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Holiday Events

'Tis the season

Jordan Magaziner Steinfeld
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Discovery Green

SKATING SEASON Every winter, Kinder Lake at Discovery Green is transformed into an ice-skating rink. (Photo: Katya Horner)

Get in the holiday spirit at festive events in Houston and Galveston.

Houston

Mayor’s Holiday Celebration

Fri., Dec. 1, 6-8 p.m.

Hermann Square at City Hall, downtown

Admission: Free

Ring in the season with the annual Mayor’s Holiday Celebration and Tree Lighting downtown. There’ll be music, Santa, fireworks and a tree lighting. You are invited to bring a new, unwrapped toy to the Reliant booth; the toy drive benefits the Salvation Army Greater Houston Area Command.

 

Houston Symphony’s A Grinch Christmas

Sat., Dec. 2, 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

Jones Hall, downtown

Admission: Starting at $25

Kick off the holiday season with Dr. Seuss’ classic tale of the Grinch. Join the Houston Symphony and singers from local high schools. There will be a holiday sing-along.

 

Holiday Market in the Park

Sat., Dec. 2, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. 

Evelyn’s Park, Bellaire

Admission: Free

Browse gifts for last-minute holiday shopping in a beautiful setting outdoors.

 

West U’s Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Mon., Dec. 4, 5:30 p.m.

Community Building, West University

Admission: Free

Join the City of West University Place Parks and Recreation Department for the annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in front of the Community Building.

 

Heartmade Holiday Market

Main Street Square, downtown

Sat., Dec. 9, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Admission: Free

This winter market will feature artists, food trucks, a children’s imagination station, photo opps with Santa, music, a DJ and Christmas carolers. All booth fees benefit Hoof Prints and Heart Beats equine therapy.

 

Rudolph Fun Run

CityCentre, Memorial

Sat., Dec. 9, 8 a.m.

Race fee: $35

Wear a Christmas costume for the Rudolph 5k Fun Run benefitting Firefighters Helping Firefighters. Photos with Santa, face painting and breakfast tacos.

 

2017 Gingerbread Build-Off

City Hall’s Hermann Square, downtown

Sat., Dec. 9, 10 a.m.

Admission: Free to spectators

Competing teams will create gingerbread masterpieces. More than 4,500 are expected to cheer on the teams, enjoy the kids’ construction zone and visit with Santa.

 

Houston Ballet’s The Nutcracker

Dec. 10-23, Smart Financial Centre, Sugar Land

Dec. 30-Jan. 6, The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, downtown

Admission: Begins at $25

As a result of flooding from Hurricane Harvey, Houston Ballet’s home venue, The Wortham Theater, is closed through May. The Nutcracker will play at the Smart Financial Centre in Sugar Land and then at The Hobby Center.

 

Chanukah in the Snow

Chabad of Uptown, Uptown

Wed., Dec. 13, 6-8 p.m.

Admission: $8-15 adult; $5-10 child

Play in the snow and light the menorah in celebration of Chanukah. There will be Chanukah crafts, a dreidel prize wheel, donuts, a latke bar, drinks, snow cones and snow.

 

Moonlight Movies for Kids: Holiday Edition

CityCentre, Memorial

Weds., Dec. 13, 6 p.m.

Admission: Free

Watch Home Alone 2: Lost in New York at CityCentre while sipping on hot chocolate or cider. Houston Christian High School’s choir will perform a Christmas concert at 5 p.m. to get everyone in the holiday spirit. 

 

Houston Symphony’s Handel’s Messiah

Dec. 14, 15, 16, 8 p.m.; Dec. 17, 2:30 p.m.

Sugar Land Baptist Church (Dec. 14); Jones Hall (Dec. 15-17)

Admission: Begins at $29

Celebrate Christmas with a classic musical tradition led by Houston Symphony conductor Paul Agnew.

 

Christmas Village at Bayou Bend

Bayou Bend Collections and Gardens, Memorial

Dec. 15-Jan. 6, except Dec. 24-25 and Dec. 31; Sun.-Thurs., 5:30-9 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 5:30-10 p.m.

Admission: (Nonmembers) $15 adult; $10 youth; free 4 and younger

Bayou Bend Collections and Gardens will host carolers, a snowball area, a handcrafted model train, a trail of lights and holiday-themed tours of Ima Hogg’s historic mansion.

 

The Alley Theatre’s A Christmas Carol

Now-Dec. 30

The Alley Theatre, downtown

Admission: Begins at $28

A Christmas Carol – A Ghost Story of Christmas returns to The Alley Theatre with a re-telling of Charles Dickens’ story of Ebenezer Scrooge’s journey with three ghostly spirits who visit him on Christmas Eve.

