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10 Texas Christmas Traditions

Local customs help celebrate the holiday season

Christmas traditions vary from country to country, state to state and family to family, but all have the same purpose: to spread joy during the holiday season. While traditions like baking cookies and decorating Christmas trees are common across the U.S., every state, including Texas, has its own unique traditions. Here are a few Texas Christmas traditions you can look forward to throughout the holiday season.

Barbed Wire Wreaths

Keeping to our cowboy roots, we Texans like to make wreaths out of barbed wire. It’s easy and cheap since many Texans have spare barbed wire hanging around, and it’s already coiled up and ready to hang.


Turning to Mexican influences, many Texans plant poinsettias in their yards and give them to friends and family during the holiday season.


Another tradition influenced by our neighbors to the south, tamales are a staple Texas holiday food. Although many make their own or purchase from a favorite vendor, often the best ones are made by someone’s grandma.


Elaborate displays of luminarias—paper lanterns—can be seen across the state during the Christmas season. Some believe the lights guide the spirit of the Christ child to their home.


While many people aren’t fans of fruitcake, it has become an age-old tradition in Texas. Cooks on the frontier used to spend days drying out fruit for this dessert so cowboys had something sweet to enjoy after a hard day’s work.

Christmas Trucks

A new tradition in Texas is elaborately decorated Christmas trucks. Across the state you can find pickup trucks decorated with wreaths, antlers and Christmas lights. Many cities even host pickup truck parades featuring these lighted trucks.

Pecan Pie

Texas is well-known for its delicious pecans. In fact, the state is the largest producer of native pecans in the world. So of course pecan pie is a must-have dessert at the Christmas table.

Christmas Pyramids

Influenced by German culture, lighting a Christmas pyramid, or a weihnachtspyramide, during the holidays has become a Texas tradition. Illuminated every November in Fredericksburg, you can find a 26-foot-tall, handcrafted Christmas pyramid on display for all to see.

Barbecue Feasts

If you know anything about Texas, you know that we like our barbecue. Because of the warm weather in much of the state throughout the holiday season, it is common for Texans to spend their holiday time off barbecuing meats for Christmas dinners. Smoked turkey is a popular main course.

Cowboy Santa and His Longhorns

The last and most common Texas Christmas tradition is Cowboy Santa. Images and decorations of Santa Claus with a cowboy hat and cowboy boots can be seen throughout the state. And of course, Cowboy Santa uses longhorns instead of reindeer to pull his sleigh.