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Art from the Heart

2009 Omaha Holiday Guide

Omaha Christmas Lights
Published on December 2, 2009

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Omaha is an awesome place to celebrate the holidays. Why? Because there is so much to do! Granted, the holidays can be demanding, but with so many unique and inexpensive options, a person can surely find time for entertainment amid the holiday bustle.

I have compiled a list of Omaha’s top wintery activities in three categories: Family-Friendly Activities, Theatre, and Concerts.

Family-Friendly Activities

Holiday Lights Festival
The Holiday Lights Festival is a Downtown tradition, named for its annual holiday lights display in Omaha’s Gene Leahy Mall. The festival features daily and weekend family activities, including a ConAgra Foods Ice Rink, Downtown Holiday Home Tours, Wells Fargo Family Festival, and the First National Bank New Year’s Eve Fireworks.

Where: Old Market, Gene Leahy Mall, ConAgra Foods Campus, and various Downtown locations
When: Through Dec. 31, specific dates and times vary
AdmissionFree, excepting ConAgra Foods Ice Rink, which costs $5 per person, including skates

Christmas at Union Station
Omaha’s Durham Western Heritage Museum hosts a variety of holiday-themed events during the month of December, including an Ethnic Holiday Festival, a concert series, visits by Santa, and a special exhibit created by the Omaha-Council Bluffs Miniatures Guild.

Where: Durham Western Heritage Museum, 801 S. 10th St.
When: Most items on display through Jan. 3; specific dates and times vary
Admission: $7 adults, $6 seniors, $5 children ages 3-12

Holiday Poinsettia ShowHoliday Poinsettia ShowHoliday Poinsettia Show
Over 5,600 poinsettia plants grow in greenhouses for this annual exhibit, which includes a 20-foot poinsettia tree, antique sleighs, model trains, and decorated holiday trees. Live instrumental music will be provided most Sunday afternoons through the month of December.

Where: Lauritzen Gardens, 100 Bancroft St.
When: Daily through Jan. 10 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission: $7 adults, $3 children ages 6-12

Christmas in Germany
Omaha’s German population—and those of non-German decent—are invited to a Christmas celebration, featuring traditional German food, beer, crafts, folk dancing, and a visit by St. Nicholas.

Where: German-American Society, 3717 S. 120th St.
When: Dec. 6 from noon to 5:30 p.m.

Latino Holiday Market and Family Day
Located south of Downtown, El Museo Latino works to preserve Omaha’s strong Latin heritage with cultural exhibits and community activities. On Dec. 19, the museum will host a craft fair, beginning at 10 a.m., and a variety of holiday-themed family activities, beginning at noon.

Where: El Museo Latino, 4701 S. 25th St.
When: Dec. 19 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Gingerbread on Parade
This delicious-looking display is in its 24th year and features over 150 gingerbread works of art, including realistic miniature houses. Themed “The Greatest Treasures,” these edible creations are an Omaha favorite. Decorated Christmas trees will also be on display.

Where: Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters, 3215 State St.
When: Daily through Jan. 1 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.


Omaha Theatre Ballet’s Imperial Nutcracker
Sadly, Omaha Theatre Ballet, the only professional dance company in the region, will disband at the end of their current season. This may be the last Imperial Nutcracker performed on an Omaha stage. It features beautiful choreography, costumes, and sets and tells the classic story of Clara and her nutcracker doll.

Where: Slosburg Hall, Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St.
When: Dec. 3-5 at 7:30 p.m., and Dec. 5-6 at 2 p.m.
Admission: $24 to $35 per person

A Christmas Carol
This Charles Dickens classic is charming Omaha audiences for its 34th season at the Omaha Community Playhouse. Audiences can expect performances from many of Omaha’s oldest and most-beloved actors.

Where: Hawks Mainstage Theatre, Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St.
When: The show runs Wed – Sat. at 7:30 p.m. nightly, with two shows on Sunday, 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. There is an additional show on Tuesday, December 22nd at 7:30 p.m. The show on Sunday, December 13th at 6:30 p.m. will be a special Shadow Interpreted Performance for the deaf and hard of hearing.
Admission: $39 adults, $24 students and children with photo ID

Illuminated SnowmanIlluminated SnowmanSilent Night of the Lambs
Join the Bluebarn Theatre in the North Pole for a night of snowy mayhem. Think “The Silence of the Lambs” meets “Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

Where: Bluebarn Theatre, 614 S. 11th St.
When: Now, through Dec. 19, with weekly performances Thursday to Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 6 and 13 at 2 p.m., and Dec. 18 at 10 p.m.
Admission: $25 adults, $20 students and seniors

Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Join Rudolf, Hermey the elf, and all the misfit toys as they save Christmas. This play is geared toward children ages 4 to 12.

Where: The Rose Theater, 2001 Farnam St.
When: Dec. 26 to 30 at 2 p.m., 4:30 p.m., and 7 p.m.; specific dates and times vary
Admission: $16 


Sounds of the Season
Families are invited to enjoy music performed by local musical groups nearly every Saturday through Dec. These concerts are presented as part of Omaha’s Holiday Lights Festival.

Where: Old Market and Gene Leahy Mall
When: Dec. 5, 12, and 19, at 7 to 8 p.m.

Voices of Omaha sing Handle’s Messiah
With direction by Edward Hurd, Voices of Omaha, Inc. will perform its 41st anniversary concert of Handel’s Messiah. Over 135 community singers will be joined by professional soloists and instrumentalists for the public performance.

Where: Kiewit Concert Hall, Holland Performing Arts Center, 13th and Douglas streets
When: Dec. 6 at 3 p.m.

Mulberry Lane Nebraska VersionMulberry Lane
Join this Omaha-based band for "An Acoustic Christmas." The all-sister group is known for its stunning vocals.

Where: 1316 Jones Bldg.
When: Dec. 5 and 19 at 6:30 p.m., Dec. 6 and 13 at 2 p.m., and Dec. 19 at 9 p.m.
Admission: $25

Christmas with the Symphony
The Omaha Symphony’s Pop Series returns with its beloved holiday extravaganza, featuring local and Broadway performers, soloists, and ever-popular dancing Santas.

Where: Kiewit Concert Hall, Holland Performing Arts Center, 13th and Douglas streets
When: Dec. 18 and 19 at 8 p.m. and Dec. 19 and 20 at 2 p.m.
Admission: $15 to $80

Mannheim Steamroller 25th AnniversaryMannheim Steamroller
Join this popular band as it celebrates 25 years of Christmas music. One night only!

Where: The Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St.
When: Dec. 22 at 7:30 p.m.
Admission: $37 to $77

Holiday Lights Festival at the MallHoliday Lights Festival at the Mall

chillmerChrista Hillmer