Houston Winter: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
(a.k.a. the one we’re not sweating through)
Welcome to the season after Halloween – Houston Winter! I know, the stores couldn’t wait. There was definitely a Christmas aisle edging out the ghosts and ghouls. And, Hallmark? Wow, this is really their jam. Christmas movies are already on a 24/7 loop of Hallmark love and jingle bells. I bet this is where Sabrina the Teenage Witch gets most of her residuals from. Whether you are in the spirit, or not, it’s here! This is definitely a better situation that if you can’t beat them join them. What’s the worst that could happen, your jolly might get out of control?
To help you get in the spirit we have rounded up places around town where you can Deck the Halls, see the big man himself, shop ’til you drop, and all the other wintery wonderland-filled Houston-area activities!
Winter Festivals, Tree Farms, Activities & Events
NOV.10 – JAN. 2 – Magical Winter Lights Houston (La Marque) – open Sunday – Thursday 5-10 p.m. and Friday & Saturday 5-11 p.m. This year’s festival will feature six fascinating themed sections, interactive dinosaur exhibit, acrobatic performances, carnival, and live entertainment.
NOV. 10 – JAN. 7: Santa’s Wonderland (College Station): Touted as THE Texas Christmas experience you will have a hayride through the woods (lights), food, Santa, live music, shopping, Mechanical Bull, kids’ train, polar express, slides, toboggan chutes, campfire, petting zoo, and more.
NOV. 11 – JAN. 7: Moody Gardens Holiday Attractions (Galveston): Moody Gardens is getting dressed up for the season. Tickets start $10.95 and go up to $44.95 per person (discounts and value days available). You can look forward to Ice Land, lights, the regular attractions, plus seasonal attractions like the arctic slide, ice rink, and train. Prices from $19.95 to $39.95 per person. Free shuttle bus.
NOV. 17: Elf at Miller Outdoor Theatre (Museum District) – 7 p.m.; FREE
NOV. 18: Lighting of the Doves (The Woodlands) – Nov. 18, 3-9pm; Performances, play areas, vendors, Santa
NOV. 18: Frostival (Downtown) – 6-10 p.m.; FREE; A one-night extravaganza that marks the opening of ICE, the 7,716 sq. ft. ice skating rink, winter programs and events, and the debut of new public art installation, Hello Trees: A Walking Serenade.
NOV. 18 – DEC: Spring Creek Growers (Magnolia) – Open daily; Choose and cut your tree, prices vary. Hayride and farm activities for the kids. Santa visits on the weekends but does not take pictures. Breakfast with Sant dates are already Sold Out but there is a waitlist available.
NOV. 18: Tomball Holiday Festival Parade – 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., Free
NOV & DEC.: Holidays in the Plaza (Sugar Land) – FREE. Throughout the holiday center, the Sugar Land Town Square will host a series of Holidays in the Plaza seasonal music, dance, and shows.
NOV. 18: Freedom Center Church (5-7 p.m.) and Heart & Soul Show Choir (7:30-9:30 p.m.)
DEC. 1: Live Holiday Music from Hope City Church (7-9 p.m.)
DEC. 2: Houston Show Choir (6-8 p.m.)
DEC. 8: Christ Church Sugar Land (7-9 p.m.)
DEC. 9: Holiday Dance Showcase (11 a.m. – 4 p.m.)
DEC. 9: Holiday Movie Under the Moon – Elf (7-9 p.m.)
DEC. 14: Travis High School Orchestra (6:30-8:30 p.m.)
DEC. 15: RPC’s Warehouse School of Music (6-8 p.m.)
DEC. 16: Music & Mistletoe with First Colony Church of Christ (6-8 p.m.)
NOV. 23: HEB Thanksgiving Day Parade (Downtown) – 9AM, Free.
NOV. 24 – DEC. 9: Dewberry Farms (Brookshire) – Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Choose and cut your own Christmas Tree, admission is Free but prices vary by tree height ($25-250). The Farm is also hosting it’s first Country Christmas Festival DEC. 7-10, 15-23, & 26-30. There will be Wagon Rides through the lights, activities, food and more.
NOV. 24 – DEC. 17: Old Time Christmas Tree Farm (Spring) – 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily; prices vary on tree height. Group Outings are available by reservation and require a minimum of 25 people for a daytime event or 50 people for a nighttime event. The event can include a hayride, train ride, animals, playground, etc.
DEC. 1 – Mayor’s Holiday Celebration (Downtown) – City Hall from 6-8 p.m. Includes a toy drive benefitting the Salvation Army.
