Starting Sunday, Galleria Dallas will begin the creation of what has become the most iconic holiday visual in the state of Texas: the construction of its 95-foot-tall Christmas tree, the tallest indoor holiday tree in the United States. This year, the tree is getting a facelift, with new branches, ornaments and transformative lighting that will show dazzling animations on the tree itself. Setup begins on Sunday, Nov. 5, for the massive evergreen, which has been a fixture at the shopping center for decades.
It takes a team of nearly 50 of Santa’s best elves five days to construct the tree. After the massive steel frame, which weighs five tons, goes up, teams will work to install 717 new branches, each of which is essentially a 3’ to 5’ tree. The new branches are fuller than the ones used in past years, and it took 14,000 shop hours to hand-sew twigs on them.
The highlight of the tree’s new look is its lighting. This year, Galleria Dallas’ Christmas tree will feature new LED lighting by Twinkly that will allow for brilliant, animated and immersive light shows on the tree. This will be the tallest indoor Christmas tree Twinkly, an Italian-based smart lighting brand known for lighting the tree in The Vatican, has illuminated in the United States. There are 200,000 programmable LED lights on the tree, which will allow for animations that include dancing reindeer, Santa Claus and floating candy canes and holiday gifts that move across the surface of the tree.
The tree is topped by a 100-pound, 10-foot LED star that was the first of its kind in the United States. It will have new, dynamic Twinkly lighting as well. The tree will also have 15,000 new colored ball ornaments hanging from its branches.
“The holiday season has always been our time to shine at Galleria Dallas,” said General Manager Angie Freed. “The beautiful handiwork and visually stunning technology will truly allow us to create the biggest, brightest, merriest holiday experiences for all of North Texas.”
The tree will be complete by Friday, Nov. 10 and will stand until Sunday, Jan. 7. A time-lapse video of the construction of the 2023 Galleria Dallas Christmas Tree will be available on Galleria Dallas’ social media and via request Nov. 13.
However, for most North Texans, the finest visual of the Galleria Dallas Christmas Tree is during the center’s famed Grand Tree Lightings, which occur at noon Black Friday, Nov. 24 and Saturday, Nov. 25. These massive free tree lightings and skate shows will feature Olympian Ashley Cain and pairs skaters Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier, who won a silver medal in the 2022 Olympics. Nearly 100 students from the Galleria Dallas Ice Skating Center will perform whimsical group numbers. Then, the real celebrity arrives. Missile Toes, Galleria Dallas’ backflipping Santa who shoots fireworks from his skates, officially rings in the holiday season.
The show closes with a countdown and a pyrotechnic spectacle. The fireworks were added to the Grand Tree Lighting shows in 1993 and new features and improvements debut almost every year. But those fireworks require special precautions. For example, the colorful suit worn by Missile Toes took more than five years to develop and requires special flame-retardant protection.
Galleria Dallas’ Christmas Tree provides special holiday memories throughout the season. More skaters ice-skate around the tree than around the one at Rockefeller Center in New York City each season. And each year, many couples decide to pop the question while skating around the special tree. Several times each day, shoppers come to a stop to watch the Illumination Celebration, which will be an amazing sight to see when the 200,000 Twinkly lights on the tree “dance” in time to specially orchestrated music. The Illumination Celebration will occur daily at noon, 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. starting Black Friday.
The entire shopping center is bedecked to match the splendor of the Christmas tree. There are 44 palm trees lining Level 3 custom wrapped with an additional 50,000 lights. Ten additional Christmas trees (2 36’, 2 12’ and 6 9’ trees) throughout the shopping center are festooned with an additional 40,000 lights. Outside the center, the 30 trees along the Dallas North Tollway are adorned in 100,000 red LED lights.
Each day during the holiday season, Galleria Dallas hosts amazing free shows and entertainment. A full list of the holiday experiences at Galleria Dallas can be found at www.galleriadallas.com/holiday.