is comprised of more than fifteen charming shops and façades representing a quaint European hamlet.

Wonderful during the day, it is magical at night with lighted trees. On another note, each house is individually designed for the Dallas Arboretum.

A perfect complement to the Christmas Village, the Marilyn and Ben Weber Family Christmas Pyramid is an oversized recreation of the beloved Drehturm of European holidays. Twenty-three feet tall, the octagon-shaped structure has four levels illuminated by large “candles”; German artisans hand-carved the personalized figures and elements that provide character movement on every level (on the second level, six children each hold a beautiful flower symbolizing the Dallas Arboretum’s ties). It serves as the signature element in Pyramid Square.

Inspired? I know I am! So to Blenheim Palace in England and The Breakers in Newport, I can now add the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden extravaganza to my list of spectacular holiday eye candy. 

And I send a warm thank you to the ladies of the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens for the much anticipated invitation to speak at your 15th Annual “A Writer’s Garden Literary Symposium and Luncheon.” The proceeds support the development and maintenance of The Woman’s Garden, which is certainly another reason to make a trip to this exceptional American public garden overlooking a vast lake with the skyline of Dallas in the background.

Happy second of December…


All photos courtesy of, Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden.

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Bettie Bearden Pardee

About Bettie Bearden Pardee

Author of Private Newport and Living Newport, garden furniture designer (The Parterre Bench), national lecturer, and entertaining expert. An honoree for the second year on "The Salonniere 100 America's Best Party Hosts", she was also the host and creative producer of "The Presidential Palate: Entertaining at the White House".

7 thoughts on “It’s Beginning to feel a lot like Christmas

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this magnificent display. Typical Texas totally Overwhelming. How wonderful that you were invited to be there.

  2. Bettie, these photos are sensational. Eye candy indeed. What a treat to see such talent displayed. Thank you for sharing your experience with all. Happy, safe and healthy holidays. EE

  3. How absolutely delightful! Candyland for children and adults. Hope you have the merriest of Christmases. I still want to see your Thanksgiving feast table 🤩 Ruthie

  4. That is hands down the most beautiful Christmas decorations that I have ever seen in one place. So amazing in the photos, it must have been even more incredible in person. WOW. Unforgettably magical.

  5. Bettie,

    While “the Boys” are off hunting, I’m thoroughly enjoying yet another one of your beautiful posts. I’m sending it on to friends to enjoy as well. I look forward to the day when we can get together. You are amazing!!

    All the best,
    Zig Shields

  6. Thank you for adding to the holiday spirit in such a spirited way! Hope you sold lots of books. Incidentally, we’re traveling to visit friends and family in North Carolina, and I’ll be giving copies of your book to the people we visit. Wishing you and Rich JOY! Love, Sherry (and Tom)

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