With social distancing and health precautions, this year’s holiday season may look a bit different than years past but Houston will still be celebrating in style. Aside from hosting an array of holiday lights and events, the city also celebrates with foods and traditions that reflect its diversity. Keep reading to find out how to celebrate the holidays with Houston-inspired foods and activities. 


It wouldn’t be the holidays in Houston without tamales. Traditionally eaten around Christmas in Mexico and other Latin American countries, these tasty bundles of masa, meat and love can be found all around Houston. The Tamale Stand at Arnaldo Richards’ Picos carries Mexican tamales norteños wrapped in corn husks and tamales oaxaqueños wrapped in banana leaf with various fillings. Stop by their parking lot or pre-order online for pick up every day through January 6. 

You can also swing by Houston’s Tamale Festival in the East End on Saturday, Dec. 12 from noon to 6 p.m. at Gulf Coast Distillers. This year marks the festival’s 10th anniversary and it will be held market style. For more choices, read Where to Find Holiday Tamales.

Holiday Markets

Houston and its surrounding areas are home to many holiday markets. Visit the Czech Holiday Market on Dec. 19 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Czech Center Museum Houston. You’ll find beautiful hand-painted Christmas eggs, Czech crystal, and Czech favorites such as strudels and poppy seed rolls. Plus, you can celebrate the Czech Advent tradition of Svatý Mikuláš, in which St. Nicholas, the anděl (angel), and the čert (devil) reward children who have been good with treats.

The Russian Holiday Bazaar at the Russian Cultural Center has a unique selection of gifts, including wooden figures of Father Frost and Russian nesting dolls – matryoshkas. Now through Dec. 31.

Latin Christmas Virtual Concert 2020

Every year, the Houston Latin American Philharmonic presents Latin Christmas. The program, which features Christmas music from various parts of Latin America, had to move into a virtual format this year. The good news is that you can watch the concert and sing along to classics like Mi Burrito Sabanero from the comfort of your couch. View the concert here.

Hanukkah Eats

Get ready for Hanukkah with expertly prepared eats. For all your Hanukkah provisions, Kenny & Ziggy’s has you covered with its Hanukkah menu and packages. Get your latkes, brisket with gravy, matzo ball, and more. Just make sure to order 24 hours in advance. 

Winter Wonderland at Asia Society

Travel – virtually – across Asia to learn about winter traditions and celebrations. This week-long program by Asia Society will be available on-demand starting Dec. 28, 2020 with pre-recorded sessions and activities from Korea, India, Japan and China. Participants may also purchase an activity kit with the necessary supplies for pick-up at Asia Society. Registration is required. 

Holiday Sweet Treats

Who doesn’t love a good Christmas cookie or holiday sweet? Celebrate the holidays by indulging in Houston’s many sweet treat offerings. El Bolillo Bakery is worth a visit at any time during the year but in December, you’ll find tons of delicious Christmas cookies and sweets to add to your haul. For Three Kings Day, look for rosca de reyes. 

At Three Brothers Bakery, visitors can pick up a variety of holiday treats, from stollen (German-style fruit and nut cake) to dipped cookies decorated for Christmas and Hanukkah. If you celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas, don’t miss the bakery’s Chrismukkah Cake.


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MECA’s Fiesta Guadalupana

In honor of the Virgen de Guadalupe, MECA will hold its Fiesta Guadalupana on Dec. 12 at 6 p.m. The evening includes musical performances and dances performed by MECA Ballet Folklorico. Pan dulce and hot chocolate will be served to those in attendance. Keep in mind that attendance is limited but anyone can tune in to watch the live stream of the celebration on Facebook. 

Make it a Staycation

Complete your holiday plans by booking a staycation in one of Houston’s hotels. View hotel deals.

Looking for more Houston Holiday ideas? See our Holidays in Houston round-up.