December 17, 2020


If you're new here, well howdy! Welcome to my weekly blog about Houston arts and culture, plus whatever else I wish to share from my brain. Scroll to the very bottom for more about it and also ways to connect with me.

As you read, please note that all the words in purple are linked to websites.
WHAT'S ON MY MIND THIS WEEK? It's holiday time! And instead of my weekly ARTS PICKS Spotlight, my special gift to you is my sweet round up of HOLIDAY FUN, below. Print it up and stick it in the car...even during this pandemic, we can still get out (or stay in) and have a blast with our loved ones and our friends pod. As always, I focus only on Houston-based arts & culture -- I hope you will too! Remember that you can do year-end donations for any organization. This year especially, they all need our support!

I just did this interview with Deborah Duncan on Great Day Houston with some ideas for end-of-2020 fun; below I have a lot more.

And wait! Before you check out my guide, be sure to check out this other interview I did in 2008 with Deborah about meaningful, non-materialistic holidays. It is more applicable today than ever.

And if you're looking for peace to close out the year (or anytime!), please check out my 12 MEDITATION VIDEOS in this playlist on my YouTube page (subscribe to it if you wish!). They're from my MONDAY MEDITATION CHATS at 10am on my personal Facebook page. I'll be starting those up again next year (as well as my weekly WEDNESDAY NIGHT LIVE 9pm arts & culture chats), so please tune in!

I will be taking a break for the rest of 2020 (yeehaw!), so I'll be back on your screen in early 2021. Enjoy my HOLIDAY FUN GUIDE and be sure to REST, RELAX, RESTORE, REJOICE...and stay healthy.

Happy happy holidays and
here's to a lovely 2021!
We may be in a pandemic, baby, but there is still a lot of fun to be had -- both outside and inside your doors!

For family fun and hanging with friends in your personal pod, here's my quick list:

  • Go see Christmas lights & do sing-a-long carols
  • Make homemade hot chocolate
  • Watch virtual shows by local arts groups (pick a different one each day!)
  • Get outside: head to parks and nature centers
  • Play board games or online ones

And here is the round-up of my PICKS for fun around town -- I note if events are IN PERSON or VIRTUAL.

❄️A.D. Players    

o “Merry Christmas Darling: Heidi Kettenring Sings Karen Carpenter” – through December 23 (IN PERSON & VIRTUAL)

o “The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe” – through December 23 (IN PERSON)
“Light Up the Lot” is a new project in which they’ve transformed their parking lot into a family-friendly, safely-distanced performing arts venue for shows for adults and children. There will be two seating options: provided tables & chairs or bring-your-own. 

o “A Christmas Carol– through December 27 (VIRTUAL)
This is a newly-filmed version of the Alley’s traditional holiday favorite in which actors were sent everything needed to create their scenes in their homes. David Rainey is playing Scrooge and other roles – other actors such as Todd Waite will have fun surprises in their onscreen segments. The rest of the Alley’s 2020/2021 season will be digital using the same technology. It's FREE but donations are gratefully accepted.

o “Deck the Trees– through January 3 (IN PERSON)
This festive holiday windowscape at the George R. Brown Convention Center features 30 holiday trees decorated by Houston’s top decorators along the Avenida de las Americas. Trees will be lit daily from 5-10pm and you can vote for your favorite tree in this drive-by event.

❄️Ars Lyrica

o “Comfort and Joy-- Friday, December 18 (VIRTUAL)
This festive holiday program includes seasonal favorites alongside seldom-heard gems of the Baroque era, all with abundant vocal and instrumental display.

Light up the Holidays Wonder Week – through December 18 (VIRTUAL)
Virtual storytime -- through December 18 (VIRTUAL)
Chevron Maker Annex Virtual Workshops -- through December 30 (VIRTUAL)

❄️City of Houston
o Re-broadcast of the 2020 Reliant Lights Mayor’s Holiday Spectacular -- Friday, December 18 from 7-8pm on ABC13 (VIRTUAL)

Holiday Market – December 19 (IN PERSON)
The Czech Center Museum’s market will feature hand-painted eggs, Czech crystal, and more and three characters from Czech’s traditional St. Nicholas Day will be there: the angel, the devil, and St. Nicholas, asking the kids if they’ve been bad or good!

Skate with Santa -- tonight (December 17) from 7-8pm and on December 24 from noon-1pm (IN PERSON)
Ice at Discovery Green -- through January 31 (IN PERSON), this is their annual ice skating rink
o “Monuments-- through January 18 (IN PERSON), a video exhibition of Houston’s unsung heroes

o “Christmas Tunes and Tales-- on demand to rent or purchase anytime (VIRTUAL)
Join the Queen of Christmas on a magical journey through the Holiday Classics. Featured are short, kid-friendly versions of The Night Before Christmas, A Christmas Carol (performed by puppets) and The 12 Days of Christmas, plus singalongs of Jingle Bells from around the world.

o “Nutcracker Sweets– through January 8 (VIRTUAL)
A new production that features fun new works, set to favorite carols, and an abridged version of Stanton Welch's “The Nutcracker” from their archives.

