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Ultimate Omaha Christmas Events List {Updated For 2020}

Ultimate Omaha Christmas Events List {Updated For 2020}

Omaha is the best place for a family to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve…usually. You can find free kids’ activities, every kind of live performance from ballet to orchestra to rock, and a ton of chances to meet Santa around town. 2020 will look different, but there will be plenty of Omaha Christmas events to look forward to.

Note: This post was first published in 2017 and has been updated with 2020 holiday events. If you have an event to add or see an error in the schedule, please leave a comment or email me!

2020 Update: The following are events I’ve seen listed as of November 2020. Please follow social distancing guidelines, wear a mask, and just to be on the safe side, call ahead to make sure the event is going as scheduled. Events are subject to change.

Got a kid-free night ahead of you? Good, I also included some activities that are perfect for a holiday date night or a friends’ night out.

Pin this post because I will add to this list often! I’ve divided the post into sections:

  • Omaha holiday events (in typical years, this would include tree lightings, parades, and holiday displays, and pretty much everything that’s not music, theater or food-related)
  • New Year’s Eve events
  • Holiday concerts
  • Christmas theater & dance
  • Holiday food & drink
  • Charitable events & gift drives

Having a difficult time choosing just one holiday event to attend? Check out this list of classic Omaha holiday traditions – they’re the kind of events that you should go to at least once in your life!

Omaha holiday & Christmas events in 2020

Santa’s Wonderland

When: Nov. 8 through Dec. 24

Where: Bass Pro Shops, 2901 Bass Pro Drive, Council Bluffs, Iowa, and Cabela’s, 12703 Westort Parkway, LaVista, Neb.

What: The reimagined Santa’s Wonderland experience has extra safety precautions to provide a healthy, happy holiday. Reservation are required for contactless Santa visit; book online at www.basspro.com/santa or https://www.cabelas.com/shop/en/santas-wonderland.

Cost: FREE

Holiday Lights Festival Lighting Displays

When: Nov. 20 through Jan. 4, 2021

Where: Old Market (10th to 13th streets, and from Harney to Jackson streets), North Omaha (six-block area around 24th and Lake streets) and South Omaha (24th Street between L and Q streets).

What: Gorgeous light displays in three iconic areas of Omaha.

Cost: FREE

Season of Lights

When: Nov. 20 through Feb. 14, 2021

Where: Turner Park at Midtown Crossing, 31st and Farnam streets, Omaha

What: Thousands of lights will adorn trees at Turner Park and along Farnam Street.

Cost: FREE

Meet Santa’s Reindeers

When: Nov. 21 through Dec. 19

Where: Mulhall’s, 3615 N. 120th St., Omaha

What: Dasher and Dancer will be hanging out at Mulhall’s this season. While they’re in the greenhouse, it’s huge, so I’m just going to go ahead and consider it practically outdoors.

Cost: FREE

Holiday Poinsettia Show

When: Nov. 21 Through Jan. 5 (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day)

Where: Lauritzen Gardens, First and Bancroft streets, Omaha

What: This indoor flower show is perfect for the holidays, plus the indoor model train is always a hit with kids. This year, there will be no holiday light nights.

Cost: Included with admission, which is $10 adults, $5 children 6-12). Members are admitted FREE.

Santa’s Rock n Lights

When: Nov. 22 through Dec. 28; hours are Fridays and Saturdays, 5 to 10 p.m.; Sundays through Thursdays, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; open on Christmas

Where: Werner Park, 12356 Ballpark Way, Papillion, Neb.

What: This drive thru light show features almost a full mile of programmable elements and over 100,000 animated lights dancing to Christmas music.

Cost: $19.99 – $27.99 (depending on the date)

Omaha Children’s Museum Virtual Visits With Santa

When: Nov. 27 through Dec. 23; reservations times will be available Wednesdays through Fridays from 3 to 7 p.m. (CST), Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (CST), and Sundays from 12:30 to 4 p.m. (CST). Update: All sessions have sold out.

Where: Via Zoom (organized through ocm.org)

What: Enjoy 20 minutes of one-on-one time with Santa, when kids can share their wish list with Santa, and hear a holiday story. Longer sessions are available and the purchase of a longer session will include a donation of a virtual visit with Santa to a child in need and his/her family.

Cost: $25 and may be reserved online at ocm.org

Christmas at Union Station

When: Nov. 27 through Jan. 10; hours are Wednesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, noon to 4 p.m., and Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Closed Mondays, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Santa will be at the museum Nov. 27 through Dec. 23 (Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m.; Tuesday, 5 to 7 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 3 p.m.; Santa’s reindeer join him Tuesday evenings and Sundays.)

