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Ultimate Omaha Christmas Events List {Updated For 2021}

Ultimate Omaha Christmas Events List {Updated For 2021}

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. 2021 will look different from the pre-pandemic years, 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 2021 holiday events. If you have an event to add or see an error in the schedule, please leave a comment or email me!

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 2021

Santa’s Wonderland

When: Through Dec. 24

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

What: Santa arrived extra early this year (or at least it seems!). Reserve a time to see Santa online, and get a free picture with him.

Cost: FREE

“Holiday Shorts: An Evening of One Acts”

When: Nov. 11-13, 7 p.m.

WhereArts Center at Iowa Western, 2700 College Road, Council Bluffs, Iowa

What: Exactly what it sounds like.

Cost: $8

Holiday Art Show

When: Nov. 12, 5-9 p.m., and Nov. 13, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

WhereSplit Gallery, 2561 Leavenworth St.

What: A local gallery highlighting work of local and regional artists.

Cost: FREE (artwork will be for sale, all under $200)

Season of Lights

When: Nov. 14 through Feb. 14, 2022

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

Winterfest at Bayliss Park

When: Nov. 19, 5:30 to 8 p.m. (tree lighting ceremony at 6:30 p.m.)

Where: Bayliss Park, 100 Pearl St., Council Bluffs, Iowa

Cost: FREE

Santa’s Rock N Lights

When: Nov. 19 through Jan. 2, 2022; hours are Sunday to Thursday 5:10 to 8:30 p.m., and Friday & Saturday 5:10 to 9:30 p.m.

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

Cost: $19.99 to $29.99

Merry & Bright Holiday Poinsettia Show

When: Nov. 20 through Jan. 3, 2022 (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day); daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Bright Nights are Nov. 20-21, 24, and 26-28, Dec. 3-5, 11-23, 26-30 and Jan. 2-3 from 5 to 8 p.m.  

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.

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

Holiday Lights Festival Lighting Displays

When: Nov. 22 through Jan. 3, 2022

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

Meet Santa’s Reindeers

When: Nov. 24 through Dec. 19; hours are Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 9p.m., Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed on Thanksgiving Day.

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

Lights of Aksarben

When: Nov. 26, and Dec. 3, 10, & 17, 2021, 6 to 8 p.m.

Where: Aksarben Village, 67th and Center streets

What: Inside a heated tent located in Stinson Park there will complimentary coffee, hot cocoa and cookies and enjoy all of the beautiful lights throughout the park. There will be music, face painting, horse & carriage rides and special guests Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Cost: FREE

Christmas at Union Station

When: Nov. 26 through Jan. 9; 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

Hanukkah Activities

When: Nov. 28 through Dec. 6

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

Cost: Included with regular museum admission ($14 for kids ages 2+ and adults) and free for families

Omaha Children’s Museum Virtual Visits With Santa

When: Through Dec. 19; 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).

Where: Via Zoom (organized through

What: Enjoy 15 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: $50 and may be reserved online at .

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

Omaha holiday concerts in 2021

Christmas & More with Daniel O’Donnell

When: Nov. 23 at 7 p.m.

Where: Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St.

Cost: $39-$99, tickets

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 for performance listings.

Cost: Included with regular museum admission.

“Christmas In My Heart” with Camille Metoyer Moten

When: Nov. 26 through Dec. 23; Thursdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; and Sundays, 2 p.m.

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. (no audience); performance will be broadcast on KXVO on Dec. 25 at 7:30 a.m. and KMTV on Dec. 26 at 11 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, 2021, 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, 2021, 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 Physicians Mutual Omaha Symphony Christmas Celebration

When: Dec. 16-19; performances are Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m.; and Saturday and Saturday 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: $20-$45 per person

Christmas theater & dance in Omaha 2021

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: Dec. 3-23, 2021

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. 19 through Dec. 23; show times are Wednesdays, 7 p.m.; Thursdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; and Sundays, 2 & 6 p.m. Read my review of the show and what to expect if you take a kid to it!

WhereOmaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St.

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: $45, tickets

American Midwest Ballet presents “The Nutcracker”

When: Nov. 20 at 2 and 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 21 at 2 p.m. (Hoff), and Dec. 4 at 2 and 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 5 at 2 p.m. (Orpheum)

Where: Hoff Family Arts & Culture Center, Council Bluffs, Iowa; and Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St., Omaha

What: The classic ballet performed on stage!

Cost: $45-$65 (details)

“A Very Die Hard Christmas”

When: Nov. 26 through Dec. 19

WhereBluebarn Theatre, 1106 S. 10th St.

Cost: TBD

“Santa’s Magic”

When: Nov. 26 through Dec. 23, performances are multiple times a day

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

What: The live show features Santa, the familiar elves, Holly and Jolly, a talking animatronic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and indoor snowfall. You can get photos with Santa after the short show.

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

“Hip Hop Nutcracker”

When: Nov. 28, 2 p.m.

Where: Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St.

Cost: $20-$60, tickets

Best places to ice skate in Omaha

Holiday food events 2021

Penguins and Pancakes

When: Dec. 18 & 19 as well as Dec. 26-30

Where: Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium

What: Enjoy pancakes from The Pancake Man, an in-person livestream penguin keeper talk, as well as a special penguin plush to take home.

Cost: Tickets for Members are $20 for Adults (ages 12 and up) $15 for Children (ages 3-11) and free for children ages 2 and under. For Non-Members, it’s $25 for Adults (ages 12 and up), $20 for Children (ages 3-11) and free for children ages 2 and under. Reservations required.

Dinner with Santa

When: Dec. 20 from 5 to 8 p.m.

Where: Quaker Steak & Lube, 3320 Mid America Drive, Council Bluffs, Iowa

What: Santa will be at the restaurant and Christmas movies will be played on the TV screens.

Cost: Included with your meal.

2021 New Year’s Eve Events In Omaha

Bubbly New Year’s Eve Party

When: Dec. 31, 9 a.m. to 8 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” countdowns about every two hours.

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 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

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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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. :(


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...


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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