‘Tis the Season: Holiday Events in KC

Plaza Lights

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical

Nov. 8-Dec. 31

The Coterie

While making your list of holiday to-dos, be sure to include this beloved holiday adventure. Jumping from the silver screen to the live stage, this colorful musical production, back by popular demand, features all your favorite characters — Rudolph, Sam the Snowman and Santa Claus — teaching the age-old lesson that what makes you different can also be what makes you special.

$11 to $17. thecoterie.org



The Ice at Park Place

Nov. 18-Feb. 20

Park Place

The only outdoor ice rink in south Johnson County opens for the holiday season. After testing out tricks on the ice, warm up with hot chocolate and bites at Park Place’s nearby cafes and restaurants. Skate times are Monday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday noon to 8 p.m., with a winter schedule taking effect Jan. 4 to Feb. 20.

$3 skate rental, $8 admission. parkplaceleawood.com/special-offers/ice


A Christmas Carol

Nov. 18- Dec. 24

Kansas City Repertory Theatre

The Kansas City Repertory’s annual Christmastime tradition is back for its 36th season. Featuring inspiring musical numbers, detailed costumes and dazzling special effects, this classic tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, his redemption and learning the true meaning of Christmas is sure to delight.

$35 to $95. kcrep.org


Kansas City Food Circle Holiday Pop-Up Shop!

Nov. 19, 10 a.m.

Heim Building

For the locavore in your life, stop by this pop-up shop that celebrates the diversity in the KC community by only showcasing local artisans and farmers. From gifts to home goods, to all the food you’ll need for Thanksgiving, this second annual event has all your holiday needs.

Free. kcfoodcircle.org


Northern Lights Zona Rosa

Northern Lights Holiday Lighting Ceremony

Nov. 19, 4 p.m.

Zona Rosa

Zona Rosa celebrates the coming of the holiday season with the annual lighting of the Kansas City Crowns and a 50-foot Christmas tree in Town Square. Celebration highlights include holiday crafts for kids; the official arrival of the holiday fairy princess and Santa Claus; and performances by the Creative Arts Academy, the Platte County High School choir and more.

Free. zonarosa.com


Legendary Lighting Ceremony Legends Outlets

Legendary Lighting Ceremony

Nov. 19, 6 p.m.

Legends Outlets

   Kick off the holiday season with one the Legends Outlet’s 12th annual tree lighting ceremony, featuring one of the region’s first and largest displays of animated lights synchronized to music. The 45-foot Christmas tree is the center of this festive event, which also includes live holiday music; prize giveaways; and a special appearance from Santa Claus, who will lead the countdown to the switch flip. Free. legendsshopping.com


Holiday Lighting Ceremony

Nov. 19, 10 a.m.

Union Station

Union Station’s lighting ceremony is only beginning of the KC landmark’s holiday season. Bring the family for a day’s worth of activities, culminating with the indoor lighting of the tree, followed by a performance of “Holidays Come Alive” by Quixotic, along with free evening mini train rides. For a full list of holiday fun, visit Union Station’s calendar.

Free. unionstation.org/holidays


Holiday Lights on Farmstead Lane

Nov. 24 - Jan. 7

Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead

  This family-friendly extravaganza returns with a 38-minute show filled with new features and a lot animation. B.Y.O.C.C.B. (bring your own cocoa, cookies and blanket), snuggle up and watch the lights from the warmth of your car. Light shows are from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday to Sunday. Free. opkansas.org


Plaza Lighting Ceremony 

Nov. 24, 5 p.m.

Country Club Plaza

   Each year the 15 blocks that make up the Country Club Plaza illuminate to bring one of Kansas City’s beloved holiday traditions. Come early, but stay late for pre- and post-ceremony entertainment, giveaways, a fireworks display and, of course, the switch flip that will awaken 287,000 glimmering jewel-colored lights. Free. countryclubplaza.com


Mayor's Christmas Tree Crown Center

Mayor’s Christmas Tree at Crown Center

Nov. 25, 5:30 p.m.

