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Crazy holiday loot: Nutcracker Market racks up $17.78 million in sales in a matter of days

Nutcracker Market top 10, November 2012, Rachel Regan, Jim Nelson, Patti Murphy
Houston Ballet Nutcracker chairs Rachel Regan, left, and Patti Murphy flank the ballet's executive director Jim Nelson led the way to another record year. Photo by © Gary Fountain
008, Nutcracker Market Saks luncheon, November 2012, Elva Hollenshead, Karen Banister, Cheryl Wheeler
Even with a lower attendance, the ladies shopped more fervently than ever before. Elva Hollenshead, Karen Banister, Cheryl Wheeler Photo by © Michelle Watson/

The Houston Ballet Guild and the powers that be at Houston Ballet are kicking up their heels at the results of last week's Nutcracker Market that filled Reliant Center with more enticing goodies than even Santa could imagine.

Once again, more Christmas wreaths, travel jewelry, trinkets and toys exited in shopping bags than the previous year. Houston Ballet director of individual giving and special events Patsy Chapman reports that merchant sales for 2012 were $17,789,000 — more than $1.4 million above last year, an 8.6 percent increase.

 Merchant sales for 2012 were $17,789,000 — more than $1.4 million above last year, an 8.6 percent increase. 

Of course, the merchants keep the lion's share of those millions and Reliant has to be paid, but significant proceeds remain for Houston Ballet coffers with funds going to Houston Ballet Foundation as well as to the ballet's Ben Stevenson Academy and its scholarship funds. 

That mega number was reached even with a lower attendance than in 2011. Last week, the turnstiles clicked 104,836 entries, about 4,000 less than last year. That drop is attributed to the fact that last year's market fell on Veteran's Day, a holiday for many which meant a work-free shopping day. 

Applause, applause for the 1,000 volunteers who work all year long to make the market happen and overall market chairs Rachel Regan and Patti Murphy; preview party chairs Katrina Arnim, Gabriela Dror, Caroline Kenney, Pattie Dale Tye and Susan Vick; Saks Fifth Avenue luncheon chairs Anne Carl, Kimberly DeLape, Kim Moody and Alicia Smith; and Macy's brunch chairs Rosemary Schatzman and Michelle Smith

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