A photo of nutcracker dolls.

Well, Houston, we all knew (or at least suspected) this was going to happen. Given that the pandemic has gone on much longer than many initially anticipated, on Wednesday morning the Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market officially cancelled its in-person holiday market at NRG this November.

“Despite our best efforts, there simply was not a feasible way to host a safe event at the level that our merchants and shoppers expect and deserve,” Patsy Chapman, CEO of Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market, stated in a release. “While we remained hopeful for our event to continue as planned, this is the best decision for the health and safety of everyone involved.” 

But don’t crack just yet, y’all. Like the spring market, the event is moving online, and this go around, you’ll get actual weeks to get all your holiday shopping done. The in-person event had been originally slated for November 11—15. However, the virtual event will still begin on November 11 with the Wells Fargo Early Bird Day—for $30, get first pick on all the merchandise, plus special discounts and promotions—but from there, general shopping will take place November 12 to December 11. Imagine that: a whole month to holiday shop.

Spend that month browsing merchants from across the country and picking out your favorite home décor, clothing, jewelry, candles, gifts, and so much more. So far around 200 merchants have signed up to set up virtual stalls this year. Returning favorites include Two Tequila Sisters and Sassy Cups, while vendors making their Nutcracker debut include Boone Branch and Parker & Hyde.

Unlike the spring event, which was accessible through Facebook, this go-round will take place on a virtual shopping platform. More details about the platform and obtaining access will be announced in the coming weeks, according to the release. 

Since the early 1980s, the Nutcracker Market has raised more than $74 million for the Houston Ballet Foundation. Last year's holiday market alone raised $5.4 million. This year 11 percent of the market’s merchandise sales, and all the proceeds from Early Bird Day, will support the Houston Ballet—which lost $1.3 million in revenue this year because of the pandemic—plus its Houston Ballet Academy, and scholarship programs.

“We thank everyone who has been rallying behind Nutcracker Market,” Chapman said. “This is not what we envisioned for our 40th year, but we look forward to celebrating in person and in style with our fans and supporters again next year. Until then, we hope we can count on our shoppers to join us virtually.”

While we’re all still waiting for details, we suggest you crank up the Tchaikovsky, pour some bubbly into your OJ, and get those online shopping fingers ready. We're betting there will be some intense clicking once the market goes live come November. 

For more information, call 713-535-3231 or visit www.NutcrackerMarket.com.