Seasonal Shopping

Places to go, things to do and see and people who are leaving their mark on the world of style.

By Moe Godat


Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market, Houston, TX: In 1981, a long-time Houston Ballet supporter by the name of Preston Frazier approached the board of the Houston Ballet Guild with an idea to help raise funds for the Houston Ballet Foundation, known for its academy and scholarship programs. After bringing his vision of sugar plums and community engagement to the guild, the historic city’s prolific holiday market came into being to preserve the love of the arts in the area. Frazier helped instate the yearly Nutcracker Market, inspired by the famous Nutcracker Ballet. The market today functions much like a traditional European or Latin American street market having grown spectacularly from a small church setting to a four-day shopping extravaganza. Booths offer unique items and gifts for the entire family, including decor, food, clothing, accessories, toys and much more. Since 1981, the market has held both a winter and spring market, contributing over $75.3 million to arts education and scholarships to the Houston Ballet Academy’s education and community engagement programs. This year, the market will celebrate its 40th anniversary from November 11 to November 14.

Christkindlmarket, Chicago, IL: First conceptualized in 1995 by The German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest (GACC Midwest), the Christkindlmarket in Chicago was a way to promote trade between the United States and Germany. It’s first year of overwhelming success in 1996 began the Christkindlmarket’s tradition as one of the United States most popular and authentic German holiday markets outside of Europe. The holiday market draws inspiration from the 16th century Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, Germany, which was one of the first outdoor holiday markets in Europe. To emulate this historic German location and event, Chicago’s Christkindlmarket provides high-quality food, gifts, local and Germanic traditions, holiday cheer and plenty of opportunities to create lasting memories with your family and friends. If you’re interested in eating at the Heated Timber Haus, make a reservation on their website to secure a time. Now held yearly in Daley Plaza, it's considered one of the most popular winter attractions in the city, captivating both locals and visitors for the past 25 years. For the 2021 season, you can visit the Christkindlmarket from November 19 to December 24.

Downton Holiday Market, Washington DC: Dedicated to supporting local businesses and small vendors from the area, Washington DC’s Downtown Holiday Market operates as an outdoor shopping village to attract locals and visitors alike. The Downtown DC Business Improvement District (BID) and Diverse Markets Management spearheads this annual holiday treat to welcome shoppers to a safe, secure and festive holiday experience in the heart of the District, two entire blocks of F Street NW. You can find its grand main entrance in front of the lauded National Portrait Gallery. The large footprint creates wide aisles, making the enjoyment of shopping, browsing, eating and experiencing live entertainment simpler and safer. This year, the retail and vendor lineup features more than 70 exhibitors, including Black- and minority-owned businesses. If the shopping isn’t enough of an incentive to join, exceptional regional performers on a live stage should do the trick! Join the 17th Annual Downtown Holiday Market starting on Friday, November 19.