It’s easy to find fun ways to enjoy the holidays in Houston with family and friends. Here is a snapshot of activities 9 days before Christmas that are catching our eye:
1) Free performances of Handel’s Messiah: Enjoy this classical holiday showcase of Handel’s Messiah in its 11th season. Free tickets will be distributed at 7 pm each evening, first-come first-serve.
Dec. 18-20, 8 pm; Christ Evangelical Presbyterian Church
8300 Katy Freeway
2) Skate with Santa: Kids will enjoy skating with Santa Claus at Discovery Green’s outdoor ice rink. Daily ice skating is open through February 8, 2015.
Dec. 20, 4-5 pm; $13 to ice skate but watch for free
1500 McKinney photo: Tina Mathis
3) Free and cheap winter movie favorites: Catch a movie outdoors for free — or just $2 at Studio Movie Grill.
Dec. 19, 7:30 pm; Frozen, Discovery Green; free
Dec. 22-24, (time varies); The Muppet Christmas Carol, Alamo Drafthouse; free
Dec. 23, 5 pm; The Muppet Christmas Carol, Studio Movie Grill; $2
Dec. 24, It’s a Wonderful Life, Studio Movie Grill; $2
Dec. 26, 7:30 pm; Home Alone, Discovery Green; free
4) Houston Zoo Lights: Wander the winter wonderland at TXU Energy Presents Houston Zoo Lights with 2 million lights on more than 50 animal-themed light displays and miles of tree lighting. Sip hot chocolate, make S’mores over a firepit, listen to holiday music and jam to the glowing, musical art car!
Nightly through Jan. 4, 6 pm – 10 pm; $10.95-$12.95 online ($12.95-$14.95 gate); Zoo members pay $8.95-$10.95 online, $10.95-$12.95 at gate
Houston Zoo, 6200 Hermann Park
5) Family Day at Bayou Bend: Enjoy a Sunday afternoon featuring free holiday fun making crafts, touring the house, indulging in cookies and wassail, and singing your favorite holiday songs with carolers. Take part in holiday traditions from many cultures.
Dec. 21, 1 pm – 5 pm; free
Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens, 6003 Memorial Drive
6) Dickinson Festival of Lights: Don’t miss the 17th annual walk-thru event in Dickinson’s Paul Hopkins Park. Enjoy holiday music and free Santa photos. Or decorate a cookie for $1!
Dec. 12-23, 26-31, 6 pm – 9 pm; Free parking courtesy Dickinson Plaza Shopping Center, exit 19 (HWY-517) I-45N feeder Rd.
7) Christmas in the Park: Explore and learn how Texas’ first settlers celebrated Christmas, tour a Victorian home with holiday decorations, enjoy a festive hayride and special activities at George Ranch Historical Park. Christmas in the Park is Saturdays in December. Don’t miss Treehouse Storytime with Santa at 11 am, 1 pm and 3 pm.
Dec. 20, 27; Park admission is $10 adults, $5 children age 5-15, free 4 and under
George Ranch Historical Park, 10215 FM 762, Richmond (30 miles SW of downtown Houston) photo: Roy Kasmir Photography