Sabrina Meck Perez
December 23, 2021
The Holidays Highlight Amarillo’s Festive Spirit and Giving Nature
By nature, Amarillo is a close-knit community. This is a place where everyone is your neighbor, everyone is rooting for you, and everyone is invested in your success. And at no other time is that spirit more on display than the holiday season.
This is a special time of year in Amarillo that brings out the best in the people that call it home, highlighting their festive spirit and giving nature. And because everything is bigger in Texas, including the holiday season, we kick off the festivities earlier than other communities. Here’s a rundown of holiday happenings in Amarillo.
Ahead of Halloween, Maxwell’s Pumpkin Farm sets the tone with its Fall Days & Giant Maze, a family-friendly harvest festival that has everything from hayrides, apple cannons, and food vendors to activities, a giant corn maze, and pumpkin picking.
Meanwhile, Shi Lee’s BBQ and Soul Food went the extra mile for the children of Amarillo by hosting a trunk or treat. In addition to games, prizes, and candy, Shi Lee’s handed out winter coats, gloves, and hats that it had collected to kids in need.
Día de los Muertos
This Mexican holiday, which translates to Day of the Dead, honors departed family members. Altars known as ofrendas (offerings) are decorated with yellow marigolds and photos to celebrate the departed and invite visits from the spirit world.
West Texas A&M University celebrated with its annual display of ofrendas created by students and staff in remembrance of loved ones who have passed. Meanwhile, BSA Hospice of the Southwest held a Dia de los Muertos charity fun run with food, music, and ofrendas. And the Barfield hosted a celebration of life in its historic speakeasy, featuring Latin music, food and drinks, and a tribute wall.
While families and friends across the Panhandle came together in their homes to give thanks, Faith City Mission held its annual Thanksgiving Outreach, serving nearly 400 homeless people. Volunteers prepared a traditional home-cooked turkey dinner with all the fixings, including mashed potatoes, stuffing, rolls, and pie.
With about 1,300 nonprofit organizations in the Amarillo area, the spirit of giving is strong. No matter the season, our community is committed to helping those in need.
Small Business Saturday
People across the Texas Panhandle love to support our local small businesses. The Panhandle Handmade Market Shop Small Saturday in Wheeler, Texas offers an opportunity for shoppers to do just that. The event features amazing artisans from across the Panhandle, including designers, photographers, furniture makers, authors, and more.
The Panhandle Gives is nine days of charitable giving to support nonprofits in the Texas Panhandle that overlaps with Giving Tuesday. It offers worthy organizations the opportunity to maximize their efforts by reaching a larger donor base and earning Amplification dollars, an additional match above and beyond the donations collected.
This year, The Panhandle Gives raised over $5 million, blowing past its goal of $3.6 million. The total represents 660 charitable gifts to 173 organizations.
Christmas in Amarillo is truly magical, with the community coming together to celebrate and rally around those in need. There’s no shortage of ways to celebrate or help your neighbors. Some of the highlights include:
- Candy Cane Lane: For nearly 20 years, Candy Cane Lane – a stretch of several blocks on Gainsborough Drive – has been a seasonal destination. Brilliant light displays and holiday decorations line the street, inviting a slow-rolling parade of vehicles that come from far and wide to enjoy the festive scene.
- Eveline Rivers Project: Since 1979, this nonprofit has provided winter coats, hats, and gloves to kids in need in Amarillo and its surrounding communities. It now helps over 3,000 impoverished and homeless children stay warm.
- Northside Toy Drive: For the past decade, this charitable organization has helped spread Christmas cheer to families in need by collecting and giving away gifts to Amarillo children between the ages of 2 and 12.
- Maxwell’s Magical Christmas: Maxwell’s Pumpkin Farm undergoes a holiday transformation for the season, offering visitors the chance to enjoy a trail of lights, visits with Santa Claus, a lighted hayride, and a Christmas gift market.
- Electric Light Parade: This annual family-friendly parade in Center City is a holiday highlight, filling downtown Amarillo with festive floats and shimmering lights.
- Amarillo Symphony’s Happy Holiday Pops: This annual holiday concert features Amarillo’s finest musicians playing popular carols and magical classics.
New Year’s Eve
The historic Barfield hotel, Amarillo’s first skyscraper, will ring in the new year in its speakeasy with a festive soiree featuring 1920s elegance, including live music, dinner, drinks, and a balloon drop at midnight.
The Best of Amarillo
The holidays bring out the best in Amarillo, showcasing its communal spirit. Regardless of how well we know each other – or even whether we know each other at all – during the holidays, we come together to celebrate the season and offer support to those who need it.