light it up!

Prepare to ring in the Houston holiday season at this annual tree lighting ceremony

Toast the Houston holiday season at this annual tree lighting ceremony

Houston Galleria tree lighting
Celebrate the lighting of this 55-foot tall tree this weekend.  Photo courtesy of Simon Malls

If the proliferation of pumpkin spice products are any indicator, the holidays are here. And while that generally means the angst of gift lists, out-of-towners, and traffic jams, the season offers plenty to celebrate.

One such celebratory staple is the annual Ice Spectacular at The Galleria, which takes place Saturday, November 9. Now in its 31st year, the free event features the lighting of the massive, 55-foot-tall Christmas tree, which boasts a whopping 450,000 twinkling lights and 5,000 ornaments in myriad shapes and colors.

Fun facts: The tree’s installation takes more than 24 hours of work by 50 men and women. The massive tree includes more than 1,000 branches that are hand fluffed by individuals starting in September, according to Simon Malls.

This year’s ceremony will begin with family and children's activities, live entertainment, and special in-store events starting at noon. Music comes courtesy of a performance by Louisiana-born Gyth Rigdon, runner-up from Season 16 of The Voice. (Rigdon will be performing from this 2018 album, When I’m Gone.)

The evening also promises an ice  skating component, featuring Karina Sinding Johnson, four-time Danish Senior National Champion and three-time World Championships competitor; Erin Reed, United States National Junior Ladies medalist and Senior national competitor; Joe Gorecki, two-time gold medalist in Moves and Freestyle; and Cheyne Coppage and Katie Uhlig, Former National and International pair skating medalists.

The event will culminate with a countdown to the lighting of the tree at 6 pm by “Skating Santa” and a fireworks display.

Consider this a chance to whip some holiday cheer, amuse the kids, and officially ring in the holiday frenzy.

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The 31st Annual Ice Spectacular at The Galleria runs starts at noon; countdown begins at 6 pm at The Galleria – Ice at The Galleria, 5085 Westheimer Rd. For more information, visit The Galleria online.