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Best of KC: Christmas Traditions

Best of KC / December 6, 2018

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! No, but really, it is! Ask any kid under the age of ten, and they can tell you how many days until Christmas at any time of year. The countdown to next Christmas begins before they’ve even peeled back that last strict of wrapping paper on that very last gift under the tree. Christmas is just that good. And for us adults, we no longer look forward to the overflowing stockings and packages of new toys—okay, some of us do—but we do get excited about the thrill and anticipation of Christmas cheer. 

Maybe it’s just something to look forward to when the air is cold and the days are dark. Or maybe it’s that people are actually nicer, and there really is magic in the air, and there’s a genuine hope for a Christmas miracle. We can temporarily forget about all the craziness in the world and the pain and suffering that overwhelms us every time we open our inbox or turn on the nightly news. So for a few more moments, let’s treasure the spirit of the Christmas season, particularly in our little corner of the world. Here are the best Christmas Traditions in Kansas City.

The Plaza Lights 

Well, duh. Everyone knew we’d have this one on here. From the time the lights are lit for the first time on Thanksgiving night until January 13th, the plaza lights bring a little bit more joy and warmth to the Country Club Plaza. Whether you’re just stopping in to do a little shopping, hit up a festive happy hour, or make a showing at your fancy office holiday party, the Plaza is the perfect spot to get your holiday cheer on.

Kansas City Ballet presents The Nutcracker 

The Kansas City Ballet has done more than 600 performances of The Nutcracker, and if you haven’t yet seen it for its annual performance at the Kauffman Center, you should! Last year, it toured to the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. where it received glowing reviews for its charm and fresh décor. You have until December 23rd to get downtown to witness the captivating choreography of Clara, the Nutcracker, and the Sugar Plum Fairy.  

Kansas City Symphony

And as long as we’re talking arts and culture, Kansas City Symphony presents Handel’s Messiah December 7th through 9th. I may be a natural cynic, but that choral masterpiece still gives me goose bumps. This year, it’s bigger and better than ever with almost 200 musicians and singers. And the following weekend, KC Symphony presents its annual Christmas Festival, featuring Christmas classics, contemporary versions of traditional carols, and even a surprise visit from Santa! Finally, the weekend of December 21st and 22nd, “It’s a Wonderful Life” will be shown on the big screen while the symphony plays the score in the foreground. 

Santa at Union Station

You can’t deny that the railroads play a major role in Kansas City’s history. So it’s only fitting that one of the most beloved holiday traditions is the Kansas City Southern Holiday Express Train. It brings Santa to Union Station just before Christmas so guests can tour the train and visit with Santa for free. Check it out from December 14th through 18th!  

Christmas In The Park

And if sitting on a fat man’s lap is a bit scary for you, then Christmas In The Park might be a good fit for you. You don’t even have to get out of your car! And best of all, it’s free! Featuring more than 300,000 lights and 175 animated displays, it’s Jackson County’s gift to the community. For more than 30 years, they’ve been treating the metro area to this magical winter wonderland. So pack your family in the car, stop in at a drive-thru, head out to Lee’s Summit, and make it a dinner date!


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Blog written by Erin Greenhalgh