Top Holiday Celebrations In Houston

December 2, 2013 6:00 AM

The holiday season is coming and with it, many fun things to do with the whole family to celebrate. Whether you like dressing up in period costumes, seeing the lights, listening to wonderful holiday music or just doing a ton of Christmas shopping, there is something for everyone this year. Grab your good walking shoes and a camera and head out with the family to check out some of these great holiday celebrations in Houston – and pick up some wonderful gifts for your family and friends while you’re at it.

Dickens On The Strand
Mechanic St.
Galveston, TX 77550
(409) 765-3431

Date: Dec. 6 – 8, 2013

The biggest Victorian holiday celebration in the greater Houston area, Galveston’s Dickens on the Strand has been delighting people for 40 years. Held amongst some of the historic old Victorian homes, this event features performers, shopping and much more. Victorian-clothed vendors will sell crafts, homemade goodies and much more for you to feature at Christmas this year. Don’t forget to check out the traditional carolers.

The Nutcracker
Wortham Center
500 Texas Ave.
Houston, TX 77002
(713) 487-7000

Date: Nov. 29 – Dec. 29, 2013

One of Houston’s most popular events of the year, “The Nutcracker” is a Houston Ballet standby. Live the famous Christmas story through Clara’s eyes as the Christmas tree grows to magical heights and we meet the well-known characters of “The Nutcracker” in the Land of the Sweets. This “glittering spectacle” is sure to delight family members of all ages, though the Ballet asks that children in attendance be at least three years of age.

Very Merry Pops
Jones Hall
615 Louisiana St.
Houston, TX 77002
(832) 487-7050

Date: Dec. 14-15, 2013

The Christmas performance in the Houston Symphony’s Pops season, Very Merry Pops will feature beloved holiday songs from the traditional to popular. The Houston Symphony and Houston Symphony Chorus will delight audiences with their renditions of popular tunes such as “Jingle Bells,” “Go Tell It On The Mountain” and “Joy to the World.” Also performed this year will be the Houston Symphony’s own 2003 commissioned piece “Glad Tidings,” featuring religious leaders from across the city to read the guest narration. And might we see Santa coming this way? You’ll have to go to the concert to find out.

Related: Best New Year’s Eve Parties In Houston

Moody Gardens Festival Of Lights

Moody Gardens
1 Hope Blvd.
Galveston, TX 77554
(800) 582-4673

Date: Nov. 16, 2013 – Jan. 4, 2014

This holiday celebration, lasting more than two months, is a celebration of what wonders can be achieved using lights as decorations. With a kickoff from a parachuting Santa, this light display will run nightly at Moody Gardens through the new year. More than one million lights will sparkle to music-enhanced displays, and most evenings will also feature live entertainment for the family. After the lights tire your eyes, make sure to check out the outdoor ice rink (the only one for miles around!) or have your photo taken with Santa.

52nd Annual Christmas Boat Lane Parade
Kemah Boardwalk
215 Kipp Ave.
Kemah, Texas 77565
(877) 285-3624

Date: Dec. 14, 2013

Head on down to the Kemah Boardwalk for one of the most unique and entertaining parades you’ll ever see. Hundreds of decorated boats, all dolled up for the holiday season, will delight all viewers as they float by in the 52nd Annual Christmas Boat Lane Parade. After the decorated boats finish their floating procession, make sure to check out the rides, vendors and restaurants that the Kemah Boardwalk has to offer. They are host to great entertainment and retail, so you won’t want to miss out on getting some of your Christmas shopping done while having fun.

Related: Top Haunted Places In Houston

Gillian Kruse is a freelance writer living in Houston. She graduated from Rice University with a great love for all performing and visual arts. She enjoys writing about arts and cultural events, especially little-known ones, to help Houstonians learn about what’s going on in their city. Her work can be found at

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