DECEMBER 2012: Houston Holidays & Children's Theaters

by Bernadette Verzosa

 

      Happy holidays! Our city is already aglow with thousands of lights, festive decorations, Christmas Trees and Hanukkah Menorahs. This year, even the Houston Zoo is transformed into a winter wonderland with Zoo Lights. Families can visit the animals from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. while strolling past 50 animal-themed light displays and under 15 miles of tree lighting. Kids can check out which animals are nocturnal and enjoy a nighttime carousel ride.
    Houston's theaters are bustling with classic holiday shows including Houston Ballet's The Nutcracker and the Alley Theatre's A Christmas Carol. Main Street Theater and A.D. Players are both staging two family-friendly shows. Main Street Theater is presenting A Little House Christmas and a Mexican Pastorela La Musica del CieloA.D. Players is presenting Sanders Family Christmas and Four Maps to Bethlehem
     Many Houston youngsters take the stage in these holiday productions. Read our article on LUKE CURTIS: THE NUTCRACKER KID - he's a young dancer who's performing in The Nutcracker for the fourth year.  

     Santa Claus is making a special appearance at the Houston Symphony's Hip Hoppin' Nutcracker. While he makes all the toys for girls and boys, he's also squeezing in appearances at many area stores and malls, and the Children's Museum of Houston. The Children's Museum has a line-up of multi-cultural celebrations including Las Posadas and Kwanzaa. 

 

     If you prefer a month-at-a-glance format, rather than this chronological listing, or if you would like to see listings for the months ahead, check our CULTURE CALENDAR.

 

DECEMBER 1:  HANDS-ON HOUSTON

Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, 713-529-4848, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Free admission. Project: Gourd Brooches. Children and parents can make custom brooches using an 18-point gourd star, embroidery floss and acrylic gemstones. Members of the Southeast Texas Gourd Patch will guide participants.

 

DECEMBER 1:  PUBLIC POETRY READING SERIES

Vinson Neighborhood Library, 3810 W. Fuqua, 832-393-2120, 2 p.m.

The Houston Public Library and Public Poetry present four local poets and a talented student with Writers In Schools. This month's featured poets are: Carolyn Tourney Florek, Ken Jones, Teresa Juarez and Katherine Noble. 

 

DECEMBER 2:  HOLIDAYS IN ASIA

Asia Society Texas, 1370 Southmore, 713-496-9901, 1 p.m.- 4 p.m.

Families can learn about holiday traditions in Asia through performances and activities including Chinese Lion Dances and Rangoli Demonstrations. Other presentations include Vietnamese New Year Envelopes, Filipino Christmas Parols and Japanese Nengajo Postcards.

  

Through DECEMBER 22:  A LITTLE HOUSE CHRISTMAS

Main Street Theater, 4617 Montrose Blvd, 713-524-6706, Various dates and times – consult CULTURE CALENDAR.

This holiday play is based on the "Little House" books by author Laura Ingalls Wilder. Bad weather may keep Santa away on Christmas Day. Sisters Laura and Mary are disappointed but learn the true meaning of friendship and the Christmas spirit. "I think especially during the whirlwind of the holidays, A Little House Christmas helps us to re-focus and appreciate the simpler things and remember what is truly important," says Vivienne M. St. John, Theater for Youth's Producing Director. 

Through DECEMBER 24:  CHARLES DICKENS' A CHRISTMAS CAROL  –  A GHOST STORY OF CHRISTMAS
Alley Theatre, 615 Texas Avenue, 713-220-5700, Various times - consult CULTURE CALENDAR.
Recommended for general audiences and children ages 6 and older. Three spirits visit Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas Eve - the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future. This production, Michael Wilson's adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic, offers unusual twists. Director James Black says, "As we watch Scrooge's transformation, he is shown that the tiniest act of kindness, compassion and charity can have ripples and reverberations that change lives. Love and generosity win. Every time." 

Through DECEMBER 31:  SANDERS FAMILY CHRISTMAS

A.D. Players, 2710 W. Alabama, Various times – consult CULTURE CALENDAR.

The show spreads holiday cheer through more than 20 Christmas carols and yuletide stories. The Sanders family gathers for Christmas Eve 1941 in Mount Pleasant, North Carolina. It's just before American soldiers including a member of their own family leave for World War II.  Sarah Cooksey, A.D. Players Public Relations Manager says, "Sanders Family Christmas celebrates the things that mean the most in life: family, faith, and the joy that comes from experiencing them together with the people you love."

Through DECEMBER 30:  THE NUTCRACKER

Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas, 713-227-2787, Varous times, consult CULTURE CALENDAR.

The Houston Ballet presents this beloved holiday treasure. More than one million people have seen this Ben Stevenson production since its premiere 25 years ago. The ballet, with music composed by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, tells the story of little Clara who receives a magical nutcracker doll on Christmas Eve. After everyone goes to bed, she travels on a fantastic journey through the Land of Sweets, encountering the Mouse King and the Sugar Plum Fairy. Dancer Mireille Hassenboehler says, "Seeing The Nutcracker is such a magical experience for families, from the growing Christmas tree to the snowy snow scene. What better way to elevate the holiday? The Nutcracker brings such beautiful set designs, amazing costumes, music by Tchaikovsky, and spectacular dancing."


DECEMBER 8:
 HIP HOPPIN' NUTCRACKER, HOUSTON SYMPHONY
Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana, 713-224-7575, 10 a.m. & 11:30 a.m.

Conductor Robert Franz and the Houston Symphony orchestra join forces with Westside High School's Inertia Dance Company in this musical holiday celebration with a playful twist. The concert song list includes Suites from The Nutcracker and The Snow Maiden as well as Caribbean Sleigh Ride, Brazilian Sleigh Bells, even the theme from The Pink Panther. Children can chime in during the Christmas Pops Sing-Along. All the wonderful holiday music may just draw Santa away from the North Pole for a break - he's scheduled to make an appearance on stage! Families can arrive early before the 10 a.m. concert or stay late after the 11:30 a.m. concert to participate in activities including an instrument petting zoo and arts and crafts.  

DECEMBER 9, 23, 30:  SUNDAY FAMILY ZONE & STUDIO

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet, 713-639-7300, 1 p.m.- 4p.m.

December's theme is "Shape Your World: Exploring Contemporary Latin American Art." Story time is at 1:30 p.m. Families can explore the exhibition Constructed Dialogues: Concrete, Geometric and Kinetic Art from the Latin American Art Collection and create artwork. The gallery designated as the family zone changes monthly. 

 

DECEMBER 16:  BAYOU BEND'S FAMILY DAY: HOLIDAY TRADITIONS

Bayou Bend, 6003 Memorial Drive, 713-639-7750

Free admission. Families can learn about holiday customs across many cultures through performances by musicians, puppeteers, dancers and storytellers. Kids can participate in holiday craft activities. Volunteers will be available to provide guided tours of the first floor of the historic home.

 

DECEMBER 25:  MERRY CHRISTMAS! 





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