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Welcome to GISH PICKS: CURATED CULTURE FOR KIDS AND ADULTS! I’m Sarah Gish, an info-preneur and culture sleuth who finds the unusual and cool in Houston each and every week. Join me as I shine a light on special gems and unique Houston fun. I love this city and want to show you the people and the places and the events that make it great (see more about my wishes for that here). And I want to make it easy so I sort through the cornucopia of events offered each weekend and PICK only three for FAMILIES and three for ADULTS to recommend to you. That way you’ll be all set when Friday hits! If you’re new here, please read below for more about this blog and then check out my PICKS for this weekend, further below.


Ho ho ho – I’m really feeling the holidays! In fact – I’m feeling them so much that I’ll be taking the next two weeks off from writing GISH PICKS to enjoy time with my family and friends. Be sure to check out my VIDEO PICK with a holiday greeting and a fun idea for exploring Houston as well as a reading from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (I couldn’t help myself, I had to read my all-time fave anti-television rant!) I hope you’ll spend some of your time this season unplugging, hanging out, playing board games, reading books, and relaxing. We all need that, don’t we?! I’ve got some fun PICKS below for this weekend and when you’re noodling around for events for the next two weeks, be sure to check out my “Cool Community Calendars” page, which has several sites for finding events. You’ll be overwhelmed (they’re not curated!) but you’ll get plenty of ideas. And, doncha worry, I’ll be back ready to rock and roll the week of January 7.

There are lots of family holiday events happening at the end of this month – be sure to hit the Children’s Museum for their Lights, Snow, and Ugly Sweaters” winter wonderland – with REAL snow – December 22-24. The Woodlands Children’s Museum also has plenty of fun events. You can find holiday lights all over the greater Houston area: the Houston Zoo Lights; the Sugar Land Holiday Lights; and the Moody Gardens “Festival of Light” plus their ice carving exhibition “Ice Land: Pole to Pole.” Other events for kids coming up include films at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston – “Best of the Fest: Kid Flicks 1” on December 27 and January 3 at 11am and Best of the Fest: Kid Flicks 2” on December 27 and January 3 at 1pm. Also put on by the MFAH is the Christmas Village at Bayou Bend” – be sure to check it out before January 5. And on Saturday, January 5, from 11am-3pm, the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft is hosting their free monthly Hands-On Houston event. If you’re looking for winter break camps, please check out my CAMP PICKS here – there are plenty of options before school starts again! And if your family is plagued with addiction, you might want to look into Kids Camp at the Council” which is taking place December 27-29.

What are you doing for New Year’s Eve? The annual “Sober Eve” event is happening again and is taking place at The Story Houston at 3471 Westheimer Road – tickets are only $10. Ars Lyrica is ringing in 2019 with their Baroque Razzle Dazzle performance and Boss Productions is hosting a BP NYE Celebration” featuring the legendary funk group The Zapp Band and soul jazz flutist Althea Rene at A.D. Players Theater. Other unique New Year’s Eve events are Farm & Firelight: A Sustainable New Year’s Celebration at Finca Tres Robles,” the New Year Party at India House,” and the celebration of the new year and their fifth decade at the Numbers New Year’s Eve 2018 to 2019 event. And for those who need rides home on New Year’s Eve, two different law firms are offering some free options for you: Attorney Brian White and Associates are hosting a special event on 12/28, noon-4pm, to give away sober rides (details here) and Sutliff & Stout has a similar program (details are here).


We are the most diverse city in the country, not only because of the over 150 languages spoken here every day, but also because of the diversity of events offered and places to hang our (cowboy) hats. Because of that, I decided back in 2004 to start sharing my adventures in Houston and my knowledge of it with others via GISH PICKS. And, since 2016, I have been bringing it to life with my PICKS-ON-WHEELS Facebook Live segments in which I travel around our city in my Phoenix Rising Art Car. Stay tuned here for more details! My adventures will sometimes be posted as my weekly VIDEO PICK in this blog.

A note about the social media for GISH PICKS: please LIKE our Facebook page for FAMILY PICKS and our Facebook page for ADULT PICKS. Click “See first” in the dropdown menu on the LIKE button so you won’t miss a post! And please follow me on Instagram and Twitter. You’ll get all my CULTURE PICKS and more that way. And there’s one last way to stay in touch with me: I organize many events, such as labyrinth walks and workshops, so if you’d like to be informed of those before everyone else, please subscribe to my Gish Creative list here.


Please be sure to tell your friends about GISH PICKS – the more people who know about these unique cultural events, the more unique cultural events the organizations will offer us. Please also tell the orgs that I sent you. My business grows by word of mouth so I thank you for your continued support.