DEC. 1 – Snowfest Festival (Missouri City) – Kick-off, tree lighting and fireworks! Activities and Santa. 5:30-9 p.m., FREE
DEC. 1 – Pearland Hometown Christmas Festival (Pearland), 7-10 p.m., Free
DEC. 2 – Christmas in the Woods (Conroe) – Play in a 7 1/2 acre old-fashioned Family Fun Park! Visit the petting zoo, mini golf course, western play town, huge playground, gigantic sandbox, rope slide, horseshoes and much more all for FREE.
DEC. 2, 9, 16, 19, 30: Christmas in the Park at George Ranch Historical Park (Richmond) 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., explore holiday customs from the 18320s to the 1930s, $5-10
DEC. 1-3: Dickens on the Strand (Galveston) – When downtown Galveston is transformed into the Victorian-era London of Charles Dickens!
DEC 3: Holiday in the Park Snow Day! (League City) – 12 – 5 p.m., Free, snow slide and snow play area
DEC 8-10: Tomball German Festival Christmas Market (Tomball) – FREE, check schedule for specific events across the three day festival.
DEC 9: Christmas on Commerce (Tomball) – 12-4 pm; Free. Live entertainment, games, Santa, kid zone, and more.
DEC. 9: Jingle Boats (The Woodlands) – Dec. 9, 2-3:30pm; $35 per tandem kayak. Participants will depart for Riva Row Boat House in search of presents on our local shores.DEC 15 & 17: Flashlight Candy Cane Hunt (The Woodlands) – Dec. 15 & 17; 6-7pm; $10-15, for ages 6-12.
DEC. 10: Holiday in the Park (Sheldon) – 1-4 p.m., holiday games, geocaches, live music and festivities!
DEC. 21: North Pole Adventure ft. Flashlight Candy Cane Hunt (The Woodlands) – Dec. 21, 6-7:30 pm; $20-25, 5-12 years old.
NOV.-DEC.: Winterfest at Typhoon Texas (Katy) – due to Hurrican Harvey this event is canceled for the 2017 season.
Christmas & Holiday Lights
NOV. 17 – JAN. 14: Houston Zoo’s: Zoo Lights (Med Center) – November 17- January 14, Value Nights: 6-10pm, Prime Nights 6-11pm (closed December 24 & 25. Not included with zoo admission.
NOV. 23 – DEC. 31: Christmas Katy – The family incurred significant flood damage and will not be displaying this year. Hopefully, they’ll be back next year.
NOV. 23 – JAN. 2: Moss Lights – The Moss Family is located in League City and puts their house on display Sunday – Thursday from 5:30-10:30 p.m. (11 p.m. on the weekends). The address is 540 Southhampton Lane, 77573.
NOV. 24 – DEC. 31: Schultz Holiday Lights – The Schultz Family is located in Klein and puts their house on display Sunday – Thursday from 6:30-9:30 p.m. (10:30 p.m. on the weekends).
NOV. 24 – JAN.1: Sugar Land Holiday Lights – Hosted at Constellation Field it will run Sunday-Thursday from 6-9 p.m. and Friday-Saturday (plus Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day) from 6-10 p.m. General admission is $14 per person, a $3 discount for military, seniors, children under 12, and groups of more than 10.
NOV. 25 – JAN. 2: Downtown Galveston Lanterns & Lights – Stroll near Saengerfest Park to view the illuminated Christmas Trees and decor. A giant snowglobe will be available Nov. 25-26 & Dec. 9, 16, & 23 for holiday photos!
NOV. 26- DEC. 30.: Dickinson Festival of Lights – Celebrating their 19th Anniversary – A Walk-thru Event at Paul Hopkins Park – With Free Admission, Parking and Shuttle Service. Open Nightly from November 26th Thru December 30th, 2016, 6–8:30 p.m. (Weather Permitting).
NOV. 26- DEC. 30.: Edwards Family Lights (2017 canceled) – The Edwards family is in Scarsdale and puts on an extravagant show. However, they are in a planning and rebuilding phase and will not be back until the 2019 season.
NOV. 30 – DEC. : Pecan Grove Subdivision – Lights will be on daily from dusk to 11 p.m. (midnight on weekends). Travis High School uses this as a fundraiser and previously provided hayrides through the lights, check out their website for updates and to buy tickets. Plantation Drive is the main drag, but previous lighting contest winners were located on Morton League, Austin Colony, and Quarterpath as well. You may consider parking at Pecan Grove or Austin Elementary School and walking through the neighborhood.
DEC. 2-24: Bufkin Christmas Wonderland – This will be the final season for the seasonal Pasadena staple. Christmas displays, lights, and pictures with Santa (proceeds are donated to an area church). The address is 2731 Lilac, 77503. Nightly 6:15-9:30 p.m.
DEC. 7: City of Sugar Land’s Christmas Tree Lighting (Sugar Land) – 5-8 p.m.; FREE. The event will include performances, Mr. & Mrs. Claus, crafts, and more.
