Your guide to Houston's holiday celebrations

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Check out these freebies and low-cost options to celebrate the holidays

It's the most wonderful time of the year! Communities around Houston are gearing up for their holiday festivities.

Tomball German Christmas Market
When: Dec. 9-11
Where: 201 S. Elm, Tomball, TX
What: 175 unique street merchants, live music on four stages, ethnic food, beer and wine, petting zoo, art and crafts, and street performers.
$: Free admission

Friendswood's Santa in the Park
When: Dec. 10
Where: Stevenson Park, 1100 South Friendswood Dr.
What: Photos with Santa at 3 p.m., parade 6-7 p.m., Tree lighting and fireworks at 7:30 p.m., snow hill with 40,000 lbs. of snow, amusement rides, concert in the park, and more!
$: Free admission

Gingerbread Build Off
When: Dec. 10 from 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Where: Hermann Square
What: Watch as competing teams create engineering wonders out of all-edible materials at AIA Houston's Gingerbread Build-Off competition. Enjoy food trucks, visits with Santa, a children's film festival and more.
$: Free admission

Second Saturday Settlers: Homestead Holiday
When: Dec. 10 from 1-3 p.m.
Where: Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center
What: Park staff and volunteers will offer homemade cookies and wassail as the homestead comes to life with old-fashioned Christmas traditions, including a visit by jolly old Saint Nicholas.
$: Free admission
Hempstead Festival of Lights
When: Dec. 11-12
Where: Hempstead Gazebo Park
What: Parade, live entertainment, and tree decorating contest
$: Free admission

Fulshear's Holly Jolly Christmas

When: Dec. 17 (rescheduled from December 3)
Where: Downtown Fulshear
What: Ice skating, holiday shops, live music, live nativity, and meet-and-greet with Santa Claus.
$: Free admission

Houston Zoo's 5th annual Zoo Lights
When: Now- Jan. 15
Where: Houston Zoo
What: More than 2 million lights adorning the zoo and a number of animal exhibits
$: $14.95 for members; $19.95 for non-members; free for ages 1 and younger

Moody Garden's 15th Annual Festival of Lights

When: Now- Jan. 8
Where: Moody Gardens
What: More than 1 million lights, ice skating, artic slide, and meet-and-greet with Santa.
$: $10.95, but on Thursdays bring non-perishable food items and get 2 for 1 admission

Magical Winter Lights
When: Now- Jan. 8
Where: Gulf Greyhound Park
What: Brightly lit echibits, carnival rides, games, live entertainment and meet-and-greet with Santa.
$: $22
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