Kansas City's Christmas Lighting Ceremonies

2018 Edition

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! From mid-November to mid-December all across the Kansas City metro, switches are flipped, and the city is decked out in holiday splendor!

Note: We make every effort to ensure the accuracy of this information. However, you should always verify dates, times, location and other information, especially with the possibility of weather impacts. Please submit corrections and additions to this guide to kristina@kcparent.com.

Nov. 10

Holiday Open House: Weston, MO

Nov. 10, Enjoy carriage rides starting at noon. Father Christmas arrives in Weston to officially start the holiday season. He reappears every weekend until Christmas Eve. He leads the children’s holiday parade down Main Street which begins at 5:30, and the Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony will follow. Father Christmas’ first official duty is to assist the Mayor light the Weston Christmas Tree after leading the West Platte School Chorale down Main Street singing holiday songs. There will be small gifts for the children along with cookies and hot chocolate for all.

Holiday Lighting Ceremony: Village at Briarcliff

Nov. 10, Attend the all new AND improved Annual Holiday Lighting Ceremony November 10th from 3-7pm. Kick off the holiday season by shopping at our 100% local center while enjoying festivities the whole family will love! Enjoy Holiday performances by Lonnie McFadden and the Brody Buster Band, Live Reindeer Meet and Greet, Holiday Sip and Shop,  FREE Photos with Santa, Reindeer Games, including Frozen Turkey Bowling and Holiday, Ham Shot Put, Quick Kid’s Paint at Pinot’s Palette ($20/kid), Aunt Mary’s Cookie Decorating, Bouncy Houses, Christmas Light Countdown, Sales and More!


Nov. 16

Mayor's Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony: Downtown Lee's Summit

Nov. 16, Join Mayor Baird of Lee’s Summit as we light Downtown Lee’s Summit in over 100,00 sparkling lights! Many local shops and restaurants will stay open late for you to check off items on your holiday wish list. This year's special guest is Karolyn Grimes, who played Zuzu in the classic film It's a Wonderful Life.

Independence Square Holiday Lighting Ceremony

Nov. 16, Enjoy a brief lighting ceremony led by Santa and Mrs. Claus. Then join the festivities in the Exchange Event Space on Lexington Avenue where kids can write letters to Santa, make a holiday craft and visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus. All activities are free. 


Mayor's Tree Lighting: North Kansas City City Hall

Nov. 16, Enjoy festivities from 6-8pm. Take a trip into Santa’s Wonderland, snack on treats while you enjoy the festive entertainment and get your picture taken with Santa before he returns to the North Pole. And, help countdown for the lighting ceremony.

Holiday Lighting Ceremony in Martin City

Nov. 16, Bobby Eddy - Professional DJ will return this year to help kick off the holiday season, and the choir from Saint Thomas More Elementary School will be performing at 6:30 pm. Santa is expected to arrive at 6:45 pm to flip the switch and photos will be available free of charge until 8:00 pm. This year, we want to help families close to home have a magical holiday so we will be collecting donations during the holiday lighting for Cornerstones of Care in Martin City. Their goal is to make sure everyone has a gift to open on Christmas day and we’d like to help them surpass that goal! The MCBCA will be at Heartland Imaging KC during the holiday lighting accepting cash and check donations, as well as new, unwrapped toys and gifts from 6:00 pm-8:00 pm. 

Holiday Lighted Parade & Mayor's Tree Lighting

Nov. 16, Haymarket Square, Leavenworth, KS. Vendors selling food and handcrafted items will be available at 4 p.m. The Holiday Parade will begin at approximately 5:30 p.m., and the Tree Lighting will be held immediately following the parade. Entertainment will be provided.

Holiday Tree Lighting at Ward Parkway Center

Nov. 16, Ward Parkway Center (8500 Ward Pkwy, Kansas City, MO) at the Restaurant Pavilion! Enjoy family-friendly activities including Donut decorating with Hurts Donut - Kansas City, live holiday music by Captiva, giveaways and more! Charleston's Restaurant will also be providing complimentary appetizers out in its patio. Santa's Elf will also be making an appearance and handing out light-up reindeer noses to children in attendance (while supplies last). Music starts at 6 pm, with tree lighting at 7:00 by South Kansas City civic leaders.