Houston Ballet Drive-In -- “Leap” movie (12/18) & “Polar Express” (12/19) (IN PERSON)
This is a cool new venue for drive-in movies in The Center for Dance parking lot!

o “Very Merry POPS-- December 18-20 (VIRTUAL and IN PERSON).
Enjoy treasured carols and fun-filled favorites that will have you humming along, including “Feliz Navidad,” “O Holy Night,” “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
❄️Houston Zoo

o “Zoo Lights– through January 10 (IN PERSON)
Stroll safely through the Houston Zoo grounds from 5:30-10:30pm to see artificial snow, Candy the Zoo Lights Zebra, a giant ice throne, and a 125-foot-long, Infinity Tunnel of Light.

o “Hou-Ville -- through December 23 (IN PERSON)
Enjoy this brand new immersive holiday exhibit that highlights and pays homage to iconic Houstonians, sports teams, landmarks, and more! The new holiday experience will transform Live Nation’s 40 Below into a real-life Houston themed winter wonderland where kids and adults are transported to a life-size whimsical Holiday City.

o A “very merry drive-through spectacular” -- through December 31 (IN PERSON)
This cool & safe display is in the parking lot of Hurricane Harbor Splashtown. It’s got the world’s largest light tunnel (700 feet long!) and much more.


o “The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley– December 18-20 (VIRTUAL)
A continuation of the popular Jane Austen novel Pride and Prejudice, this tale focuses on the downstairs servants quarters where all kinds of chaos is erupting while they try to prepare for Christmas upstairs for the Wickhams.

o “Main Street at the Mic: Happy Holidays 2020– December 17-20 (VIRTUAL)
These are monthly staged readings filmed at the company's Rice Village location featuring local actors that are streamed within short time frames. The holiday one focuses on Passover through New Year’s.


The goofy character Buttons is back in a hilarious all-new, one-man version of Stages’ annual hit holiday romp for families. While sheltering in place due to COVID-19, Buttons tells the story of Senara, a courageous heroine battling a wicked fairy.

o  "Space Age Christmas Trees" -- through January 3 (IN PERSON)
Enjoy this exhibit of over 100 wonderful vintage aluminum Christmas trees.
o  “Wings and Wheels -- on December 19 (IN PERSON)
Their monthly family event has a holiday twist and includes a visit from Santa from 11am-noon.


LET'S CONNECT! If you are wondering wassup with me, my offerings are below. If you'd like to keep up with all my doings, please click here to get a sorta monthly newsletter from me full of info about my events and more, including my IGNITE YOUR LIFE! art project. Be sure to follow my Facebook pages too -- Gish Picks Kids and Gish Picks Adults. I'm always throwing words and pictures around somewhere!

HIRE ME! If you want help getting centered -- or for focusing your life -- here's how I can help (I'm available for groups too):

  • One-on-one or small group labyrinth walks or nature mandala-making sessions (or both!), all done with masks and physical distancing. The fee varies based on what we are doing.
  • Stay tuned for virtual labyrinth walks I'll be doing for the Spectrum Center on first Saturdays starting Saturday, February 6. You'll get all the details in this blog, or via my monthly newsletter (subscribe to that here).
  • Virtual Life Path Sessions; see more about those hereIt's $50 for 45 minutes during COVID
  • Virtual meditation lessons for up to 30 minutes. I've been doing weekly Monday Meditation Chats and was interviewed on Great Day Houston about fun ways to make sounds for meditation (see that here). The fee varies based on what we are doing, and all ages are welcome.

To book me for anything, please call me at 713.492.1173 or email me. I'd love to help you find PEACE in this crazy time.

In non-pandemic times, and since I started publishing my blog in 2004, it has been a space to promote my curated list of unique live Houston area cultural events (PICKS) on the weekend for adults and kids. Because of COVID-19, those haven't happened since mid-March so I originally re-worked the format to focus on 5 Houston-based arts & culture organizations in my (Almost) Daily Dose of ARTS PICKS blog each of the NINE weeks of quarantine. You can see each edition - and read about 45 arts groups! - here.
And now I'm bringing you an ⭐️ARTS PICKS Spotlight⭐️ each week -- featuring an arts & culture space that is open -- and you'll get info about all of their activities and sometimes a video to bring them to life. Alongside that, I'll also be PICK-ing one local virtual event each for ADULTS and KIDS

I'll keep doing all of that until public events start happening again on a larger scale and I can start curating live event PICKS again.

In the meantime: please enjoy my weekly Spotlights and VIRTUAL PICKS, and please stay healthy!


Sarah Gish

P.S. If you want to IGNITE YOUR LIFE now or anytime, check out my list of "12 Ways to Ignite Your Life Daily" -- and watch the 12 videos I made about each Way here. I'm very proud of that list and my work and I hope it will help you live a fully creative life. Meditation, taking care of yourself, enjoying life, and laughing -- plus more! -- is what will get us through this global pandemic. 
Gish Creative |