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Holidays in Houston 2015

  2015 holiday roundup


Performing Arts

A Christmas Carol - A Ghost Story of Christmas
Nov. 20 - Dec. 28 
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.

Sister's Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of the Magi's Gold
Nov. 18 - Dec. 27
Denise Fennell returns as Sister in this holiday mystery extravaganza! It's CSI goes to Bethlehem as Sister takes on the mystery that has intrigued historians throughout the ages: On the night of that famous holy birth, what happened to the Magi's gold? Forensic tools in hand, and assisted by a helpful flock of audience members, Sister hunts over manger and under camel hump in her relentless search for the culprit. 

A Soulful Christmas
Nov. 19 - 22
This African American tale is the story of two children who are taken on a musical journey one magical Christmas Eve. Watch as they discover the rich history of their culture through music and dance. Join them as they go back in time and enjoy all of your favorite Soulful Christmas tunes, performed in the style of the artist that made them famous.

Houston Ballet's The Nutcracker
Nov. 27 - Dec. 27
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.

Panto Snow Queen: Unfrozen
Dec. 3 - Jan. 3
It's truly a winter wonderland, and Gerta's got quite the problem on her hands: Her best friend Kai has been abducted by the villainous Snow Queen! Stages continues its fresh holiday tradition for families with this playful mix of zany characters, toe-tapping pop songs, audience participation, and spectacular fun for grownups and kids alike!

The Santaland Diaries
Dec. 4 - 31
Company Artist Todd Waite reprises his role as "Crumpet the Elf" in the outlandish, and true, chronicles of NPR humorist and best-selling author David Sedaris' experience as a worker in Macy's SantaLand display. This compact, one-character comedy is a hilarious cult classic, featuring comic encounters during the height of the holiday crunch.

A Christmas Story
Dec. 8 - 20
Prepare yourself for the red-blooded, two-fisted, all-American Christmas in the holiday show heralded by the Associated Press as "a charming triumph infused with utter joy." In this clever musical adaptation of the 1983 film comedy, we follow the childhood dreams and schemes of little Ralphie, whose heart is set on getting one thing and one thing only for Christmas: the official Red Ryder rifle.

Very Merry Pops
Dec. 11 - 13
Back again in 2015 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.

The Christmas Revels: A Medieval English Celebration
Dec. 18 - 20
Discover the roots of modern-day holiday customs. Revels Houston’s 25th annual Christmas Revels transports audiences to a manor house in Medieval England for a family-friendly celebration of the Winter Solstice, featuring traditional Yuletide carols, wassails, play-acting, storytelling, a costumed chorus of all ages

Four Seasons' New Years Eve Jazz Gala
Dec. 31
The New Year’s Eve Jazz Gala at Four Seasons Hotel Houston features music by Paul English’s Little Big Band featuring jazz vocalists Elisha Jordan and Megan Stapleton. The black-tie event will feature a variety of interactive courses ranging from live-action stations and sharing style plates to table-side and plated courses. 

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Holiday Festivals

Nutcracker Market
Nov. 12 - 15

This year's market, will feature more than 300 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.

Festival of Lights
Nov. 14 - Jan. 10
The Gulf Coast's largest holiday lighting event features a 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.

Zoo Lights
Nov. 20 - Jan. 9
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.

Magical Winter Lights
Nov. 20 - Jan. 10
The 2015 Magical Winter Lights will debut in Houston this winter from November 20, 2015 to January 10, 2016 at the Sam Houston Race Park. The 52-day festival will become the largest holiday light festival in Houston, and the largest lantern festival of its kind to ever take place in the U.S.

10th Annual WHAM (Winter Holiday Art Market) 
Nov. 20 - 22
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.

66th Annual H-E-B Holiday Parade 
Nov. 26
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. 27
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 28th year. This fun-filled family event will ring-in the holidays with more than a half-million twinkling lights on 80 brilliantly-lit holiday trees; festive music; holiday characters including clowns, larger than life Santa's reindeer; a special appearance from Santa and a fireworks extravaganza. 

