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Christmas Activities for the Kids

Lights in the Heights, Santa in a Fish Tank, Christmas Plays, and More

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As adult-oriented as Houston can feel at times, it's actually a great place to raise kids, especially around the holidays. There are myriad things to do here -- I'm fairly certain my wife has shuttled my twin boys and me off to just about every Christmas-related activity in town- and you'll find links and a brief description of the more enjoyable ones below.

And if you happen to know of an event that's been missed, shoot me an email and I'll add it to the list. Thanks.

Bayou Bend Yuletide

There are a few different things going on here -candlelight tours and room recreations among them- but my favorite is the Victorian Ornament Workshop, a cool little event where the kids actually get to fashion ornaments that reflect the styles of the 19th century. Naturally, I assume the Butter Churner model and the Cotton Gin model are among the most frequently made.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

It's never too early to get kids started in arts -- actually, that's probably a false axiom. Infants seem like they'd gain little from taking in a play. Nevertheless, The Country Playhouse's version of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is a winner among the kids.

Trader's Village Holiday Market

Because Santa's schedule is kinda hectic this time of year, he'll only be making appearances at the Annual Holiday Market on the 13th, 19th, and 20th from noon to four. With reportedly "thousands" of dealers though, there'll still be plenty for the kids to do on Santa's off days.

Woodlands Winter Wonderland

Two acres of lighted storybook displays that surround an ice skating rink? And it's free? A favorite among us cheap dads.

Ice Skating at Discovery Green

Ice skating inside is fine for May, but come winter time, it’s an activity that should be done outside. Plus, Discovery Green’s ice rink is (kind of) on a real lake. In your face, fabricated Galleria Mall Ice Skating Rink.

Here Comes Santa Claus

If you've never been there, the Interactive Theater is great. They actually encourage involvement during shows and the kids really get a kick out of it. FYI: It can be totally annoying if you show up without kids. It's pretty much the same as a trip to the now defunct Meyerland Movie Theater was.

Holiday Wishes play at Northwest Mall

It's at the mall, so, if nothing else, you can get some shopping done if the plays manage to somehow not hold the kids' attention.

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Their PR stuff says it's "the grandest holiday tradition of all time" and that you should "bring the entire family," but my boys are only 18 months so we're still not allowed in yet. (Children must have reached their second birthday to attend.) There's snow falling, Santa flying, and a living nativity scene. It certainly sounds like a good time.

A Christmas Carol at Alley Theatre

Though my heart is a little more invested in the stage adaptation of the big screen epic A Christmas Story than it is A Christmas Carol, this is a good time for the kiddoes.

Head on over to one of the city's nicer neighborhoods and take in their Lights in the Heights event. Essentially, the event consists of you walking around with your kids showing them -are you ready for this?- lights! It's actually a lot of fun, I'm just a tad bitter because my recent lowball offer on an available property in the Heights just missed being accepted (by about $230,000).

Breakfast With Santa at Aquarium Restaurant

This event is actually a triple treat because (a) kids like fish, and there are a ton here, (b) kids like Santa and he's here too, and (c)Santa actually makes a guest appearance inside the tank. You gotta admit, Santa in an aquarium is considerably less annoying than Santa outside of a department ringing a bell. Make reservations, this one fills up quick.

Christmas Cruise on Buffalo Bayou

This one is actually only available for its last run on the 20th, but if you get the chance you should make your way out there. It's a 30 minute trip that begins and ends in Sesquicentennial Park and is more interesting than I'm making it out to be here. Kids under 4 are not allowed.

A Few Houston Public Library Activities

Click on the ablove link to find out what type of Christmas-y goodness the Houston Public Library has to offer, including arts, crafts, story times, and ESL classes(?).

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