You survived, and Houston Ballet thrived. This year's annual Nutcracker Market at NRG Center drew the highest recorded attendance to date, raising millions for the Ballet, its Academy, and scholarship programs—11 percent of merchandise sales plus all ticket sales and special events directly benefits the beloved dance program.

This year's market—themed "Cruising into Christmas"—was chaired by longtime Houston Ballet Guild and Nutcracker Market Committee member Wendy Wilkins Burks. Merchants from across the country set up shop from November 8–10, proffering everything from compact fishing poles to gourmet food to vintage clothing. Shoppers donned their festive bests, sipped signature mimosas, and enjoyed special events like a preview party and two separate fashion shows (from Saks Fifth Avenue and Macy's, respectively). Even Lyft got in on the action, offering special ride credits for Market shoppers and even couriering purchases. Here, we quantify what went down this year:


Year of the market


Days of holiday shopping



$20.6 million

Merchandise sales

$5.5 million

Expected net revenue to Houston Ballet Foundation




New merchants


Square feet of shopping space

$68.5 million

Houston Ballet Foundation proceeds raised since 1981

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