Our Favorite Things

'Tis the season to shop new finds, old favorites at Nutcracker Market

'Tis the season to shop new finds, old faves at Nutcracker Market

French laundry home brings its handmade wares to the Nutcracker Market for the first time in 2016. French Laundry Home
Twisted Wares/Nutcracker
Funny, punny and not alway safe for work items are among the gift items at Twisted Wares. Twisted Wares
Kitty Keller Ornaments
Kitty Keller Designs ornaments are hand-painted works of art. Kitty Keller Designs
Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market 2017 at NRG Center
Thousands of shoppers will deck the halls at the 2016 Nutcracker Market. Photo courtesy of Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market
Twisted Wares/Nutcracker
Kitty Keller Ornaments
Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market 2017 at NRG Center

When it comes to the Nutcracker Market, there are some universal truths every shopper knows.

The decor and furnishings at Paul Michael Company reminds you that your house is not Chip and Joanna Gaines-approved, the Donna Di Domani marinara sauce always goes fast and the cinnamon-infused air and Christmas carols immediately evokes the holidays — even if it’s still 80 degrees outside.

Every year though, there are new vendors added to the party mix. It’s not easy to become a Nutcracker Market vendor and many wait their turn before getting to stake their claim on the red carpet. Below are some fresh faces to Nutcracker and a couple of favorites that are fun standouts.

Twisted Wares

You can hear the laughter before you ever get to the Twisted Wares booth. Owner Missy Livingston brings her slightly irrelevant and totally humorous take on life and projects them on kitchen towels, makeup bags, T-shirts and banners. 

A Seattle transplant, she and her family moved to McKinney, Texas, after losing everything in the recession. What Livingston thought would be a disaster turned into a tremendous opportunity. Her patent-pending Hang Tight Towel loop design allows for a towel to be used and stay put. The sayings like “Cluster Fork,” “Grater Gonna Grate,” and “I Love You More Than Biscuits and Gravy” are punny reminders not to take things so seriously.

French Laundry Home 

French Laundry Home from High Point, North Carolina, brings home decor and gifts to the market that are suitable for the holidays and beyond. 

Owner Debbie Jones created French Laundry Home after being inspired by an idea to reproduce fabric created more than 100 years ago on hand looms. To prepare for the Nutcracker Market, Jones and her team of local artisans cut, sewed and printed all the items by hand. They got it all done in three weeks.

Paris Texas Apparel Co.

Paris Texas Apparel Co. isn’t new to Houston or lots of other locations in Texas, but it is the company’s first year at the Nutcracker Market. Witty Texas humor and well-made ties, T-shirts and other Lone Star items are available at Paris Texas Apparel Co. and it’s a great place to pick up gifts for guys.


This Nutcracker Market favorite from Denver was on a slight hiatus the past two years, but has returned with its ridiculously delicious selection of marmalades, tapenades, tapenade-style spreads and vinaigrettes. Do not leave without at least trying the Tartufo spread. The blend of Winter Truffle & Marinated Asiago and Parmesan Hard Cheese is a snack-sized revelation.

Kitty Keller Designs

’Tis the season to decorate the tree, but Kitty Keller Designs ornaments are pretty enough to leave up all year long. The selection of handcrafted cloisonné ornaments ranges from college, sorority and fraternity-themed to destinations like New Orleans and New York City.

The Nutcracker Market runs through Sunday, Nov. 13 at NRG Center. Tickets are $20 at the Nutcracker Market, but  only cash is accepted, so either plan in advance or use the on-site ATM. Discount tickets are available at Randall’s stores or online through Ticketmaster.