Top 7 Events to Kick off the Holiday Season in Des Moines

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Top 7 Events to Kick off the Holiday Season in Des Moines

Des Moines is the place to be during the holiday season. Des Moines and its surrounding communities offer 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.

Take a look at these fun Holiday guides to help you plan this season:

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Attend a Christmas Tree Lighting

There are several places you can go to view tree lighting. One of our family’s favorites is the Holiday Promenade held in the East Village of Des Moines. Recently they have changed the Holiday Promenade to being held several Fridays during the holiday season (November 17 – December 16). The first Friday they light the beautiful tree near the Brenton Skating Plaza. You can sing festive songs, ice skate, and see Santa! Take a look at other tree-lighting events around Des Moines.

Visit Santa

Santa is busy, busy this time of year. Not only making toys and deciding who is on 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. Bookmark the gigantic list.

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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.

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.

Visit Beautiful Lights

There are so many great places to catch beautiful, twinkly lights in Des Moines. Bookmark our giant list of Christmas Lights in Des Moines guide. Every year, we get our pajamas on, grab some snacks, hop into the car, and drive around looking at all the lights.

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.

Shopping, Shopping

The holiday season is a time for shopping! Buying local is a great way to support your community. The Historic Valley Junction hosts Jingle in the Junction several Thursdays 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. Keep in mind all of the wonderful ways you can gift an experience while supporting local too and all the fun holiday markets that happen all around town.

Attend Christkindlmarket

Explore the Christkindlmarket Des Moines. 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 the children. You do not want to miss this one-of-a-kind event.


Erin Huiatt

Erin is a reliable resource and stepping stone for women and families to find support and make connections within our community. She wants families to feel confident to reach out and ask for help and advice to get pointed in the right direction. She enjoys traveling and exploring with her two children in tow!

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