How to have a perfect holiday season right at home.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and Jefferson City is gearing up for an unforgettable holiday season. With a variety of festive and fun-filled winter traditions, stunning holiday displays, and family friendly events scheduled throughout the month of December, Jefferson City is the perfect place for a holiday staycation. 

“Nothing is quite as magical as when the streets of Jefferson City come alive with holiday décor,” says Katherine Reed, communications manager for the Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau. “There’s no better place to celebrate than the city Rand McNally named ‘America’s Most Beautiful Small Town.’”

Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting

Santa and Mrs. Claus will be at Rotary Park on Bolivar Street — which means that the 11th annual Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on December 1 is a must-see event. With holiday entertainment beginning at 5:30, the tree lighting at 6:30, and refreshments throughout the evening, this Jefferson City holiday tradition is the perfect way to kick off a Christmas staycation.

Cost: Free

Mayor Tergin and the Claus's

Downtown Living Windows

On December 2 from 6 to 9 p.m., downtown’s storefronts and windows will be transformed into a magical wonderland. Filled with dancers and singers and decked out with holiday décor, High Street’s windows, from Jefferson to Adams, will delight holiday visitors of all ages while carolers and entertainers fill the street. A Jefferson City tradition for over 20 years, Living Windows also includes hayrides, which wind through the streets of downtown. The evening wouldn’t be complete without Santa’s yearly visit to Hawthorn Bank.

Cost: Free

77th Annual Jefferson City
Jaycees Christmas Parade

Why go to Disney World when the 77th Annual Jefferson City Christmas Parade is so close to home? Dozens of decorated holiday floats, local bands playing Christmas carols, and plenty of candy will overtake downtown when the Jaycees’ parade rolls through, beginning at 4:30 p.m. on December 3.

Cost: Free

Candlelight Tours at the Governor’s Mansion

A tour through the Missouri Governor’s Mansion is always a treat, but, during the holiday season, its beauty is even more pronounced. Experience the beautifully appointed mansion in its nighttime elegance on December 2, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., or in its daytime sophistication on December 3, from 2 to 4 p.m. This annual tradition features another special treat — the governor and first lady personally greeting all of those who come to tour the mansion.

Cost: Free

79th Annual Capitol Caroling

The Jefferson City Public Schools Capitol Caroling event, held each year at the Missouri State Capitol rotunda, is one of Jefferson City’s most joyous events of the holiday season. This year’s event, on December 13 from 7 to 10 p.m., marks the 79th annual presentation of Capitol Caroling by the fine arts departments at Jefferson City High School and Simonsen Ninth Grade Center. Enjoy holiday songs and other special song selections as they fill the rotunda with the magic of the season. The program also includes performances by the schools’ band, orchestra, and choirs.

Cost: Free

Skate with Santa

Ice skating is a quintessential winter activity, and, on December 17, Santa Claus will lace up his skates for a spin around the rink. He’ll make an appearance at Washington Park Ice Arena, where he’ll work up his appetite for plates full of cookies and cups full of milk by skating with guests from 1 to 4 p.m.

Cost: $5 for adults, $4 for youth (17 and under), $2.50 for skate rental

2016 Capital City Holiday Hoops Showcase
Jefferson City even has a holiday event for sports fans. The annual Capital City Holiday Hoops Showcase, from December 28 through 30 at Fleming Field House and Rackers Field House, is one of the most exciting high school basketball tournaments of the year. This year’s lineup features the Missouri National Guard Shootout, a youth basketball clinic, the Holiday Hoops Invitational, the Great Eight Classic, a slam dunk contest, and a three-point shootout. 

Cost: Admission varies from $5 to $12

Looking for a Day Trip?

There are also several events around the state that you won’t want to miss this holiday season, including:

Silver Dollar City’s “An Old Time Christmas”

Branson’s Silver Dollar City is always a magical place to visit, especially during the holiday season. As one of the top five holiday events in the United States according to “Good Morning America,” this event includes a “Rudolph and Friends” holiday light parade, a special effects Christmas tree standing over five stories tall, delicious holiday food, multiple shows, and over five million lights. This event is open from November 5 through December 30.

Cost: Silver Dollar City regular admission: $61; ages 62-plus, $59;
ages 4 to 11, $50

Silver Dollar City

Christmas in the Park
From November 23 to December 31, take a drive through Kansas City’s Longview Lake campground and enjoy 300,000 lights and 175 animated figures. Bring your family to this dazzling winter wonderland for a light tour they’ll never forget. While there, make someone’s Christmas by donating to local charities. The lights will be on from 5:30 to 10 p.m. during the week and from 5:30 to 11 p.m. during the weekend.

Cost: Free; donations accepted 

International Institute Holiday Bazaar

St. Louis will be hosting this second annual event on December 3 and 4. Find the perfect unique gifts for your loved ones from local and international vendors. Also enjoy food trucks with foods from around the world. Your children can also make their own gifts at the Bazaar’s kids’ crafts area. Stroll around this multicultural market to prepare for the holiday season.

Cost: Free; $5 for raffle ticket