Hot cocoa, tree decorating, twinkling lights, gift shopping, and Christmas carols on the radio — the holiday season is officially here! To fully experience the magic of the season this year, add some of these festive events to your calendar.
There are so many exciting holiday events in the Omaha area planned for 2022, from light festivals to holiday markets and Santa-themed races to classic plays. We’re sharing a handful of Omaha’s most beloved holiday traditions — plus some newcomers for 2022!
Considered Omaha’s #1 light show tradition, Santa’s Rock n Lights is a drive-through wonderland, complete with a 700-foot dancing light tunnel, massive light sculptures, displays timed to music, and more. Enjoy classic favorites and a variety of new items added every year! There will be a limited amount of vehicles allowed in every night, so you’ll want to get your tickets online as soon as possible. Santa’s Rock n Lights opens at 5:15 p.m. most days from November 18 through January 1 — click here to view the available time slots and secure your spot!
It just isn’t Christmas without A Christmas Carol! Be a part of Omaha’s favorite holiday tradition withA Christmas Carol at Omaha Community Playhouse, as Ebenezer Scrooge embarks on a life-changing journey to discover the true meaning of Christmas. The show features stunning Victorian costumes, festive music, and beautiful wintry sets. Purchase tickets for an upcoming show — all the way through December 23!
Lauritzen Gardens is bursting with holiday magic every year — and this year is no exception! During the day, stop by the Holiday Poinsettia Show from 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. (with the last entry at 3:45 p.m.). Included in standard admission, the event features the iconic 20-foot-tall poinsettia tree, marshmallow roasting on the garden patio, the holiday express in the conservatory, and more. This year’s show is inspired by the sights and sounds of Rockefeller Center — so you’ll feel as though you’ve been transported to the lively and festive New York City!
Stick around for Bright Nights, a ticketed event featuring a stunning display of illuminated flowers and foliage. The floral display hall and the conservatory will be filled with sparkling lights and holiday decor. Plus, you can write letters to Santa, gather around the crackling fire and roast marshmallows, shop for holiday gifts in the gift shop, play in the Family Chill Zone, and create art in the Lite-Brite Forest! Bright Nights takes place on select evenings from 4:30–8 p.m. Click here to purchase tickets, which are required and only available online.
Celebrating its 23rd season in 2022, Omaha’s annual Holiday Lights Festival is a must-see! Explore downtown as it’s covered in thousands of dazzling lights and experience a host of free holiday events, from the Thanksgiving Lighting Ceremony to the New Year’s Eve Fireworks Spectacular. Holiday light displays are located at the newly renovated Gene Leahy Mall, throughout the Old Market, and in both North and South Omaha! Click here for all the details.
Presented by FNBO, Christmas at Union Station is back for another season of festive fun! This long-standing tradition features Omaha’s official Christmas tree, holiday concerts, and visits with Santa himself. Kick off the holiday season on Thanksgiving night with the Virtual Tree Lighting Ceremony — then stop by before January 8 to see it in person and spend time with Santa. Children can sit on Santa’s lap or give him a call on one of the old-fashioned telephones. Visits with Santa are included with museum admission and are free to members! Click here for more details about Christmas at Union Station.
If you don’t find Santa in the Old Market, you’ll definitely find him in Rockbrook Village! Little ones can visit with Santa and share their holiday wishes, then the whole family can go on a horse and carriage ride around the village. And don’t forget to stop by Mary’s Mountain Cookies and Great Harvest Bread Co. for a free cookie and hot cocoa. And stick around to admire the amazing Christmas lights around the village at dusk!
We’re all about supporting small businesses of all kinds, and there’s arguably no better opportunity to do so than Small Business Saturday, which happens every year the day after Black Friday. And the Old Market is the place to be on this shopping holiday, as the brick-paved streets will be filled with carolers and shops with special holiday specials and happenings. Who knows? You may even find Santa stopping by for a visit before his busy season!
Kick off the month of December with the annual Lights on Dundee celebration, which features a variety of activities for all ages. Enjoy hayrack rides, photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, free hot chocolate and sweet treats, and more! Plus, enjoy classic songs from local student choirs caroling along Underwood Avenue. And don’t miss the annual gingerbread contest creations displayed throughout merchant windows — and cast your vote to decide the winner!
After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the beloved Holiday Cultural Festival is back for 2022! This is a wonderful opportunity to learn how the world celebrates this joyful time of year, as more than 30 local cultural organizations proudly display their crafts and traditional dress. Plus, there will be musicians and dancers performing throughout the evening and food and gifts from around the globe available for purchase. Advanced tickets are not required but are recommended to expedite entry.
Shop from all your favorite Omaha businesses in one place at this year’s Holiday Market at Aksarben Village! All of the fun is going down on December 3rd and 4th from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with vendors from all across Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa. Click here for all the information as the event draws nearer!
Come join the fun at one of North Omaha’s largest holiday celebrations at the 24th and Lake Historic District this season! Attendees will have the opportunity to shop from local vendors, enjoy delicious food and drinks, listen to holiday music, visit with Santa, and so much more. Christmas in the Village is one of the fastest-growing events in North Omaha and is part of the ongoing North Omaha Village Zone Revitalization Plan and rebirth of the arts, culture, and entertainment district at 24th and Lake.
Don your favorite Santa hat, suit or elf costume and come out and get some exercise! This holiday-themed run will start and end at the boat dock just east of the 132nd and Cornhusker Road intersection. Afterward, join your running mates for a post-race party at Lucky Bucket Brewery in La Vista. Click here to register.
Experience the holiday season in Germany without ever getting on a plane at Christmas in Germany, an all-day celebration of Christmas, German-style. Attendees will experience an authentic German Christmas market with delicious food, drink and entertainment — and visits with St. Niklaus himself. Plus, admire the 25-foot Tannenbaum with hand-carved ornaments and explore the Christkindl Market to discover unique German Christmas items, including original works made by the Mid-America Wood Carvers. And of course, don’t forget to try the homemade Glühwein and end the evening with a Silent Night sing-along in both German and English.
Enjoy a week-long holiday celebration at Fontenelle Forest with the Holiday Festival at the Forest. All day from December 10–16, admire the Winter Wonderland in the Great Hall, beautifully decorated with holiday trees and wreaths. Warm up with some complimentary hot cocoa and bundle up to take a stroll around the first loop of the lighted Riverview Boardwalk. There will be a self-serve ornament decorating station for all the kids (and kids at heart!). On Saturday, December 10 and Sunday, December 11, enjoy a variety of special holiday activities, including habitat building, Santa visits, a holiday concert, and much more. Get all the details about the Holiday Festival at the Forest here!
Harvester Artist Lofts & Gallery is hosting a special artist-made holiday event, showcasing a large collection of artist-decorated trees and winter/holiday-themed art. Take a stroll through this artistic winter wonderland and purchase that special ornament, tree, decor and more. ArtistTREES is free and open to the public!
If you missed the Holiday Festival at the Forest, don’t worry — Winter Wonderland is happening all the way through January 2 at Fontenelle Forest. Visit the Great Hall to witness the stunning Winter Wonderland, featuring holiday trees, sparkling lights and decorated wreaths. And bundle up to enjoy the lighted Riverview Boardwalk outside. Winter Wonderland is included with daily admission — and is free for members.
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