Do you hear those sleigh bells ringing? It’s time to start celebrating the holidays with fun and exciting festive events and activities! As passionate experts for all things Springfield, we have just the guide for you to get the Christmas holiday season started right. Who knows, you may just find your new yearly tradition at one of these paid or free holiday events!
1. Get your gifting on
Kick off the 2022 holiday shopping season right and make your way across Springfield for Black Friday and Small Business Saturday deals. Looking for national brands? We’ve got you covered at the Battlefield Mall and big box stores like Target, Kohls, and more. If you’d rather shop small, you’re in luck. Small businesses make up 98% of our economy, meaning you won’t have to look far to find the perfect shopportunity. Check out some of our local favorites like Culture Flock or Five Pound Apparel to find the perfect unique gift.
2. Twirl your way to Springfield Ballet
Would the holidays really be complete without a visit to see Clara and her Nutcracker Prince dance their way through the Land of Snow and Kingdom of Sweets? One of Springfield’s most beloved traditions, the Springfield Ballet has been performing The Nutcracker year after year to adoring audiences from all over the region.
3. Walk through the tunnel of lights at Silver Dollar City
When it comes to the best of holiday celebrations, Silver Dollar City in Branson is the place to be. Whether you’re there for the nightly light parade, the delectable holiday buffets, the 5-story special effects Christmas tree or the whopping 6.5 million lights, there’s something for everyone at Silver Dollar City. While you’re there, be sure to hop onto some of their world-renowned roller coasters for the thrill of a lifetime.
4. Swing by Park Central Square for seasonal celebrations
Downtown Springfield is one of the best spots around the city for celebrating the season. Each year, the holidays are kicked off at the Mayor’s Tree Lighting Ceremony held right in the center of the Square. The festivities continue with the annual Christmas Parade held through downtown. Nearly 10,000 people from around the area attend the parade, with dozens of high school bands and floats competing to come out on top.
5. Enjoy a Botanical Walk at the Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden
A local favorite, Gardens Aglow is a family-friendly event showcasing more than 150,000 festive lights that get set up to accent the unique structures and landscaping of the Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden! Gardens Aglow takes place this year on Fridays-Sundays starting November 25 and extending through Dec 31(closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day).
This event provides many options for having fun, including romantic date night packages (starting at $75 and has options for floral upgrades!). Beverage and food vendors (like SnoNut, Lae’s Authentic Egg Rolls, & A.M. Donuts and Coffee) will also be in attendance for those looking for a bite to eat!
6. Take a drive through Candy Cane Lane
Want to see a dazzling display of lights without having to leave the warmth of your car? Head down to Rutledge Wilson Farm Park to see Candy Cane Lane, a drive-through holiday display with more than 10,000 lights across the park. Grab a cup of rich hot chocolate from their concessions to help you get into the spirit!
7. Shop til you drop at Kringle’s Christmas Store
Have the holidays got you wishing that every day was Christmas? Step into Kringle’s Christmas Store in Branson for 9,000 square feet of year-round celebration. Browse their six rooms of decor, ornaments, wreaths, trees, clothing and more. Kringle’s is the largest Christmas store in the entire state, so it’s almost impossible not to find the perfect gift while you’re there!
8. Walk into a winter wonderland at Bass Pro Shops
Some say that Santa’s workshop is set up in the North Pole, but we’re more inclined to believe that his workshop is here at the original grand-daddy of outdoor stores, Bass Pro Shops. Each year, Bass Pro locations transform into a winter wonderland with free games, crafts and activities for the kids. Families can get a free photo with Santa as a holiday memento to treasure for years to come.
9. Skate your way to Mediacom Ice Park
Is there any better way to celebrate the holidays than by ice skating? Mediacom Ice Park has open skating hours year-round, along with figure skating lessons and hockey leagues for those with a bit more experience on the ice. It’s a great way to spend a day on a small budget too — even with skate rental, your total is guaranteed to be $10 or less per person!
10. Ride aboard Branson’s own Polar Express
Make a quick trip up to the North Pole to pick up Santa with Branson’s Polar Express. Kids will love this ride across the Ozarks in this decked-out holiday train. Hot chocolate and cookies are served on board, and each child is given a bell from Santa just like in the film.