There’s no place like Houston for the holidays. Aside from being home to a multitude of gorgeous lights displays and holiday-themed performances, the city celebrates the season with foods and traditions from its diverse communities. Read on to find out about H-town’s diverse holiday activities.
GERMAN CHRISTMAS MARKET
Head north of Houston to Tomball for the annual German Fest Christmas Market. The three-day event features live music, street vendors, performers, and food. Don’t miss the jam-packed lineup, which includes a Santa appearance on Saturday. Admission is free. More information at tomballgermanfest.org.
WINTER WONDERLAND AT ASIA SOCIETY
Celebrate the arrival of winter with the hands-on family workshop Winter Wonderland at Asia Society. Learn about arts and culture in Japan and the Philippines by making crafts, partaking in a cultural scavenger hunt, and enjoying green tea, hot chocolate, and Asian snacks. The event is free for Asia Society members (registration is required) and $10 for non-members.
NAVIDAD VENEZOLANA EN FAMILIA
Singer Inés María Bravo will treat families to a concert Venezuelan aguinaldos – Christmas carols - and parrandas on Dec. 12 at MATCH. Head over and enjoy the music that connects Venzuelans with the holiday traditions of their home. The concert includes Christmas songs such as Niño Lindo and El Burrito Sabanero that will get the whole family singing.
MECA’S FIESTA GUADALUPANA & POSADA
In honor of the Virgen de Guadalupe, MECA will hold its Fiesta Guadalupana on Dec. 12 at 6 p.m. Enjoy pan dulce, hot chocolate, musical performances, and a night market with more than 20 vendors. On Dec. 16 at 6 PM, MECA will also host a posada, a community re-creation of Mary and Joseph’s journey to find shelter during the night of the birth of Christ featuring live music, a piñata and treats.
A LATIN AMERICAN CHRISTMAS
Stop by the Institute of Hispanic Culture of Houston for a Christmas Open House showcasing Christmas traditions from Latin America. The event will feature Christmas traditions, music, and treats.The open house will take place on Dec. 16 from 6 PM to 9 PM. Registration required.
HOLIDAY VOYAGE AT MATCH
Take a musical voyage around the world with the Apollo Chamber Players on Dec. 17. The Houston ensemble will celebrate by playing multicultural holiday music and traditions from around the globe at MATCH. The program features Christmas, Jewish and Kwanzaa- inspired music that the whole family will enjoy!
HOLIDAY SWEET & SAVORY TREATS
Who doesn’t love a good Christmas cookie or holiday sweet? 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.
You can’t have Christmas in Houston without tamales. Traditionally eaten around the holidays, these bundles of masa and meat are a must. 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 8.
At Mastrantos in the Heights, order a freshly prepared pan de jamón, a traditional Venezuelan Christmas bread, filled with ham, raisins and green olives. Minimum 24-hour notice required for orders.