A Holiday Shopping Wonderland

Nutcracker Market

Houston’s Nutcracker Market comes to town in just a little over a week!  And in our household, the holiday season doesn’t really start until there has been a serious shopping session at the Nutcracker.  I always stock up on Christmas decor, gifts for the family, and…well…gifts for me!  I’ve attended Houston’s Nutcracker Market every year for as long as I can remember.  Throughout my time shopping, I’ve noticed there are two types of people there – the serious shoppers who show up with a plan and the leisurely mimosa sipping shoppers.

Spoiler alert ::  I fall in the first category.

Every year my grandma and I show up wearing our tennis shoes and with a game plan in hand.  We make sure we see every booth we want and walk out with whatever items our hearts desire.  {Or should I say whatever items our budgets allow!}

So today I am sharing some tips and tricks for navigating the Nutcracker Market to make the absolute most of your time ::

Making a Game Plan

The biggest key to our game plan is purchasing priority tickets.  This means we get in an hour before the general population.  We always make the most of that hour and try to get the majority of our must haves taken care of before the halls are packed full!

Priority Tickets

I print off the list of attending merchants from the Nutcracker’s website.  We then pass the list back and forth, marking different booths as musts and maybes.  And we also look for our favorites from previous years.

Nutcracker Merchant List

Next, I print off this handy dandy map and mark the booth locations for our must merchants.  {Update :: Here’s the 2014 map!}  This is so that once we’re inside, we don’t waste time searching or wandering.

Finally, we utilize the bag check stations!  There is a small fee for this service, but I guarantee it’s much cheaper than visiting a chiropractor after lugging heavy shopping bags around the Reliant Center!

Bringing the Children

Now, I know we’re all moms here, so I am definitely going to address the kiddos.  My advice?  Leave them at home.  While they do offer a stroller check inside the Reliant Center, the Nutcracker Market doesn’t allow strollers, wagons, etc. inside the actual market. That combined with the crowds that fill the halls just don’t make it the most child friendly environment.

We shopped until she dropped!

We shopped until she dropped!

That being said – I did bring Skeeter last year.  I was breastfeeding and knew I’d be away from home longer than my standard 3 hours between feeds allowed.  So I strapped her in the Baby Bjorn and away we went.  When my little one started getting hungry, I found a chair and nursed her.  Since the Nutcracker Market is filled with primarily women, I didn’t get one questionable stare.

Have you ever been to the Nutcracker Market?

What are your tips for a successful trip?

 

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12 Responses to A Holiday Shopping Wonderland

  1. Tiffanie V
    Tiffanie V October 27, 2013 at 12:53 pm #

    Love the Nutcracker Market! I am planning to go early on Thursday and Friday for a few hours and plan to take my newest addition since I’m nursing. I’m so nervous so I’m glad you shared your experience. I can do it, right!?

    • Kelly D
      Kelly D November 3, 2013 at 4:23 pm #

      You totally can, Tiffanie! I took Hayes when he was still nursing, and it went great! Just strapped him in the baby carrier and shopped like it was nobody’s business. And it was not a big deal to just find a quiet corner and nurse him when needed. Let us know how it goes!

    • Heather M
      Heather M November 4, 2013 at 7:40 pm #

      Definitely!! I was totally nervous too, but since it’s mostly women at the Market, no one batted an eye!

  2. Jenn
    Jenn October 27, 2013 at 8:15 pm #

    I’ve never been but if I venture this year you better believe I will reference this post and make a plan! Do you know when tickets go on sale?

    • Heather M
      Heather M November 4, 2013 at 7:40 pm #

      Tickets are on sale!! You can buy them at the Reliant Center or call the Nutcracker Market and reserve some ahead of time.

      You and Meg should definitely go this year!!

  3. Meg O. October 28, 2013 at 8:39 am #

    I think I should just tag along with you. Can you believe I’ve never actually been to the Nutcracker Market?! What kind of Houstonian am I?!

    • Kelly D
      Kelly D November 3, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

      What?!?! You have got to go, Meg! And Heather has already given you all the pro tips you need to make it an uber-successful shopping trip…so there’s no excuse!!

  4. Katie November 4, 2013 at 7:47 pm #

    I have never been! The thought of dealing with all those crowds sends me into panic attack mode lol.

    • Heather M
      Heather M November 4, 2013 at 7:48 pm #

      Then you’re clearly a mimosa shopper! I almost get competitive about it!

  5. Chelsea
    Chelsea November 5, 2013 at 10:41 am #

    Have fun this weekend! I’ve been and love it, but the crowds sort of overwhelm me this year since I will have my little guy most likely. I might try the Sugar Plum market in Sugar Land this year since it’s much smaller and less overwhelming. Love these shopping tips!

    • Heather M
      Heather M November 5, 2013 at 12:38 pm #

      I’ve never been to the Sugar Plum Market!! You’ll have to fill me in.

      • Kelly D
        Kelly D November 5, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

        Me too!!! Spill the beans, Chelsea!

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