Omaha in the Holidays! 10 Family Holiday Traditions and Events

Holiday family traditions

The holidays are almost here!

The days are getting shorter and there’s a chill in the air. This can only mean one thing: The holidays will be here soon!

Whether you’re already hauling the decorations from the attic or you plan to wait until after Thanksgiving, there’s no denying the magic and joy that this season holds.

Ready to usher in this special season of togetherness? Today, we’re sharing 10 family-friendly things to do around Omaha that are sure to get you in the holiday spirit.

1. Watch “A Christmas Carol.”

The Omaha Community Playhouse is currently selling tickets for its production of “A Christmas Carol,” which will run from November 13 to December 23.

This reimagined version of the Charles Dickens classic features a small cast (only eight people!), but still packs in plenty of drama. Follow along as Ebeneezer Scrooge discovers what Christmas is really about, and marvel at the gorgeous Victorian costumes, festive music, and expertly crafted sets.

2. Celebrate holidays in the Old Market.

Heralded as “Omaha’s Original Holiday Tradition,” Holidays in the Old Market runs from Thanksgiving to New Years Day.

While you complete your shopping in The Old Market district, you can enjoy dazzling lights, warm beverages, tasty sweets, and even LED snowflakes! Take the whole brood along and meander the brick streets to truly step back in time.

Listen to carolers, look for Santa, and enjoy the holiday exclusives offered by many local shops. You’ll want to come back plenty of times before January 1.

3. Place your bid at the Feztival of Trees.

Every year, the nearby Tangier Shrine Center puts on the “Feztival of Trees,” giving local families the opportunity to find a one-of-a-kind tree to add to their holiday decor. This year, the event will run from November 21 to November 28 (closed on Thanksgiving Day).

How does it work?

Local businesses sign up to sponsor a tree, with free rein to decorate it to the hilt following any theme they choose. From dinosaurs and chicken coops to actual money trees, the past themes have been entertaining and unforgettable.

You can enter a raffle to win the tree (or trees!) of your choice. In addition to the tree itself, your ticket could also win you other prizes and gifts that each sponsor donates.

4. Visit the Winter Wonderland in Papillion.

Located 20 minutes from Omaha, the community of Papillion, NE, is transformed into a winter wonderland once a year.

This year, from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. on November 28, your family can enjoy a variety of holiday-themed events. Last year’s Winter Wonderland featured a ton of fun, and free activities for the whole family, including carriage rides, marshmallow roasts, Santa visits (with live reindeer!) and more.

You can follow along on the Papillion Community Foundation website for updates on the 2020 plans.

5. Find your tree at Santa’s Woods.

Want to start a new holiday tradition with your loved ones? Visit Santa’s Woods in nearby Blair, NE.

This is a second-generation, family-run, choose-your-own Christmas tree farm that delivers plenty of holiday magic. With more than 30,000 trees to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect one to adorn your living room.

Worried about getting dirty? Don’t be. This full-service farm takes care of every detail for you, including cutting, hauling, shaking, baling, and loading your tree, so you can just focus on having fun. In addition to the trees, you’ll also find lots of other activities, including hayrides, gift shops, Santa sightings, and even a s’mores station!

The farm’s pre-tagging season started October 1 and the calendar will run through December 13.

6. Start a far-out tradition.

Did you think you’d find one of your favorite holiday events at the Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum? This Ashland, NE, gem combines two beloved traditions—Star Wars and Santa—for an exhibit that anyone can appreciate!

Titled “Santa Goes to Space,” this event will be held on December 5 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Museum members get in free and standard admission applies to non-members.

Starting at 10 a.m., Santa will be available for visits, and there’s lots more for even the youngest guests to enjoy. Visit the space-themed booths, take your picture with Star Wars characters, enjoy holiday music, and participate in other free activities. You can also get some of your holiday shopping done at the Makers Market, where you can support local artisans.

7. Attend a holiday poinsettia show.

If there were a dedicated flower that represented the holidays, the bright red poinsettia would certainly be it. These seasonal plants adorn homes and offices this time of year, but none are as spectacular as the ones at Lauritzen Gardens.

Their 2020 Holiday Poinsettia Show will run November 21 through January 3, and features more than 5000 poinsettias that span more than 20 different varieties.

Step into the floral display hall for instant enchantment, and marvel at the 20-foot-tall poinsettia tree, which is made from more than 700 plants! In addition to poinsettias, you can also enjoy amaryllis flowers, along with other floral and foliage varieties. Check out the indoor model train and stop by the Family Chill Zone for s’mores!

8. Meet Santa in the village.

Rockbrook Village is an Omaha institution, featuring more locally owned businesses than any other shopping center in the city. On November 28, bring the whole family out from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to meet Santa!

Take a carriage ride around the grounds, shop at your favorite stores, and encourage your littlest elves to participate in the holiday scavenger hunt!

9. Try a new German tradition.

Looking for something a little different to do this year? Check out Christmas in Germany, hosted by Omaha’s German-American Society. This year, it will be held on December 6, from noon to 6 p.m.

This event showcases a few of the German Advent traditions for everyone to enjoy. In addition to cultural entertainment, you can also enjoy traditional German food and drinks (try the Gluehwein, a hot mulled wine), shop at the Chriskindlmarkt, and even enjoy a visit with Saint Nikolaus himself!

10. Spend an evening at the symphony.

Especially if you have older children, you can’t miss the Omaha Symphony’s holiday show, aptly titled “Centennial Overtures: Home for the Holidays.”

Held on December 18 and 19 with three performances in total, the show will include both traditional favorites as well as holiday classics. Note that seating is limited and the show will be restricted to a 30% capacity. You can find tickets here.

Enjoy the holidays in Omaha.

The holidays are a special time that brings everyone together and reminds us of what’s most important. Some of these activities and events may soon become your new go-to traditions that you’ll revisit every year.

From our family to yours, we hope this season is a time of peace and joy for you! If you need anything from our office, feel free to reach out at any time.