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.

Mayor's Holiday Celebration

6pm-8pm at City Hall
Ring in the season with the 97th Annual Mayor's Holiday Celebration and Tree Lighting Presented by Reliant, an NRG Company on Friday, December 2, 2016 in the heart of downtown Houston. The spectacular event is a holiday tradition of music, Santa, fireworks and family fun. A towering Holiday Tree, glowing with energy efficient LED lights, shimmering ornaments and a stunning star topper will light up the streets of downtown Houston this holiday season. The event takes place in Hermann Square at City Hall from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

Jingle on the Boardwalk in Kemah
December 3rd
Santa's Workshop 2pm-6pm
Holiday Movie - Home Alone 7:30pm
Holiday Performances throughout the day

Missouri City Snowfest Festival
Friday, December 2
Get in the holiday spirit with the 33rd Annual Snowfest! The beloved tradition will kick off with pre-festival entertainment 5:30 pm and will follow with the tree lighting ceremony and fireworks! From 6-9 pm, guests are invited to enjoy the array of event activities including the 3-lane snow hill, camel rides, moonwalks, and photos with Santa! Event parking is available at Thurgood Marshall High School. FREE event shuttles will be running throughout the event to the City Hall Complex. Parking will not be available at the event location.

To support area families in need this holiday season, the Missouri City Police Department will be onsite to collect unwrapped toys for the annual Blue Santa Toy Drive. All donations can be dropped off by the Christmas tree.

The celebration will continue the following morning with the Snowfest Shuffle Fun Run & Parade!

Hands-on Houston: From Junk to Jewelry
Saturday, December 3, 2016 from 11:00am to 3:00pm
Houston Center for Contemporary Craft
4848 Main St. Houston, TX 77002
Please join HCCC staff member and jewelry artist Tarina Frank to create upcycled jewelry from everyday objects inspired by the works on view in CraftTexas 2016. Learn how upcycling, which is the process of converting old or discarded materials into something useful and beautiful, breaks the rules of traditional jewelry making. Spend time in the galleries discovering how recycled materials can create a new story for an old object, and take inspiration from the works of CraftTexas 2016 artists, Calder Kamin, Susannah Mira, and Masumi Kataoka, to create your own design from everyday household objects such as plastic toys, buttons, and fabric.

Before or after the activity, use the CraftTexas 2016 Exhibition Activity Guide to explore the exhibition, and check out BEST IF USED BY in the Artist Hall. Don't forget to walk through the Craft Garden, where you'll see plants used in the fiber arts in full bloom.
Note: Please allow 25 minutes to complete this activity. The activity will take place indoors and is on a first-come, first-served basis, while supplies last. No supplies will be handed out after 2:30 PM.

Designcraft Holiday Art Market
Saturday, December 3 at 10 am
DesignCraft is AIGA Houston's 7th Annual Holiday Market featuring the work of local artists, crafters, creatives and more. Find the perfect gifts and enjoy demonstrations by local artisans, live music and local food trucks.

Creation Station: Expressive Environments
The exhibition In the Wake: Japanese Photographers Respond to 3/11 features photographs that respond to the natural disasters that struck Japan in 2011. Rather than simply recording the events, these photographers reflect on larger issues and examine their impact through metaphorical images and experimental processes.

We will begin this Creation Station with a brief tour of the exhibition (approximately 15-20 minutes), then head to the Education Center to create our own images that combine nature with art and a little science through a process known as cyanotype.

Cyanotypes, sometimes called sun or nature prints, are made by using paper coated in special chemicals. When objects are placed on this paper and set out in the sun, the objects block the light, and those areas are washed away when the paper is developed in water. The result is a soft image that looks a bit like a photo negative or x-ray.

Drop-in participants are welcome at any point between 12:30 and 2:30pm! However, the short exhibition tour will be at 12:30pm for those who wish to join.

Sugar Land's annual Christmas Tree Lighting
When: December 1st
Where: Sugar Land Town Square
What: Live entertainment, food, drinks, and the lighting of the beautiful Christmas tree.
$: Free admission

Baytown's annual Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting
When: December 1st
Where: 213 W. Texas Ave, Baytown, TX

What: Ice skating, a parade and the lighting of the beautiful Christmas tree.
$: Free admission; $8-$10 for ice skating

Dickens on the Strand
When: December 2nd- 4th
Where: Strand Street in Galveston
What: Parades, continuous entertainement on six stages, strolling carolers and other entertainers
Costumed vendors sell holiday food and drink and Victorian inspired items.
$: Prices vary

League City's Holiday in the Park
When: December 2nd-4th
Where: League Park
What: Live entertainment, food and drinks, art displays, meet-and-greet with Santa Claus, a parade the first night, and on the final day a costume contest and pet parade.
$: Free admission

Pearland's Hometown Christmas Parade
When: December 3rd
Where: Along FM 518, between Old Alvin Road and Pearland Parkway
What: Lighted vehicles, holiday floats, and live entertainment
$: Free admission

Pasadena's annual Holiday Lighted Parade
When: December 3rd
Where: Along Fairmont Parkway between Pansy and Watters
What: Lighted vehicles, holiday floats, balloons and more
$: Free admission

Kingwood's Christmas in the Park
When: December 3rd, 10am-6pm
Where: Kingwood Town Center Park
What: Live entertainment, shopping, art displays, eateries, and meet-and-greet-with Santa
$: Free admission

Richmond's 14 annual Miracle on Morton Street
When: December 3rd, 11am-7pm
What: Live music, holiday entertainment, art and crafts, food vendors and more
$: Free admission

Baytown's 19th annual Christmas on Texas Avenue
When: December 3rd , 10am-6pm
What: Live entertainment, food trucks, shopping, ice skating and meet-and-greet with Santa Claus

$: Free admission

Tamale Festival Houston
When December 3rd, 12pm-10pm
What: Delicious tamales, craft beer, tamale eating contest, live music, stand-up comedy and art displays
$: Children 12 and under-free, adults $10 early bird/ $20 day of

Tomball German Christmas Market
When: December 9th-11th
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

Hempstead Festival of Lights
When: December 11-12
Where: Hempstead Gazebo Park
What: Parade, live entertainment, and tree decorating contest
$: Free admission

Fulshear's Holly Jolly Christmas
When: December 17th (rescheduled from December 3rd)
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. 15th
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. 8th
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. 8th
Where: Gulf Greyhound Park
What: Brightly lit echibits, carnival rides, games, live entertainment and meet-and-greet with Santa.
$: $22
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