December is the final stretch for 2016 and thank goodness it is. Don't let this tumultuous year leave a bitter taste in your mouth, though; sweeten it with all the decadence the season has to offer. To end the year on a delightful note, check out all the affordable activities the city has to offer. Houston has you covered with cosplay contests and comic book fandom. If you're looking for an evening picnic worthy of your Snapchat story, Midtown Wine Down has you covered, live music included. Keep reading for ten of our favorite events that won't cost you more than $10 – and eight are free! Check out the Houston Press calendar for even more things to do.
Community Memorial Tree
National Museum of Funeral History
10 a.m. Thursday, $10
The season that's filled with red bows, glittered trees and sparkling snowflakes is also filled with memories of those loved ones who are no longer with us. We remember the ones we lost and the holidays spent together, but that doesn't necessarily mean it has to be all tears and Kleenex tissues. Celebrate their memories on a day other than Día de Los Muertos. Take the time Thursday afternoon to visit the National Museum of Funeral History and design an ornament that embodies who that person was to you, and place it on the Community Christmas Tree for others to appreciate as well.
97th Annual Mayor's Holiday Celebration &Tree Lighting Presented by Reliant
City Hall in Herman Square
6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Free
Fireworks? Check. Christmas spirit? Check. Grammy-nominated artist Michelle Williams? Check. Free? Check! This annual celebration is led by Mayor Sylvester Turner to officially welcome the season in the appropriate holiday fashion, complete with Christmas carols, nutcrackers galore and twinkling lights aplenty.
8:30 p.m. Friday, Free
Thirteen Poets has history to it – not only has the group been in the Houston game for more than 40 years now, but it remains a strong staple in the First Friday series. Inprint! is hosting the event this Friday and it's free for everyone to come and see what the nonprofit provides for the literary community in Houston.
Midtown Wine Down
5-8 p.m. Friday, Free
Midtown Wine Down is a free event open to all who want to get out and feel the December air. Take in the musical performances by DJ Mav and the After Party, but don't forget to bring your lawn chairs and blankets because seating is limited. It's a mild evening that lets you unwind from the workweek while still getting you pumped for the weekend. It's just the intermission you need before you get up on Saturday morning with your list of things-to-do.
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Dragon's Lair Comics & Fantasy® Houston Grand Opening
Dragon's Lair Comics & Fantasy® Houston
10 a.m. Saturday, Free
Harley Quinn. Batwoman. Supergirl. All in the face-off only made in dreams. Well, not really, but the potential is there. This Saturday Houston is flocking to the newest comic-book and gaming hub, Dragon's Lair Comics & Fantasy, for the grand opening that has it all. Live gaming demos, cosplay contests, giveaways and cake. You can't have a party without cake. Festivities begin at 10 a.m. and costumes are encouraged.
Video Screening: Work by Ronald L. Jones
Box 13 ArtSpace
4-5 p.m. Saturday, Free
Looking for something that isn't immediate-family-related to Christmas? The video screening by Ronald L. Jones has your fix, then. Jones will be screening three of his original video works this Saturday, and it's free for you to enjoy. The program includes one musical video, one experimental documentary and one short documentary; they all encapsulate being an artist and skater in the Bay City Area.
First Evangelical Lutheran Church
7 p.m. Friday, Free
Tina Chancey, John Mark Rozendaal and Web Wiggins come to Houston to deliver their crowd-satisfying talent on timeless instruments. The musical trio comes together for an awe-inspiring performance this Friday at 7 p.m. Their respect for the genre is genuine and felt when they're delivering classical pieces from the 18th century fitting for the stage at First Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Christmas at the Depot and Tannenbaum Tour
Burton Railroad Depot and Museum
11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Free to $12 ($10 if purchased in advance)
It's the North Pole meets Texas hospitality in this downtown Burton landscape. Hurry to book your ticket in advance and secure your spot on the tour. And don't worry, Santa has you covered. Included in your admission fee is lunch. Enjoy cozy comfort food to keep you from getting "hangry" and ending up on Santa's naughty list.
My So-Called Mondays
8 p.m. Monday, $10
Claire Danes and Jared Leto take us back to the ’90s by showing us flannel and chokers in their natural habitat in the ever-popular series My So-Called Life. The Rec Room takes nostalgia to another level: watching TV with your friends on someone's couch while ogling Jared Leto and drinking the beer you brought yourself. Bring friends and let the viewing party be a party by sticking around to dissect every scene and how that was totally, completely relatable to you.
Twelve Moments: Experiencing Spiritual and Faith Traditions
Noon Wednesday, Free
Sister Adeline O' Donoghue has you covered if you need a mental break from all the energy the season draws out of you. Head to the Rothko Chapel to get your mind calm and centered in between the hoopla of the holidays. Recharge your batteries with a meditation led by O' Donoghue and take advantage of the calmness the chapel provides. Chapels still run on electricity too, so thank them after with a monetary donation for getting your mind rebooted.