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PHOTOS: A 'German' Experience At The Dallas Arboretum Christmas Exhibit

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Keren Carrión
People watch the German Christmas Pyramid light up at the Dallas Arboretum, on Nov. 24, 2020.

The Dallas Arboretum opened two large-scale holiday exhibits that run through December 31.

Twinkly holiday lights are sprinkled all across the Pauline and Austin Neuhoff Christmas Village at the Dallas Arboretum. They greet visitors and spectators with warmth and seasonal joy.

This year has presented some challenges to Dallasites trying to plan for the holidays. With COVID-19 cases rising in the state and across the country, normal Christmas activities may be harder because of social distancing guidelines.

"Right now it's really hard to find things for the kids to do," said Dallas resident Scott Boland-Krouse, who came to the Arboretum with his two sons and husband.

The Boland-Krouse family has been coming to the arboretum for the Christmas activities every year since 2016 — making it a tradition.

Usually, Scott explains, it's something nice to which they invite their family from Ireland, but because of the pandemic the out-of-state family will not be coming to Dallas this year.

"It's definitely impacted our holiday plans," Scott said.

But the couple says they are still trying to make this Christmas special.

The exhibit, inspired by European Christmas Markets or Christkindlmarket, is an immersive experience decorated with German façades and shops offering everything from hot chocolate, to Christmas knickknacks.

The houses are spread out through out the garden and there's a limit with how many people can enter.

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Keren Carrión
People walk about the exhibit, where festive houses are lit up and decorated at the Dallas Arboretum, on Nov. 24, 2020.

Each house in the exhibit is themed and large enough so that several children and adults can enter at a time, maintain social distance and experience that particular business. They measure 16 to 19 feet tall.

"But this is a great activity," said Scott. "It's outdoor and the weather is beautiful. And the kids can burn off a lot of energy,which is great."

New this year is the handcrafted German-built Christmas pyramid, which measures 23 feet tall and is decorated with hand-carved elements, lighting and character movement on every level.

The tiny figurines move their arms up and down.

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Keren Carrión
A family attends the opening of the Christmas Exhibit at the Dallas Arboretum, on Nov. 24, 2020.

“We wanted to add another show-stopping feature to the popular Christmas Village, and this colorful Christmas Pyramid is that ‘wow factor.’ There is no other one like it in the world, and we invite many to experience the holidays at the Dallas Arboretum,” said Alan Walne, Dallas Arboretum board chairman.

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Keren Carrión
A couple sits on a bench and take photos together at the opening of the Christmas exhibit at the Dallas Arboretum, on Nov. 24, 2020.

During the day, children can learn from the portrayals of the shops’ interiors on its muraled walls, and have fun exploring these shops as they would a playhouse.

"I'm really excited for the market," said Thomas Boland-Krouse. "Growing up in Europe and I used to teach in German so I went to Germany over the holiday season a lot and this really feels like an acquaint German squares that I love."

The Boland-Krouse twin brothers, Spencer and George, were especially excited to see the German tower light up.

They ran around the arboretum, went into the shops, got cookies, ornaments and hot chocolate.

"What I like about Christmas are the presents that Santa gives," said Spencer.

"I like the hot chocolate," George said.

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Keren Carrión
The Boland-Krouse twin brothers, Spencer and George, pose for a photo in a sleigh at the Dallas Arboretum Christmas exhibit, on Nov. 24, 2020.
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Keren Carrión
A family sits in front of a Santa mural at the Dallas Arboretum Christmas exhibit, wearing masks during the event.
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Keren Carrión
The Boland-Krouse family attends the Dallas Arboretum every year, but this time was different for them. "We usually bring all our family to the Arboretum for Thanksgiving, but this year it's just us," they said.

At night, The Christmas Village shines with a holiday glow of lights strung throughout the trees and outlining the roof of each shop.

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Keren Carrión
The trees at the Dallas Arboretum are lit up with Christmas lights during the opening of the Christmas Exhibit, on Nov. 24, 2020.

Outside of The Christmas Village, a 30-foot-tall spruce tree awaits visitors, and visitors can continue through the garden to see the 12 Days of Christmas gazebos.

Although many plans have been canceled this tumultuous year, the Boland-Krouse family found some bit of joy among this exhibition.

The Christmas Village runs through Dec. 31.

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Keren Carrión
The 30-foot-tall Spruce tree, decked with Christmas decorations, is seen among the gardens at the Dallas Arboretum, on Nov. 24, 2020.

Alejandra Martinez and Keren Carrión are corps members with Report For America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.

Got a tip? Email Alejandra at You can follow Alejandra on Twitter @_martinez_ale. Email Keren at You can follow Keren on Twitter @kerencarrion8.

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