On this past Saturday, I was able to mark “Done” on my H-Town bucket list next to the entry about attending the annual Houston Ballet Guild Nutcracker Market. Since 1981, the Nutcracker Market has raised money for the academy and scholarship programs of the Houston Ballet Foundation. As a native Houstonian, I had been a subscriber of the Houston Ballet and attended the performance of the Nutcracker several times as a Christmas tradition but I had never attended the Nutcracker Market. So, I called up a few girlfriends and we decided to have a field trip.
The venue for the Nutcracker Market is the Reliant Center which is on the same complex as Reliant Stadium – home of the Houston Texans football team. As usual, there was adequate parking and a shuttle service to/from the Reliant Center. We arrived early, a few minutes after the opening for the day, and there were already a considerable amount of shoppers in the booths. I was expecting handmade beautiful Christmas decorations and merchandise for sale but there were all sorts of other merchandise from jewelry to furniture to back massagers and even cowgirl boots ( I guess the latter should not have been a surprise in Texas!) There were approximately 300 national and international merchants.
My girlfriend and I were not interested in jewelry so we focused on the non-jewelry booths. The booths with Christmas decorations were wonderful and the most amazing to me was the “Linda Jeanes Original Santas, L.L.C” booth with beautifully detailed Santas of all sizes. The designer is Linda Jeanes at http://www.lindajdesigns.com. There were many other booths with Christmas decorations and here are some of the pictures.
Another booth that caught my eye was one that had elaborate handmade birdcages and the prices were just as high as they stood.
We traveled up and down the aisles tasting some of the culinary fare from cherry salsa to toffee to rum cake (that would have made me drunk had I eaten an entire slice!). We had only planned to peruse the market with no intent to shop but I succumbed to the test drive of the back massager by Casada. Every person that sat in that massage chair did not want to leave it. It is a wonderful item in that I can put it on any chair and even use it in my car. My girlfriend succumbed to the call of the Old Gringo booth and ended the day by buying two pairs of beautiful cowgirl boots.
Overall, we enjoyed our visit to the Nutcracker Market. It was very well-attended and I now understand how the Nutcracker Market has contributed $22 million to Houston Ballet Foundation since 1981. If you are a jewelry lover, you could attend all three days and not visit every booth but, for everything else, a one-day visit should suffice.