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Your weekly guide to Houston: Five (plus) don't-miss events — Houston's best Holiday Lighting included

Your weekly guide to Houston: Your guide to Uptown Holiday Lighting

Houston Ballet, The Nutcracker
Do you believe in the Sugar Plum Fairy? I do, especially when experiencing Houston Ballet's The Nutcracker. Photo by Amitava Sarkar
29th Annual Uptown Houston Holiday Lighting
The 29th Annual Uptown Houston Holiday Lighting concludes with a wicked fireworks display. Courtesy photo
2013 TXU Energy Turkey Trot benefiting Sheltering Arms Senior Services
Try boosting your health prowess with the TXU Energy Houston Turkey Trot 5K, 10K and kids fun run. Courtesy of TXU Energy Turkey Trot
Houston Ballet, The Nutcracker
29th Annual Uptown Houston Holiday Lighting
2013 TXU Energy Turkey Trot benefiting Sheltering Arms Senior Services

What's on your list of things for which you are thankful? On mine is you, the reader, who week after week indulges me by poring over this column of what to do in this wonderful megalopolis we call H-Town.

While the number of events tends to slim down during Thanksgiving (perhaps while our waists do the exact opposite), there's plenty of happenings that will keep your and your family's sanity during the holidays — including, of course, shopping and sparkling holiday lights.

TXU Energy Houston Turkey Trot 2014

Before you gobble up all those delightful Thanksgiving calories courtesy mamma's heavy hand with the butter, cream and bacon, inevitably followed by passing out on the comfy couch, try boosting your health prowess with the TXU Energy Houston Turkey Trot 5K, 10K and kids fun run.

The beneficiary, Neighborhood Centers, will surely be thankful for your participation.

The skinny: Thursday morning; Dillard's Parking Lot in the Galleria; onsite registration starts at $10.

29th Annual Uptown Houston Holiday Lighting

What to do after your family has woken up from their turkey day tryptophan food comma? The weather promises to be Houston winter perfect to enjoy holiday music, food and performances by the Houston Concert Band, Salvation Army Harbor Light Choir, Houston Choral Showcase, Mixteco Ballet Folklorico and A.D. Players.

The event welcomes Santa as the jolly dude lights up more than half-million sparkling lights on 80 Christmas trees. The evening concludes with a wicked fireworks display presented by Carnan Properties.

The skinny: Thursday, 4 p.m.; Uptown Houston; free event.

Pop Shop Houston Holiday Festival

For those unlucky shoppers who missed Fresh Arts' Winter Holiday Art Market last week, here's another opportunity to find one-of-a-kind goods from imaginative local vendors. Pop Shop Houston hosts yet another three-day market at Silver Street Studios, showcasing more than 90 merchants, small businesses and designers. 

Activities such as food tastings, a vintage video game arcade, crafts and science diversions round out this shopping fete.

Need more artsy shopping? The Black Friday Art Sale at DiverseWorks is a must.

The skinny: Friday through Sunday; Silver Street Studios; $18 VIP entry, free general admission entry.

Houston Ballet presents The Nutcracker

I'm coming clean: I sometimes still refer to this holiday staple as "the buttcracker," an allusion to what orchestra musicians feel after performing the score over and over and over again — like the song that never ends.

But, truth be told, experiencing this Houston Ballet classic never gets old. I turn into a happy child who believes in miracles. Trust me, I know how that sounds. What's next? Believing in the Sugar Plum Fairy? Too late.

The skinny: Friday through Dec. 28; Wortham Theater Center; tickets start at $19.

2014 Saint Arnold Foam Raiser

Now, as they say, here's something completely different, because everything that happens at the Orange Show Monument can be classified as different. Try this Saint Arnold Brewing Co. party that celebrates Houston's belief that everyone can be an artist. 

Comedy sketches and dancing to tunes by The Wandering Buffaleros and Firemoth complement frosty suds courtesy of Houston's favorite local brewery.

The skinny: Saturday, 7 p.m.; Orange Show Center for Visionary Art; $20 in advance, $25 at the door.