I recently attended a media preview of the 12 Days of Christmas exhibit at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. They had three of the gazebos open for us to view and photograph. The Christmas carolers were singing beautifully which made the event even more festive.
Fun Fact: The carol 12 Days of Christmas evolved for over two centuries before being published in 1780 in England. Frederic Austin composed the traditional folk melody so commonly recognized today in 1909.
From November 16, 2014 to January 4, 2015, the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden debuts The 12 Days of Christmas, sponsored by Amegy Bank of Texas, a $2 million one-of-a-kind exhibit. The display features dramatically designed gazebos that are 25-feet-tall, each modeled after a day from the popular Christmas carol. The Dallas Arboretum commissioned The Dallas Opera and Dallas Stage Scenery—the same team that creates their elaborate sets and show-stopping costumes. All craftsmanship, aside from wig creations and bird feathering, has been done with local Texas artists, builders, craftsmen and vendors.
The first gazebo we saw was Day 5 – Five Golden Rings. The gazebos are massive. The beauty and intricate details go completely around the entire display, so no matter which side you are standing on, you are in awe.
At the top of each gazebo there is a number that displays the order of the Christmas carol. There is also a different wind vane at the top of each gazebo that represents that day of carol. For instance on Day 5 the carol calls for golden rings, so atop the gazebo is a golden ring.
Inside the gazebo there are four seals in a circle balancing large gold rings on top of their nose. In the center there is a white polar bear also balancing a golden ring. The gazebo lights up, the characters inside spin around and all the glittery details sparkle. Plus I can’t forget to mention the music that plays!
Fun Fact: In the carol, 5 golden rings refers to 5 ring necked pheasants.
The next gazebo we ventured to see was Day 8 – Eight Maids a Milking. Inside the gazebo it was sectioned off into four areas. Each area had one cow and two maids. The cow’s tail swung back and forth while music played. All the details were amazing, including real hay, old potato sacks and tin pails to collect the milk.
Having four different sections makes it easy for guests to gather around and see all the details without feeling crowded.
Finally we were able to see our third gazebo which was Day 2 – Two Turtle Doves. I think this gazebo was the most flashy out of the three we saw.
The turtle doves were perched on their bar spinning around in a circle slowly for you to view the 360 details. There were rhinestones from top to bottom in this gazebo.
Even the tassel that hung at the bottom was decked out in jewels. Everything sparkles with the lights as well and I know this gazebo will look amazing at night.
Each gazebo is spaced out among the Dallas Arboretum. Walking through the park while listening to Christmas music, drinking hot cocoa and snacking on some Christmas cookies would be the ideal way to celebrate the holidays with the family. Although there are so many details to see on each gazebo and the day time really allows enough light to see them, I would recommend attending the exhibit at night.
There is just something about being snuggled up in my winter jacket, wearing a scarf around my neck, enjoying the Christmas lights and listening to music outside that puts me into the Christmas spirit!
Fun Fact: The total number of gifts given during the carol The 12 Days of Christmas is 364. If your true love gave you all 364 gifts during the year 2012 it would cost $107,300.
Some more fun facts… these are about the 12 Days of Christmas exhibit at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden.
30,456: Wooden berries on transoms
29,137: Pounds of glass
28,328: Rhinestones on the columns
25,963: Pounds of aluminum in the gazebo structures and mechanics
20,000+: Hours of labor to build the gazebos
8,160: Square feet of rooftop
950: Sheets of plywood for gazebos and crates
536: Pieces of glass used to encase the gazebos, giving it a music-box quality
400: Gallons of paint
180: Yards of fabricto sew gowns for “9 Ladies Dancing”
55: Mannequins,each withhand-painted faces with their own unique personality
28: Hand-carved animals
8: Weeks to assemble the gazebos in the gardens
4: Fiberglass animals
4: People to sew costumes
2: Years to design and build the gazebos
1: Vision of Arboretum supporters Tom and Phyllis McCasland, to have a magnificent Christmas display for Dallas
…and a partridge in a pear tree
To buy tickets and find out more details visit The Dallas Arboretum 12 Days of Christmas.