The Christmas Bay system is a group of three small secondary bays (Christmas, Bastrop, and Drum Bays) at the southwestern end of the Galveston Bay estuarine system in Brazoria County, Texas. During February 1999-March 2000, hydrologic, water-quality, and sediment-quality data were collected from each of the three bays to establish baseline conditions. Gage-height fluctuations closely matched open-water tidal fluctuations. Rainfall during February 1999-February 2000 was about 20 percent below the annual average. Specific conductance, pH, water temperature, and dissolved oxygen monitored at 30-minute intervals in Christmas Bay for 13 months showed seasonal variations typical of monitoring stations on the Texas Gulf Coast. Prevailing winds were from the southeast. Monthly water-quality sampling for 13 months showed that in each of the three bays concentrations of major ions were small, and most nutrient concentrations were at or less than minimum reporting levels; indicator bacteria counts were consistently higher in samples collected from Drum Bay. Several trace elements (sampled twice) were detected in small concentrations. The only organochlorine pesticides (sampled once) that were greater than minimum reporting levels were atrazine, deethylatrazine, metolachlor, and simazine. During February 29-March 29, 2000, three semipermeable membrane devices were deployed at the Christmas Bay monitoring station. Seven of 77 semivolatile organic compounds analyzed in the lipids from the devices were detected in minute amounts. Analyses of surficial bed sediment sampled once in each of the three bays yielded detections of a number of semivolatile organic compounds; all concentrations were less than 10 micrograms per liter and much less than the respective benchmark concentration for those compounds that have had a benchmark concentration established for the protection of aquatic life.