Not everything is closed on Christmas Day, and that's good news for those of us who find ourselves wishing for something to do other than eat more food or play another game of Scrabble Junior.
Here are 10 fun things to do around Houston you can make a part of your holiday traditions. And here is our holiday guide for more Christmas and Hanukkah fun around the Bayou City.
1. Look at Christmas lights
Drive around Prestonwood Forest in Northwest Houston to see the beautiful (and insanely elaborate) holiday light displays on all of the homes. Each street has its own theme. And of course, the homes in the Heights and River Oaks are always a sight to see. Check out our recommendations for the top residential light displays in Houston.
2. Hermann Park Holiday Train
If riding trains thrills and excites your children, head over to Hermann Park for a night to remember. The train is fully decorated with Christmas lights, garland, and ornaments making it great for photo ops. This magical train ride takes visitors on a tour of the entire park and is the perfect addition to you family Christmas traditions.
3. House of Pies
Grab a slice of Houston's most famous pie made the "old-fashioned way." Some of my family's personal favorites include the pumpkin and sweet potato pies (you can never go wrong with pumpkin) and literally any of the cheesecakes. There are some sugar-free options available, but my motto when it comes to dessert is go big or go home - give me all the sugar!
4. Head to Galveston
Take a day trip to Galveston and celebrate Christmas by the bay. There are tons of activities, like Moody Gardens' Festival of Lights, which includes the ever-popular Ice Land exhibit, where more than 2 MILLION pounds of ice are put on display by teams of master ice carvers. Drive down early for a festive Christmas Day brunch at the The San Luis or Hotel Galvez.
5. Jingle on the Boardwalk
Enjoy a festive day by the seaside and head to the Kemah Boardwalk to ride rides and play carnival games on Christmas day. Several boardwalk restaurants will be open for service, so you will have plenty of lunch and dinner options.
6. Volunteer with The Holiday Project
Spend your holiday making someone else's day merry and bright by volunteering with The Holiday Project at various assisted living facilities throughout the greater Houston area. Families can sign up to sing carols, hand out holiday cards, and visit with residents this Christmas.
7. Magical Winter Lights
Prepared to be dazzled by some of the best holiday light displays around town. Although it is a bit of a drive (it takes place at the Gulf Greyhound Park in La Marque) this holiday light display is definitely worth it. There is also a holiday market and children's fun zone.
8. Sugar Land Holiday Lights
Constellation Field in Sugar Land is covered in thousands of lights that make up elaborate and stunning displays you can walk around and underneath. It's the perfect way to end Christmas as a family.
9. Go ice skating at Discovery Green or The Woodlands Ice Rink
There are two great outdoor ice skating rinks to take advantage of - at Discovery Green and up north in The Woodlands near Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. Make a day of it in The Woodlands and enjoy a Christmas brunch at The Woodlands Resort.
10. Zoo Lights
If you haven't already, head to the Houston Zoo for its annual holiday event. The entire complex is covered in lights, and some of the animals even stay up late for the festivities.
Photo courtesy of Discovery Green