Society / Featured Parties

Fertitta Family Mansion Hosts Houston’s Ultimate Christmas Party — When Santa’s Elves Take Over River Oaks

Instagram Treats, a Giving Tree and Even Snow

BY // 12.09.19
photography Dave Rossman

Guests were indeed walking in a winter wonderland as they perused the grounds of the Fertitta family home in River Oaks where sleigh bells rang, reindeer grazed, a choir sang songs of the season in the shadow of a towering Christmas tree and there was even snow underfoot.

Never mind that the weather was more Galveston than Greenland.

The 14th annual Santa’s Elves benefit for M.D. Anderson Cancer Center’s Children’s Hospital enjoyed all the elements — other than frosty, drizzling weather — that have made this evening such a success that since its inception has raised more than $1 million for research and patient programs at the hospital.

Somewhat new to the holiday happening were the roving photographers who facilitated sharing social media photos in real time. And who would miss the photo opp to hop aboard Santa’s sleigh with the bearded chap himself and reindeer harnessed to fly?

Welcoming some 375 festively-attired guests were hosts Paige Fertitta and two of her sons, Michael and Patrick.

The party spread throughout the vast mansion, where Christmas trees and mantle dressings heralded the season in sparkling splendor, and onto the grounds where the Houston Children’s Chorus, led by Stephen Roddy, gathered around a massive Christmas tree and warbled holiday tunes.

As is tradition with any event held at the Fertitta home, food stations from Landry’s signature restaurants provided a wealth of buffet options.

Santa’s Elves is certainly about a festive evening but it also has a message to deliver and that was shared in brief remarks by Dr. Jonathan Gill, Dr. J.J. Spedale and M.D. Anderson president Dr. Peter Pisters.

The fundraising, mostly coming from ticket sales and contributions, was enhanced by The Galleria Giving Tree with a mystery gift pull of more than 40 items donated by luxury retailers. Plus that of  Tiffany & Co. which contributed a dazzling ring to the silent auction. Likewise, the Galleria contributed $25,000 outright to Gill’s pediatric clinical research on tumor targeted immunotherapy, that program beneficiary of all of the night’s proceeds.

Scroll through the photos to the very end to see the wildest Christmas assembly you’ve ever seen. Think polar bears in party attire.

PC Seen: Cathy and David Herr, Patsy Fourticq, Laine and David Santamaria, Elle and Michael Francisco, Nicky and Joe Francisco, Dr. Valerea Lewis, Melissa and Jason Holton, Karen and Peter Brohn, Kristin and Hugh Hamilton, Margaret and Paul Pinkston, Nancy Bihlmaier, Caroline Brown and Rachel Atwater.

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