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Grapevine, TX: The Christmas Capital of Texas

They say everything is bigger in Texas. When it comes to Christmas, cities like Wimberley, Fredericksburg, Salado, and Burnet all get a nod for spreading cheer across the Lone Star State. But no one does Christmas better than Grapevine. Here's what makes the Ho, Ho, Holiday come alive in the DFW suburb.

Hotel Vin sits at the crown of Grapevine's Main Street. It is an Autograph Hotel with welcoming class and nostalgia. If Grapevine is the Christmas Capital of Texas, Hotel Vin is the White House. Only, it's black and brown with copper accents, but you get the message. It is the place to enjoy refined luxury that's inviting to the whole family. Adults may enjoy a night cap at Bacchus Kitchen + Bar, the house restaurant named after the Roman God of wine. Holiday cocktails include Jack Frost, Sugar Cookie, Peppermint Patty, and Carl the Snowman. Carl the Snowman can be served alcohol-free as a fun and festive experience for the whole family. We chose that.

Carl the Snowman arrived to our table accompanied by a caddy carrying a saucepan, burner, and milk (or non-dairy alternative). With the "tick, tick, tick- boom" ignition of the gas grill, his fate was doomed. Carl morphed from snowman to a delicious cup of hot cocoa. Our server poured Hot Carl into 4 ceramic mugs and we sipped the sweet treat while visions of Christmas treats danced in our heads.

The vision I speak of is the vintage railroad that could be seen directly from our second-floor hotel room. Hotel Vin is located across the street from Grapevine's Historic Vintage Railroad. The North Pole Express takes over the train for the holidays. This longstanding tradition beckons passengers from near and far to aboard the train. Tickets open the last week in September and sell out within hours (so mark your calendar).

This festive locomotive takes a trek about 20-minutes out to pick up the Big Guy from the North Pole. While on board, Mrs. Claus serves hospitality extraordinaire with fresh chocolate chip cookies, selfies ("elfies") with passengers, a commemorative necklace with a bell. The train employs two conductors, one in First Class and one in coach. {Interesting side note: one of the conductors is a retired VP of Verizon who became bored upon retirement and has been conducting this train for 10-years. The other conductor was a former chef for the Four Seasons-- some serious talent, I'd say}.

Santa boards the train, a'hauling surprises: commemorative mugs and chocolate milk to kids of all sizes. Upon return to the station, passengers debark to a winter wonderland of artificial snow blowing through the air. They are escorted to Santa's workshop for a complimentary photo with Santa and 4x6" print.

On a sugar high from Santa and the Mrs' confections, your children and you may need supper on the fly. Cross the railroad tracks and you'll be at Harvest Hall, a melting pot of several restaurant concepts. Whether you have a hankering for Italian, Mexican, Mediterranean, Chicken & Waffles, or Gourmet Burgers, Harvest Hall has you covered. (We live in the ATX, so eat a lot of tacos and pride ourselves as connoisseurs. You can believe it, bet on it, and take it to the bank: the chicken tacos at Arepa are the best healthy tacos between here and Puerto Vallarta). The anchor of Harvest Hall is the bar. Try a holiday mixed drink special, or stick to what you know- for me Cuvaison chardonnay; for the hubs, Love Street blonde.

After a full day of shopping local at the boutique shops on Main Street (most open at 11am), riding the North Pole Express, and filling your bellies at Harvest Hall, you'll be ready to hit the hay. Hotel Vin is connected to Harvest Hall, so you'll just be an elevator ride away from your heavenly bed, vintage radio (I'd recommend tuning it to static to serve as a lullaby of white noise), and thick blackout curtains from ceiling to floor that will have the whole family sleeping like rocks through the night and well into the morning.

Hotel Vin is located at 210 East Dallas Road Grapevine, TX 817-796-9696. It offers Marriott Bonvoy Rewards and is among Marriott's Autograph Collection Hotels. Hotel Vin opened in 2020 and is proud to be Grapevine's only boutique hotel. Rates start at $250. Reservations can be made at

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