Nov. 17

Photo credit Roy Inman

Holidays Come Alive at Union Station

Nov. 17, The Holidays Come Alive at historic Union Station on Saturday, November 17, with a magical lighting ceremony, spectacular Quixotic performance, breathtaking decorations, and a day filled with special performances and family fun. ALL FOR FREE! Enjoy holiday fun from 10am-9pm.

14th Annual Legendary Tree Lighting Ceremony at Legends Outlets

Nov. 17, From 6 to 8 p.m. in the Center Courtyard, shoppers can enjoy live holiday entertainment, family-friendly activities, prize giveaways, complimentary refreshments and photos with Santa before the countdown to the tree lighting and center-wide light display. Legends Outlets holiday light show will continue through early January.

WinterFest at Worlds of Fun

Weekends (Fri-Sun) starting Nov. 23. Each night, count down as World's of Fun's giant tree is lit kicking off the festivities at WinterFest. Holiday cheer rings out at Worlds of Fun during the annual WinterFest celebration. Thousands of sparkling lights transform the park with an inviting glow that warms the hearts and lifts the spirit. Witness festive live shows, meet iconic holiday characters, join holiday activities like ice skating and cookie decorating, ride select park attractions and create lasting memories with family and friends. This holiday celebration takes place on select nights in November and December

Christmas Kick Off: Historic Downtown Excelsior Springs

Nov. 17, This all day event in Excelsior Springs is the perfect way to kick off the holidays with an Old Fashioned Christmas! Shop local, curated vendors at Mistletoe Market at Montgomery Event Venue from 10am to 5pm. Head to the Elf Factory at Lewis Elementary -from 12 noon to 5pmm and enjoy the Lighted Christmas Parade - 6pm. Mayor’s Tree Lighting - following parade. The Hall of Trees and Lane of Lights Open for the Season!

Mayor's Tree Lighting Tonganoxie

Nov. 17 from 5:30 PM – 8 PM at City Hall 526 E. 4th Street, Tonganoxie, KS. Live music, Santa arrives at 6:35, "T'was the Night before Christmas" reading by the Mayor at 6:40 PM followed by Tree Lighting.

Nov. 18

Mayor's Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony: Downtown Overland Park, KS

Nov. 18 from 5:30-8:30pm, Join Overland Park Mayor Carl Gerlach in Downtown Overland Park for a free, fun, family-friendly night full of hayrides, carolers, visits with Santa and more.


Nov. 19

Mayor's Tree Lighting Ceremony: Leawood

Nov. 19 from 6-7pm, Join Leawood Mayor Peggy Dunn and members of the community for holiday caroling, refreshments and entertainment as the City celebrates the start of the 2018 holiday season by illuminating City Hall at the 21st Annual Holiday Lighting Ceremony. Performing at this year's Holiday Lighting Ceremony: Prairie Star Elementary 4th & 5th Grade Choirs, St. Michael the Archangel 7th Grade Choir, and Leawood Stage Company.

Nov. 20

Mayor's Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony: Linden Square in Gladstone, MO

Nov. 20, Join Gladstone City Council and host Joe Lauria, of Fox 4 News, for the lighting of the Mayor’s Christmas Tree at Linden Square. The festivities start at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, November 20, 2018 and include: Music from school choirs,  a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, Ice Skating for $5 until 9 p.m.,

U.S. Capitol Tree at Union Station

Nov. 20 from 3-5pm at Union Station 30 W. Pershing, Kansas City, MO. The 54th U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree has started its nearly 3,000-mile journey to Washington, D.C., and will make a tour stop at Kansas City’s historic Union Station. The Capitol Christmas Tree tour features stops in 25 communities across the country, including the free Kansas City event, which is open to the public and co-hosted by MHC Kenworth and Meritor. The Kansas City event will feature holiday carolers, refreshments and the opportunity to sign banners on the Kenworth truck hauling the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree.

