When O Magazine, Architectural Digest and Huffington Post call a city one of “America’s most Christmassy towns,” then you know it’s good. A Branson Christmas visit is a MUST this holiday season. The shows, the trees, the lights…pack your bags. This is going to be your most favorite Christmas vacation yet!
Here are nine ways to get festive this Christmas season, when visiting Branson, Missouri.
Bigger and Brighter at Silver Dollar City
This year, Branson’s theme park Silver Dollar City’s An Old Time Christmas debuts a new eight-story, custom-designed Christmas tree. The 80-foot tree is the centerpiece of the all-new “Joy on Town Square” and features hundreds of thousands of dancing high-resolution lights combining color, music, light and animated imagery. From November 2 – December 30, visitors can stroll among over 6.5 million lights and take on 40+ of the park’s rides, enjoy seasonal shows and find the perfect gift while Christmas shopping.
1500 Stellar Christmas Trees
Branson showcases over 1,500 trees and has proudly owned the title of being America’s Christmas Tree City since 2017. In addition to the debut of Silver Dollar City’s 80-foot tree, the Christmas tree lineup also includes a new upcycled Star Tree made from salvaged metal and light pole display fixtures at the Titanic Museum Attraction.
New and Classic Christmas Show Favorites
From country music to Broadway-style productions, the lineup of holiday entertainment is spectacular. Dolly Parton’s Stampede -with their 32 majestic horses- takes guests on a festive Christmas journey while they enjoy a four-course, country-style meal.
Silver Dollar City’s Broadway-style production shows include original adaptations of A Dickens’ Christmas Carol and It’s a Wonderful Life (which happens to be my personal favorite!) And the legacy of Mr. Christmas himself, Andy Williams, continues with a beautiful holiday tribute by The Lennon Sisters, David Osmond and illusionist Rick Thomas during the Andy Williams Ozark Mountain Christmas Show.
Showboat Branson Belle’s new show features Christmas music and favorites from the 1960s to today. Your experience also includes a three-course meal and time on beautiful Table Rock Lake.
These are just a sampling of many, many shows. See the full list here.
Local Crafts and Gifts
One of America’s most Christmassy towns is the ideal place to shop for gifts and stocking stuffers. Dicks 5 & 10, one of the country’s last remaining authentic dime stores, features aisle after aisle of 250,000 nostalgic items that you may have thought no longer existed. And Silver Dollar City’s Jingle Bell Junction is home to a colony of 100 resident crafters who demonstrate and sell such one-of-a-kind creations as woodcarvings, hand-blown glass, pottery, candles and more.
Another fun place to shop is Branson Landing, which features a scenic boardwalk along the 1.5 mile Taneycomo Lakefront plus an adorable “town square” hosting several holiday activities like the Winter Wonderlanding lights, a search for Elfie, and more.
Nuts For Fruitcake
Each year, students at College of the Ozarks bake 25,000 world-famous fruit cakes in the Fruitcake & Jelly Kitchen. The tradition of producing these fruitcakes on campus dates back to 1934 and helps students offset the costs of their education. The kitchen is open for public tours and fruitcakes are available for purchase Monday through Saturday, 8-5
Fruitcake not your thing? At Silver Dollar City, such festive holiday foods as root beer-glazed ham, traditional turkey and dressing, wassail, apple dumplings and hot chocolate can be found at venues throughout the park.
Twinkling Light Displays
Drive-through Christmas displays can be found shining brightly throughout this Ozark Mountain town. Trail of Lights at Shepherd of the Hills is a two-and-a-half-mile route through the historic 160-acre Homestead. New this year is a “North Pole Adventure” walk-through experience that takes families on a journey through thousands of twinkling lights.
Let There Be Lights! at Promised Land Zoo features a two-mile LED display and a living nativity with animals to pet and feed.
Finally, Branson’s Lights of Joy, the area’s traditional festival of Christmas lights, features more than 300 scenes including a Magical Mile with the 12 Days of Christmas and a nativity scene.
Strolling through the streets of Silver Dollar City twice a night is Rudolph’s Holly Jolly™ Christmas Light Parade, led by the most famous reindeer of all. With nine musical lighted floats and animated features, the parade is illuminated with 200,000 ultra-bright LED lights.
Dec 8 at 5pm is the Adoration Parade commemorates the nativity and celebrates the true meaning of the Christmas season in historic Downtown Branson.
Toys & Trains for Kids (and Kids at Heart)
Step inside a classic Christmas tale aboard the renowned Polar Express on the Branson Scenic Railway After boarding an authentic locomotive at the 1906 Branson depot, you’ll experience a journey with character reenactments, a reading of the classic book, a visit with Santa, and plenty of hot chocolate and cookies. Wear your jammies!
Whether you’re 1 or 101, you can make your dreams come true at the World’s Largest Toy Museum, where more than a million dolls, trains, teddy bears, action figures, collectibles – and everything else you can remember from your earliest Christmases – are all in one location.
Awesome Christmas Overnights
Throughout December, Chateau on the Lake, Branson’s modern-day “Castle in the Ozarks,” features fun activities and events like ornament making, caroling by the fire, story time, holiday movies and more. It’s also home to an amazing candy village made by the Chateau’s culinary team and displayed in the hotel’s lobby.
From November 8 through December 31, guests at Big Cedar Lodge can enjoy festivities including ice skating, holiday baking workshops, visits from Santa and more.
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After 18 years in software development, Lesli bailed on the corporate scene. When she’s not traveling, she’s hiking in the mountains or checking out Atlanta’s culinary scene, whiskey in hand.
Lesli has two kiddos -Cooper and Elliot- plus two bonus kids currently at UGA, and she’s happily married to her soul mate.