Houston – When it comes to the holiday season, finding the perfect gift for that special someone is sometimes a tough thing to accomplish. Thankfully, down in Houston there’s a massive market held every year with things even Santa’s elves would be impressed with, the Nutcracker Market in Houston.
“It’s just a fun, crazy day,” Steph Dewaegener said.
Cecilia Campbell is one of the chairman of the market. She’s been participating in the Nutcracker Market for 14 out of the 38 years that this Christmas custom has been carrying on.
“This is huge,” Cecilia said. “We will probably have over 100,000 shoppers in our four days.”
The Nutcracker market is organized by the Houston Ballet as a fundraiser. What you see today is a far cry from what is was when it commenced in 1981.
“I believe it’s the biggest Christmas market in the country,” Cecilia said.
What started as a small gathering has turned into a four day extravaganza featuring 270 merchants in the massive NRG arena.
“It’s chaos to Christmas in a matter of a couple of days,” Cecilia said.
While the flood of folks who like to find good deals seem to be exceedingly female, there are a few fellas you’ll find braving the crowd.
“We do get men shoppers,” Cecilia said. “The majority are women, but we do have a lot of men who come through here. A lot of them are here to carry bags for their wives.”
Jeff Krause is one of the longest tenured trading posts in the market. His Round Top Collection is a popular stop at the show thanks to its 45,000 square foot showroom.
“We’ve got some fun stuff, but the booth, like I said … it’s the first day, and it’s already torn up,” Jeff said. “So we will be here probably five or six hours after the doors close just restocking and placing things where they belong.”
Jane Tabbah leads a league of Italian ladies known as Dona di Domani, or “The Women of Tomorrow”. They have a very sought after item at the market: Spaghetti sauce.
“We have made this sauce for over 25 years, and have raised over 2 million dollars on this one project,” Jane said. “And all proceeds, and I mean all proceeds, go to charity. We make a certain amount of jars, and once those jars are gone, that’s it until next year.”
While you can’t try the sauce, this is only a small sample of the insane amount of gifts you can get here.
“All kinds of food items, clothing, jewelry,” Cecilia said. “If you name something, I can probably tell you if we have it or if we don’t have it. Our goal is to have something for every single person that walks through the door. All of the people here will spend in four days close to 20 million dollars.”
The amount of cash people spend is almost as crazy as some of the outfits you’ll find here.
“Oh, I know. So we get the … you’ve seen it, we’ve seen the ladies that have all of the matching headbands,” Cecilia said. “We have ladies that make special t-shirts to come to the market. That’s so really they can find each other is the main reason they do that.”
If you’re looking for a merry market with a measureless amounts of marvelous goods, the Nutcracker Market is well worth a stop on The Texas Bucket List.
“You’ve gotta put on your comfortable shoes, get your list together and come check off everybody from your list as you buy your gifts here,” Cecilia said.