Several of Kansas City’s holiday events and activities have become annual favorites with area homeschoolers!
Ready to make this year’s Christmas season extra special for your family? We’ve listed some here as a springboard for more ideas:
1. The Mystery of Christmas.
As an alternative twist on “The Nutcracker,” check out this Dramatic Truth Ballet Theatre performance.
Instead of going to the Land of Snow, Clara gets to travel to Jerusalem on the night of Jesus’ birth. The play is set to Tchaikovsky’s music and features international ethnic dances to welcome the Savior.
For this year, Avila University is hosting the show. The university also offers a virtual ticketing opportunity as an alternative to attending in person.
2. The Nutcracker Suite.
Those wanting the traditional Nutcracker performance can check out showtimes at the Kauffman Center.
According to its website: “Public performances at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts will no longer require proof of [COVID-19] vaccination for admission. In addition, unless the performing artist or performing arts organization requires masks to be worn by the audience, masks will no longer be required while in the building, though patrons are welcome to wear them.”
3. Crown Center.
Not all holiday events have to cost a lot to make a lasting impression! The Crown Center Ice Terrace has reopened and has posted December and holiday hours on its website.
Reservations are required, and the schedule may change based on weather conditions. The center’s website recommends checking back on the day for any last-minute skating updates.
4. Journey to Judea.
Journey to Judea is a free, interactive Christmas experience hosted by Countryside Church in Overland Park. Church members portray scenes from scripture on six nights of hour-long outdoor tours, with groups of 50 people in each tour.
While tickets have already sold out, the website encourages people to join its waitlist for updates as tickets get returned.
5. Trilogy Cultural Arts Centre’s Christmas Spectacular Show.
The 2022 Christmas Spectacular show is scheduled for Dec. 15-18, per its website. Many homeschool families are included in the cast and crew!
The centre is also performing Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” on Dec. 9-10.
6. The Plaza.
Ah, that magical moment on Thanksgiving Day when all the lights turn on and the Kansas City Plaza area is transformed!
Per its website: “The 93rd Annual Evergy Plaza Lighting Ceremony returns on Thursday, November 24, 2022! Kick off the holiday season in style and join us for this beloved Thanksgiving tradition in Kansas City.”
7. Christmas in the Park.
This dazzling, free winter wonderland opens Nov. 23 with “Christmas in the Sky.” This year a cast of 100 singers and dancers will perform from Monica’s School of Dance. Santa will arrive on his sleigh, and there will also be special guest performances!
Enjoy a gorgeous display of fireworks that are synchronized to holiday music.
Bonus: The Lee’s Summit Magic Tree is nearby, too!
8. Christmas penguins.
If your kids like penguins, they’ll love Paulie’s Penguin Playground in Olathe! One of the largest Christmas displays in metropolitan Kansas City, this playground features hundreds of holiday figures, all with a penguin twist.
Who knew Rudolph and his buddies faced such stiff competition from these adorable birds?
9. Tuba Christmas (Kansas City Symphony).
A Tuba Christmas in Kansas City has taken place every year since 1979! This year it has returned to being in-person instead of virtual on Dec. 9.
“Audiences may enjoy the free noon-hour performance in the Crown Center Square without a reservation. Bring your own chairs and be ready to sing along to some holiday classics. This event is weather permitting.”
10. Pictures/Events with Santa.
If selfies with Santa happen to be a holiday tradition, they can get pretty pricey. But fear not! One enterprising homeschool mom recommends going to Bass Pro Shops, where Santa gives out great pictures for free. (This year, advance reservations are required.)
11. Overland Park Arboretum.
For a more sedate celebration, try the Overland Park Arboretum’s holiday luminary walk. Dates this year are Nov. 25-26, and Dec. 2-3, 8-10, and 15-17.
Gardens, woods and ponds all have a candlelit glow that your family can enjoy, along with musical performances along the way and a visit with Santa in the arboretum’s pavilion.
12. Handbell choir.
Did you know an advanced community handbell ensemble meets right here in the Kansas City area? Its holiday concerts are on Dec. 9, 10, and 11.
Rezound! members play on handbells and handchimes that span 7 octaves and come from three different countries.
Also, when their weekly rehearsals last about three hours, you know that’s dedication!
13. Olathe Youth Symphony.
For anyone in the Olathe area, another great holiday option is Olathe Youth Symphony Association‘s free December concert on Dec. 4 (donations accepted). All performances take place at Olathe South High School, at 151st and Ridgeview in Olathe.
14. Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Farm’s Open Christmas House.
This historic site typically offers its Open Christmas House for free (donations suggested). Celebrate Christmas like they did in the 1860s, with cookstove and blacksmith demonstrations, with Heritage Center ornaments. Who knows, you may even get to see Santa himself!
Some activities come with a fee, such as stagecoach rides and making a gingerbread house.
15. Wornall/Majors House Museums.
The Alexander Majors House & Barn is planning a “A Very Merry Christmas” on Dec. 10, while the John Wornall House is offering a “Hearthside Christmas Storytime” on Dec. 18. Both events are designed for families, with all ages welcome.
16. YaYa’s Alpaca Farm.
This alpaca farm is offering another Christmas event! We first heard about this from a fellow homeschool family on Instagram. More than 4,000 families attended their Christmas event last year, and they’re looking forward to welcoming visitors this year.
From their website: “Yaya’s Alpaca Farm is a very happy place where you can leave the world behind for a few hours and have some quality family and friend time!”
17. Holiday lights near your area.
A number of homeschool families will bundle everyone into their car at nights, laden with hot chocolate or other such goodies, and just tour area neighborhoods to see the sights. Some ideas:
- Monticello Lights Display – north of 64th Street across from Riss Lake, including a home at 6427 NW Monticello Drive that offers synchronized music with its light display on a short-wave radio broadcast.
- Olathe Christmas Card Lane – in the Mission Ridge subdivision, near 151st Street and Ridgeview.
- Other displays in Johnson County – another extensive listing of Christmas lights is available at this website.
- Winterset Valley in Lee’s Summit – south of 3rd Street. All the trees along the roads are lit up with lights for a gorgeous view!
We have updated this post, originally published in November 2014, for timeliness and detail.
We want to hear from you!
Does your family have any favorite holiday events we didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments!