Dave Ward's Houston: City deeply entrenched in holiday tradition each year

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Wednesday, December 26, 2018
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In Dave Ward's Houston, a history of how the city celebrates Christmas at its most familiar landmarks.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Holiday traditions and Houston have always been synonymous.

The city's most popular holiday traditions began in 1950, when the city's largest department store, Foley's, sponsored Santa's Ride from Union Station to its downtown store.

The following year, Santa's Ride transformed into a full-fledged Thanksgiving Day Parade, which continues today.

Just as popular were Foley's elaborately decorated animated holiday window displays.

Families from around the state piled into their cars each December for the drive to downtown Houston just to see these magnificent displays.

Foley's and its holiday windows are long gone, but today, Houston has an array of holiday offerings to choose from.

Moody Gardens' Ice Land features 2 million pounds of intricately carved ice sculptures, including a gigantic glacier ice slide.

For a fresh multi-cultural take on the holidays, check out the 20-acre, larger-than-life lantern festival at La Marque's Magical Winter Lights.

Houston's architects celebrate Germany's centuries-old holiday tradition of decorating gingerbread houses at its annual Gingerbread Build Off.

The Houstonian's Merry Mansions gingerbread display pays tribute to some of Bayou Bend's iconic mansions and estates.

To check out the real mansions decked out in their holiday finest, visit the Museum of Fine Arts Houston's Christmas Village at Bayou Bend.

Whether by car or carriage, plan a neighborhood holiday light tour. Whether it's River Oaks or Pecan Grove, no one lights up the holidays like H-Town and our surrounding communities.

All the creatures will be stirring as you stroll through the 15 decorated miles of Houston Zoo Lights.

Strap on your ice skates and pick your favorite venue, whether it's gliding around the 55-foot Galleria Christmas tree, or gliding under the glittering lights of downtown at Discovery Green.