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Holidays in Houston 2013

  Holiday Roundup 2013

Performing Arts

A Christmas Carol - A Ghost Story of Christmas
Nov. 15-Dec. 26
A Christmas Carol - A Ghost Story of Christmas returns this year with a re-telling of Charles Dickens' classic story that follows Ebenezer Scrooge's journey with the three ghostly spirits that visit him on Christmas Eve.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
Nov. 16- Dec.21
The Herdman kids are the most horrible children imaginable. They are disrespectful, they lie, they even smoke cigars - they are every "decent" person's worst nightmare! So when they show up at church one Sunday and decide to participate in the annual Christmas pageant, everyone is worried, to say the least. But miracles come in all shapes and sizes when the Herdmans collide with the Christmas story! (Recommended for Kindergarten and up).

A Civil War Christmas: An American Musical Celebration
Nov. 29-Dec. 22
It's 1864, and Washington, D.C. is settling down to the coldest Christmas Eve in years. In the White House, President and Mrs. Lincoln plot their gift-giving. On the banks of the Potomac, a young rebel challenges a Union blacksmith's mercy. In the alleys downtown, an escaped slave loses her daughter just before finding freedom.

The Santaland Diaries by David Sedaris
Nov. 29-Dec. 31
Company Actor Todd Waite will reprise his role as "Crumpet the Elf" in the outlandish, and true, chronicles of David Sedaris' experience as a worker in Macy's SantaLand display. The Santaland Diaries is a hilarious cult classic, featuring comic encounters during the height of the holiday crunch.

houston ballet nutcracker
Houston Ballet's The Nutcracker

Houston Ballet's The Nutcracker
Nov. 29-Dec. 29
Set in nineteenth century Germany, the ballet opens at a charming Christmas party at which the mysterious Dr.

Drosselmeyer gives his little niece Clara a magical toy that takes her on an unforgettable journey. From the Christmas tree that grows to a towering forty feet in the first act to the cooks who fly magically through the air in the second act, The Nutcracker is sure to enchant audiences of all ages.

Elf the Musical
Dec. 6-22
Elf - The Musical is the hilarious tale of Buddy, a young orphan who mistakenly crawls into Santa's bag of gifts and is transported to the North Pole. Buddy is raised unaware he is human, until his enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. With Santa's permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father and discover his true identity. Buddy is sure to keep audiences laughing in what has quickly become a Christmas comedy classic. 

Dec. 7
This season the Houston Chamber Choir presents Messiah in collaboration with the RiverOaks Chamber Orchestra. Premiered in April 1742 George Frideric Handel'sclassic oratorio recounts the entire life of Christ, but it is the Christmasportion that has become a December tradition worldwide.

Christmas at the Villa

Dec. 14-15

Christmasat the Villa hasbecome a Houston holiday tradition. Thebeauty of the Villa de Matel and the sparkle of fresh carols and belovedfavorites combine in a way that has made this program a citywide favorite yearafter year. This season Houston Chamber Choir welcomes GRAMMY®-nominated guitaristand lutenist Richard Savino as thespecial guest artist.

Very Merry Pops

Dec. 13-15

Back again in 2013 is this much loved holiday tradition, with favorites like "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas," "Deck the Halls" and "Jingle Bell Rock,"plus the return of a special piece, "Glad Tidings". Guest narrators include spiritual leaders from throughout the Houston community.

Handel's Messiah
Dec. 20-22
Every year, your symphony brings you this holiday favorite, where you'll hear your favorite arias and choruses from  "Ev'ry Valley Shall Be Exalted", "O Thou That Tellest Good Tidings to Zion", "Rejoice Greatly", and the timeless "Hallelujah" chorus.Enhanced lighting will create an ambiance invoking the candle-lit style of Handel's 1700s.

Djembe and the Forest of Christmas Forgotten

Nov. 14-Dec. 22
This new musical fairytale takes us to the imaginative and colorful kingdom of Abahu where it's time for the Royal Christmas Festival (a 200-year-old tradition). Every year the Call of Christmas is followed bythe playing of the djembe (African drum).When a curse leaves the drum lost in the forest of Christmas forgotten, a fourteen year journey ensues to find the drum, save the kingdom, and restore the true spirit of Christmas.

Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony
Nov.29-Dec. 1

Beethoven wrote to a friend, "No one can love the country as much as I do. For surely woods, trees and rocks produce the echo that man desires to hear." The Pastoral brings you back to nature with its musical depiction of thecountryside, punctuated with sweet birdsongs, the first drops of an unexpected storm, violent thunderclaps and the joyous return of the sun.

The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical
Nov. 13-Dec.29
A Christmas twist on the original Stages' longest running show in history. It's holiday time down in Armadillo Acres (North Florida's premier mobile living community) and everyone's filled with warmth and beer. But when a freak bout of amnesia strikes the trailer park Scrooge,neighborly love is put to the test. Be on hand as Betty, Lin and Pickles jingle all the way with some new neighbors in an all-new, all-trailer-park musical. 

Venetian Carnival
Dec. 31
On New Year's Eve 2013, Ars Lyrica celebrates Venice and its carnival tradition with exotic music from the City of Masks. 

Holiday Festivals

Zoo Lights
The Houston Zoo transforms into a winter wonderland, filled with brilliant displays of colorful lights and festive holiday music. Sip hot chocolate as you stroll through the Zoo and take in all the awe-inspiring sights, including thousands of twinkling lights adorning the magnificent live oak trees, whimsical colorful projections over 15 feet tall, and life-size animated animal sculptures.

Nutcracker Market
Nov. 7-10
This year's market, will feature more than 325 national and international merchants carefully selected for their unique offerings selling gifts for the entire family-home décor, gourmet food, garden, clothing, novelties, accessories and more. All proceeds from the market benefit the Houston Ballet Foundation.

Junior League Holiday Market
Nov. 14
Don't miss the 11th Annual Junior League Holiday Market at the Woodlands Waterway Marriott. The Market will feature over 100 unique merchants selling specialty holiday items, home accessories, clothing, gourmet foods, jewelry and much more.

The Velvet Stocking Christmas Bazaar
The Velvet Stocking brings it's 32nd Annual Christmas Bazaar to the Webster Civic Center. The show has been a very popular event for holiday gifts and décor. 

Festival of Lights
Nov. 22-Jan. 4
The Gulf Coast's largest holiday lighting event features aa 100-foot slide, ice skating, and a mile-long trail of more than a million lights and 100 sound-enhanced animated displays sparkling over the beautiful Galveston Bay. Photos with Santa will be available nightly throughout the festival, and it will snow in Galveston every Friday night.

League City Holiday Magic
Nov. 23-Dec. 22
For the second year in a row, the entire community is uniting to bring the magic of the holiday season to League City resident and visitors. Holiday Magic brings together League City's people, businesses, government,  andservice organizations  to celebrate the spiritof the season and to benefit local charities.

8th Annual WHAM (Winter Holiday Art Market)

Nov. 22-24
One of Houston's favorite artists' enclaves opens up for a weekend of great shopping. The event will feature items made by more than 60 local artists including jewelry, sculpture, photography, paintings, clothing and more.

64th Annual H-E-B Holiday Parade
Nov. 28
Thousands of spectators make their way Downtown for Houston's signature H-E-B Holiday Parade with fantastic floats, high-flying hot air balloons, marching bands and costumed characters.

Uptown Holiday Lighting
Nov. 28
On Thanksgiving evening, thousands of Houstonians and out-of-town guests will gather along Post Oak Boulevard for the Uptown Holiday Lighting, an event now in its 26th year. This fun-filled family event will ring-in the holidays with more than a half-million twinkling lights; festive music; holiday characters including clowns, larger than life Santa's reindeer; a special appearance from Santa and a fireworks extravaganza. The holiday ambiance created by 80 brilliantly-lit holiday trees standing guard over Post Oak Boulevard will continue into the holiday season.

2008 Historic Houston Heights Holiday Home Tour
Heights Holiday Home Tour

2013 Heights Holiday Home Tour
Dec. 5-7
Celebrate the holidays with a stroll through one of Houston's most delightful neighborhoods. Tour homes reflect the rich architectural tradition of the Houston Heights, which maintains its small-town feel while located in one of the nation's largest cities.

Mayor's Holiday Celebration
Mayor Annise Parker will host her third Holiday Celebration at City Hall's Hermann Square. The annual event will include the Mayor's Official Tree Lighting Ceremony, music, a fireworks extravaganza and more. This popular event is free and open to the public.

