It's the time of the year when the Christmas decorations Target put on display in October are finally appropriate. The holidays are here! We have you covered with our guide featuring events and things to do around Houston this month from where to see holiday shows and The Nutcracker, FREE holiday events for the family, and places to take photos (or eat breakfast) with Santa.
There are tons of fun festivals in December, and lucky for us Houstonians, many of them have thousands of pounds of "snow" for kids to play in. As a native Houstonian, I didn't see snow until I was in my late teens, so at least you can still give your kids a white-ish Christmas. Also, events that started in November like Zoo Lights, Moody Gardens' Festival of Lights, and Magical Winter Lights in La Marque are still up and running throughout December.
Make sure to keep an eye on our calendar for daily events, and if you haven't already, sign up for our FREE weekly newsletters to receive our latest posts and things to do around town. Read on for the best Houston events this month.
This post has been updated for 2017.
Alvin Christmas Train - Alvin
This is an easy way to view some beautiful holiday light displays without having to deal with Houston traffic. Victory Camp in Alvin is lit by 300,000 lights, and the train gives you ample time to soak it all in.
Christmas in the Park - Southwest Houston
Enjoy an old-fashioned Christmas at George Ranch Historical Park. There are hayrides throughout the property, which is decorated with period-appropriate holiday decor, storytelling, and special holiday classes.
Home for the Holidays - Spring
Old Town Spring's annual holiday celebration transforms the quaint shopping center into a winter wonderland. There are light displays, activities for the whole family, and FREE photo opportunities with Santa.
Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" - Galveston
Seeing a show at Galveston's historic and majestic Grand Opera House is always an experience. Check out its rendition of this beloved holiday show with the whole family this year.
98th Annual Mayor's Holiday Celebration and Tree Lighting - Downtown
Celebrate with all of Houston at the city's annual tree lighting - there are fireworks, visits from Santa, and holiday music. Plus, it's FREE!
Snowfest - Missouri City
Missouri City's 32nd annual event features its tree lighting and massive fireworks show and lots of family-friendly games and activities, including the three-lane snow hill and camel rides!
Galveston WinterFest - Galveston
Let's be honest. Mutton Bustin' is the highlight of the Houston rodeo (or is it just me?), and you don't have to wait until spring to see those adorable bouncing children and sheep - Galveston's annual holiday event has its own competition.
A Katy Old-Fashioned Christmas Festival - Katy
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. More than 50,000 pounds of "snow," to be exact, and the kids will love playing and pretending it's not 80 degrees outside.
Tamale Festival - Inner Loop
If holiday festivals aren't your family's thing and you prefer to stuff your face with delicious homemade tamales and Texas barbecue, this is your event.
Tree lighting in Sugar Land/Photo via SugarLand.com
15th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting - Sugar Land
This FREE tree lighting takes place at Sugar Land Town Square and features photos with Santa, holiday crafts and activities, and the Everest climb n' slide toboggan ride the kids will love.
Christmas on Texas Avenue - Baytown
Baytown's FREE holiday event is perfect for art enthusiasts. There are dozens of local vendors selling handmade creations along with the usual festival fare - kids' activities, games, and more.
Tomball German Christmas Market - Tomball
Tomball's annual (and FREE) German festival is one of the top events of its kind in the country. You don't want to miss the authentic cuisine, entertainment, and street performers.
Giant Menorah Lighting Celebration - Sugar Land
Watch the lighting of the massive Menorah with Chabad of Sugar Land. There are arts and crafts for children, Israeli treats, live performances and music and dancing.
Bayou Bend Christmas Village - Inner Loop
December 15-January 6
Bayou Bend's 14-acre estate is covered in holiday decor complete with a trail of lights. There are holiday programs and activities, FREE photo opportunities with Santa, and tours of Ima Hogg's mansion. And kids can even meet live reindeer!
Snow on the Boulevard - Heights
Play in the snow at Grace United Methodist Church's festival. There are free photos with Santa, holiday treats, and activities for the whole family.
Houston's Rockin' New Year's Noon Bash for Kids - Museum District
The city's longest-running, kid-friendly New Year's Eve event can be found at the Children's Museum of Houston! Ring in 2017 with art projects, the High Noon Countdown Squared party with live music and noisemakers, and more.