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Omaha’s Annual Holiday Traditions

gingerbread train

Omaha’s annual holiday fun kicks off come Thanksgiving and runs through New Year’s. The city has no shortage of family-friendly holiday events to check out, so you’ll have a variety of fun traditions to choose from during this month-long celebration. Free activities? Live performances? Tons of chances to meet Santa around town? Check, check, check!

Lights Festival 

The Omaha Holiday Lights Festival kicks off the holiday season every year and is one of the city’s most beloved traditions. Take a stroll down Gene Leahy Pedestrian Mall anytime between Thanksgiving and January 6th to see millions of dazzling lights! The festival spans forty city blocks and is sure to put you in a holly jolly kind of mood. Carolers sing merry classics on the weekends while many enjoy the outdoor ice skating rink. PS, you don’t miss the fireworks display on New Year’s Eve.

On Stage

When the holiday season arrives, Omaha’s thriving arts scene does not disappoint!  There are a variety of traditional holiday shows performed every year; however, the quintessential production is Omaha Community Playhouse’s “A Christmas Carol.” The sets are remarkable, the costumes are eye-catching, and the music is exquisite. After decades of holiday season practice, you’d expect nothing else! The show runs from November 16th through December 23rd. Get your tickets and let Ebenezer Scrooge take you on his life-changing journey. This one is perfect for the whole family.

Gingerbread Festival

Omaha’s Gingerbread Festival officially opens on November 17th with dozens and dozens of gingerbread creations on display at the Mormon Trail Center in North Omaha. Want to bake and decorate your own gingerbread house? You’re welcome to it! In addition to some impressive gingerbread displays, you’ll also find gift items, holiday decorations, Christmas music (you’re encouraged to share your own musical talents), and there’s even a treasure hunt for the kiddos. This is a bring-the-whole-gang type of festival.

**Important note: we here at Magnolia Omaha have our own mini Gingerbread Festival, too! Every year, Chef & team create an elaborate gingerbread scene. It’s free to come check out and is located just off our lobby.