It’s not the calendar or the temperature that heralds the beginning of the holidays in Houston, rather it’s the annual ode to sugar plum fairies and Christmas Carols at the Nutcracker Market. The preview party at NRG Center draws serious shoppers decked out in comfy cocktail attire for an evening of holiday cheer and retail therapy, benefiting the various programs of Houston Ballet and its Academy.
The Rockin’ and Shoppin’ theme of the Nutcracker Market chosen by market chairman Myrna Fisch took a nostalgic turn in both decor and music by the Davis Caceres band. A large digital jukebox greeted shoppers as they walked in marketplace, Christmas trees were decorated with old 45 record albums and Elvis was definitely in the building. From an Elvis Presley statue to an Elvis impersonator, the King of Rock 'n' Roll was on the holiday scene.
There were also famous local faces, too. Ernie Manouse of Houston Public Media sat down with Houston Ballet artistic director Stanton Welch for a Facebook Live chat and local designer Chloe Dao of Dao Chloe Dao (booth 1444) was working her chic shop loaded with fashion-forward and fun holiday wares.
More than 45 new merchants were added to the selective roster of retailers at the market, adding to the mix of annual favorites like the Paul Michael Co., Donne di Domani marinara sauce (they are accepting credit cards this year) and Marye-Kelley, handmade decoupage items that are heavy on Houston Astros World Series items like frames, plates and wastepaper baskets.
Mid-century bar lovers will raise a glass to Seeing Pink Elephants (booth 1145.) The collection of Imperial glasses, ice buckets and other items will surely make the holidays merry and bright and are not to be missed. Witty tea towels and socks make an even bigger mark this year, and for those looking to wow hosts and hostesses at holiday events, stop by locally-owned Vinglace (booth 1336) for portable wine chillers that fit any size bottle of wine.
The Nutcracker Market runs through Sunday, November 12. Tickets are $20 at the market and it's cash only at the NRG ticket windows. ATMs are available in the lobby. Discount tickets, $18, are sold in advance at Houston-area Randalls stores, and online at Ticketmaster. Half-price admission is available daily, three hours prior to closing. Children under 5 are free.
Those making merry at the Nutcracker Market Preview Party included Jim Nelson, Patsy Chapman, Cheri Fama, Caroline Fant, Regina Garcia, Jane Jones, Patricia Green, Darryl Montgomery, Philamena Baird, Kirksey Gregg, Shay Calhoun, Don and Gaylon Gullquist, Hannah McNair, Ericka Graham, and Roseann Rogers.