Dickens on the Strand

Dec. 6-8
Bah, humbug! The 40th Annual Dickens on The Strand is a holiday festival, where bobbies, Beefeaters and the Queen herself will be on hand to recreate the Victorian London of Charles Dickens. Characters from Dickens novels walk the street. Food and entertainment fill the area with sights and smells that take you back to another era.

Heritage Society's 51st Annual Candlelight Tour and Park Re-Opening
Dec. 14-15
The theme for the 51st Annual Candlelight Tour is "Women in Houston's History". Enjoy decorated historic buildings, historic characters relating stories of the past, musical entertainment, Santa's Workshop, and holiday fare at the Candlelight Café.

Campfire Christmas
Dec. 13-14, 20-21
Enjoy a progressive Christmas dinner, music, hay ride, exclusive evening tours of the 1890s Davis Victorian Mansion and 1930s George Ranch Home and finish up with dessert around the campfire with the George Ranch cowboys.

Lasers Lights & Magic in the Park
Nov. 30-Dec. 31
Galveston's historicdowntown will sparkle with fun as Saengerfest Park is transformed intoa holiday spectacle for Lasers, Lights and Magic in the Park.Visitors to downtown will be able to enjoy free nightly laserlight shows, music and snow flurries during the holiday season.

Holiday Concerts

Christmas Concertos: MFAH in the Museum District
Nov. 30
Join Mercury for a festive Christmas repertoire, warming the heart and inspiring the spirit this holiday season. Featuring the works of Corelli, Torelli and Locatelli, this is a moving concert experience to share with loved ones.

How the Grinch Stole Xmas
Dec. 14
Music will tell the beloved Dr. Seuss tale of the grouchy creature with aheart "two sizes too small," his loyal dog Max, and their encounters with the merry and warm-hearted Whos. A guest vocalist from the Houston Grand Opera Studio will join a local high school chorus and the musicians of the Houston Symphony to take you into the world of Whoville.

Holly Jolly Symphony Spectacular with the Houston Symphony Robert Franz, Conductor
Dec. 12
For only the third time in 23 seasons, The Pavilion rings in the holidays with a heartwarming celebration that features the sounds of the season. Join in as The Pavilion is magically transformed into a Winter Wonderland! The evening's musical holiday merriment features the Houston Symphony performing holiday classics and popular carols.

The Rose Ensemble-And Glory Shown Around: An Early American Christmas

Johhny Mathis
Johnny Mathis- It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Dec. 15
Like Saint Nicholas, The Rose Ensemble returns to Houston for a joyful evening of glad tidings and good cheer. From Shaker hymns and Colonial anthems to ballads, country dances and shape-note hymns, this extraordinary performance highlights the early forms that will later give birth to bluegrass and old-time music.

The Brian Setzer Orchestra: Christmas Rocks!
Dec. 14
Brian Setzer is one of those wild geniuses who keeps the Earth properly spinning on its axis. Enjoy he and his orchestra's holiday stylings live at the Arena Theatre.

Johhny Mathis-It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
Dec. 19
Legendary recording artist Johnny Mathis returns to The Grand for an evening that will be decked with holiday favorites and his greatest hits! Last year, Johnny's performance was a complete sell-out. Joined again by comedian/musician Gary Mule Deer, you won't want to miss this year's "Wonderful, Wonderful" appearance!


Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service
Nov. 21
This annual service brings together leaders and members of many faiths to offer prayers of thanksgiving. All are welcome.A reception on the plaza follows the program.

2nd Annual Holiday Shopping Extravaganza
Nov. 23
Get your holiday shopping done early! Visit the 2nd Annual Holiday Shopping Extravaganza at the South Montgomery County Community Center. This free event will have some of your favorite brands as well as unique handmade items.

2013 TXU Energy Turkey Trot
Nov. 28
Move your feet before you eat! This competitive run or fun run/walk benefiting Sheltering Arms Senior Services. There will be a 10K, 5K and a Kids Run (>1 K) on Thanksgiving Day. New this year - Go the extra mile and fundraise for Neighborhood Centers and Sheltering Arms.

Tomball German Christmas Market & Festival
Dec. 13-15
Come and enjoy the family-friendly ambiance - Gemütlichkeit - of this unique music/street festival with three stages of live music and an open air market along with antique shops in the old town area.

Holiday Home Tour at Rienzi
Dec. 11
Get in the spirit of the season by touring Rienzi when the house museum is beautifully decorated to celebrate the holidays. Guests enjoy live seasonal music and a reception of holiday goodies. Stationed docents guide visitors through the house, highlighting the Masterson family Christmas ornaments.

