12 Days of Christmas at the Dallas Arboretum

As I mentioned last week when I gave you the mini tour of my studio, I was invited to a press conference at the Dallas Arboretum last Thursday.  I was thrilled to be included on their press list and I'm guessing I got on their radar with my post about the fabulous Chihuly exhibit.  However they found me, I was very excited to get a sneak peak at this year's Christmas exhibit.
"Dallas Arboretum 12 Days of Christmas 2" - Dallas, Texas
The 12 Days of Christmas is a classic Christmas carol and the exhibit consists of 12 large gazebos, each one depicting a day in the song.
"Dallas Arboretum 12 Days of Christmas Rings 1" - Dallas, Texas
The idea began two years ago, with a little extra inspiration from the highly successful Chihuly exhibit, to create a large scale Christmas display that was as striking by day as it would be lit up at night.
"Dallas Arboretum 12 Days of Christmas" - Dallas, Texas
The team selected to create these 12 mini masterpieces is composed of the fantastic set and costume designers for the Dallas Opera.
"Dallas Arboretum 12 Days of Christmas Geese 1" - Dallas, Texas
I am particularly fond of the five golden rings because the colors are spectacular, who doesn't love a circus, and the depiction is rather unexpected.  I love that the rings aren't jewelry rings, but spinning rings on the noses of a bear and four large seals.
"Dallas Arboretum 12 Days of Christmas Rings 3" - Dallas, Texas
While the other displays are of more traditional images, they are no less spectacular.
"Dallas Arboretum 12 Days of Christmas Rings 5" - Dallas, Texas
"Dallas Arboretum 12 Days of Christmas Geese 4" - Dallas, Texas
Each gazebo is topped with a steeple housing what appears to be a back lit, stained glass window with the number depicted and a weather vane with the gift for that day.
"Dallas Arboretum 12 Days of Christmas Turtle Doves 4" - Dallas, Texas
The gazebos are all animated in some way, be it three spinning trees, a dancing bear, or a rotating bird cage.
"Dallas Arboretum 12 Days of Christmas Turtle Doves 1" - Dallas, Texas
At the press sneak peak, three of the gazebos were completely finished, lit, mechanized, and playing a variety of Christmas songs.  A forth gazebo was lit and being worked on, while the others were all hidden behind butcher paper.  You could catch small glimpses through the paper, like a Christmas present teasing you, waiting to be opened.
"Dallas Arboretum 12 Days of Christmas Swans 1" - Dallas, Texas
The three that were completed were the two turtle doves, five golden rings, and six geese a laying.  The seven swans a swimming was far enough along that I was able to get some great shots of it as well.
"Dallas Arboretum 12 Days of Christmas Swans 4" - Dallas, Texas
Now, I know you want to know when the exhibit is going to open...
"Dallas Arboretum 12 Days of Christmas Turtle Doves 2" - Dallas, Texas

The unveiling will be on November 16th and tickets have already gone on sale, so check your calendar and order yours as soon as possible.
"Dallas Arboretum 12 Days of Christmas Turtle Doves 3" - Dallas, Texas
The 12 Days of Christmas will be on display throughout the holiday season and will close on January 4th. You can enjoy the spectacle during the day or at night, or you can do what Janice and I did for the Chihuly exhibit, and go in the afternoon, leave for dinner, and come back again to see everything lit up at night.
"Dallas Arboretum 12 Days of Christmas Swans 3" - Dallas, Texas
Some fun facts about the exhibit:
"Dallas Arboretum 12 Days of Christmas Geese 2" - Dallas, Texas
There are 28,328 rhinestones on the columns of the 12 gazebos.
"Dallas Arboretum 12 Days of Christmas Swans 2" - Dallas, Texas
There are 55 mannequins depicting the leaping lords, dancing ladies, drummers, other and gifts given in the song.  And each mannequin's face has been hand-painted. Each of the 28 animals given as gifts was hand-carved, with an additional four made of fiberglass.
"Dallas Arboretum 12 Days of Christmas Rings 4" - Dallas, Texas
All of the costumes were sewn by only four people. The entire project took over two years to imagine, design, build, and create.
"Dallas Arboretum 12 Days of Christmas Geese 3" - Dallas, Texas

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