The holidaysthe time to create lasting memories and enjoy year-end traditions with friends and familyare just around the corner. Whatever your traditions arebaking special holiday cookies, attending church, or tearing open gifts with out-of-town visitors you may want to add a new dynamic to your festivities by attending some of the holiday events in Longview and Tyler, like the annual Christmas parade.

Studies show that traditions are good for everyonekids, adults, families, and communitiesbecause they establish a strong, stable foundation. When it comes to raising your children, these starting these customs will “connect them to the greater whole and leads to heightened empathy, a more fulfilling happiness and engaged citizenship,” says Diane Rockwell, Psy D, in The Huffington Post.

One study of family routines and rituals featured in an issue of the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Journal of Family Psychology found that family traditions are alive and well and are associated with improved marital satisfaction, adolescents’ sense of personal identity, children’s health, academic achievement, and stronger family relationships. 

We see traditions alive in our local communities, especially during Christmas time, when families attend the many holiday events  in Longview and Tyler—year after year. At Hospitality Health ER (HHER), we have started our own holiday traditions like participating in the annual AMBUCS Christmas parade and donating to one special cause like Blue Santa or Toys for Tots. If you’re looking for new ones of your own, here are a few of the many holiday events in Longview and Tyler that can become a part of your family’s traditions starting this year.

Holiday Events in Longview and Tyler Make Wonderful Traditions

Enjoy a Memorable Movie or Play Every Year

  • Ballet West’s Nutcracker (Longview, TX): 7 to 9:30 p.m., December 2nd – 26th: How about an annual performance of the Nutcracker as a new holiday tradition? Ballet West is presenting its retirement season of its sets and costumes, which will make way for a new, fantastical, magic-filled look in 2017. There are many time slots to choose from at https://balletwest.org/events/the-nutcracker-2016.
  • Elfis and the Sleigh Riders (Tyler, TX): 7 to 8 p.m., Friday, December 9th: Awaken an appreciation of the arts in your kids with a play at the ArtsView Children’s Theatre at 313 W. Tyler St. Tickets are $5 online. A children’s ensemble performs a story about Christmas at the North Pole. As a surprise, Santa Claus surprises Elfis the Elf with his very own band called, “Elfis and The Sleigh Riders.” When the band members are too angry to even talk to each other, Elfis reminds them of the value and importance of friendship and communication. In this classic rock’n’roll rendition of “elf meets band, elf loses band, elf gets band,” the message is the nurturing value of friendships. For more information, click here or email jrichards@artsviewact.com.
  • Tyler Public Library (Tyler, TX): 10:30am on Saturday, December 17th: Watch a classic holiday film with the family and members of the Tyler community. The library will also have games, crafts, and an activity tied to the lesson from the holiday film. Because the holidays are a time of givingnot just receivingyour child will be given the opportunity to pick out a book for a child in need.
  • The Liberty (Tyler, TX): 7 p.m. on December 1st, 8th, and 15th: There are just some movies you have to watch every December to get in the holiday spirit. At Liberty Hall, you can enjoy some relaxation time with other families while watching a holiday classic:
    • December 1st: A Christmas Story
    • December 8: White Christmas
    • December 15: It’s a Beautiful Life

Catch an Annual Christmas Parade

  • Christmas parade (Tyler, TX): 6 to 10 p.m., Thursday, December 1st: This free event is hosted by the Rotary Clubs of Tyler, TX.  Keep a family tradition alive by attending the 31st Annual Christmas Tree Lighting immediately following the Christmas parade at T.B. Butler Foundation Plaza in downtown Tyler. Dancers and musicians from local schools will be performing to keep the family entertained. Afterwards, catch a showing of “A Christmas Story” at the Liberty at 7pm.
  • AMBUCS Christmas Parade (Longview, TX): 6:30 p.m.- 9:30pm, Thursday, December 1st: One of the most popular holiday events in Longview is the annual AMBUCS Christmas Parade. This year, it will take place on December 1st at 6:30 pm in downtown Longview. Hospitality Health ER won the Best of Show Award in last year’s parade, and we invite you to come wave at us while we showcase our fabulous float for 2016. For more information, click here.

Participate in Christmas Activities for the Entire Family

  • 13th Annual Christmas in the Park (Tyler, TX) 6 p.m., Friday, December 2nd: Share some special memories with your children at the Children’s Park of Tyler located at 110 East Dobbs Street. It’s a wonderful tradition for many Tyler families! There will be Christmas carols and storytelling around a decorated Christmas tree, signature snowman soup, and an opportunity for children to make a Christmas craft. The annual Christmas in the Park provides an opportunity for families to spend a relaxing evening together preparing their hearts for the Christmas season.
  • Breakfast with Santa at Longview Museum of Fine Arts (Longview, TX): 9 to 10:30 a.m, Saturday, December 3rd: $20 for kids (no entrance for parents)  Have a holly jolly holiday breakfast with storytelling by Santa and Mrs. Claus, then work in some winter creativity with an art project for the kids. All funds raised by this annual tradition support the museum. Call 903-753-8103 for more information or click here. After you visit with Santa, your family can walk down to the Gregg County Historical Museum for a Living History Christmas open from 9am to 2pm. There will be a holiday train, blacksmith, and a holidays village exhibit – and admission is free! For more information, visit GreggHistorical.org.
  • Holiday Tea Room and Luncheon at the Longview Museum of Arts (Longview, TX): 12 p.m., December 6th-10th: Wives, moms, and ladies can start their own annual tradition attending the Holiday Tea Room and Luncheon every year. Take a break from holiday planning and enjoy some conversation, tea, and shopping with the ladies. Out of the holiday events in Longview and Tyler, this one is the by far the most relaxing for moms. The seated lunch takes place at noon from Dec 6-10 with tickets at $25 per person. Order tickets at http://www.lmfa.org/events.html. The holiday marketplace is also open Saturday from 10am-4pm.

Encourage an “Active” Holiday Activity:

  • Holiday in the Park and Bazaar (Tyler, TX): 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday, December 10th:  If you’re looking for holiday events in Longview and Tyler that supports your family health and fitness goals, this event will keep you and your kids moving, walking, building, and climbing. The event begins Friday night with live performances from local dance schools. With over 50 vendors on site, parents can enjoy holiday shopping while kids build a snowman in the snow play area. Make some crazy, fun memories while burning off energy at the Kid’s Zone with pony rides, bungee jumping, and a rock wall. Santa will also be there for photographs. Toy donations and robes for seniors will be accepted for the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program.
  • Jingle Bell Jog Fun Run and Walk (Tyler, TX): 8 a.m., Saturday, December 10th: This is Arts View Children’s Theatre’s third year of hosting this 5K fun run for a cause. Start a new tradition that is good for you and good for the arts: get some exercise, have fun, and help raise money to support the theater. Entrance fees will be used to keep the theater going. Santa will be there for photo opportunities. Learn more here.These are just some of the holiday events in Longview and Tyler. As you can see, our communities are alive and rich in tradition over the holiday season. Find a couple of these holiday events in Longview and Tyler to build into your winter traditions this year. We’ll see you there.Happy holidays!