Online, you'll find the same trusty vendors, but no crowds to contend with.

As many a Houstonian and mimosa-lover knows, The Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market is an annual Bayou City tradition that’s raised millions for the Houston Ballet Foundation since its 1981 inception. Just last year, the ballet  launched its first-ever spring edition of the marketplace—18,150 shoppers collectively spent some $3.2 million over 3 days time—proving that our city also loves all forms of Easter decor along with all those homemade dips and mimosas.

Sadly, the Spring Nutcracker Market, slated for April 17-19, had to be canceled this year due to the spread of the coronavirus. But thanks to some savvy planning on part of the Houston Ballet, shoppers can now participate in an online marketplace, The Virtual 2020 SPRING Nutcracker Marketplace, that’s open on Facebook through April 30. And this is all about supporting those small businesses, because 100 percent of the sales will go directly to the merchants. 

There are around 85 merchants participating, selling everything from cute, bunny-themed children's clothing to graduation gifts to essential oil roll-ons and dinner-made-easy kits (now that does sound pretty handy right about now)—you can find a full list at NutcrackerMarket.com.  To shop, click on the Facebook page and wait to be approved to join the group, which only takes a minute, and then shop to your heart's content.

“We are trying to make the best of a complicated situation by offering an alternative space for our merchants to showcase their items and for our shoppers to enjoy a special online shopping event from home,” Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market CEO Patsy Chapman said in a statement. “However, We hope the virtual market brings some happiness to our shoppers and helps supplement the sales of our wonderful merchants who work so hard as small business owners.” 

Those who purchased tickets to the April 17–19 event at NRG Center are eligible to receive full refunds (the deadline in May 15), so head to NutcrackerMarket.com for more info. And definitely check out the Facebook page if you have some cash to spare to support these businesses.