Where: The Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St., Omaha

What: See the largest indoor tree in the region will be on display and special displays like “Holiday Cultural Trees Display” and “Season’s Greetings, Omaha!” Special events include: Virtual tree lighting ceremony (Nov. 26 at 7 p.m.), Scouts-Only Family Night (Nov. 30 from 4 to 7 p.m.), and Holiday Cultural Conversations – Virtual Event (Dec. 4 from 4 to 4:30 p.m.).

Cost: Included with museum admission; some virtual events may be FREE

Santa in the Village

When: Nov. 28, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: Rockbrook Village, 2800 S. 110th Court, Omaha

What:  Visit Santa and his reindeer and enjoy a carriage ride around the village. There’s also a Holiday Scavenger Hunt. 

Cost: FREE

Winter Wonderland (Drive-Thru)

When: Nov. 28, 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Where: Historic Portal School, Third and North Jefferson streets in Papillion, Neb. (yes, it’s that school)

What: The Papillion Area Historical Society lights up downtown Papillion with a drive thru event.

Cost: FREE

Santa’s Sleigh Ride

When: Nov. 29, 3 to 7 p.m.

Where: La Vista, Neb. (Santa will start on the west side of 84th Street from approximately 3-5 p.m. and then will be on the east side of 84th Street from approximately 5-7 p.m.)

What: This annual tradition in La Vista features Santa traveling by sleigh. As you wait along the route for Santa, please stay with your household group, observe social distancing, and wear a mask to protect yourself and others!  

Cost: FREE

Santa at the Farm

When: Dec. 5, 10 a.m. to noon

Where: ESU#3 – Gifford Farm Education Center, 700 Camp Gifford Road, Bellevue, Neb.

What: Get a picture and share your wish list with Santa, plus enjoy cookies and hot chocolate, music and crafts, animal visits and more.

Cost: $6 per child (accompanying adults are FREE). Bring a non-perishable food item for the foodbank and receive $1 off admission.

Lights Walk – 5k and 11k & Diaper Drive

When: Dec. 5, 4 to 6 p.m.

Where: Start at Urban Abbey, 1026 Jackson St., Omaha

What: The 5k walk sticks close to the Old Market and the Holiday Lights Festival. The additional 6k loop goes up to the Creighton Campus, with its lighted promenade. Cookies provided.

Cost: $2, fun walkers; $3, book stampers; optional donations of diapers and wipes for the YES – Maternity Group Home (especially sizes 3 and 4), as well as purchases of “diaper shares” (suggested donation of $5) will be accepted.

KETV Drive-through Family Festival

Where: Omaha Police Mounted Patrol Barn, 615 Leavenworth St., Omaha

When: Dec. 6, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

What: The Family Festival is usually a fun day of visiting various locations and enjoying the free activities, but this year, it’s all in one place. Craft kits will be handed out and the first 500 cars will receive a free book.

Cost: FREE

Christmas in Germany

When: Dec. 6, noon to 6 p.m.

Where: German American Society, 3717 S. 120th St., Omaha

What: Enjoy German folk songs, dancing, shopping and plenty of authentic German food like schnitzels, brats and more for the whole family (including a visit from Saint Nicholas).

Cost: FREE

Museum Insider: Family Traditions

When: Dec. 12, 9:30 to 11 a.m.

Where: The Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St., Omaha

What: Explore the nostalgia of holidays gone by through antique toys, historic letters and postcards, photos and newly acquired objects into the museum’s permanent collection. 

Cost: $25, non-member and $20, members; reservations required

Gingerbread Habitats

When: Dec. 19; sessions are 10 to 11:30 a.m., noon to 1:30 p.m., and 2 to 3:30 p.m.

Where: Fontenelle Forest,

What: Using Fontenelle Forest as inspiration, participants at this holiday event can bring their imaginations and create a one-of-a-kind Gingerbread Habitat.

Cost: $10, members; $15, non-members (one adult per child). Price is per kit, and one kit per child is recommended. Limited capacity, so reserve early.

Looking for more things to do when it’s cold outside? Here are 30+ things to do in Omaha in the winter.

2020 Winter Solstice Yule Ball

When: Dec. 19, 7 p.m. to midnight

Where: DC Centre, 11830 Stonegate Drive, Omaha

What: This annual ball includes dancing, drinks, and hors d’oeuvres, plus the Hall of Oracles and a silent auction to benefit a nonprofit (TBA). Swag bags full of holiday cheer await all those who attend the ball Open to guests ages 19+. Guests 16 and older may attend with an adult or parent/guardian.

Cost: $57.50 per person, with tickets discounted the more you purchase

Holiday Hustle 5K 

When: Dec. 20, 4 p.m.

