In 1981, visions of sugar plums inspired long-time Houston Ballet supporter Preston Frazier to approach the board of Houston Ballet Guild with a new concept and means to raise much needed funds for the Houston Ballet Foundation, its Academy and scholarship programs. His dream of a holiday market in the tradition of a European or Latin American street market has grown steadily and spectacularly ─ from humble beginnings in a church bazaar setting to a four-day shopping extravaganza at NRG Center. In 2017, over 104,600 customers with a strong passion to shop spent over $19.8 million at more than 270 national and international booths ─ each offering unique items for the entire family, including home décor, gourmet food, apparel, accessories, toys, garden items and much, much more … and all of this just in time for holiday shopping!

From the moment former First Lady Barbara Bush cut the ribbon at the opening of the Nutcracker Market, and through the many successful years filled with a lot of enthusiasm, imagination and dreams, the Nutcracker Market has become an annual tradition that kicks off the holiday season in Houston, Texas.

“Texas. It’s a whole other country,” goes the slogan.
We might say, “The Nutcracker Market. It’s a whole other world!”



Proceeds from each admission and special event ticket that you purchase, plus 11% of all the merchandise you buy, goes back to Houston Ballet Foundation, its Academy and scholarship programs.

Since 1981, the Nutcracker Market has contributed over $63 million back to Houston Ballet to help:

  • Bring arts education to over 61,300 Houston-area students through the Houston Ballet Academy’s Education and Community Engagement programs.
  • Award over $865,200 in scholarships to approximately 200 students this past season to continue their dream of studying dance at Houston Ballet Academy.
  • Give students from nearly 250 Houston-area schools their first opportunity to see a ballet and hear from dancers through free programing, performances and classes at Houston Ballet’s prestigious Center for Dance.
  • Support the national and international touring of Houston Ballet II, the second company of Houston Ballet, to cities like Chicago, Las Vegas, and Toronto to help raise the reputation of Houston as a cultural and world-class city for the performing arts.
  • Shopping at the Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market means you are directly supporting a Houston arts nonprofit and the money raised stays right here in Houston.

2018 Nutcracker market

The theme for the 2018 Nutcracker Market is "Cruising into Christmas"  and will be chaired by longtime Houston Ballet Guild and Nutcracker Market Committee member Wendy Wilkins Burks. We can't wait to see what's in store.

The 2018 Nutcracker Market honoree is Chas. P. Young, our long-time printing partner, who has provided us with our admission tickets, invitations and programs for so many years. Thank you, Chas. P. Young!


Stay in touch with the Nutcracker Market and follow all our 
social media updates year-round!


Getting to the Market

Ask any shopping expert, for the best holiday shopping experience, grab your shopping buddies and plan your visit to the Nutcracker Market at NRG Center!

Contact Us

We love to hear from Nutcracker Market fans! Contact us directly with any questions and stay connected with all Nutcracker Market updates and ticket giveaways on social media! #nutcrackermarket

Media Highlights

We aren't the only ones talking about the Nutcracker Market. Read up on the latest Nutcracker Market news.