Holiday home tours bring an annual dose of cheer

Trudy Nelson's home is one of six homes featured on the Heights Holiday Home Tour Dec. 2 and 3, 2016. Photo: Trudy Nelson

If you haven’t yet found your Christmas spirit, head out to a variety of home tours, where you’ll find lavish displays of floral arrangements, decorations and light displays that are sure to make you embrace that December is finally here.

In Galveston, the annual East End Holiday Homes Tour and separate James Waters House Holiday Home Tour coincide with a weekend of Dickens on the Strand events. If you drive all the way there, stop in to see some beautiful historic homes and their Victorian holiday touch. The East End tour is Dec. 2 only, while the Waters House will take guests both Dec. 2 and 3.

The Houston Heights Association’s Jingle Bell Block Holiday Home Tour on Dec. 2 and 3 takes a slightly different turn this year. Instead of homes spread throughout the sprawling neighborhood, all six tour homes are on the 1300 block of Cortlandt Street. You’ll want to park near the historic firehouse at Yale and West 12th, the grab the shuttle at the firehouse to get you to the tour. Some neighboring homes not on the tour have decorated their front yards, just for local choirs who will provide holiday music during tour hours.

The Kappa Kappa Gamma Houston alumnae chapter’s Holiday Pilgrimage Tour marks its 75th anniversary with its Dec. 9-10 event. The city’s oldest tour opens two homes each in River Oaks and Tanglewood, decorated for the holidays with the help of local floral designers.

Here’s what you need to know for dates, times and tickets:

East End Holiday Homes Tour
What: “A Victorian Christmas,” with four historic homes in Galveston open to the public
When: 5:30-9:30 p.m. Dec. 2
Where: Start the tour at the EEHDA Cottage at 1501 Postoffice
Benefits: The East End Historical District Association, to maintain their office site as well as Darragh and Alderdice parks
Tickets: $20 per person; at the Grand 1894 Opera House, 2020 Postoffice, Galveston

James Waters House
What: A Holiday Home Tour of the historic James S. Waters House
When: 3:30-9:30 p.m. Dec. 2 and 12:30-9:30 p.m. Dec. 3
Where: 1116 Church
Benefits: George Washington Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution scholarship fund
Tickets: $10 per person at the door; $5 per person if you also have a ticket to the East End tour.

Heights Holiday Home Tour
What: Houston Heights Association’s Jingle Bell Block Holiday Home Tour. Local choirs will provide music on the same block.
When: 6-9 p.m. Friday
Benefits: Beautification, restoration and maintenance of Heights Boulevard and the Heights historic fire station, as well as donations to a variety of charities.
Tickets: $20 in advance or $25 day of event; purchase online at and then pick up tickets at the Heights City Hall and Fire Station, 107 W. 12th, where a shuttle will take you to the homes. You also can purchase tickets at Buchanan’s Native Plants, 611 E. 11th; Jubilee, 325 W. 19th; and August Antiques, 803 Heights.

Holiday Pilgrimage Home Tour
What: Kappa Kappa Gamma Houston alumnae chapter hosts its 75th annual event with four homes in River Oaks and Tanglewood, all decorated for the holidays with help from local floral designers.
When: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 9-10
Benefits: The Kappa Kappa Gamma, which gives all proceeds to a variety of local charities.
Tickets: $20 in advance (online) or $25 at the door; You can also buy tickets at Berings, Cornelius Nursery on Voss, River Oaks Plant House (both locations) and River Oaks Donuts. Back of ticket has a 20-percent-off coupon for any one item at Bering’s.

Heritage Society Candlelight Tour
What: Historic homes in Sam Houston Park are decorated for the holidays for this 54th annual tour; guides will tell the stories of the buildings and their one-time residents.
When: 3-9 p.m. Dec. 10 and 4-8 p.m. Dec. 11; $10 for youths; add $5 for a house tour
Where: Sam Houston Park, 1000 Bagby
Tickets: $10 adults, $8 seniors, $5 youths (ages 6-18);

Christmas Village at Bayou Bend
What: The 14-acre estate becomes a holiday dreamland with Christmas carolers, Santa, snowball play area, treats and art activities.
When: 5:30-10 p.m. Dec. 10-Jan. 1 (closed Dec. 24-25 and Dec. 31)
Where: Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens, 6003 Memorial
Tickets: Members, $13 for adults and $8 for youths; nonmembers, $15 for adults, and 3-9 p.m. Saturday