Holiday Fun Checklist

The holiday season is here, and there are lots of family-friendly activities to enjoy in southwest Ohio. If you’re searching for ways to sprinkle some Christmas magic into your month, you’ll find it here! Add these festive ideas to your family’s holiday checklist to make sure your holiday season is filled with wonderful memories.

Mail a Letter to Santa

Santa and his elves have been busy placing mailboxes all over southwest Ohio. Make the Big Guy’s job easier by writing him a letter and letting him know what you’re wishing for this year! In Dayton, you’ll find a Santa mailbox in front of Lula Bell Whimsical Cards & Gifts through December 18. Just outside of Dayton, you’ll find a cheerful red box labeled “North Pole Mail” outside of Fairborn Library. Near Cincy, Santa mailboxes are located at various Kenton County Libraries and the Kenton County Courthouse. Of course, letters are welcomed all year long at the Santa Claus Museum & Village in Santa Claus, Indiana!

Chop Down Your Own Christmas Tree

There’s something magical about picking the perfect Christmas tree with your family and cutting it down yourself. You’ll find a few local U-cut options, all located just a short drive away. Around southwest Ohio, you’ll find Timberwind Tree Farm in Lebanon, Koch Christmas Trees in Okeana, Big Tree Plantation in Morrow, and Corsi Tree Farm in Hamersville, among others. Many of these tree farms also have family activities to enjoy during the weekends, too.

Share a Meal with Santa and the Grinch

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and no one knows that more than Santa! Enjoy breakfast with Santa on December 2 at Sharonville Parks & Recreation Center and at Scene75 in Dayton. Santa will be popping in for breakfast at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Cincinnati on select weekends in December, and at Five Rivers MetroPark’s 2nd Street Market on December 17. Santa also likes lunch, so pop into Uno Chicago Grill in Dayton on December 9, 10, 16, & 17 to have a special lunch with Santa. More of a Grinch person? Share a hot breakfast with the Grinch on December 9 at Little Miami Brewing Event Center in Milford.

Enjoy a Nutcracker Performance

The Nutcracker is a must-see holiday tradition. Fortunately, there are many performances happening in our area this year. Watch The Nutcracker performed by Cincinnati Ballet alongside the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra at Springer Auditorium on December 14-24, or watch Dayton Ballet remake this iconic classic on select dates on December 8-17 at Schuster Center.


See (or Hop Aboard) a Holiday Train

Watch model trains chug through villages, around mountains, and through tunnels during Heritage Village Museum’s train days on December 20-23. Check out Holiday Junction featuring the Duke Energy Holiday Trains at Cincinnati Museum Center now through January 8, or Virginia Kettering’s Holiday Train Display at Stratacache Tower on the corner of 2nd and Main Streets in Dayton through January 1. Or experience the largest indoor train display at EnterTRAINment Junction’s Christmas at the Junction, running through January 2. Want to take a ride on a real train? Then hop aboard the North Pole Express during an hour-long train ride starting at LM&M Railroad in Lebanon.

Shop at a Christmas Market

Celebrate the magic and wonder of the holiday season at a Christmas market! The Cincinnati Christkindlmarkt features food, beverage, merchandise, holiday lights, and musical entertainment with a European — yet truly Cincy — holiday twist, and it runs through December 31 at Smale Riverfront Park. In Dayton, visit the Dayton Liederkranz Turner Christkindlmarkt on December 9-10, where you can wrap up your holiday shopping with a special gift from this old-world-style Christmas market.

Holiday Happenings Around Cincy

Catch a Holiday Play

Let the theatre stage get you into the holiday spirit! Watch as The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati recreates “Narnia: The Musical,” at the Taft Theatre on December 10. See the children’s comedy “‘Twas The Night Before Christmas And We’re Home Alone!” at Sinclair College in Dayton on December 14-17. Or see the holiday classic “A Christmas Carol” at Cincinnati’s Moe and Jack’s Place – The Rouse Theatre now through December 30.

Watch a Merry Movie

Holiday movies should be on every family’s holiday to-do list! At The Neon in downtown Dayton, check out “Frozen” on December 2, “Home Alone” on December 9 and “The Muppet Christmas Carol” on December 16. Kids 12 and younger are free, and adults are only $2.

These are just some of the great ways to celebrate the holidays in Southwest Ohio. Go out and make the most of this merry season!

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