Top 8 Events to Kick off the Holiday Season in Central Iowa

Central Iowa is the place to be during the holiday season. Des Moines and surrounding areas offer so many fun events, activities and more every year. I have decided to break down MY personal favorite events and/or things to do to get you in the spirit of the season.

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Attend a Christmas Tree Lighting!

There are several places you can go to view a tree lighting. One of our family’s favorites is the Jordan Creek Town Center! This is held every year, usually the Friday before Thanksgiving. You can sing festive songs, popcorn and hot cocoa have been passed out before, and you can welcome Santa to Jordan Creek Mall for the season. Of course, they light up their beautiful tree around the lake. After the tree lighting, grab a bite to eat at one of the several places located in Jordan Creek Town Center! Perfect for a date night or for the entire family!

Visit Santa

Santa is busy, busy this time of year. Not only making toys and deciding who is one the naughty or nice list. He is also running around town meeting all the children! There are several places to meet Santa, eat brunch, sing songs, and more with him. Check out the ultimate guide here!

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Santa at The East Village Holiday Promenade 2013

Cut Down a Christmas Tree

So, you have kicked off the season welcoming Santa and visiting him, but is your house decorated for the season? The first big step is grabbing the entire family and cutting down your very own Christmas Tree! We visited Howell’s last year and had an amazing experience. We picked out our all time favorite tree. Take a list of our ultimate guide to tree farms here!

Howell’s opens tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. for the season! Stop out, pick out and tag your tree. Then, after Thanksgiving all you need to do is go pick it up and bring it home.

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Howell’s Tree Farm 2015 

Go See the Nutcracker

A holiday classic, and one of my favorites. The Des Moines area is very fortunate to have several places that have The Nutcracker including the Des Moines Civic Center, Hoyt Sherman and Stephen’s Auditorium. If you don’t want to go to the Nutcracker there are some other great shows all over. Check the list here!

Visit Beautiful Lights

My favorite place to see Christmas lights is Jolly Holiday Lights! Every year, we get our pajamas on, grab some snacks, and hop into the car and drive through Jolly Holiday Lights. This year, they are at a new location, Adventureland! 100% of the proceeds go to Make-A-Wish® Iowa.

Interested in seeing beautifully decorated trees? Don’t miss out on the Festival Trees of Lights at the Veteran’s Memorial Center. Every year, tons of trees are decorated, Santa stops by, and there are tons of activities. All proceeds go towards the Blank Children’s Hospital.

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Festival of Trees and Lights 2013

Shopping, Shopping

The holiday season is a time shopping! Buying local is a great way to support your community. The Historic Valley Junction hosts the Jingle Drop and Jingle in the Junction several Thursday’s beginning in November through December. This is a great opportunity to see the town lit up with beautiful Christmas lights, shop at some great small businesses, see Santa, and much more. Check out all the details here! Looking for other places to shop local, check here!

Don’t miss out on Small Business Saturday, also!

Have Fun in a Blizzard

Have fun in a blizzard?! Not a blizzard of snow, a blizzard of butterflies of course! Ever year Reiman Gardens hosts a fun event called the Butterly Blizzard. Learn about butterflies, have a chance to release butterflies, and enjoy some crafts. This is such a fun event for all ages!

Explore a NEW Event

This year, Des Moines will be welcoming a new Christmas inspired event, Christkindlmarket! Christkindlmarket is a German-inspired Christmas Market. Vendors will sell old-world, handmade products from wooden vendor stalls. There will also be music and fun activities for children. Don’t miss it!

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