The winter holidays are fast approaching which means your children will soon be out of school, sleeping in and running around the house again. It’s important to keep them occupied and entertained of course, but most importantly we should all take this opportunity to spend time together. And Omaha definitely makes it easy to do so!
We brainstormed our favorite holiday activities to keep kids of all ages active and excited for the entire winter break. Follow our list to find chances to explore your community, meet Santa, revel in the Christmas lights, and even hibernate in front of your living room fire.
See the Lights + Sights
Photo courtesy of Holiday Lights Festival
Take your children on a tour of Omaha’s most festive neighborhoods. You can stroll through your own, drive across town or visit some of the city’s illuminated sights.
In celebration of The Holiday Lights Festival, Old Market is lit up with thousands of lights. It’s the perfect place for an evening stroll and a great opportunity to get some last-minute shopping done! You can also see a similar display for the festival in North Omaha at 24th and Lake Streets and throughout the surrounding six blocks. Or, see the lights in South Omaha along 24th Street between L and Q Streets.
Beginning at the Better Together Campus, you can drive through the Lights of Hope Light Display. These lights will be on from 6 – 8 p.m. every night through Christmas Eve in support of Abide Omaha’s Lights of Hope Campaign.
You can also see light displays at Midtown Crossing, in Papillion and the locally famous family home, Vanek Christmas.
See a Show
Photo courtesy of Omaha Community Playhouse / Christian Robertson
Celebrate the season with a family night out at one of the area’s best live shows!
Through December 23, you can see A Christmas Carol at the Hawks Mainstage Theater. Then, follow it up with Mannheim Steamroller on December 22 and you’ll be filled with Christmas spirit and ready for the big day!
Don’t miss the New Year’s Eve Fireworks Spectacular at Gene Leahy Mall on New Year’s Eve Night! It’s the perfect end to The Holiday Lights Festival and the holiday season.
Watch a Holiday Classic
It wouldn’t be Christmas without a festive classic — or a marathon of holiday classics, for that matter. Check out our list of must-watch holiday films and make an event out of it! Or, flip on Freeform’s 20th Annual 25 Days of Christmas and curl up by the fire.
For something new, see the much-anticipated Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in theaters! Why not host a marathon event and then go see the new one together?
Because Omaha is one of St. Nick’s favorite cities, he sets up shop all over town! Check out 15 Places to See Santa in the Omaha Area to find out where your family (including your dog!) can visit and take holiday pictures.
Make a Holiday DIY Gift
Photos courtesy of Nellie Bellie
DIYs and crafts are great gifts and will keep the kids entertained for hours. This Buzzfeed list is packed with great ideas! We especially love the Pom Pom Letters — easy enough for all ages. Or, try this Cottonball Christmas Wreath from Nellie Bellie made with household items and dollar store ornaments.
If you’re tight on time, make these DIY Gingerbread House Kits and then make a tasty house for your own home!
Photo courtesy of Old Market Candy Shop
Winter break is a great opportunity to explore Omaha and experience everything you haven’t been able to see yet. Or, see your old favorites under a blanket of snow!
Use our Guide to Old Market and experience downtown Omaha the right way. And don’t forget to stop by Old Market Candy Shop for a few festive treats and maybe even some holiday gifts!
The Annual Holiday Lights Festival, in partnership with Conagra Brands, hosts an Ice Skating Rink at 10th and Capitol. You can all get on the ice through January 2.
For something extra special, visit CupCake! Omaha in Old Market or Dundee. Omaha’s newest cupcake shop, they bake all their treats daily, in house. You’re sure to find something that inspires your Christmas cheer.
Photo courtesy of The Rabbit Hole Bakery
Make a trip over to Lincoln for the day and experience all the festive options that await your family.
First things first, warm up at Crescent Moon with a coffee and hot chocolates for the kids. While you’re there, try a chocolate and banana crepe or one topped with cinnamon sugar!
Then, spend the day exploring the Historic Haymarket district. There, you’ll find Haymarket Theater where you can see a show and learn about their Youth Theater.
Stop by Paint Yourself Silly for a few hours of creative fun. And you’ll get to take home your hand painted goodies — perfect to decorate your home or to give as gifts!
For something sweet and festive before you leave, go to The Rabbit Hole Bakery where you can find a treat for the road and something for your holiday table. Or, bring home a bag of colorful popcorn from Maize Popcorn Company!
Learn Something New
Photo courtesy of Omaha Children’s Museum
Your children may be out of school for the week, but that doesn’t mean they can’t keep learning. Make a trip to Omaha Children’s Museum, the Omaha Zoo or Joslyn Art Museum and you’ll all go home with new knowledge!
For something extra special at the zoo, buy tickets for Penguins and Pancakes on any morning between December 26 and 30th. Your ticket includes a pancake breakfast, a plush penguin toy and admission to the zoo!
In Lincoln, visit Lincoln Children’s Zoo, Lincoln Children’s Museum or the Nebraska History Museum!
Make Dinner Together
Photos courtesy of Bakes In Slippers
With the kids are at home, you have more opportunities to bond, make memories and get them to help make dinner! It’s a win-win. Try cooking something festive and new. Our list of pumpkin-inspired recipes from local Nebraska bloggers is filled with fun ideas — from breakfasts to dinners and everything in between!
Don’t Skip Dessert
Our list of pumpkin foods is also packed with delicious sweet treats. You can make these Pumpkin Cupcakes, Pumpkin Pie Mookies, Glazed Pumpkin Donuts or some Pumpkin Butterscotch Muffins that you can eat for breakfast too!
For something that’ll warm your home and your bellies, whip up these adorable Hot Cocoa Marshmallow Cookie Cups!