Nov. 21

U.S. Capitol Tree at Independence Square

Nov. 21, Note, while not a local lighting ceremony, this is a chance to see the Capitol Tree en route to Washington for their ceremony. Come visit the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree as it makes its way from Oregon to Washington D.C. You can sign the banner that will be displayed with the tree. Parks and Recreation will also have a variety of events to commemorate the occasion. The tree will be on display 9 am to 10 am. Activities will follow. The tradition of the Capitol Christmas Tree, or “The People’s Tree” began in 1964 when Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John W. McCormack (D-MA) placed a live Christmas tree on the Capitol lawn. This tree lived three years before succumbing to wind and root damage. In 1970, the Capitol Architect asked the U.S. Forest Service to provide a Christmas tree. Since then, a different national forest has been chosen each year to provide “The People’s Tree.” This national forest also works with state forests to provide companion trees that are smaller Christmas trees for offices in Washington, D.C. The Willamette National Forest in Oregon will provide the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree.

The Magic Tree Lighting Ceremony

Nov. 21, Visit Lee's Summit Magic Tree (I-470 And View High Dr, Lee's Summit) for the lighting ceremony at 6pm. Remember to bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to Operation Toy Soldier!

On Nov. 7 at 3:30pm, The Magic Tree will Donate Over 500 Toys to Operation Toy Soldier. A representative from Whiteman Air Force Base will collect the toys for the charity where they are currently being stored, thanks to local business Legacy Touch, at 801 NW Commerce Dr., Lee's Summit, MO 64086. These toys were collected at The Magic Tree through community donations. A nationwide initiative, Operation Toy Soldier will give the donated toys to local families of both deployed and non-deployed military personnel. "We're thrilled to have our fifth season of The Magic Tree here in Lee's Summit", said local businessman and Magic Tree sponsor Flip Short. “It provides so much joy and good cheer during the holiday season and the opportunity to use it to support wonderful local charities is a major bonus. We owe so much to our men and women in the armed services and Operation Toy Soldier is one way for us to say thank you." The Magic Tree will once again collect toys for Operation Toy Soldier during this year’s holiday season. From November 21st through January 5th, visitors to the tree are asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to the charity. Located at the intersection of View High Drive and I-470 in Lee’s Summit, MO, The Magic Tree celebrates the hope, goodness, and peace of the holiday season while serving as a unique photography setting, as well as a way to give back to those who are in need in the community.


Christmas in the Sky: Longview Lake Beach

Nov. 21, Kick off your holiday season with 99.7 The Point and Jackson County Parks + Rec when we present our 22nd Annual Christmas In The Sky event at Longview Lake Beach. This magical evening includes a holiday stage show at 6pm featuring Olathe North Choir, the arrival of Santa and the first gift of Christmas, and a cast of 100 talented singers and dancers from Monica's School of Dance in Lee's Summit. An amazing fireworks display at 7:30pm synchronized to your favorite holiday music and simulcast on 99.7 The Point tops off the evening before you drive through the hundreds of lighted and animated displays at Christmas In The Park!


Country Club Plaza Lighting Ceremony

Nov. 22, The 89th Annual KCP&L Plaza Lighting Ceremony will be held Thanksgiving night, pre-show beginning at 5pm.

Holiday Lights on Farmstead Lane

Nov. 22,The lights are lit on Nov. 22 at Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead and shine through January 7. They do not offer a ceremony, but the show is grand and it kicks off on Thanksgiving night. Watch, listen, and enjoy a free, 38-minute holiday light show from the comfort and warmth of your car. Tune in to 90.5 Rose FM to hear holiday music as you watch this year’s spectacular show. The display is at the main entrance of the Farmstead. Park in the Farmstead parking lot, and come and go as you please. Please turn off your vehicle’s lights while watching the show.


Nov. 23

Photo credit DiMartino Photography.