And, last but not least: this blog is free to you, my dear reader, but it’s not free for me to produce. I pay my designer and I spend many hours researching, compiling, and writing GISH PICKS each week. If you have an event you’d like me to PICK, please email me and let’s see how I can help. With me on your team, you’ll reach thousands of Houstonians in a quick-and-easy way!

Have a great weekend and please love one another, please share this, and please – go IGNITE YOUR LIFE!

Picks for Kids the Weekend of December 21-23, 2018
Picks for Adults the Weekend of December 21-23, 2018

Keep Magick


This year’s installment of the annual holiday “Christmas Revels” is super fun – Keep Magick is the theme and it will be onstage December 21 (Friday) through December 23 (Sunday) with 5 shows total. This year’s Revels adventure is the story of the wild travels taken by an American teen who doesn’t want to be in London nor visit the Tower of London. But the Tower ghosts are ready to give him the history lesson of a lifetime! You’ll enjoy beautiful music, lively dancing, the Lord of the Dance, the Abotts Bromley Horn Dance, and a Mummers’ Play - all of the elements that make for a “magickal” Christmas Revels. The show takes place at the MATCH and tickets can be purchased here.



Avenida Houston is a new playspace downtown, located along The Plaza in Avenida Houston, between Rusk and Polk Streets, and there is always something new going on! Their newest exhibition is LOOP – a cross between a music box, a zoetrope, and a railway handcar. The retro-futuristic machine, more than two meters in diameter, creates animated fairy-tale loops with the help of the public who is moving them. Black and white images, tinted through a strobe effect, recall the earliest movies and are visible inside the cylinder as well as outside it, so that they can be watched from close up or far away. It’s a free show of seven installations through January 6.

Elf The Musical


Elf The Musical is onstage at Queensbury Theatre through this Sunday, December 23. The show is based on the premise that “The best way to spread Christmas Cheer is singing loud for all to hear!” and follows the adventures of Buddy, a young orphan, who mistakenly crawls into Santa's bag of gifts and is transported to the North Pole. The would-be elf is raised, unaware that he is actually a human, until his enormous size and poor toymaking abilities cause him to face the truth. With Santa's permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father and discover his true identity.

The Nightmare Before Christmas


This Sunday, December 23 (Christmas Eve Eve) from noon-6pm at Axelrad, the Shop Local Market is hosting a special holiday pop-up which will be followed by the Axelrad movie night (usually on Mondays) featuring The Nightmare Before Christmas from 7-9pm (kids allowed until 9pm sharp.) The movie starts at sundown and they have plenty of heaters, fire pits, and blankets for everyone (now doesn’t that sound cozy?!) Both events are free and open to the public.

Panto Star Force


It’s holiday time so another version of “Panto” is back at Stages Repertory Theatre – this year it’s Panto Star Force which is onstage through December 30. The show is an adventurous cosmic blast and is the story of Jed, a farm boy from the planet Cypress, who joins forces with a zany band of space rebels, robots, and furry bartenders (and Buttons, who is always in the Panto shows) to stop the powerful Emperor Snorkelfish and Dark Tater from taking over the galaxy. In the tradition of the lively style of Panto theatre, audience participation is encouraged and lots of laughs are guaranteed.

Songwriters Holiday Ho-Ho-Hoedown


Dan Electro’s Guitar Bar has been in business since 1988 and is one of Houston’s oldest and best local venues for live music located in the historic Heights. They host weekly programs and one of them is their Sunday songwriters’ night. This Sunday, December 23, from 7-11pm is their Songwriters Holiday Ho-Ho-Hoedown with host Trish Cramblet and the Bad Habits. Songwriters will swap holiday songs – it’ll be fun for sure!


Alrighty, I’ll admit it: I’m not always the most organized person (mainly because I’m so busy!) so I apologize that this year’s gift suggestions are coming at you late in the season. But I’m a big believer in giving presents year-round, so perhaps you are too – and this list will help you anytime. I want to first recommend that you SHOP LOCAL. Please choose the small retailers over big box competitors anytime. Their merchandise is more interesting and your purchases are not only helping the Houston economy directly but you’re also ensuring that we have unique places to shop. Some of my fave places include Brazos Bookstore, British Isles, Cactus Music (note: they’re having a Customer Appreciation Party this Friday!), the Cathedral Bookstore, Fundamentally Toys, My Flaming Heart, and Retropolis.

