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Christmas is San Antonio’s most wonderful time of the year. Seriously. Strolling along the River Walk in a sea of twinkling lights * will put even the grinchiest of grinches in a good mood. The Museum Reach’s addition to the Alamo City’s holiday lights only increases the odds that your Christmas will be merry and bright.

Beginning at the Municipal Auditorium and stretching just more than a mile north to The Pearl, holiday revelers will enjoy an eco-friendly display of energy efficient LED lights that have been installed with an artistic flair, thanks to the folks at the San Antonio River Authority and CPS Energy.

The official kick off of this year’s River of Lights display is from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012. Besides enjoying the brilliant underwater lights and a dazzling tree at the Brooklyn Street Lock and Dam, you will also delight in live music along the way. Be sure to take a street-level peek at Providence Catholic School, all lit up for Christmas, on the north side of the lock and dam.

Plus, do NOT miss the Aphrodite exhibit at the San Antonio Museum of Art that is on display through Feb. 17, 2013. Admission is free on Dec. 1 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. (FYI: Admission is free every Tuesday from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m.) My husband, daughter and I saw the exhibit last week with guests from Dallas, and it is a stunner. Be sure to cross SAMA’s neon zig-zagged glass walkway while you’re there.

The Pearl is hosting its Third Annual Tamales! Holiday Festival from noon to 6 p.m., prior to the official River of Lights’ kick off, and VFW Post 76 at Tenth Street and Avenue B along the River Walk will have food booths and live music, too. So, here’s my step-by-step plan for you to enjoy this hap-happiest season of all:

1) Tamales (while supplies last) from noon to 4 p.m. at The Pearl
2) Aphrodite at the San Antonio Museum of Art at 5 p.m.
3) Lights and music along the Museum Reach from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
4) More live music (Latin Heat), food and perhaps a brew at VFW Post 76 at 8 p.m.

*The Christmas lights along the downtown portion of the River Walk have changed back to hanging, rather than wrapped, lights this year, but that’s a whole other post.