Pop Show Houston Holiday Festival
Nov. 27 - 29
It's an annual tradition. Shop from local and indie makers for the holidays. Pop Shop Houston Holiday Festival features an array of art, products, design items, vintage and antiques in a fun setting.

Mayor's Holiday Celebration
Dec. 4
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.

Holiday on 19th Street
Dec. 4
The 19th Street Merchants proudly invite you to this year's Holiday on 19th. Shop, sip, and stroll with family and friends to enjoy the merriment of the season with music, food and more.

Dickens on the Strand
Dec. 4 - 6
Bah, humbug! The 42nd 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.

Dec. 5
The 3rd Annual Galveston County Fair & Rodeo WinterFest will return Saturday, December 5, 2015 and snow, Santa and mutton bustin action will be part of this year’s holiday fun.

Chanukah Fest​
Dec. 6
The City of Houston co-sponsors Chanukah Fest 2015 in front of City Hall. Highlights include a Live Concert by the 8th Day Band from California, Live Entertainment shows, Fireworks, dozens of super-fun activities for kids and adults, a dazzling Food Quarter, Judah the Maccabee Live Statue & Dreidel Mascot, and so much more.

Tomball German Christmas Market & Festival
Dec. 11 - 13
German Christmas Market & Festival Weihnachtsmarkt Texas Style - Free Admission, Parking, and Shuttle Herzlich Willkommen! It's a Texas German celebration on the old downtown streets of Tomball, Texas. You don't have to be German to enjoy this festival!

Holiday Tree Lighting and Kwanzaa Celebration
Dec. 12
Saturday, December 12th, Council Member Dwight Boykins host the 2nd Annual Holiday Tree Lighting & Kwanzaa Celebration on Almeda. Festivities will begin at 4 p.m. with live music, a one-of-a-kind fashion show and an interactive Kwanzaa Village.

Heritage Society's Annual Candlelight Tour
Dec. 12 - 13
Step back in time and tour eight of Houston's oldest historic homes, trimmed to perfection in traditional 19th century décor. Children may also visit with Santa, enjoy a holiday story reading from historic characters and make crafts at Santa's Workshop.

Campfire Christmas 
Dec. 11 & 12, 18 & 19
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.

Houston First Presents New Year’s Eve
Dec. 31
Tease up your beehive and throw on your post-punk thrift store duds to ring in 2016 with the B52’s, as Houston FirstSM Presents New Year’s Eve. The “world’s greatest party band” will bring their timeless hits and infectious party music to the city’s fun-filled, free and family-friendly night of celebration throughout Houston’s Theater District.

Ice Land: Ice Sculptures with Sponge Bob Square Pants
Nov. 14 - Jan. 10
Moody Gardens and Nickelodeon have come together to create the Gulf Coast's only holiday ice sculpture attraction featuring the world-renowned underwater characters from Nickelodeon's SpongeBob SquarePants. 

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Holiday Concerts

Holly Jolly Jingle
Dec. 3
Frolic in our Winter Wonderland, complete with snow, with performances of holiday classics and popular carols. The plazas are all decked out for holiday fun. Guests can visit with Santa, Frosty and other holiday characters, make arts and crafts, play in the snow, listen to carolers sing and much more. All aboard for a ride on the Candy Cane Express for a merry good time.

Christmas Celebration at MFAH
Dec. 5
There's no better way to ring in your Holiday season than experiencing a beautiful holiday concert with family and friends. Young countertenor Ray Chenez - whom Opera Britannia raves "oozes [with] potential" - joins Mercury for works by Vivaldi, perfectly paired with familiar carols for the season.

ROCO Connections: Yuletide Brass
Dec. 7
ROCO's traditional holiday celebration at Bayou Bend features The ROCO Brass Quintet.

