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Friday, December 4, 2015

Christmas in Missouri

I love learning what Christmas is like in other parts of the country, so I thought I would share with you what happens around the Show Me State with regards to the holiday season.  I'll share with you activities from our cities, St. Louis and Kansas City, fun events in our smaller towns, like Marceline, and events in our touristy places, like Branson.  Maybe someday you will want to come and spend some time in Missouri during the holiday season!

One of my family's favorite events is in Kansas City, when the Plaza lights are lit on Thanksgiving Day.  The Plaza is a gorgeous shopping venue, with wonderful restaurants, and a cheerful, holiday mega Hallmark store (which is head quartered in KC).  We love staying at the The Raphael, not because of its close proximity to the Plaza, but because of its warm ambience and outdoor fire pits which are delightful after an afternoon of outdoor shopping.  My family loves to eat at The Melting Pot but my favorite is the Plaza III Steakhouse. Ultimate service, a dressy event and fabulous food!

Our family trip in 2012

I know it's blurry, but I love the round balls of light!
I grew up in Marceline, a small town with connections to Walt Disney, who spent part of his boyhood here.  We love our celebrations and one of them, Peanut Night, is the kickoff to the holidays in this small town.  At Peanut Night, Santa arrives at his small hut to hear Christmas wishes from boys and girls, and during that time, the local Lions' Club sells bags of peanuts with prizes in the bags, all the way from door prizes from local stores to cash!  The stores are open and residents and visitors shop, and at the appointed time, the city officials turn on the lights, Santa arrives, and peanut sales begin!

Santa's house, photo by City of Marceline
Downtown Marceline, photo by City of Marceline
Some of my family spent time during Thanksgiving in Branson.  They loved going to Silver Dollar City and report it as being "magical" during this time of the year due to the hundreds of thousands of lights.

In Columbia, where the University of Missouri is located, you will find The Magic Tree.  The Magic Tree was started in 1995 as a single person's act of beauty for the holiday season.  In 2004, the word had spread to the general public and thousands flocked to see the 40 year old crab apple tree adorned in over 80,000 lights, all hand applied (about 100 hours of work). The growing amount of traffic required the owner/designer to move the magic tree to Cherry Hill in 2010.  The new tree is a cherry tree and with the use of LED lighting, there are about 40,000 lights on the tree.  Each year the tree is completely redesigned with new lighting.  It continues to be a tradition in the Columbia area.

My photo of the Magic Tree in 2008.
In St. Louis there are a lot of different activities that happen during the holiday season.  The Busch Company has its annual light display at the Visitors Center. You can roast marshmallows, take a carriage ride or get your photo taken in a snowglobe.  The Missouri Botanical Gardens has an amazing light show called Garden Glow that is worth a trip to St. Louis all on its own!  If you like home tours, the Lafayette Homes Christmas Tour is not to be missed.  Called the "Painted Ladies" these beautiful homes are open for your viewing pleasure.  The St. Louis Zoo offers an opportunity to visit the zoo at night and see Wild Lights.  There are hot cocoa stations, over 500,000 lights, and a carousel ride featured at the zoo.  The St. Louis Symphony, the Fox, and Powell Hall all offer holiday selections as well.

One of the beautiful displays at the 2014 Garden Glow

Busch Visitor Center lights.
We live in St. Charles, where we are fortunate to have a month long holiday celebration called Christmas Traditions in Old Town.  Santas from all over the world and Christmas figures such as Jack Frost all come together on Main Street.  Kids like to collect the trading cards the different Santas and figures have that explain where they are from and how Christmas is celebrated where they are from.  These darling Santas stay in character, use the accent most likely to be from their region and create an atmosphere of magic.  Shops are open, there are hot chocolate stations, gingerbread contests, a kissing ball, music from all over the state, special events such as the Santa parade happens throughout the month.

A page from the Christmas Traditions brochure
Throughout the month, I will be adding other articles to this post about Christmas opportunities in the state of Missouri.  I love my home state and would love to share it with you!  If you have other places in Missouri that you love to celebrate Christmas, please add them to the comments!  Thank you!

9 Must See Light Displays in the St. Louis area

21 Best Light Displays in Springfield

Where to Find Santa

Would you like to comment?

  1. I grew up in Overland Park KS and we attended the Plaza Lights lighting every year. It's one of my best memories.


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