Crown Center Square

   Crown Center’s celebration of Christmas begins with a day-long series of events. At 10 a.m. help greet St. Nick as he arrives in a horse-drawn carriage and makes his way to his post at Santa’s Gingerbread Station. Huddle up at 5:30 and watch Crown Center’s iconic centerpiece, a 100-foot-tall Christmas tree, which is donated by Cascade Timber Consulting Inc., and is a symbol of the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund, come to life. Mayor Sly James and Olympic skating champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White are slated to flip the switch. Free. crowncenter.com


Holiday Luminary Walk

Nov. 27-28 and Dec. 4-5

Overland Park Arboretum

   Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens will host a magical luminary walk through the property on Nov. 27 to 28 and Dec. 4 to 5. Enjoy a mile of candles, holiday lights, live entertainment, Santa Claus, horse-drawn wagon rides, hot cider around a campfire and mystical Gnome and Fairy Villages from 5 p.m to 9 p.m. Tickets are $8 at the door and ages 5 and under are free. For more info visit opkansas.org/events/holiday-luminary-walk/.


Classic Holiday Movie Series

Nov. 25-Dec. 10

Union Station

   One of Kansas City’s favorite holiday traditions is returning to Union Station’s Regnier Extreme Screen Theatre. Enjoy Elf Nov. 25-Dec. 1; National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation Dec. 2-8; and The Polar Express Dec. 9-15, which features a Spanish version Dec. 10-13. Children are encouraged to attend The Polar Express screenings in their pajamas, just like the film’s main character. $3. unionstation.org


Gingerbread Lane

 Nov. 30 to Dec. 5

Webster House

  Marvel at the spectacular gingerbread creations made by local chefs when they debut Nov. 30 at the Webster House in Kansas City’s Crossroads Arts District. Bid on your favorite creations in a silent auction to benefit the Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired (CCVI). Get your last-minute Christmas shopping finished and hear keynote speaker Donald “Scribe” Ross on Dec. 2 at the Holiday Luncheon at the Carriage Club. Free to $60. ccvi.org/events


Wynton Marsalis

Big Band Holidays: Jazz at the Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and Special Guest Catherine Russell

Dec. 1, 7:30 p.m.

Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland

A Harriman-Jewell Series favorite since its 1999 Kansas City debut, this ensemble led by trumpeter Wynton Marsalis returns to put on a holiday concert big-band-style. With 15 of today’s finest jazz players and vocalist Catherine Russell in tow, expect a night of holiday cheer with songs from the orchestra’s album, plus classics like “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and Billie Holiday’s “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm.”

$30 to $50. hjseries.org


Ozanam’s 32nd Annual Hollywood Holiday Gala

Dec. 1, 5:30 p.m.

Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center

   The glitz and glamour of Hollywood makes its way to the Midwest with Ozanam’s red-carpet-worthy gala benefiting the organization’s life-changing programs and services for at-risk youth. Enjoy the star treatment with an enthralling live auction led by the Nigro Brothers, an elegant dinner, live entertainment and a silent auction featuring more than 300 items. $150 to $50,000. ozanamgala.org


Handel’s Messiah

Dec. 1-4, time varies

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

   Let the heavenly sound of more than 250 ethereal voices fill you with holiday cheer as the Independence Messiah Choir joins the Kansas City Symphony and Symphony Chorus to continue the 100-year tradition of performing George Frideric Handel’s choral masterpiece. $13 to $65. kauffmancenter.org


Rock the Red Kettle with The Fray

Dec. 2, 6:30 p.m.

Kansas City Live!

   The Salvation Army rings in good cheer with a free concert headlined by “How to Save a Life” and “Over My Head (Cable Car)” rock quartet The Fray, featuring special guest, American Idol winner and hometown rocker David Cook. Free. rockredkettlekc.com

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Dec. 3, 3:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Sprint Center

   After the massive success of bringing their experimental spectacular The Ghosts of Christmas Eve from the silver screen to the live stage, the genre-blending progressive rockers are bringing it back for an encore. Journey to the beginning of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and bask in the Christmas spirit with dazzling light displays, favorite tracks and more. $38.50 to $74. sprintcenter.com


Heartland Men’s Chorus Holiday Concert

Dec. 3-4, 8 p.m.