The Hot Sardines' Holiday Stomp
Dec. 10
Without a doubt, one of the highlights of the Christmas performance season will occur when New York City's Hot Sardines performs its Holiday Stomp - a "hot jazz" performance that gives voice to the history-defining jazz of the 1920s, 30s and 40s. The program will include "White Christmas," "Le Noël de la Rue," "Mele Kelikimaka," "Please Come Home for Christmas" and more!

A Frosty & Frozen Christmas
Dec. 12
Bundle up! Temperatures are dropping in a decked-out Jones Hall as we celebrate the magic of the holiday season, including a special guest who may drop by to partake in the festive fun. Sing along to "Frosty the Snowman," and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," and rejoice in Queen Elsa's reflective personal journey "Let it Go" from Disney's Frozen. 

Christmas at the Villa
Dec. 12 - 13
A tradition for many Houstonians, Christmas at the Villa is a joyful celebration bringing together fresh carols and seasonal favorites. Returning to join the Chamber Choir for its matinee performances is The Treble Choir of Houston under the direction of Marianna Parnas-Simpson, fresh from their successful Carnegie Hall debut.

Handel's Messiah
Dec. 18 - 20
Every year, the Houston 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.  

Ars Lyrica New Year's Eve
Dec. 31
New Year's Eve 2015 brings a star-studded evening with music that is by turns hot and cold. Vivaldi's Winter sets the stage for Handel's Apollo e Dafne, which tells the story of too-ardent love and a unique transformation. This very special evening begins with dinner at 7:30 pm in the Sarofim Hall Grand Lobby and continues in Zilkha Hall with the program at 9 pm. 

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Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service 
Nov. 19
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.

2015 TXU Energy Turkey Trot 
Nov. 26
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. 

Alvin Christmas Train
Dec.4 - 23
The train ride is a unique experience through over 300,000 lights and hundreds of Christmas decorations. Colorful gingerbread villages, penguin snow lands and life size storybook illustrations are all some of the scenes you and your family will experience along the way.

2015 Heights Holiday Home Tour
Dec. 4 - 5
Deck the Heights! The Houston Heights Association Holiday Home Tour will include Friday and Saturday tours of five unique Houston Heights homes along with docents who will comment on the rich historical and architectural significance and unique holiday decor of each home.

Phoenicia Specialty Foods’ Yummy Wonderland
Dec. 12
Celebrate global customs and cuisines under one festive roof at Phoenicia Specialty Foods, Saturday, December 12th, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at YUMMY! Wonderland. Bring the family to Phoenicia’s downtown location and enjoy a day full of food, crafts, live musical performances and shopping. 

Bayou Bend Family Day: Festive Traditions
Dec. 20
An amazing day of fun and entertainment awaits visitors at Bayou Bend Family Days. Activities, music, demonstrations, performances, craft workshops, giveaways, and more abound throughout the home and gardens. Enjoy tours of the first floor of the house, hosted by volunteers from Houston Junior Woman's Club.

Meet Santa's Reindeer!
Nov. 28 and Dec. 20
One of Santa’s reindeer has taken a wild turn to the Children’s Museum of Houston before his big journey around the world! Come hear the sleigh bells jingle-ing when the Children’s Museum of Houston hosts a live reindeer.

Winter Break at the Museum
Dec. 22 - Jan. 3
This winter break, join the family fun as you explore a lifetime of art created by renowned artist Mark Rothko. Sketch Rothko's masterpieces in the galleries, then step into the pop-up studio and create your own work of art inspired by the twisting, winding, and organic imagery Rothko created using the technique of automatic drawing. 

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Additional Family Activities

The Galleria's 27th Annual Ice Spectacular 
Nov. 14 
The 27th Annual Ice Spectacular at The Galleria will kick off the holiday season with the lighting of its 55-foot Christmas tree, featuring 450,000 twinkling lights and 5,000 ornaments in a variety of colors and shapes. The 45-minute tree-lighting show will feature a performance by Kree Harrison, American Idol Season 12 Finalist and dynamic ice routines by five popular professional skaters.

Ice at Discovery Green
Nov. 24- Feb. 7
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 heart of Texas. Park-goers will enjoy a variety of family-friendly programming throughout the holidays, including concerts, movies and more.

