Hayrides, S’mores, and Christmas Lights Galore

You’re never too old for pictures with Santa! Old St. Nick sits down with two jolly elves, Tammy and Shawn Mowles, during Christmas Light Fest 2017. Courtesy photo.


C’mon, friends, and let the annual Christmas Light Fest at Don Strange Ranch near Boerne, Texas, put you in the mood for the holidays.

It wasn’t quite sweater weather this weekend when I took an honest-to-goodness hayride through two miles of lights at the Christmas Lightfest. Yes, a bunch of us (grown-ups and kids!)  loaded up on a wagon of bales pulled by a tractor-driving cowboy. There were no jarring bumps, making the adventure safe for all ages of Santa’s helpers, and plenty of lights.

Oh, were there lights! Lots of lights. Red lights, green lights, red, white, and blue lights. Santa-waving lights, Rudolph-twinkling lights, and Blessed Baby-in-a-manger lights.

Two million lights.

My own little ones are grown, so I tagged along with friends and their young children. I loved hearing the gasps as we rode through curtains of twinkling lights and the excited voices as they pointed to Santa, the heavily decorated trees, the Texas flag, and, yes, a Christmas dinosaur!

(If you’re planning a visit and hay makes you sneeze, then note that you can drive your own vehicle through the lights at a gentle pace, allowing everyone to ooh and ahh along the way.)


Take a hayride through the Don Strange Ranch near Boerne during Christmas Light Fest. Photo credit Denise L. Moore.


After our hayride through the dazzling electric light displays, we returned to our car and drove to Santa’s Village for more wonderful sights, fun, food, pictures, Santa himself (of course), and a little shopping.

There was something for everyone in the nostalgic village: hot cocoa for the kids, coffee (or stronger beverages) for the adults, and snacks galore. Children decorated free sugar cookies while parents shopped the many vendors or grabbed a snack. There were fixins for s’mores, too! (One had to toast one’s own marshmallows.) For those who preferred to sit and watch, there were plenty of places for grandparents and other tired adults to sit and talk while the kids ran around.

Our crew of merry friends shopped everything from homemade soaps to clothing and Christmas collars and treats for our family fur babies. There were also one-of-a-kind, seasonal items with which to merrily deck one’s own halls.

Looking for the perfect Christmas card shot this year? Not only were there places to take family selfies but also one could hire a professional photographer on the spot. The line to see Santa moved steadily, yet still gave children enough time to tell Jolly Old Saint Nick their Christmas wishes and allow parents to snap a photo.

All in all, the light-filled Christmas experience was a great way to get away from the Big City hustle and bustle and out into the country. We had that delightful feeling of getting away without going far.

Sound like fun? Then load up the kids, pick up grandma and grandpa, and head into the Hill Country for a few hours of Christmas festivities sure to please everyone.

Story by Denise L. Moore


Explore More:

The Christmas Light Fest at the Don Strange Ranch (103 Waring Welfare Road, Boerne, Texas 78006 | Google Map It ) features two miles of two million lights and an entire evening of fun for everyone. For 2017 the event is open Sunday through Thursday, 6 to 9 p.m. and Friday through Saturday, 6 to 10 p.m., through New Year’s Eve.

This is a ticketed event; read more hereMilitary and First Responders get a $5 discount on each ticket. Read here and learn how anyone can get a discount by bringing a donation for San Antonio Food Bank.