Where: Start/Finish line at boat dock at the Prairie Queen Lake site just east of 132nd and Cornhusker Road intersection.  We will be utilizing the north part of the lakes trail system. Post Race party at Lucky Bucket Brewery, 11941 Centennial Road, La Vista, Neb.

What: A holiday-themed fun run around a lake. Santa, elf, and other holiday-inspired costumes are encouraged.

Cost: $35 by Nov. 30, $40 between Dec. 1-18, and $45 on Dec. 19 and 20. Go to http://www.u2canrun.rocks to register!

Omaha holiday concerts in 2020

Strings of the Season Concert Series

When: Saturdays and Sundays, Nov. 27 through Dec. 20, noon to 1 p.m.

Where: Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St., Omaha

What: Enjoy some of the area’s most beautiful holiday string music under the glow of The Durham’s Christmas tree. Visit DurhamMuseum.org for performance listings.

Cost: Included with regular museum admission.

“Christmas In My Heart” with Camille Metoyer Moten

When: Nov. 27 through Dec. 10

Where: Omaha Community Plahouse, 6915 Cass St.

What: Omaha songstress Camille Metoyer Moten makes her highly-anticipated return to the stage for an intimate holiday affair. Expect holiday classics, contemporary Christmas melodies and everything in between.

Cost: $35

“Joyful Noise: A Gospel Christmas featuring Salem Concert Choir”

When: Dec. 5, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St.

What: Enjoy the harmonious sounds of Omaha’s nationally recognized Salem Baptist Concert Choir! This Christmas tradition returns to the Holland Center with a combination of holiday classics and new music. The Grammy®-nominated choir features the soaring voices of more than 70 members. This upbeat celebration includes exciting special guest artists, theater and choreography.

Cost: TBD

“Holiday Stomp” With Hot Sardines

When: Dec. 10, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St.

What: Full of brass and dazzle, the hot jazz band will infuse yuletide classics with their unique and swinging sound. Arrangements of holiday tunes include: “White Christmas,” “Santa Claus Got Stuck in My Chimney” and “Please Come Home for Christmas.”

Cost: $20-$48

David Benoit Christmas Tribute to Charlie Brown

When: Dec. 11, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St.

What: “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is a tradition enjoyed around the world by fans of all ages. Now, over 50 years later, contemporary jazz piano legend, David Benoit along with the acclaimed vocalist, James Tormé, is paying tribute to this incredible piece of entertainment history. Limited seating for social distancing, masks required.

Cost: $20-$39

Omaha Symphony Presents Centennial Overtures: Home for the Holidays

When: Dec. 18 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 19 at 2 and 7:30 p.m.

Where: Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St., Omaha

What: Join the Omaha Symphony for traditional favorites, seasonal classics, and, of course… “Sleigh Ride”! Seating is limited due to safety procedures for physically distanced seating. 

Cost: $35 per person

Christmas theater & dance in Omaha 2020

Omaha Christmas theater shows in 2019 include "A Christmas Carol" at Omaha Community Playhouse
Photo courtesy Omaha Community Playhouse

“It’s A Wonderful Life”

When: Nov. 13 through Dec. 20; performances are Fridays at 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays at 2 and 5:30 p.m.; and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Where: The Rose, 2001 Farnam St.

What: Meet George Bailey, whose guardian angel has to descend on Christmas Eve to save him from despair and to remind him that his has been, after all, a wonderful life. Featuring live music from the era and a virtuosic cast playing multiple roles, this production is the perfect homage to the power of community.

Cost: $20 each for non-members and $12 each for members

“A Christmas Carol”

When: Nov. 13 through Dec. 23; performances are Wednesday at 7 p.m.; Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.; and Sundays at 2 and 6:30 p.m.

Where: Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St., Omaha

What: It’s a holiday tradition in Omaha. Ebenezer Scrooge takes us on a life-changing journey to discover the true meaning of Christmas. Filled with stunning Victorian costumes, festive music and crisp, wintry sets, “A Christmas Carol” is a beautiful reminder that love and generosity are the heart of the Christmas holiday.

Cost: TBD

“Santa’s Magic”

When: Nov. 27 through Dec. 23, performances are multiple times a day

Where: Omaha Children’s Museum, 500 S. 20th St.

What: The live show features the familiar elves, Holly and Jolly, a talking animatronic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and indoor snowfall. The premise of the show is that one of the elves is worried that Christmas won’t be the same this year. During the performance, the elf will learn how others celebrate Christmas around the world and will discover fun ways to enjoy the season in 2020. 

Children will be able to write a letter to Santa during the show, and the museum will mail them. The museum is using a letter service where each child who writes to Santa will receive a response back.

Cost: Included with museum admission

“A Dickens Christmas Carol: A Travelling Travesty”

When: Dec. 5-20, performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Where: Lofte Community Theatre, 15841 Manley Road, Manley, Neb.