 

Magical Winter Lights

Now-Jan. 2; Sun.-Thurs., 5-10 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 5-11 p.m.; Closed on Dec. 4 and 11.

Gulf Greyhound Park, La Marque

Admission: $21; $13 child and senior; free under 4

The festival features large lanterns shaped like landmarks and landscapes from around the world, cultural performances, food, carnival rides, entertainment, live music and holiday shopping.

 

Zoo Lights

Houston Zoo, Museum District

Now-Jan. 14; value nights: 6-10 p.m., last entry: 9 p.m.; prime nights: 6-11 p.m., last entry 9:30 p.m. (see zoolights.houstonzoo.org)

Admission: $11.95-19.95; free for 1 and under

The Houston Zoo hosts a wonderland of colorful lights, holiday music and animal sculptures.

 

The ICE at Discovery Green

Discovery Green, downtown

Now-Jan. 21 (see discoverygreen.com/ice)

Admission: $14 regular

Kinder Lake at Discovery Green is transformed into a 7,716 square-foot ice skating surface through Jan. 21. The winter art installation is Hello Trees: A Walking Serenade by Daily tous les jours.

Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens

ON THE ISLAND The Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens is a mile-long trail of light displays. (Photo: Photo Courtesy of Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau)

On Galveston Island

44th Annual Dickens on the Strand

Strand St., downtown Galveston

Dec. 1-3; times vary

Admission: Friday: free; Saturday/Sunday: $9-15

Galveston’s historic Strand Street will be transformed into the Victorian London of Charles Dickens. Characters from Dickens novels will walk the streets, and costumed vendors will peddle holiday food, Victorian-inspired crafts, decorations and gifts. Wear Victorian costume for half-price admission.

 

Cheer on the Pier

Dec. 2, 9, 16 and 23; times vary

Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier

Admission: Varies

On Saturdays in December, Santa will bring extra cheer to the pier. Watch holiday movies, enjoy festivities and rides. Activities at Santa’s Workshop 12-4 p.m.: photos with Santa, letters to Santa and cookie decorating. Holiday movies 7-9 p.m.

 

Holiday in the Park

Weds., Dec. 6, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Saengerfest Park, Galveston's Historic Strand District

Admission: Free

Enjoy a day of holiday tunes from area school choirs, bands and church choirs at the annual Holiday in the Park. Take photos with Santa.

 

Holiday with the Cranes

Dec. 9-10, times vary

Locations vary

Admission: $25-60

The annual birding event will celebrate the arrival of these large, majestic birds. Activities will be held indoors and outdoors around the island.

 

Cirque Joyeaux Noel Dinner & Show

Dec. 15-25, 7:45 p.m.

Moody Gardens Convention Center

Admission: $39-59 and up

Cirque Joyeaux Noel features a cast of performers from all over the world and includes acrobatics, illusions and comedy. This year’s show includes The Pompeyo Family and their rescue dogs, featured on NBC’s America’s Got Talent. Tickets include dinner and admission to Moody Garden’s Festival of Lights.

 

Santa Train

Sat., Dec. 16, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Galveston Railroad Museum, The Strand

Admission: $12 adults; $5 train rides

Santa is heading to town aboard Galveston Railroad Museum’s Harborside Express train. Visit with Santa, stroll through the Garden of Steam and enjoy holiday lights, decorations and crafts.

 

Santa Hustle Half Marathon & 5k

Sun., Dec. 17, 8 a.m.

Downtown Galveston

Admission: Varies

Hustle to the Island to watch thousands of “Santas” participate in half-marathon and 5k races. All racers receive a Santa shirt, hat and beard to wear while running and can stop at cookie and candy stations along the routes.

 

Downtown Lanterns and Lights

Saengerfest Park, Galveston's Historic Strand District

Now-Jan. 2

Admission: Free

Stroll through Christmas trees and artisan-made pieces as they light up Saengerfest Park. There will also be an interactive photo frame and giant snow globe for photos. (The snow globe will be available Dec. 9, 16 and 23.)

 

“Ice Land”

Moody Gardens

Now-Jan. 7, 10 a.m.-11 p.m.

Admission: $21.95-26.95

Explore a 28,000-square-foot “ice land” at Moody Gardens this holiday season. Ice carvers will use 2 million pounds of ice to create rainforest-themed ice sculptures and slides for kids and an ice bar serving drinks for adults.

 

Festival of Lights

Moody Gardens

Now-Jan. 7, 6-11 p.m. nightly

Admission: $10.95

The 16th annual Festival of Lights will include a mile-long trail of more than 100 sound-enhanced, animated light displays.

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