It's the most wonderful time of the year, and I am getting into the spirit of the season! Although we never expect to have a white Christmas here in Houston, Texas, Houston really does put on a great show at this time of year. With holiday performances, magical winter lights, and lots of opportunities to see Santa Claus and do some holiday shopping, we are ready to enjoy our holiday season close to home.
Read on to see our December bucket list for the CIty of Houston and beyond.
Zoo Lights at the Houston Zoo
TXU's annual Zoo Lights display is easily our favorite thing to do each year. Emmett loves seeing all the glittering lights, and if we're being open and honest, so do I!
River Oaks Christmas Lights
Every year, we make our annual drive through River Oaks to see the stately mansions covered in lights and Christmas decorations. From Nativity scenes to Santa displays to a real live Santa taking pictures with visiting youngsters, River Oaks residents know how to "make the season bright."
Lights of Pecan Grove
A new favorite neighborhood of ours is Pecan Grove in Richmond, TX. Last year, we drove through, but this year, we may splurge on the open air wagon ride that cruises through the neighborhood.
Galaxy Lights at SPace Center Houston
We wanted to get down to this last year, but unfortunately we didn't make it. So this year, this is one of my top priorities. This year, the interactive Galaxy Lights display runs each evening through January 7, 2024.
Every year, Discovery Green is lit up with magical lights displays. Check out the Discovery Green Events Page to see holiday events like Frostival and Skating with Santa at the Green Mountain Energy ice skating rink.
Christmas Village at Bayou Bend
Each year, Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens hosts their annual Christmas Village. We didn't make it last year but are looking forward to returning this year to see the train village and twinkly lights! Bayou Bend's Christmas Village is fun for the whole family!
Dickens on the Strand
Fancy a drive down to Galveston Island? Head to Dickens on the Strand December 1-3 for the 50th anniversary celebration of Dickens and his classic A Christmas Carol. This event features food, a holiday market, music, and even bed racing (yes, I'm serious!)!
Galveston Polar Express
All aboard! Take a ride on the Polar Express! This festive train ride from Galveston runs till December 23rd. Your tiny train enthusiast is sure to feel the magic, so throw on your pajamas and enjoy a cookie and hot chocolate on the Galveston Polar Express.
HOliday in the Gardens
While in Galveston, plan a visit to Moody Gardens for their Holiday in the Gardens, which runs from November 18 to January 6. Enjoy the Festival of Lights and a Rainforest Holiday in ICE LAND. Your young kids will love their ride on the kiddie train, and kids of all ages can try their hand at ice skating.
TOmball German Fest Christmas Market
Head north to Tomball, an adorable down that hosts German festivals throughout the year. Their Christmas market is designed to resemble the Christmas markets in German and really a fun experience. This year the market is December 8-10.
A Christmas Carol at ALley Theatre
This is a show we watch every other year. Head in to the Alley Theatre in the Theater District and enjoy a retelling of the holiday classic A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
The Ugly X-mas Sweater Musical At Hobby Center
The Ugly X-mas Sweater Musical is a fun new musical that takes place at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. Audience members are encouraged to wear their favorite ugly Christmas sweater and sing along to the familiar tunes.
Holly Jolly Holiday at Jones Hall
This annual kid-friendly show this year features Mandy Gonzalez from Hamilton. Emmett and I have tickets to see the show this year, and I am so excited! Holly Jolly Holiday is Saturday, December 23rd, at 10:00 or 11:30.
The Nutcracker at the Wortham
Another show we try to see about every other year is The Nutcracker Ballet at Wortham Theater, performed by the Houston Ballet. This is always a special treat, and one of my favorite holiday events.
A Motown Christmas at the Ensemble
Running from November 17th to Christmas Eve, A Motown Christmas at Ensemble Theater features Motown holiday hits by the Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, the Supremes, and more.
Very Merry Pops at Jones Hall
Get into the holiday spirit with Very Merry Pops by the Houston Symphony at Jones Hall. I can easily see this being a holiday tradition in the making for us.
Pictures with Santa at HMNS
Get your picture taken with Santa on December 3rd, 9th, or 16th, or have cookies with Santa on Saturday, December 16th at the Houston Museum of Natural Science!
A Berry Merry Christmas at Dewberry Farm
Make your way out to Dewberry Farm to cut your own Christmas tree and partake in all the festive activities at A Berry Merry Christmas.
Mayor's Holiday Spectacular at City Hall
Reliant Lights Mayor's Holiday Spectacular is the tree lighting of the season. It takes place at City Hall on Saturday, December 2nd, and will feature a 55.5-foot fir tree decked out in almost 100,000 lights.
La Centerra Tree Lighting
Because of its close proximity to us in Katy, this yearly event is one of our favorites! With live music, vendors, food, and the culminating tree lighting, the La Centerra Tree Lighting is fun for the entire family. La Centerra is the place to be on November 17th!
Energy Corridor Tree Lighting
The 2nd annual Energy Corridor Tree Lighting will take place at the Hyatt Regency Houston West on Katy Freeway on Friday, December 1st. This event features vendors, food, live music, pictures with Santa Claus, and, of course, the tree lighting!
Space City is hardly known as a winter wonderland, but there's plenty to see and do during December in Houston to get you into the holiday spirit. With a plethora of holiday events, live entertainment, and Santa visits, you and your family will find your holiday cheer in Houston!
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