Mayor's Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Crown Center

Nov. 23,The first sign of the holiday season is the November 1 arrival of the Mayor’s Christmas Tree at Crown Center, Kansas City’s 85-acre entertainment complex and hub for the holiday season. Following a long journey from Oregon, the 100-foot tree will illuminate November 23 at 5:30 p.m. to officially kick off the season and act as a symbol for the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund, which benefits the Kansas City’s less fortunate residents. After the holidays, the wood is repurposed to be commemorative ornaments, which are sold the following year to benefit the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund.

Festival of Lights: Powell Gardens

The first night of the season is Nov. 23. Enjoy this event Thurs-Sun through Jan. 6 The Powell Gardens Festival of Lights offers a unique holiday experience in the Kansas City area. A lighting exhibition, artfully curated by the Powell Gardens Horticulture staff, the Festival of Lights includes botanically-themed lighting displays that begin at the garden entrance and stretch along a mile-long walking path through six of the seven themed gardens. enjoy free children’s activities each day from 4-8 p.m. including an ornament station to take the magic home with you!

Luminary Walk: Overland Park Arboretum

The Luminary Walk will be held from 5 to 9 p.m., three weekends, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 23-24, Nov. 30-Dec.1, and Dec. 7-8. This Arboretum fundraiser features a mile of candles, holiday lights, live musical entertainment, Santa Claus in the Depot, horse-dawn wagon rides, hot cider around a campfire and mystical Gnome and Fairy Villages. Volunteers and staff members are transforming the Arboretum into a wonderland of candles and lights, music and holiday fun. Thousands of candles line the walkways and trails. Holiday lights will be on display from trees, buildings and bridges. Children will be thrilled to see Santa's Woodland Depot in the Train Garden and chat with him nightly from 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.

Nov. 26

Christmas in the Park/Mayor's Tree Lighting: Cornerstone Park Gardner, KS

Nov. 26, Seasonal music will be performed by area school children. The Lighting beings at 7pm. The event will include a Christmas time message from Mayor Steve Shute and the arrival of Santa. A lucky individual will be selected to flip the switch that turns on thousands of beautiful lights throughout the park. Following the festivities, don’t miss visiting Santa and Mrs. Claus at Santa’s Workshop in Cornerstone Park! Children will have the opportunity to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus and share their Christmas wishes, plus receive a commemorative ornament and a candy cane.


Nov. 27

Mayor's Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony: Cornerstone Chapel Bierly Hall in Peculiar, MO

Nov. 27, From 5:30-7pm enjoy holiday fun. Participate in the Food Drive - Benefiting the First Baptist Food Pantry. Donate canned/dry goods and get a picture with Santa!


Nov. 29

Mayor's Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony: City Hall Prairie Village. KS

Nov. 29, Enjoy this annual holiday tradition.


Santa and Mrs. Claus: Riverside Holiday Lighting Ceremony

Nov. 29, Riverside, MO. Come to the Riverside Branch-MCPL for a special visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus. Then begin the holiday season by joining in the annual City of Riverside tree-lighting ceremony. The lighting ceremony will begin at 6pm sharp in the parking lot next to Corner Cafe. Parking is available at the library, Renner Brenner Park, & City Hall. Enjoy hot chocolate and cookies!

Nov. 30

Parkville Christmas on the River

Nov. 30, This annual Holiday Celebration in historic Downtown Parkville greets the season with entertainment, community choirs, family activities, great food, Santa’s workshop and our spectacular holiday fireworks display! 

Sar-Ko Aglow

Nov. 30, Kick off your holiday festivities from 6-8pm this year by watching the lighting of Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park, where the lights will stay lit through early January. There will also be carolers, a visit from Santa, and hot chocolate! Lighting ceremony at 6 p.m. The lights will stay lit through January 13. Carolers will be stationed along the trail around Rose’s Pond following the lighting ceremony. Santa Claus will be on hand to hear your children’s holiday wishes near Legler Barn. If the weather forecast predicts the temperature or wind chill to be 15 degrees or lower, they will cancel the event. The decision about cancellation will be made by noon on the day of the event.

Mayor's Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony: T.B. Hanna Station in Raymore, MO

Nov. 30, Join Mayor Kris Turnbow, Raymore Parks and Recreation, South Metro Fire and special guest Santa at the Mayor’s Tree Lighting! Enjoy complimentary hot chocolate, cookies and photos with Santa at this yearly event at T.B. Hanna Station.


