First of all, let me start out by saying there is A LOT going on in Missouri this holiday season. Almost every town has some sort of festival or celebration, and it would be nearly impossible to cover them all. This list is not in order, is not all inclusive, and I realize I am going to be told of a million things that were not included, so let’s just consider this the first Christmas themed post of the season, and expect to see many more before it’s all said and done. Here are a few really great things you can do in Missouri to celebrate the Christmas season.
1. St. Charles
St. Charles celebrates the holidays in a huge way and for the entire month prior to Christmas. During its annual Christmas Traditions festival, starting the day after Christmas and lasting until Christmas Eve, the historic town is filled with wandering carolers, Santas from around the world, and beautiful holiday décor accompanying great shopping and dining opportunities. The Holiday Kissing Ball, a big bundle of mistletoe, holly, and ribbon, is a great tradition at the Kister Park Gazebo, and the gingerbread village and chances to meet Santa are sure to excite the young ones.
Springfield has many events going on, starting this upcoming weekend with Springfield Winterfest, a festival celebrating the Ozarks and the beginning of winter. From Dec. 4-6, area artists set up booths in Juanita K. Hammons Hall, and performances are located on the main stage throughout the weekend.
The Annual Christmas parade in downtown Springfield on December 12 is a free event featuring bands, floats and plenty of holiday cheer. Free horse-drawn carriage rides will be available the same day from 6-9 p.m. The Festival of Lights goes through December 31, the Springfield Little Theatre presents Miracle on 34th Street from November 27- December 13, a live nativity will be at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds from Dec. 3-5, and Breakfast with Santa and the performances of the Nutcracker will be held on December 5 at Springfield’s Battlefield Mall.
This Saturday December 5, from 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., the storefronts of Downtown Warrensburg will be brought to life by local artists during Dickens Christmas! This event will includes horse and wagon rides, carolers strolling down the streets, live music in local businesses, chestnuts roasting on an open fire, a tree lighting ceremony and much more.
Enjoy a hand bell choir at First Christian Church on Gay Street, see a live nativity on the courthouse lawn, local crafts on Holden Street, and enjoy some roasted chestnuts and s’mores brought to you by the Warrensburg Fire Dept. & Boy Scout Troop 513 in the US Bank parking lot. For a complete list of participants and locations, visit the website at
Warrensburg’s Dickens Christmas
At Branson's Silver Dollar City, from November 7- December 30, celebrate An Old Time Christmas. The festival includes 5 million lights, 1,000 decorated Christmas trees, two live shows and a parade.
Also in Branson you can arrange to ride The Polar Express train. For more information about The Polar Express, click
5. Kansas City, and Lee's Summit
Christmas at Crown Center, Kansas City
The holiday season in Kansas City begins with the traditional Plaza Lights Lighting Ceremony, held the day before Thanksgiving in the popular Country Club Plaza entertainment district. Although you may have missed the official lighting this year, the Plaza lights continue to illuminate 15 city blocks daily, from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m., through Jan. 17, 2016. In addition, shops in the district are offering extended hours during the holidays.
At Longview Lake Park, from November 25 - December 31, celebrate Christmas in the Park. The celebration features 300,000 lights, 175 animated figures, Christmas décor and colors in this drive-through winter wonderland.
At Fleming Park in Lee’s Summit, Missouri Town 1855 hosts its annual Christmas celebration on Saturday, December 11, from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. This historic antebellum community brings the Christmas customs of English, German and French settlers to life with the smell of wood burning fireplaces, period music and authentic decorations, and a special visit and candy treat from “Belsnickle”.
6. Lake of the Ozarks: Laurie, Osage Beach, Camdenton, and Linn Creek
The Enchanted Village of Lights, located in Laurie’s 27-acre Hillbilly Fairgrounds, has more than 200 displays including animated Christmas scenes and beautifully decorated trees. It goes from Nov. 20, 2015 through Jan. 2, 2016. Admission is free, but donations are accepted.