The Asher Gallery, located inside the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, has some great artist-made gift items – I especially like their jewelry. The gift shops at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the Contemporary Arts Museum are also excellent. If you have coffee lovers on your list, order up some bags o’ Katz Coffee, a Houston-based brewer which has a unique “Coffee Cause” program benefiting local nonprofits and a fun Coffee of the Month program. Patrick Summers of the Houston Grand Opera just released a beautiful book, The Spirit of This Place, in which he argues that art nurtures freedom of thought, and is more necessary now than ever before. How about some supporting the Houston Symphony? You can still purchase some of their past CDs here. I just found one of my favorite boardgames, Houston-Opoly, in Walgreen’s the other day. It’s super fun and highlights all the great Houston spots I like to write about – the Alley Theatre, Hermann Park, the Orange Show, Buffalo Bayou, and much more. The game is one of MANY about cities, colleges, and more designed by a super cool company, Late for the Sky.

And finally, I have a couple of my gifts to hawk: I make bracelets for my IGNITE YOUR LIFE! art project with sober teens at Teen and Family Services as well as “Houston Strong” bracelets for Harvey Arts Recovery – those sell at the Unity of Houston Bookstore and a portion of sales goes back to the nonprofits. And here’s a unique gift idea: give your loved one a one-hour or thirty-minute guidance session with me at Body Mind & Soul; I’m there on Mondays. I help people figure out their life’s purpose and also to untangle problems in their work or personal life. It’s a private “IGNITE!” consultation and I promise I can help anyone! Stop by the store at 7951 Katy Freeway to purchase a session as a gift and while you’re there, stay and shop awhile. It’s so peaceful.

GISH PICKS: CURATED CULTURE FOR KIDS AND ADULTS is a free weekly email in which I cull through the HUNDREDS of events offered in our city each week and PICK just three for adults and three for kids to recommend. It’s #GishPicks #CuratedCulture to help you plan your weekend! I know many of you go to events based on GISH PICKS recommendations; PLEASE remember to tell the organization that you are there because of us. Word-of-mouth like yours helps our business to grow. In the same spirit, please also feel free to share GISH PICKS with friends and families.

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The purpose of GISH PICKS is to help Houstonians become aware of all the interesting and unique things they can do in Houston and the surrounding area. Exploring your city is a great way to #IgniteYourOwnLife and we are so happy to help you do that. Please do give me feedback and ideas, as you are out there in the trenches also looking for interesting things and I want to hear what you find.

If you are having trouble getting to a website listed here, try hitting the "Ctrl" button and left-clicking on the web address, which should make it "live".

For more about my personal, family, and business enrichment company, Gish Creative, and the services we offer, please click here. You are on this list because I thought this e-newsletter would be helpful to you or because you signed up for it. Please feel free to tell your friends to subscribe by clicking here. My goal is to serve as an information resource for Houston kids and adults through my various endeavors, including:

  • GISH PICKS: CURATED CULTURE FOR KIDS AND ADULTS, which is online and emailed out to thousands of Houstonians who love to explore our city;

  • THE SUMMER BOOK® ONLINE, a searchable database of over 200 Houston day camps and classes for kids and teens;

  • IGNITE YOUR LIFE!, my art project and community campaign whose goal is to inspire people around the world to light a fire to their own passions and to create connections among people;

  • INTUITIVE GUIDANCE SESSIONS, which are one-on-one consultations with me at Body Mind & Soul on Mondays. Sessions are one hour or thirty minutes and I can help you with personal and/or work questions;

  • Quarterly “WHAT’S YOUR PURPOSE?” workshops at Body Mind & Soul, check the store’s online calendar for dates and more information; and

  • OTHER SERVICES including SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS, INTERACTIVE WORKSHOPS, MARKETING, PRIVATE CONSULTATIONS, GUIDANCE SESSIONS FOR FINDING YOUR PURPOSE, and ART PROGRAMS. Talks and workshops cover topics such as summertime fun, passion-finding (for adults, children and families), marketing, historic preservation, art classes, activism, and more. All of these services can be tailored for any audience and budget.

Sarah Gish
Sarah Gish
(Photo: Two Birds Photography)

Sarah Gish
1940-A Fountainview, PMB 116
Houston, Texas 77057
phone: 713.492.1173

© 2018 Sarah Gish

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GIFT PICKS just for you! Video: Enjoy these holiday greetings from me to you! Dan Electro’s Holiday Songwriters Fest Nightmare Before Christmas at Axelrad Loop Magic at Avenida Houston Stages Presents Panto Star Force Christmas Revels Visits the Tower of London Elf The Musical Onstage at Queensbury Theatre