Celebrate Olathe & Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting at Olathe Community Center

Nov. 30, From 6-8:30pm children can visit with Santa, Mrs. Claus and Joey the Elf, enjoy face painting and other fun activities. The event will also feature live holiday music from area choirs.


Holiday Lighting Ceremony: Kansas City, KS City Hall

Nov. 30, Gather in front of City Hall in downtown Kansas City, KS for arts and crafts, movies, snacks, dance performances, a visit with Santa and a viewing of the mayor’s Christmas tree lighting!


Living Windows & Lighting: Independence

Nov. 30, Hiram Young Park, 215 East Lexington Avenue, Independence, MO. Kicking off the Holiday Season in Independence, Mayor Weir invites citizens to join her at the Mayor’s Holiday Lighting Ceremony at 6pm. Santa will join the festivities and lead everyone up to the Square for Living Windows at 7 p.m. The Downtown Square Association is excited to once again have the Living Windows as a part of the holiday fun. Local artists, choirs, dance studios and more will be performing in the windows of downtown stores which will also be open late to get some of that holiday shopping in. Enjoy the magic of the holidays as the windows on the Square come to life. Bring your friends and family to this free event. Windows will again come to life with holiday scenes, musicians and more for one night only. Explore our historic downtown where many merchants will be open late and other businesses may invite you in for a warm drink. Street musicians, sidewalk vendors, sleigh rides and more.

Dec. 1

Shawnee Christkindlmarkt: Shawnee, KS City Hall

Dec. 1, This annual holiday event is free and has something for the entire family to enjoy. The festivities get started at 2:00 p.m. at City Hall (11110 Johnson Drive) with our Sister Cities market, live entertainment, kids’ crafts, and Santa will be there to hear your kid’s Christmas wishes. Explore downtown Shawnee businesses with even more activities, including food trucks, face painting, balloon artists, live reindeer, and more! Make your way back to City Hall by 5:15 p.m. when Mayor Distler will be joined by Santa and Mrs. Claus to present the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund to this Shawnee Community Services and light the Mayor’s Christmas Tree.


Magical Night: A Downtown Kearney Christmas

Dec. 1, You’re invited to the Kearney Firehouse Community Center from 5-8:30pm to meet Santa, Mrs. Claus and enjoy magical holiday activities for the whole family throughout Downtown Kearney...trolley tours, tree lighting, enchanted princess forest, Santa’s sweet shoppe, letter writing and so much more!


Hometown Holidays and Mayor's Tree Lighting: Historic Downtown Liberty, MO

Dec. 1, Enjoy crafts for kids, refreshments, s’mores, pictures with Santa, Downtown Merchant Passport Challenge, and the Mayor’s Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony begins at 5 p.m. Live music and entertainment performances are sure to entertain the audience.


Dec. 3

Main Street Christmas Tree Lighting and first annual Luminary Wassail Walk: Belton

Dec. 3, Main Street, Belton, MO. Activities include: A Hot Chocolate Bar, Popcorn, Dancers, and a Choir. The tree lighting will take place at 6:30 pm. Bring a canned good donation to receive a free treat bag and a photo with Santa. After watching the Christmas Tree Lighting, grab a free commemorative cup and enjoy wassail at participating shops on Olde Towne Belton's Historic Main Street.


Dec. 4

Mayor's Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony: Blue Springs

Dec. 4, Vesper Hall, 400 NW Vesper Street, Blue Springs. 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm. Music, food and countdown as we celebrate Christmas.


Dec. 6

Grandview Mayor's Christmas Tree Lighting at The View

Dec. 6, From 6-8pm, enjoy hot chocolate, cookies, carol performances from Grandview Schools, and the annual tradition of Mayor Leonard Jones reading "The Night Before Christmas." Then we'll officially light up the Mayor's Christmas tree, decorated by one of our local schools! Please bring donations of canned food to help support Grandview families through the Grandview Assistance Program!


For more holiday events, see our guide to Christmas in Kansas City.

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