DEC. 9: Lights in the Heights – The event will take place on Dec. 9 and due to road closures it is a public event, but please be mindful that this is a neighborhood (be respectful of their property and families). While the event is open to the public individual events at homes are private. If you just want to see the lights we recommend coming after the event to just drive the streets and see the displays and lights.
DEC. 9: Pearland’s Tour De Lites – Family Bicycle Ride begins at 7 p.m. at Shadycrest Elementary and goes through the Green Tree Subdivision to view the Christmas lights. Registration and check in for the ride ends at 6:30 p.m. Besides the event, Green Tree Terrace is a good destination most nights during the season to drive through and look at lights.
DEC. 9-31: Preston Woodforest Nite of Lites – This Northwest Houston neighborhood goes all out. The neighbors band together to create themed light displays. It is truly an amazing trip. The later in the season the more traffic you should expect, check out their visitor map to plan your drive.
DEC. 13: Giant Menorah Lighting Celebration (Sugar Land) – 6:30-8 p.m.; FREE. Celebrate Chanukah with the lighting of the giant menorah in the Sugar Land Town Square. THere will be music, dancing, performances, and more.
DEC.: Chrismas Ranch – Christmas Ranch is a drive-through light display in Cleveland, TX. It is free but donations are appreciated and all proceeds are distributed by St. Mary’s Catholic Church to helping needy families within the community. The hours are Sun. – Thurs 6-10 p.m. (Friday and Saturday until 11 p.m.).
DEC.: – Dodd Family Holidays – This family is based in The Woodlands and has their lights set to music (broadcast to 95.1 FM. The hours are Thursday through Sunday, 6-10 p.m. (Friday and Saturday until midnight). The address is 62 W. Knightsbridge Dr., 77385.
DEC.: Franck’s Christmas Light Show – The Franck family runs their light show nightly from 5:30-10 p.m. (11 p.m. on the weekends). The lights are timed to music which is broadcast on 89.7 FM and lasts about 45 minutes. The address is 15923 Viney Creek.
DEC.: Johnsons Christmas Corner– This family might have the Griswald’s beat. This is a one house stop but they are completely decked out, have themed days, and regular visits from Santa (follow them on Facebook or Twitter to get tips for when he’ll show). The address is 14811 Cypress Meadow Drive, 77429.
NOV. 23 – JAN. 1: River Oaks – If you head toward the street around the River Oaks Country Club you will see some amazing displays and huge oaks robed in lights. Generally, nightly 6-11 p.m. (some lights will stay on until midnight). There will be heavy traffic on Saturdays and the heaviest route is from Kirby going west on Del Monte.
DEC: Spring Shadows – This neighborhood is north of I-10 and east of Beltway 8. There will be police to help traffic flow but expect long lines the later you go in the season.
NOV. & DEC.: Photos with Santa (Sugar Land) – 1-5 p.m.; FREE; Several dates: Nov. 26, Dec. 3, Dec. 10, and Dec. 17. The photos will take place in the lobby of 16190 City Walk at the Sugar Land Town Square. They will be collecting new unwrapped toys.
DEC. 16: Breakfast with Santa (The Woodlands) – Dec. 16, 10-11:30am; $40 resident family of four; $45 non-resident family of four, $8 additional family member; Registration required.
DEC. 16: Gingerbread House Making with Santa (The Woodlands) – Dec. 16, 1-2:30 pm; $20 Resident, $25 Non-resident, $5 sibling discount; Registration required. Decorate cookies with Santa.
Craft Fair/ Holiday Markets
NOV. 2-4: The Sugar Plum Market – Friday, 6-10 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Sunday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; General admission $12; Preview Night $75
NOV. 9-12: Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market (Downtown) – Four days of shopping and Houston’s most popular nutcracker market. Nov. 9 & 10 Early Bird hours are 8:30-10 a.m. and regular market hours are from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Nov. 11 & 12 market hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.. Tickets can be prepurchased at local Randall’s or at the door for $20.
NOV. 11: Nassau Bay Nutcracker Market – 9am-5pm, Free.
NOV. 17-19: 15th Annual Junior League Holiday Market (The Woodlands) – $15/ day
DEC. 1: Cheers & Beers Holiday Market at Saint Arnold Brewing Co. (Near Northside), family-friendly and free
DEC. 1: Holiday on 19th Street, (Heights) roaming Christmas Carolers and shopping!
DEC. 2: Old-Fashioned Christmas by Katy Market Days (Katy), 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Snow at 11 a.m., Free, Picturs with Santa ($5)
DEC. 2: DesignCraft’s 8th Annual Holiday Market (Downtown), 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Free
DEC. 3: Christmas in Kemah Market (Kemah), 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., Free
Comment below if you have any other places for us to add to the list and
Check out individual events on our Community Calendar.