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Meet the lovable monster himself.

Houstonia's Run, Run, Rudolph 5K and Holiday Party

Dec. 8 | Houstonia House

Here's the truth: We don't care if you run, walk, gallop, crawl or crab walk our 5K that stretches Heights Boulevard from 5th to 18th streets and back. While it is a race, you have the option of totally skipping the physical exertion in favor of the post-run holiday blowout back at our historic 1904 Victorian office, where we'd love to show you a good time. Tickets buy you food, drink, costume contests, and a photo-op with larger-than-life versions of Yukon Cornelius and the Bumble. Misfits welcome!

Tickets from $35. Houstonia Magazine, 447 Heights Blvd. 713-862-4570. More info and tickets at events.sagacitymedia.com.

The #under100bucks Pop Up Art Market

Dec. 8 | Warehouse Studios

Another weekend, another amazing art market. This one features a curated selection of local artists offering their work at reasonable prices, including everything from ceramics to vintage clothing to paintings to zines. If at first nothing fits your taste, indulge in a few the provided Saint Arnold brews and take another lap.

Free. Warehouse Studios, 1506 Lorraine St. More info via Facebook.

Hansel and Gretel

Thru Dec. 23 | Rec Room 

Rec Room has taken the shrink ray and adapted Engelbert Humperdinck’s fairy-tale classic as a "micro-opera" set in an immersive, 600-square-foot wooded installation. Audiences of about 30 will follow Hansel and Gretel on their wintery journey for an up-close experience unique among Houston's holiday fare.

Tickets from $15. Rec Room, 100 Jackson St. 713-344-1291. More info and tickets at recroomarts.org.

Hari Kondabolu

Dec. 9 | The Secret Group

This Brooklyn-based comedian is fresh off the release of The Problem with Apu, his buzzy documentary that confronts the soft racism of Apu, the Indian-American Kwik E Mart owner from The Simpsons. It's no surprise that his stand-up set, which you might have seen on Jimmy Kimmel Live or Conan, is equally political.

Tickets from $20. The Secret Group, 2101 Polk St. 832-898-1088. More info and tickets at thesecretgrouphtx.com.

Stanton Welch's The Nutcracker

Dec. 10–Jan. 6 | Smart Financial Centre and The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts

This year, you have options for your annual ballet pilgrimage. Forced out of its artistic home, the Wortham Theater Center, by floods, Houston Ballet has embarked upon a "Hometown Tour" that will bring Stanton Welch's The Nutcracker both to Sugar Land's Smart Financial Centre and the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. As executive director Jim Nelson recently quipped to us, "to take the sugar plum fairies to Sugar Land is just a natural fit from a marketing perspective."

Tickets from $35. Dec. 10–23, Smart Financial Centre, 18111 Lexington Blvd, Sugar Land. Dec. 30–Jan. 6, Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby St. More info and tickets at houstonballet.org.

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