10 Fun Things to Do on Christmas Eve in Houston

Christmas Eve is my favorite day of the Christmas season. I know a lot of people have holiday traditions that they enjoy throughout the month of December, like seeing a favorite play or visiting the same Santa for photos each year, while others have special activities reserved for Christmas Day, like enjoying a meal out with family or driving around to see the holiday lights and displays one last time. But to me there's always been something magical about the night before Christmas. Growing up, that was the day we opened all of our presents from family members, attended the candlelight church service, and listened to Christmas carols while sipping hot chocolate and eating holiday treats, so I guess it's no surprise that I find myself wanting to make the day just as special in our house now that I have my own family. Luckily, there are no shortage of fun things to do with the kids on Christmas Eve, and we've rounded up 10 of the best activities you can enjoy at home and around the Houston area this year.

25 Things We Are Excited To Do with Philly Kids This Winter

Winter can test your limits and your creativity when it comes to entertaining your kids. Sometimes you just need to get out of the house! Fortunately, no matter the weather, there are amazing places to go romp and play in the city and the suburbs that can help shake off that winter fatigue. 

Check out our events calendar for even more fun ideas in the Philadelphia area, or check out our list of things to do with babies in winter.

18 Hanukkah Celebrations for Kids in LA and Orange County

However you spell it—Hanukkah, Hanukka, Hannukah, Chanukah, or Channuka—SoCal is a great place to be for the Festival of Lights. Home to a Jewish population larger than that of Jerusalem, Los Angeles is all about "lighting candles, wearing sandals, by the sea" (at least, that's why Tom Leher spent Hanukkah in Santa Monica). Giant menorahs light up open spaces from The OC to the Valley. Two of the season's biggest events are at the Skirball Center and the Shalom Institute, but these major festivals are just the tip of the dreidel; local events and candle lightings burn the sunset oil all week long...

Calling Santa: Mostly Free Apps for St. Nick Fun with Kids

Ready or not, Santa Claus is coming to town, and the kids couldn't be more excited. Thanks to technology, families today have a lot more ways than a quick photo with the mall Santa to catch up with (or just plain catch!) the jolly bearded man. 

Now kids can talk directly with St. Nick via the phone or an app, track his progress on Christmas Eve, and even watch a live reindeer cam. Want to really blow their minds? There are apps that let you share a photo of Santa handing out presents in your very own living room. Christmastime is already among the most magical seasons for children, but these fun tools take it to the next level. Read on for our favorite ways to check in with Santa before Christmas and follow all his antics on Christmas Eve. Our special gift for you: These 11 special Santa experiences are (mostly) FREE!

Review: Ballerina Swan Meets Her Nutcracker in New Holiday Show

The city is awash in Nutcracker performances come holiday season, from the iconic New York City Ballet’s production at Lincoln Center to the abridged, children-friendly Keith Michael's The Nutcracker. For NYC families with kids under 5, the question always is: are they ready? Will they even make it to intermission before they lose it?

I had that same thought as my almost 4-year-old and I took our seats at the Clurman Theatre on 42nd Street for a Nutcracker-themed family musical, Ballerina Swan and The Nutcracker, from The New York City Children’s Theater, and it was only 50 minutes with no intermission.

I shouldn’t have worried. As soon as the dancers took to the stage, my daughter was riveted. Read on for our parent review of this brand-new piece that incorporates ballet, acting, and puppetry into a special holiday show for young children.

Weekend Fun for LI Kids: Holiday Spectacular, West End Electric Light Parade, Dec. 10-11

Animals, lights, a snow globe and a life-sized Operation game are all part of the Holiday Spectacular at Plainview Hospital this weekend. Have a bright night at the West End Electric Light Parade in Long Beach. 

Winter is the perfect time to indulge in some theater. Take in a live performance of In the Nicholas of Time!FrostyThe Nutcracker or Scrooge.

And for the most fun per square inch, check the Mommy Poppins December GoList and the events calendar daily. 

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Weekend Fun for LA Kids: Pantos, Boat Parades, Snow and Sandmen, Dec 10 -11

You guys, what a weekend! I thought last weekend was going to be hard to beat (and we did have a record number of events on our calendar), but this one, hoo boy.  We've got snowlots of it, all over town, much of it free. If snow scares you, we've got sand. We have that uniquely SoCal yuletide tradition: boat parades. Because Santa needs to get through, sleigh or not.

We can get in the spirit of the season enjoying the twinkle twinkles and the lights, without taking the "season" part too literally. (Winter? Whatevs.) We have opening weekend of two Lythgoe Family pantos, always a highlight for us. (Can I get a squee! for seeing Disney Channel talent up close!) And because of this year's Christmakkuh confluence, we get to spread our latke prep out over the entire month.

Gosh, the only way to beat this weekend would be with, I don't know, getting a ton of presents while surrounded by friends and family and maybe eating awesome treats. But somebody would have to have been awfully good this year to get something like that...

Here are some awesome picks for the weekend, because you have been so awfully good......

Weekend Fun for Houston Kids: Christmas Markets, Touchdown Tour, Boat Parade, Dec 9-11

While this week was pretty cold and rainy, the weather this weekend is already looking much nicer - still chilly, but no rain! So bundle up and celebrate the holidays with the family at one of the many events going on around town. Now's the time when most people have their Christmas decorations up, and these Houston neighborhoods you can enjoy from the comfort of your own warm seat. If you want to brave the cold, then you can visit Houston Zoo Lights, a Houston tradition everyone should experience this holiday season. 

This time of the year more than ever is a time to give back, so if you have a lot of unwanted clothes or maybe too many toys consider attending a toy drive at your local charity organizations. If you haven't yet, check out our list of places where to find places to take a photo with Santa or breakfast, brunch, or cookies and hot cocoa with the big man in red. 

Look at our events calendar for a complete picture of what's happening this weekend and beyond, our holiday guide for the best things to do this season, and we've also rounded up the best things to do as a family in the month of December. Remember to sign up for our weekly newsletter to read about fun things to do each weekend in Houston. Now, it's time to check out this list of fun events happening this weekend in Houston. 

Weekend Fun for CT Kids: Nutcracker, Museums, and Visits with Santa, December 10-11

Sadly, both my children have hung up their dancing shoes, but we still get our ballet fix at least once a year with one of the fantastic productions of The Nutcracker offered across Connecticut. This weekend's offerings include performances the New Haven Ballet, the Danbury Symphony Orchestra, the Hartt School, the New England Ballet Company, the Eastern Connecticut Ballet Company, and the Connecticut Dance School, among many others.  "Scenes from the Nutcracker" is a terrific option for younger audiences, as the abbreviated performance lasts about an hour and children are invited to sit down in front to be close to the action (and interact with the dancers following the show).

If you're starting to feel the pinch of this spendy season, there are quite a few free events on offer this weekend, including Santa's Workshop at Wickham Park, a free screening of The Polar Express in Stamford, and a fun visit with Santa at the Seymour Land Trust (food donations are welcome at most of these events—double check with the venues for specific needs).

As always, we continue to update the Mommy Poppins Family Events Calendar with family-friendly activities around the state. Be sure to subscribe to our weekly newsletters and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Have a wonderful weekend!

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