The Shrine of St. Patrick’s Festival of Lights features more than 4,000 strings of lights, 60 automatic timers, and over 350 extension cords. Located on the grounds of St. Patrick’s Shrine and the National Shrine of Mary, Mother of the Church, it is the oldest light park in the area, starting in 1981 and growing each year. The focus of the festival is on the true meaning of Christmas, Jesus and His Mother, Mary. Admission is free.
Another of The Lake of the Ozarks drive-thru holiday light parks is located in Osage Beach along the Parkway every evening from November 28 through January 3, featuring holiday-themed lights. You can also bring the kids to meet and visit with Santa at the City Park on Saturday, December 19th from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
In Camdenton, Christmas on the Square on December 5 features games, hot chocolate, cookies, entertainment, a petting zoo, and the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus at 1:00 p.m. The event goes from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
The Old Tyme Christmas in Linn Creek on December 12 starts with breakfast with Santa at Tonka Hills Restaurant. Other events and activities will be at the Camden County Museum and throughout the town of Linn Creek.
The 31st Annual “Christmas Magic” Lake Area Parade will be held on Saturday, December 12, 2015 at 1:00 pm. The parade begins at the HH & Bagnell Dam Blvd intersection, then will proceed down Bagnell Dam Blvd to the Dam. Santa and Mrs. Claus, along with their elves will make an appearance in a beautiful red sleigh, illuminated with over 2,000 lights and covered with over 100 feet of garland. Post-parade events include Santa’s Caravan and the Lake Holiday Bonfire. The celebration events continue until 8:00 p.m. For more information visit
7. Ste Genevieve
Ste Genevieve hosts its annual Holiday Christmas Festival this weekend from December 5-6 with a parade, carolers and carriage rides. Mr. and Mrs. Claus will be available to take pictures, there will be free musical programs, and shopping in downtown stores and art galleries.
Also in Ste Genevieve, the Felix Valle House State Historic Site hosts Le Reveillon, a showcase of traditional French Christmas customs, decorations, music and food on Dec. 13.
And the Buldoc House Museum has a winter wonderland of lights in the Vieux Noel on Fridays and Saturdays from Nov. 27, 2015, through Jan. 6, 2016.
The annual Kristkindl Markt, hosted by the The Hermann Area Chamber of Commerce and Stone Hill Winery, occurs this weekend (Dec. 5-6) at the Stone Hill Winery pavilion in historic Hermann. It is an authentic German Christmas market that has become a favorite Hermann holiday tradition, drawing hundreds of eager shoppers. The market is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free.
St. George Catholic Church also pulls out all the stops, with décor including over 30 decorated trees.
Nevada’s Radio Springs Lake hosts its Lights on the Lake event Nov. 25 - Jan. 1. In addition, their Christmas Parade this year starts at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5, in downtown Nevada around the square with Santa on the courthouse lawn in his house following the parade from 4-6 p.m.
12. New Madrid
The Hunter-Dawson State Historic Site offers a taste of a traditional Victorian Christmas at the antebellum home, decorated with hundreds of feet of fresh pine-roping, Christmas trees, ribbons and trimmings. Guided tours will be available Dec. 10-11. Admission is free.
Other locations for Christmas Candlelight Tours include the New Madrid Historical Museum, the Higgerson School Historical Site, the Hart-Stepp House Art Gallery and the Immaculate Conception Church, all featuring a traditional Victorian Christmas in the South theme.
The Spirit of Christmas Past Heritage Homes Tours in Independence are available on weekends from the end of November to the end of December. Tour locations include the Vaile Mansion, the Bingham-Waggoner Estate, and the 1859 Jail and Marshal’s Home. All of the homes are open for tours from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturdays, and 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Sundays.
14. St. Louis
All over St. Louis during the holidays you will see Christmas cheer.
At the Missouri Botanical Garden's annual Garden Glow, a million lights and unique installations amid the Garden’s iconic locations provide a multitude of photo opportunities. Enjoy traditional holiday music and festivities, food and drinks. Open select evenings from 5 to 9:30 p.m. from November 21 to December 17.
Have you been to any of these towns or events? What are some of your favorite things to do in the holiday season? Share in the comments below.