Folly Theater

   The Heartland Men’s Chorus’ holiday concert experience has quickly become one of this city’s favorite holiday traditions. Featuring a blend of carol favorites, choral classics and hilariously zany numbers, Kansas City Christmas has something for everyone and is sure to delight. $15 to $67. follytheater.org


The Nutcracker

Dec. 3-24

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

   After the critical acclaim of its reimagined production of The Nutcracker, the Kansas City Ballet provides an encore. Darker than its Tchaikovsky counterpart, the E.T.A. Hoffmann version follows Clara and the adventures that ensue when her beloved nutcracker comes to life. Expect a feast for the eyes with exquisite costumes, grans sets and stunning special effects. $60.50 to $135.50. kcballet.org


The Nutcracker Tea Party

Dec. 3 and 4, time varies

Ritz Charles, Overland Park

A holiday tradition in Overland Park, this annual tea party brings joy to kids of all ages with an enchanting two-day spectacular. Sip festive tea, browse the nutcracker boutique and enjoy a one-hour version of The Nutcracker performed by the Crescendo Observatory, all in benefit of the Friends of Overland Park Arts. $50. arfop.org/nutcracker_tea_party


Sugar Plum Fairy Children’s Ball

Dec. 3, 10:30 a.m.

Kansas City Marriott Downtown and Kauffman Center

   Join the Sugar Plum Fairy and her friends for a one-of-a-kind holiday celebration filled with fun. On this magical adventure, enjoy holiday shopping with a silent auction, traveling magicians, photo ops with costumed characters and then refuel with a three-course lunch before being whisked away to an awe-inspiring matinee performance of The Nutcracker$80 to $1,700. kcballet.org


Coleman Dollhouse Opening 

Dec. 3, 10 a.m. 

National Museum of Toys and Miniatures

   The museum’s 9-foot-tall dollhouse, decked out in full holiday splendor, is revealed. Marvel at its fine details up close and personal as museum educators give in-depth talks about the dollhouse and its history. Free to $5. toyandminiaturemuseum.org


Quixotic Fusion Kansas City

Luminate: A Holiday Laser Light Show

Dec. 3 and 10

Pershing Road and Main Street

Joining in on the Downtown Dazzle holiday festivities is Kansas City performance art collective Quixotic. The troupe will debut its standalone show, featuring a larger-than-life LED lighting display that brings the downtown sky to life and spans the intersections of Pershing Road and Main Street. Each production activates every 30 minutes and lasts five to seven minutes. Free. dazzlekc.com


Brunch with Santa

Dec. 4, 11 a.m.

The Gallery Event Space

Join Santa for a delicious brunch featuring bites from Power & Light District restaurants, then prepare for Christmas with cookie decorating with MeMa’s Bakery, a performance of StoneLion Puppet Theatre of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and much more. $12 to $35. powerandlightdistrict.com


Elf Movie Party

Dec. 4, 7:15 p.m.

Alamo Drafthouse Mainstreet

   “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” At least that’s what Buddy the Elf suggests. We recommend Alamo Drafthouse’s movie party featuring Elf. This party features a themed contest, a snowball fight in-theater, fun props, jingle bells, bubbles and a scratch ‘n’ sniff card to help you and Buddy navigate your way through Manhattan and find his dad. $13 to $38. drafthouse.com


Sunday Brunch with Santa

Dec. 4 and 11, 9:30 a.m.

Pinstripes Overland Park

   This family-friendly event includes a massive brunch buffet of made-to-order omelets, fresh seafood, carving stations, a chocolate fountain, a kids corner and more. Enjoy a game of bowling or bocce ball before of after your complimentary visit with Santa to tell him about your wish list. Free to $28. pinstripes.com


The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra Swings The Nutcracker

Dec. 6, 7 p.m.