What: The Styckes-Upon-Thump Repertory Theatre Company, a stuffy traveling troupe from England, has embarked on its “fifteenth annual farewell tour” of the classic Dickens tale. Mayhem ensues as the professional company attempts to keep the show going as everything that could go wrong does go wrong, to hilarious, absurd results

Cost: $22 per person

American Midwest Ballet presents “The Nutcracker”

When: Premiers Dec. 12 at 7 p.m.; and available for viewing through Dec. 25

Where: On American Midwest Ballet’s Youtube and Facebook pages

What: An annual presentation in Omaha and Council Bluffs, this year, the ballet will be presented virtually.

Cost: FREE

Best places to ice skate in Omaha

Holiday food events 2020

Tuesdays with the Grinch

When: Tuesdays, Dec. 1-22 from 5 to 7 p.m. (Santa will be there, as well, on Dec. 22)

Where: Caddy’s Kitchen & Cocktails, 115 West Broadway, Council Bluffs, Iowa

What: Meet and Greet with The Grinch, including free photos. The restaurant will have BOGO pasta deals on Tuesday nights. Bring patience, since safety measures will be in place to reduce congregating.

Cost: FREE (food sold separately)

2020 New Year’s Eve Events In Omaha

Say Goodbye to 2020!

When: Dec. 31, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St.

What: Guests to the museum will receive the ultimate party-in-a-bag to safely celebrate Noon Year’s at home. Party hats, balloons, noise makers, bubble wrap and more will get you ready to ring in 2021. Do the Sesame Street scavenger hidden throughout the museum and get a free party sundae at the Old-Fashioned Soda Fountain (while supplies last). Tag the museum in your photos celebrating at home with your party-in-a-bag for a chance to win great prizes.

Cost: Included with museum admission

Bubbly New Year’s Eve Party

When: Dec. 31, two sessions from 12:30 to 3 p.m. and 4:30 to 7 p.m.

Where: Omaha Children’s Museum, 500 S. 20th St., Omaha

What: Celebrate the New Year without staying out late! The celebration will include a lot of bubbles, and a “midnight” countdown at 2:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m.

Cost: Included with regular museum admission, which is $14 for children and adults, $13 for seniors, and FREE for children under 2 and members. Purchasing tickets online in advance is recommended since capacity will be limited for each session.

New Year’s Eve Celebration

When: Dec. 31, 6:30 p.m. to midnight

Where: German American Society, 3717 S. 120th St., Omaha

What: Enjoy a prime rib or salmon dinner, followed by music and dancing. 

Cost: $60, general admission and $50, members. Pre-paid reservations required by Tuesday before Dec. 31

New Year’s Eve Fireworks Spectacular

When: Dec. 31, 7 p.m.

Where: Launch and viewing location is near CHI Health Center & TD Ameritrade Park (near 10th & Cass streets) in downtown Omaha. Parking lots for viewing include CHI Health Center Lots A, B & C, and Gallup Parking Lots at 1001 Gallup Drive. CHI Health Center lots open at 6 p.m., and Lot A is only the lower level.

What: This annual tradition features a large fireworks display timed to music played on STAR 104.5 FM. They recommend arriving early to the parking lots.

Cost: FREE

2020 charitable events & gift drives in Omaha

To be updated soon!

Please leave a comment or email me at ohmyomaha (at) gmail (dot) com if you know of an event or gift drive to include in this list!

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Looking for the most complete list of Christmas events in Omaha, Nebraska? Here's a roundup of displays, shows, charity drives and more, including New Year's Eve festivities. List has been updated for 2020 changes.
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Natasha

Monday 4th of November 2019

Is the yearly concert that used to be held after the Gene Leahy tree lighting ceremony at the Holland no more? That makes me really sad. It was something we enjoyed every year. :(

Kim

Monday 4th of November 2019

I have a feeling it will return once construction is over on the Gene Leahy Mall. At least, I'm crossing my fingers that it all returns once it's finished!

Mitzi Stinson

Tuesday 4th of December 2018

hi Kim i was wondering if you knew of some hotels in Omaha that decorate for Christmas? I am wanting to come and stay in Omaha Christmas weekend, and would like to be surrounded by beautiful decorations and great food. thanks...

Kim

Tuesday 4th of December 2018

Hi Mitzi - Good question! The one place I know for certain is Magnolia Hotel downtown. It has a large gingerbread display each year. I'm fairly certain that Embassy Suites in the Old Market will be decorated too, or at the very least, it's right by all the gorgeous downtown lights. I'm going to ask around though. If you follow Oh My Omaha on Facebook or Twitter, I'll see what people respond with.

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