Yuletide: Holiday Time at Bayou Bend
Nov. 21- Jan. 1
Bayou Bend is renowned for its annual Yuletide tradition which features festive lights, decorations, and Candlelight tours outside, and special room settings inside that bring historic American celebrations to life.

Additional Family Activities

ice at discovery green
Ice at Discovery Green

Ice at Discovery Green
Nov. 22-Feb. 2
Ice skating returns and its bigger than ever! Skate among the downtown skyline at Discovery Green's now 7,716-sq. ft. outdoor rink in the heartof Texas. Park-goers will enjoy a variety of family-friendly programming throughout the holidays, including concerts, movies and more.

Galveston Holiday Lighting Celebration
Nov. 29
The Holiday Lighting Celebration kicks off with the arrival of Santa Claus by horse-drawn carriage, performances from The Nutcracker, a hand bell choir, and Old-Fashioned Christmas Carolers,followed by the lighting of Hotel Galvez & Spa Hotel's iconic 35-foot Christmas tree onthe front lawn.

Christmas Cruise Along Buffalo Bayou
(Dec.6-7, 13-14, 21)
Join Buffalo Bayou Partnership in celebrating the holiday season with 30-minute pontoon boat rides along Buffalo Bayou served up with plenty of decorations, brightly colored lights, song and cheer!

5th Annual Gingerbread Build-Off
Dec. 14
Check out some holiday competition! More than 30 teams will create gingerbread buildings and structures with in a few hours to be judged byan independent panel of food, design, art, and architecture experts in downtown Houston's Market Square Park.

2013 Total Jingle Bell Run and Walk

Dec. 15
Get in shape and support a great cause during the 2013 Total Jingle BellRun and Walk in Downtown Houston. The event, which includes morethan 5,000 participants of all ages, benefits the Tellepsen Family Downtown YMCA Partners Campaign.

Bayou Bend Free Family Day: Historic Holidays
Dec. 15
Bayou Bend celebrates Free Family Day in the midst of the Yuletide celebrations. The event focuses on Historic Holidays in early America.

The 2013 Texas Bowl
Dec. 27
The 2013 Texas Bowl will feature a Big 12 team against one from the Big 10. The game is a post-season college bowl that is televised by ESPN.

Festive Hotels

Holidays at the Houstonian
(all season long)
Hundreds of thousands of lights sparkle throughout the property, as dozens of Christmas trees are decorated with ornaments, poinsettias, ribbon and lighted garlands.Monday through Saturday  from 6 to 7 p.m. in the lobby, holiday entertainment is provided by local organizations, from high school and church choirs to local pianists, bell ringers and instrumentalists. Cookies and hot chocolate are available for everyone. The pastry team creates several Gingerbread Houses to adorn the mantle in the lobby, each six feel tall and made of 325 pounds of a variety of colorful candies. A train continuously circles through the houses on the mantle.

Holidays at the St. Regis
(all season long)
Warm up this holiday with Afternoon Tea at The St. Regis Houston where tea service is a time-honored tradition. Experience legendary St. Regis Butler Service and delight in a traditional menu of petits fours, tea sandwiches, scones and Devonshire cream. For the little ones, there's the Teddy Bear Tea. Enjoy Christmas brunch and dinner, and ring in the New Year at St. Regis's New Years Eve Bash party.

Holidays at the Four Seasons
(all season long)
Enjoy S'More Funeach Friday evening at the Four Seasons during the holidays, with s'moreroasting and great drink specials on the pool deck. Kids will enjoy the Children's GingerbreadWorkshop each Saturday and this year the adults can have funtoo, with the Adult Gingerbread House Competition December 6.

Sunday Brunch with Santa at Hotel Galvez & Spa
(First four Sunday's in December)
Santa will make a special appearance during Sunday Brunch atHotel Galvez on Dec. 1, 8, 15, and 22. Children are invited to visit with Santato share their wish list and will leave with a special treat. Sunday Brunch isserved from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and was named one of the Best Brunches in Texasby Southern Living Magazine and voted as one of the Top 100 Brunches inthe U.S. by Open Table Users. Reservations are strongly recommended. Call409-765-7721 or make reservations via Open Table.

Note: Some organizations have not yet finalized their holiday plans. Please check back on this page for updates.