While many of us groan at the early Christmas music and pumpkin-spice-everything, holiday lights are a universally welcome sight. In that spirit, here is a rundown of the spots that will be keeping things lit right up to the New Year, as well as the neighborhoods that will be going full-tilt with the light displays. These dazzling displays are sure to lift your Yuletide spirits.
Christmas Village at Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens
Starting on December 12, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's fifth annual event will bring holiday cheer with thousands of lights, carolers, animated projections, a hand-crafted model train and festive activities — including cotton snowball tosses and a faux-snow slope — for all ages. Runs through December 30. 5:30 pm.
Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens
Moody Gardens is on its 18th year with the largest holiday lighting event on the Gulf Coast. While visiting Moody Gardens, visitors can also take a ride on the Arctic Slide, go ice-skating, visit with Santa, go on a train ride, grab hot cocoa, and more. Runs through January 12. 6 pm.
Galaxy Lights at Space Center Houston
Space Center Houston is getting in on the light-show game. This all-new, technologically advanced experience will transform and illuminate the center with space-themed installations via LED lights, 3-D projections, and interactive displays. Runs through January 5. 6 pm.
Magical Winter Lights at Gulf Greyhound Park
This LaMarque-based, multicultural festival will feature over 6 million lights, upgraded installations, interactive displays, and eight themed lantern sections, as well as entertainment by Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus, carnival rides, games, and food. Runs through January 5. 5 pm.
Sugar Land Holiday Nights at Constellation Field Stadium
This sparkling wonderland (presented by Imperial Sugar) features more than 2.5 million lights and numerous themed displays. Participants can also get some holiday shopping done with a variety of vendors, enjoy great food, and meet Santa. Runs through January 5. 6 pm.
Zoo Lights at Houston Zoo
TXU Energy presents this experience, where guests can stroll through a 100-foot-long Infinity Tunnel of Light, experience the 4-D Enchanted Forest, catch a giant Ice Dragon come to life, see “snow” in Texas, take a picture with Santa, and more. Runs through January 12. 5:30 pm.
Christmas Ranch in Cleveland
Since 1995, the Christmas Ranch (which was formerly located in Huntsville) has been lighting things up with their cheery, Christmas-y display. And don't forget that Santa Claus will be popping up on Saturdays and Christmas Day. Donations are appreciated and will be distributed by St. Mary’s Catholic Church to help the needy.
When it comes to Christmas lights, few Houston neighborhoods go in harder than Pecan Grove. People come from all around the check out the lights. And next week, they'll start their annual Christmas Lighting Contest, where winners will receive a $50 gift card to dine at the Pecan Grove Country Club.
You and the fam can take a journey off Highway 249 north of Willowbrook Mall, where this neighborhood will have its usual Nite of Lites festivities. Homeowners participate in a friendly competition for a variety of individual and block recognition categories, which are awarded by a committee of guest judges.
The Christmas lights in River Oaks are still going strong, even though — according to a Facebook post — some Scrooges and Grinches out there would like to shut it down. Regardless, the holiday spirit is strong over on these parts. You can even get free pics with St. Nick at the "Santa House," every Friday and Saturday.
As far as we can remember, this neighborhood — located on Scott and Yellowstone — has been a beautifully lit, winter wonderland during the holiday season. From the arches that usually line the streets to the occasional automobile that is covered in bulbs in someone's driveway, this spot always keeps things nice and incandescent.
The neighborhood gets things rolling with its Lights in the Heights spectacular next week. On Thursday, December 12, the LITH committee hands out awards for a range of decorating categories, followed by a "Friday Night Lights" event the following day. Then, on Saturday, December 14, you can take in the sights while listening to Christmas music, jazz bands, and more.