December's Can't-Miss Festivals

From the Moody Gardens Festival of Lights to Zoolights at the Houston Zoo, December is packed with family-friendly options.

By BoJanay Posey December 12, 2013

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Moody Gardens Festival of Lights

Santa will be everywhere this month. He’s jetting across Galveston from the Moody Gardens Festival of Lights to the Holiday in the Park Concert Series at Saengerfest Park before making a pit stop in downtown Houston at the Heritage Society’s 51st Annual Candlelight Tour. Let us help you pin down Santa and a few other seasonal activities with our list of December festivals.

Moody Gardens Festival of Lights
Bundle up the kids and take them to Moody Gardens Festival of Lights. Not only will there be one million lights—some shaped like giant swans and the Nutcracker—but ice skating and Santa. Bring a nonperishable food item for their Food Drive Fridays for a discounted ticket.
Dec 12 –Jan 4 from 6-10 pm. Moody Gardens, 1 Hope Blvd, Galveston, TX.

Fiesta Guadalupana

Fiesta Guadalupana
Celebrate the feast day of La Virgen de Guadalupe with singers, dancers, and a silent auction from Multicultural Education and Counseling through the Arts (MECA). According to the story, around this time of year, a traveling peasant was visited by the Virgin Mary, who told him to build a church in her honor. Using Castilian roses, Mary helped him arrange an image of her in his cloak to convince the clergy that he was her messenger. Today the church, Basilica de Guadalupe in Mexico City, is one of the most visited Catholic shrines in the world.
Dec 12 at 6:30 p.m. MECA Dow School Campus, 1900 Kane St.

The League City 52nd Annual Christmas Boat Lane Parade
Grab a seat on land or on a boat to watch more than 100 decorated boats cruise from the South Shore Harbour Resort to the League City side of Clear Lake for the 52nd Christmas Boat Parade.
Dec 14 at 6 pm. Kemah Boardwalk. Parade will start at the South Shore Harbour Resort and Conference Center, 2500 South Shore Blvd, League City.

Galveston Holiday in the Park Choral/Band Concert Series and Lasers, Lights, and Magic
Approximately 3,000–5,000 performers and spectators are expected for this event. Vendors will sell gifts on 23rd Street while local school bands and church choirs entertain the crowd. Following the concert will be Lasers, Lights, and Magic at Saengerfest Park, where snow will sprinkle down from the heavens and lights will twinkle on and off to the music.
Dec 14–15 and Dec 21, noon–8, Saengerfest Park, Galveston.

Heritage Society’s 51st Annual Candlelight Tour
This year’s tour will be held in conjunction with the re-opening of Sam Houston Park. Some of Houston’s oldest buildings have been decorated for the holidays, and inside each structure will be actors in period costumes. Meanwhile, kids can enjoy activities at Santa’s workshop and treats from Candlelight Café.
Dec 14–15. Sam Houston Park, 1000 Bagby St.

German Christmas Market and Fiesta

Image: Kathy Haas

German Christmas Market and Festival
There's a bit of everything here. Performers, food, beer and wine, arts and crafts, church, and a petting zoo. All for free, including parking.
Dec 13–15; Fri 6–10 pm; Sat 10 am–10 pm; Sun 10 am–6 pm. Old Town Tomball, near the Historical Train Depot Plaza, 201 S. Elm, Tomball.

La Posada in the Old Sixth Ward
MECA ain’t done yet, and this time there’s a piñata. La Posada is a month-long celebration of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem, including traditional food and drink, a reenactment of the journey, and a candlelight procession of people singing songs and knocking on doors in the Old Sixth Ward.
Dec 16–Jan 5. MECA Dow School Campus, 1900 Kane St.

What’s Happening Now:

ICE at Discovery Green
‘Tis the season to ice skate in downtown Houston.
Now until Feb 2, 11am–11pm, Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney St. 

Zoolights at Houston Zoo
Two in one: Christmas lights and animals. Technically, the zoo is closed, but, hey, Shasta and her friends can’t snooze through all the festivities, funnel cake, hot chocolate, wine, and beer.
Now until Jan 4 from 6–10 pm. Houston Zoo, 6200 Hermann Park.

The 33rd Annual Home for the Holidays
The family can enjoy local performances from schools and dance studios, a petting zoo, photos with Santa, and deals from restaurants such as Papa Johns and Chick-fil-A.
Every weekend from now until Dec 21. Old Town Spring, 403 Main St, Spring.

Zoolights at the Houston Zoo


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