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

   “Swing” in the holiday season Kansas City-style with a little help from the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra. This year’s annual holiday show borrows the magic of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn and adds swinging arrangements to favorite selections from The Nutcracker to bring an entertaining evening of “suite” fun that’s sure to keep your yules cool. $20 to $55. kauffmancenter.org

Kappa Kappa Gamma Holiday Homes Tour

Kappa Kappa Gamma Holiday Homes Tour

Dec. 7-8

Various locations

   This year’s tour highlights four homes decorated for the holidays by outstanding local florists and features the return of the holiday boutique (famous Kappa Fudge included), a ladies’ night and a preview luncheon with home and family blogger Justin Ricklefs as the keynote speaker. Since its inception in 1951, the event, dubbed the “grandmother of holiday homes tours,” has raised approximately $2 million for area charities and the Kappa Foundation and has become a KC holiday tradition. $25 to $950. kappahomestour.com


The Night The Buzz Stole Xmas

Dec. 7 and 15-17, 6:30 p.m.

Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland

  Take a break from all the holiday music with 96.5 The Buzz’s sleigh-rocking four nights of alternative rock that’s sure to bring you good cheer. AWOLNATION, Capital Cities, 888 and The Moth & The Flame kick off the first evening Dec. 7. Catch Milky Chance, Marian Hill, Banks & Steelz and Shaed on night two, Dec. 15. Night three (Dec. 16) features Third Eye Blind, The Strumbellas, Judah & The Lion and Night Riots. And the final night of rock fun includes Band of Horses, Local Natives, Warpaint and Jaenki. $29.65 to $35. midlandkc.com


The Santaland Diaries

Dec. 8-24

Kansas City Repertory Theatre

   Based on humorist David Sedaris’ witty and fictional essay of elfin’ woe during his stint as a Macy’s elf, this refreshingly disenchanted play features enough humbug and misfortune to make you see the holidays in a whole new light. $22 to $55. kcrep.org


Love Actually Quote-along

Love Actually Movie Party

Dec. 8, 7 p.m.

Alamo Drafthouse

   Grab your gal pal for a holiday edition of Alamo Drafthouse’s ever-popular Girlie Night feature Love Actually, starring Hugh Grant, Keira Knightly, Liam Neeson and a host of other A-list celebs. Sing along to your favorite holiday tune, “Christmas Is All Around;” then laugh, cry, boo and cheer through this feel-good seasonal favorite. $12. drafthouse.com


Jim Brickman with the Kansas City Symphony

Dec. 9, 8 p.m.

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

   Find comfort and joy this holiday season as two-time Grammy Award-winning songwriter, pianist and radio show host Jim Brickman puts on a soothing concert filled with lush instrumentals and soaring vocals. Expect to hear new music, along with holiday favorites and hits like “Valentine,” “If You Believe” and “Sending You a Little Christmas.” $40 to $95. kauffmancenter.org



Tim Warfield’s Jazzy Christmas

Dec. 9, 8 p.m.

Gem Theater

Veteran jazz saxophonist Tim Warfield makes spirits bright with a unique holiday concert. Classics such as “Let It Snow,” “Joy to the World” and “Silent Night” are transformed into hard-improvised jazz masterpieces with the help of fellow musicians Nicholas Payton, Stefon Harris, Cyrus Chestnut, Joanna Pascale and more. $45. americanjazzmuseum.org


Holiday Candlelight Tour

Dec. 9-10, 6 p.m.

John Wornall House Museum

   Experience the holiday season in Victorian style by a festive tour through the John Wornall House Museum. Guided by candlelight, this one-hour exploration of the house and grounds features holiday decorations, carolers, interactive games, music, Christmas treats, hot drinks and a special presentation from the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival. $15. wornallmajors.org


Santa Brunch Tavern at Mission Farms

Santa Brunch

Dec. 10. 10 a.m.

Tavern at Mission Farms 

   Visit with Santa, grab a complimentary photo, and enjoy a special holiday brunch at this fourth annual holiday celebration. On the menu is a buffet-style spread featuring prime rib, made-to-order omelets, seafood and dessert stations, a bloody mary bar; fresh fruit and more from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free to $27.95. tavernatmissionfarms.com


Christmas Light Run

Dec. 10, 5:30 p.m.

North Kansas City City Hall

    Illuminate your life and the night with the brightest 5K in KC. Combining the thrills of a 5K with the fun of a festival, the run features a Christmas-themed course weaving through historic Armour Road, selfies with Santa, a Christmas DJ, a costume contest and voting on the most festive house. This year, the Christmas Light Run benefits the YMCA of North Kansas City. $20 to $45. christmaslightrun.com


Mannheim Steamroller: Christmas by Chip Davis

Dec. 10, 8 p.m.

Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland

   Experience the joy and wonderment of Christmas through Mannheim Steamroller’s epic and legendary Christmas tour. Conceived by founding member Chip Davis, this annual spectacular combines the beloved modern music of the rock band with stunning multimedia effects that bring out the kid in all. $35 to $97.50. midlandkc.com


The Fairy Princess

Dec. 10, 11, 17 and 18, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Kansas City Museum

   The Kansas City Museum continues the 80-year-old tradition of the Fairy Princess at its majestic quarters. Kline's Department Store first had a Fairy Princess at 1113 Main St. in 1936 because the Klines were Jewish and wanted a non-denominational holiday icon to bring business to their store. Kline's closed in 1970, but the Kansas City Museum revived the holiday pastime in 1987. The Fairy Princess wears a flowing white dress and a crown while she sits on her magnificent throne in the entryway of the Kansas City Museum. She listens to children's holiday wishes and poses for photos. Then her magical toy chests open to reveal a sweet treat for each child. $10 per child. kcmo.gov/kansascitymuseum

The Fairy Princess also makes an appearance at Zona Rosa Nov. 19-Dec.1. zonarosa.com/Listings/agentType/View/PropertyID/1806/Visits-with-the-Fairy-Princess--Events


Holiday Swing

Dec. 11, 10 a.m.

Union Station

   New this year to the Union Station’s holiday celebration extravaganza is an indie craft fair showcasing more than 100 handmade and vintage vendors of Strawberry Swing. While snagging one-of-a-kind handmade and upcycled items for the whole family, enjoy a special Quixotic surprise. unionstation.org


The Great Santa Run

Dec. 11, 9 a.m.

Johnson County Community College

   Get ready for the holiday season with this jolly jog benefiting the children of Operation Breakthrough. Make your way through the 3.1-mile course around Johnson County Community College, then enjoy a post-race breakfast and claim your finisher’s medals. Be the Santa in a Kansas City kid’s life by donating an unopened, unwrapped toy worth $10 before the race. $12 to $40. kcsantarun.com

Jingle Bell Run Kansas City

Jingle Bell Run

Dec. 11, 9 a.m.

Mertiex Executive Park

   Get in the holiday spirit with this annual festive and fun Christmas-themed run. Raising money to help find a cure for arthritis, this family-friendly run takes place underground and features appearances from Santa, Kansas City Royals mascot Sluggerrr, jugglers, magicians, a live DJ and the famous holiday hallway aglow with thousands of lights and decorations. $25 to $45. jbr.org


Kansas City Symphony’s Christmas Festival

Dec. 15-18 and 20, time varies

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

   Deck the halls with the sounds of beautiful arrangements of cherished Christmas carols and songs of the season at Kansas City’s grandest holiday concert. Featuring guest vocalists, musicians, giveaways and more, this festival is sure to evoke Christmas cheer. $15 to $80. kauffmancenter.org


KCS Holiday Express

Kansas City Southern’s Holiday Express Train

Dec. 16-20

Union Station

  All aboard Union Station’s festive six-car holiday express! Next stop: joy and merriment for all. Each retired rail car features a holiday scene, including Santa Claus and his elves. Also on the express are a flatcar carrying Santa’s sleigh, reindeer and a miniature village, a gingerbread boxcar, the elves’ workshop; a reindeer stable and a little red caboose. Throughout the holidays, the Holiday Express will make stops in seven states in the U.S. and donate cold-weather necessities to the local Salvation Army along the way. Free. unionstation.or



Screenland at the Symphony: Home Alone

Dec. 21-22, 7 p.m.

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

   Get your family ready for the holidays with Chris Columbus’ hilarious and heart-warming ‘90s classic about a boy named Kevin who gets accidentally left behind by his family. The Kansas City Symphony provides John Williams’ charming score as Kevin enjoys the perks of being sibling free and protects the house from bumbling burglars. $45 to $85. kauffmancenter.org