Nov. 24
Winter arrives with a park-wide celebration! Featuring Reverend Butter, Juan Carlos, the Montrose Rollerblader, live music, ice skating, ice sculptures and more.

Galveston Holiday Lighting Celebration
Nov. 27
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 on the front lawn.

Houston Symphony: Home Alone Film with Live Orchestra
Dec. 4
Give your holiday a little laughter with Home Alone, the beloved comedy favorite featuring renowned composer John Williams' charming and delightful score performed live to picture. Macaulay Culkin stars as Kevin McCallister, an 8-year-old boy who's accidentally left behind when his family leaves for Christmas vacation, and who must defend his home against two bungling thieves. 

Alvin Christmas Train
Dec. 4 - Dec. 23
The train ride is a unique experience through over 300,000 lights and hundreds of Christmas decorations. Colorful gingerbread villages, penguin snow lands and life size storybook illustrations are all some of the scenes you and your family will experience along the way.

Christmas in the Park at George Ranch
Dec. 6 - 31
Ever wondered how the first settlers in Texas celebrated Christmas? Ever wanted to take a sneak peek into a Victorian home decorated in full Christmas regalia? Now is your chance! Through December, George Ranch Historical Park will explore special holiday traditions that evolved over a 100 years.

7th Annual Gingerbread Build-Off 
Dec. 13
Check out some holiday competition! More than 30 teams will create gingerbread buildings and structures with in a few hours to be judged by an independent panel of food, design, art, and architecture experts in downtown Houston's Market Square Park.

2015 Total Jingle Bell Run and Walk 
Dec. 13
Get in shape and support a great cause during the 2015 Total Jingle Bell Run and Walk in Downtown Houston. The event, which includes more than 5,000 participants of all ages, benefits the Tellepsen Family Downtown YMCA Partners Campaign.

2015 UIL Football State Championship Games
Dec. 17 - 19
Get ready Houston because NRG Stadium will be hosting all 11-man UIL Football Championship Games December 17-19, 2015.

#ElfieSelfies with Santa
Dec. 19
Santa Claus is coming to the Children’s Museum of Houston just before he embarks on his big annual journey around the world. Get your camera ready, bring your wish list, make and wear an elf hats, and snap an #ElfieSelfie with jolly, old Saint Nick!

Santa Hustle
Dec. 20
Runners have a "jolly good time" in Galveston for the annual Santa Hustle! At this event, half marathon and 5K runners compete in Santa suits and beards in a race that takes them along the island's gorgeous Gulf waters and historic downtown streets. Along the route, participants can stop at cookie and candy stations while enjoying holiday music.

Holiday Lights Tour
Dec. 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24
Explore the lights of the season in neighborhoods from Downtown to River Oaks aboard the Wave.

River Oaks Holiday Lights Tour
Dec. 4 - 20
Check out this fun tour through the River Oaks holiday lights display in a 15-passenger buggy, complete with hot chocolate and caroling.

Rockin' New Year's Noon
Dec. 31
The Children’s Museum of Houston’s Rockin’ New Year’s Noon is the city’s longest-running New Year’s Eve celebration just for kids. The end-of-year bash rings in the New Year at the stroke of noon with a parade and shimmering ball drop, just like they do in Times Square! 

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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.

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

Sunday Brunch with Santa at Hotel Galvez & Spa
(First four Sunday's in December)
Santa Claus will make a special appearance at Hotel Galvez on Dec. 7, 14, and 21 during its popular Sunday Brunch. Children are invited to visit with Santa to share their wish list and families will enjoy dining on this sumptuous holiday brunch. Take time to see the hotel's gingerbread display created by Executive Chef Antonio Galan and his team. Sunday Brunch is served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and was named one of the Best Brunches in Texas by Southern Living Magazine and voted as one of the Top 100 Brunches in the U.S. by Open Table Users. Reservations are strongly recommended. Call 409-765-7721 or make reservations via Open Table.

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


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