Passionate About Des Moines
and the Moms Who Live Here

A Des Moines Mom’s Guide to December 2016

Des Moines Moms Guide to December 2016

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Christmas music is playing on the radio, holiday lights glow around town, and everyone is wondering if we’ll have a white Christmas. The month of December is packed with holiday events including Santa sightings, caroling, holiday lights, and more in and around Des Moines. It really is a magical season!

Be sure to check out our Holiday Market and Craft Show Guide and Holiday Gift Guide and support local businesses with your Christmas shopping!

Send us an email if we missed anything and we will add it to the list!

December 2016 events and activities

December 1 | Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical, Des Moines Civic Center
7 p.m.
Tickets: starting at $24

December 1 | Light the Plaza, Aasheim Plaza, 8575 University Blvd., Clive
6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Details: Caroling, hot cocoa, cookies, and Santa

December 1, 8, 15 | Jingle in the Junction, Valley Junction
5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Details: More than 150,000 twinkling lights, free horse and trolley rides, Santa, caroling, and more.

December 1 – January 1, 2017 | Jolly Holiday Lights, Adventureland, Altoona, IA 50009
5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Admission: $10 per car; $20 per limo/minibus; $45 per chartered bus

December 1 – 24 | Santa’s Wonderland, 1000 Bass Pro Drive Northwest, Altoona
Details: Free photo with Santa, crafts, and activities

December 1 – 11 | The Polar Express, Science Center of Iowa and Blank Dome Theater
See website for times and ticket prices

December 2 | Waukee Winterfest, Downtown Waukee Triangle District
Details: Tree lighting, Santa, cocoa and cookies, carolers, and more

 December 2 – 4 | The Holly & The Ivy Home Tour, Salisbury House & Gardens 4025 Tonawanda Drive, Des Moines
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission: $20 general; $18 members; $5 ages 6-12

December 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18 | Santa Express, Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad
Admission: $18. Advanced tickets required.

December 3 | Cupcake Addict’s Winter Show, 8705 Chambery Blvd, Johnston
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Details: shop handmade items and enjoy coffee, cider, and snacks

December 3 | Living History Farms Family Christmas, Living History Farms, Urbandale
2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Details: horse-drawn wagon rides, crafts, cookie decorating, Santa, and more
Admission: starting at $4.50

December 3 | Santa and His Elf Visit the Y, Walnut Creek Family YMCA, 948 73rd Street, Windsor Heights
10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Details: Take pictures with Santa, buy a Christmas tree, and enjoy cookies and hot cocoa

 December 3 | St Theresa Church Ladies Annual STARS Bazaar!, St. Theresa Catholic Church, Des Moines
9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Details: Breakfast with Santa (reservation required) as well as vendors, cookie walk, raffle, and lunch
Admission: free       

December 3 | Christmas in Uptown, Ankeny
7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Details: Santa and Mrs. Claus, Belgian waffle breakfast, treasure hunt, treats, and free horse-drawn wagon rides

December 4 | Light Up Urbandale, Olsted House 4010 70th St., Urbandale
2 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Details: Tour the Olsted House, take a family photo, enjoy cookies and cocoa, kids activities, and more
Admission: Free

December 4 | Grimes Holiday Celebration, Grimes Community Complex, 410 SE Main St, Grimes
4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Details: Santa, face painting, crafts, cookies, and cocoa

December 4 | Celebration of Lights, Ashworth Road Baptist Church
5 p.m. to 6 p.m.

December 5 | Glow Skate Night, Brenton Skating Plaza
5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Details: Skate under the stars while Absolute Music Service plays your favorite Christmas songs.
Admission: Skate rental is free! Admission: $6; adults, $3.75; children 5-12; free for children 5 and under

December 8, 9, 10, 11 | Ballet Des Moines, The Nutcracker, Hoyt Sherman Place
7 p.m. with additional 1 p.m. performance on December 10, 11
Tickets starting at $24.

December 9 | Hansel and Gretel, Des Moines Community Playhouse
9:30 a.m.; 10:45 a.m.; 1:30 a.m.
An interactive theater shows for children ages 4-6
Admission: $6

December 9 | Family Night at Science Center of Iowa           
5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Admission: $5

December 10 | Pajama Party & Book Reading, Ephemera Design
10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Details: A cozy story time for ages 2 to 7. Kids will enjoy a craft and breakfast treats.
Tickets: $25; RSVP required

December 10, 11, 17, 18 | Pony Express to Santa, Jester Park Equestrian Center
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Details: Ages 2 to 12 ride a pony to meet Santa and his sleigh. Enjoy hot cocoa and cookies, a family craft, and games.
Admission: $20 per child and $5 per adult who joins on the wagon ride

December 10 & 17 | Santa at the Zoo, Blank Park Zoo
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Details: Take a photo with Santa, write a letter to the North Pole, and more
Admission: starting at $8

December 13 | Jolly Jump, Pump It Up, Urbandale
5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Admission: $10 preregistered; $12 day of event. Reservation required

December 16 & 17 | Downtown Winter Farmers Market, Capital Square and Kaleidoscope at the Hub
9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

December 16 | Merry Market, Hotel Kirkwood, Des Moines
4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Details: A holiday market for procrastinators

December 17, 18 | Breakfast with Santa, The Science Center
Saturday at 8 a.m. and Sunday at 10 a.m.
Details: Meet Santa, share your wish list, do a craft, “Science of Winter” program, and more
Admission: starting at $12

December 31 | Noon years Eve Party, Kirkendall Library, Ankeny
December 31 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Stories, craft, dancing, and more

December 31 | Noon Year’s Eve, Pump It Up, Urbandale
10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Details: Balloon drop, noisemakers, blowers, and more.
Admission: $15 at the door, $12 if preregistered. Parents are free

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