Cruising through neighborhoods glistening with holiday lights. Enjoying a mountain of whip cream atop a delicious cup of hot chocolate. Making holiday memories with friends and family over gingerbread house.

Christmastime is my time of the year! And Houston — the fourth largest city in the world — is filled with wonderful little pop-ups and other holiday-themed events perfect for celebrating the Yuletide season. Naturally, the holiday has taken on a whole new meaning as we seek out peace and joy during on of the most deadly health crisis documented in United States history.

Here is a list of holiday tradition and some new attractions you don’t want to miss!

Light shows

Houston Zoo Lights (Nov. 14, 2020 – Jan. 10, 2021) | Houston Museum District

Description: “Sip hot chocolate as you stroll through the beautiful Houston Zoo grounds and take in the sights and sounds of the season. Interact with Candy the Zoo Lights Zebra presented by H-E-B, get a selfie on a giant ice throne, and take a socially distanced photo with Santa as he prepares for the holidays in his workshop! Stroll through a 125-foot-long, Infinity Tunnel of Light, see dragons come to life in the 4-D Enchanted Forest presented by King & Spalding LLP, and experience ‘snow’ in Texas!”

Tickets: Prices range from $12.95 to $25.75 and change daily with cheaper tickets doing the week. Infants get in free. Tickets must be purchased at the gate.

The Light Park (Nov. 5, 2020 – Dec. 31, 2020) | Spring, Texas

Description: Don’t want to get out of your car? Here’s a drive-thru light show featuring holiday-themed emcees DJ Santa, DJ Snowflake, Barry Bear and Pixel Penguin.“The Light Park Troupe proudly presents an animated Christmas light show with millions of animated lights! Once in the park, tune your radio to our special channel for some entertaining banter and a mix of holiday music.”

Tickets: $40 per vehicle online. $45 per vehicle at the gate.

Christmas in the Country at Dew Berry Farms (Nov. 27, 2020 – Dec. 27, 2020) | Brookshire, Texas

Description: “Enjoy a whimsical Christmas Village with twinkling lights, garlands, ribbons and tinsel! Hop on our red wagons (or DEW a DriveThru!) to see a spectacular Christmas lights show — the magical Trail of Lights!”

Tickets: Drive-thru tickets are $25 per car online and $30 at the gate. Wagon rides are free for children younger than 3, everyone else costs $21.95 online or $24.95 at the gate and groups larger than 15 pay $20.95 per person. Prices do not include tax.

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Editor’s Note: I’ll be updating this list through the Christmas season, so be sure to check back periodically for updates.

Holiday pop-ups

Hou-ville (Now until Dec. 23, 2020) | Downtown Houston

Description: “Hou-Ville is a brand-new immersive holiday exhibit that puts a H-Town spin on Dr. Seuss’ iconic Christmas village of “Whoville. The limited time event offers Christmas fun for the entire family with photo opportunities at Hou-Ville City sets like Santa’s Houston Workshop and an Astro’s-themed Gingerbread House Bakery! The holiday village also includes festive family-friendly attractions, Santa Claus, homages to Houston and a Hou-Ville Gift Shop, with gifts and stocking stuffers for everyone on your holiday list.”

Tickets: A time-specific ticket must be purchased ahead of time. Adult prices start at $30 but increase to $40 during the week of Christmas. Child prices start at $15 and increase to $20 during the week of Christmas.

Jingled Up (Now until Dec. 30, 2020) | 711 Main Street in Downtown Houston

Description: Jingle Up is a Christmas-themed holiday bar offering Instagramable drinks straight from the Santa’s workshop! Each day of the week features a different activity from painting on Tuesdays to game day on Wednesdays and karaoke on Thursdays. You can also win a gift basket during the weekend ugly sweater competition. There’s also holiday bites. And of course, no pop-up would be complete without pictures sets. Great spot for some adult holiday fun, but kids are welcomed to during the daylight hours.

Tickets: Prices range from $10 – $30. A time-specific ticket must be purchased ahead of time.

Texas Winter Lights (Nov. 20, 2020 – Jan. 3, 2020) | Discovery Green in Downtown Houston

Description: “The Marriott Marquis Houston brings on a new winter tradition. Experience Texas Winter Lights, an interactive walking or float-through lights experience on the Parkview Terrace.  Swim through the lights in the iconic Texas-shaped lazy river, heated to 80 degrees all winter long.  Pose for Instagram-worthy photos, play light-up lawn games, and enjoy dining and beverage options at High Dive.”

Tickets: Adults start at $15. Children age 6 and younger start at $5. Event is Mondays through Thursdays only. A time-specific ticket must be purchased ahead of time.

Gingerbread house displays

‘Merry Mansions Gingerbread Display’ at The Houstonian | 111 North Post Oak in Downtown Houston

Description: It’s a Houston tradition! The Houstonian Hotel displays a gorgeous neighborhood of gingerbread mansions atop the lobby’s 30 foot fireplace every Christmas. Besides the display, families can also enjoy the hotel’s gingerbread building workshops on building their own sweet little houses.

Upcoming workshop dates are Dec. 19 and Dec. 20.

Tickets: The gingerbread mansion display is free. You can make a reservation for the gingerbread workshop at 713-812-6932. Prices start at $75 per child and parent.

The Gingerbread Village at CityPlace Springwoods Plaza (Now until Jan. 9, 2021) | 1250 Lake Plaza in Spring, Texas

Description: “Experience a super-sized, fantasy version of the holiday classic. From the Plaza, cross under an entrance guarded by two giant gingerbread men, wind around a path dotted with oversized candy canes, lollipops and gumdrops and arrive at a raised clearing featuring cookie trees, a 16-foot high house and 12-foot windmill.”

Tickets: Free.

RELATED: Enjoy a holiday staycation or day trip at Springwoods Village and CityPlace


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