Houston Christmas (Eleventh Day of Christmas)

Houston Christmas (Eleventh Day of Christmas) January 4, 2018

854CF799-78CB-4536-BC95-B1F5912BD64EHouston is the American city of the twenty-first century. Forget what you think you know. We are a port city and one of the most diverse in the United States. We have a blue-state population with Christian family values and (of course) an innovative solution to college debt: classical, Christian college in Texas debt free. 

If you are not here, you should be if you can be, but there is a catch.*

There is the weather, because something has to deter the grifters. Let’s not be coy: Houston was built on a swampy swamp in a humid area during a tropical storm following a hurricane. Yet if water is life, we have life and that more abundantly. While four months of the year it is humid and hot, think the Inferno with a humidifier, we do not shovel snow and our air conditioning is first rate. And so we do not dream of a White Christmas in Houston. It is possible, but not likely. If we were the types who needed snow on mistletoe, we would have moved elsewhere. Instead, we are having a very Houston Christmas (two days left!). Here are four reasons Christmas is wonderful in Houston.

You can drive to a diversity of celebrations. 

We live next to our k-college (!) campus and are within walking distance of Christmas celebrations from around the world, yet all done in a Texas key. You have to see it to understand it.  Los Angeles has many such communities, but they are more segregated. The lack of zoning here puts our Ethiopian restaurant (a school hangout!)  near the “Ghandi District” next to a region where the street signs are in Chinese. The Greek run Texas barbeque across 59 does a booming business. A few miles from our house, the great Saint George Antiochian Orthodox Church enacts the Christian traditions of the Middle East. I meet people at our school who hired carpenters in Nazareth!

The barbeque is better, but so is a great deal of the food. 

All Texas does barbeque, of course. As a city of many nations you can eat decent food from all over the world. We are not yet foodie paradise, but that means the best we have is still affordable. You are likely to eat cuisine made by people who grew up eating the food, not pretenders who overcharge to pay for their training. As home to the largest medical center in the world, we are also ready to help those who overeat this Christmas!

The folks here love Christmas: we do church well. 

We are very Christian here and it showed during Hurricane Harvey. Houstonians and their churches took care of things long before the government could. That is the Houston way. If anybody ever stopped saying “Merry Christmas” someplace, that place was not Houston. As a rapidly growing city, we also have extremes (by American standards) of poverty and wealth, but Christmas is a time when real work gets done trying to help bridge gaps. Groups like Star of Hope are lights at Christmas time as charity begins for Houstonians in Houston.

We are inexpensive for a family and likely to remain that way. This means more money for jollification. 

You can afford a big family in Houston and middle class wages will get you a home and a decent lifestyle. We have known people who have moved from California just to get a summer job in Houston, because there were jobs. Communities are so mixed that there is almost always an affordable house near where you need to be. Many places with affordable housing do not give you much to do once you move into the house, but Houston is soon to be the third largest city in the nation. You can have a house and a big city too.

Houston is an aspirational city, so it has a booming cultural scene, but one that is still affordable. 

Thanks to a first-rate university in Rice and generous donors all over the city, Houston has an opera, ballet, excellent museums, and fascinating galleries like that dedicated to the work of Cy Twombly. We are not yet a great hub like New York City, but our offerings are more affordable. Think of Houston as being in the era Chicago was when she was the coming American city, the city of the Columbian Exposition of 1893. We are getting there quickly, but have not started the  hardening of our cultural arteries where the “shows” are mostly for tourists and unaffordable. Houston means tickets to opera, ballet, concerts (classical and otherwise) are available and on our little budget for entertainment we saw the end of Wagner’s Ring, several classical instrumental concerts, and have tickets for Hamilton this spring. We have a real downtown and the Galleria for fabulous shopping.

Yet if you drive a few miles in most directions, you are not far from green space that goes on as far as you can see and further than you could walk. If you want a horse, you can have one, ride, and still make a baseball game downtown watching the world champion Astros.

Try that in most major cities.

Even the weather cooperated this year and gave us a dusting of snow . . . a bit of a white December. Come if you can as quick as you can.


If you live in the USA, there is NYC- the global center, Houston, and the past. Do not miss the future.

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