Sweet Holiday Memories... KC Style
Holiday memories are even sweeter with a visit to one of these local sites where they put a special twist on Christmas classics.
A Christmas Village Made Entirely of Gingerbread
Crown Center (Level 1, Crown Center Shops 2500 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, MO, CrownCenter.com) has been hosting holiday memories for generations of Kansas Citians with the magic of the 100-foot-tall mayor’s Christmas tree, ice skating, photographs with Santa and holiday magic. Still, our favorite holiday attraction at Crown Center is the gingerbread village on display through December. Visit Santa while you're there! This whimsical holiday village, made entirely of real gingerbread and sweets, is a true feast for the eyes. If you’d like to make your own village, we have the shopping list for you:
- 170 lbs. sugar
- 165 lbs. flour
- 1,620 eggs
- 8 gal. egg whites
- 20 lbs. ginger
- 20 gal. molasses
- 20 lbs. baking soda
- 14 lbs. salt
- 180 lbs. assorted candies
Coca-Cola’s Santa, Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen and Sweet Treats WinterFest at Worlds of Fun
WinterFest at Worlds of Fun returns this year with many treats to satisfy your holiday sweet tooth! Their restaurants will offer an array of unique holiday goodies and Christmas classics. Only at WinterFest can guests enjoy holiday nachos: sweet potato fries with swiss cheese sauce, chicken, cranberries and topped with a crispy fried brussels sprout. Other delicious foods include mint cannolis, apple pie, candy cane ice cream, pumpkin ice cream, funnel cakes with holiday toppings and, of course, hot chocolate.
Coca-Cola’s holiday commercials and trademarks are beloved, and you’ll see a 30-foot-tall inflatable Coca-Cola Santa holding an ice cold bottle, and the Coca-Cola polar bear. Don’t forget to stop by Mrs. Claus’ kitchen, where you can decorate your own box of cookies baked with her top-secret recipe—with Mrs. Claus herself.
In addition to sweet treats, enjoy holiday shows with Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the gang, a live holiday show called Tinker’s Toy Factory and more. Visit Artisan Alley, enjoy the sights and sounds of Christmas as the theme park is decorated with holiday lights, ride the Holly Jolly Trolley, ice skate and visit a stable of animals reminding us of the first Christmas.
Candy Cane Hunts
Local parks and recreation departments host annual candy cane hunts. Children bring flashlights to find all the candy canes Santa has hidden in local parks.
- Candy Land Christmas in Smithville Dec. 1 from 1-5:30pm & Dec. 14 from 4-7pm. Smithville, MO. Stop by the old School House, down from the First Christian Church, at 112 Church St., for a visit with Mr. & Mrs. Claus! Then grab a Candy Land map, which will take you on an adventure through some of the downtown businesses in search of goodies and treats.
- Candy Cane Hunt: Lawrence Dec. 1, Holcom Park Recreation Center, 2700 W. 27th St.., Lawrence, KS. 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Ages: 6 and Under. Rumor has it that Santa is going to be hiding candy canes for children from 4-6 p.m. with the hunt starting at 4:30 p.m. After the hunt, we will warm up inside the center with some hot chocolate, cookies, and arts and crafts while listening to great holiday music. Registration deadline: Tuesday, November 28. For more information, contact (785) 832-7940.
- Candy Cane Hunt Dec. 1, Sports Complex (SC) Fields 2-4, 9701 W 137th St, Overland Park, KS. 2-10 with adult . 10:30 am to 11:30 am. $5 per child. The Grinch has discovered that Blue Valley Recreation Commission has hidden hundreds of candy canes around our sports complex! If the Grinch finds those candy canes first he will turn them all green! Kids we need your help! Join us for a candy cane hunt followed by hot chocolate and donuts. This is an outdoor event, so dress for the weather. Hunt will go on rain, snow or shine. Hunt begins at 10:30A SHARP. Pre-registration required.
- The Great Candy Cane Hunt: Olathe Dec. 1, Stage Coach Park, 1205 E. Kansas City Rd., Olathe, KS. Bring your flashlights and help us find the Candy Canes Santa dropped on Stagecoach Park. Special Candy Canes can be redeemed for great prizes. The night will kick off with crafts and activities. After all the Candy Canes are found warm up with some hot chocolate! Participants must bring their own Flashlights, and preregistration is required.
- Candy Cane Lane: Grandview FREE Dec. 7, The View, 13500 Byars Road, Grandview, MO. Let’s take a trip to Candy Cane Lane to visit Santa! We’ll create crafts and decorate delicious cookies to enjoy! Get your photo with Santa after you tell him what you’d like for Christmas. Enjoy an evening of fun for the whole family at the View! This is a FREE event, however, space is limited so please register online!
- Grinch Candy Cane Hunt Dec. 13, Sylvester Powell Community Center, 6200 Martway, Mission, KS. $5/child. 913-722-8200. OH NO! The Grinch is planning to steal all of the Candy Canes from Beverly Park. Please help us find them before it’s too late! After all the candy canes have been found, we’ll head inside to warm up with some hot chocolate and cookies and enjoy a showing of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” at the Sylvester Powell, Jr. Community Center.
- Canes, Cocoa and Claus Dec. 14, Shawnee Indian Mission Museum , 3403 W 53rd St, Shawnee, KS. Bring your flashlight to participate in the candy cane hunt in the Christmas Tree Forest for children ages 10 and under. Parents must accompany their children on the candy cane hunt. After, head indoors the Mission where children will be provided a tree ornament to decorate and take home while enjoying some hot cocoa. Finish off your evening with a chat and photo opportunity with Santa!
- Flashlight Candy Cane Hunt: Gardner, KS Dec. 18, Cornerstone Park, Gardner, KS. Registration for this event is $3.00 . It is rumored that Santa is about to hide hundreds of candy canes around Cornerstone Park! Grab your flashlight and join us as we search for hidden candy canes. Maximum number of participants is 100, so hurry up and register today! Registration Deadline December 7. Registration will begin on November 1!
- Flick with St. Nick Dec. 18, Johnson County Fairgrounds Green Building, 136 E. Washington, Gardner, KS. Immediately following the Candy Cane Hunt, head on over to the Johnson County Fairgrounds Green Building where you will be greeted by Santa and Mrs. Claus! We will be showing a holiday themed movie, so be sure to bring your sleeping bag and hang in your PJ’s for this cozy Christmas event!
Larger-Than-Life Gingerbread House
Paradise Park (1021 NE Colbern Rd., Lee's Summit, MO, 816.246.5224) is home to a bigger-than-life gingerbread house creation and is the coolest place to warm your holiday spirits and have a blast too. For the month of December, Paradise Park's giant, two-story Foam Factory transforms into a Ginormous Gingerbread House where snow falls magically indoors amidst a colorful world of flying foam balls with everyone working together to fire the balls through air-powered cannons, blasters and geyser.
Sugar Cookie Decorating
Decorating sugar cookies is a beloved holiday tradition, but there’s no way to get around the mess it makes—or is there? MeMa’s Bakery (1360 Walnut, Kansas City, MO, 816.283.3939, MeMasBakery.com) in the Power & Light District offers Christmas cookie decorating every Friday and Saturday until Christmas, 4:00-9:00, for a nominal fee. Each participant gets to decorate three cookies of her choice; they provide the icing, decorations and cooking space. Sip some hot cocoa while you work and enjoy the festive atmosphere of the bakery.
Or, visit McLain's Market (10695 Roe Ave, Overland Park, KS) on Dec. 14 fom 3:30-6pm for a FREE cookie decorating workshop. Enjoy cookies, icing, sprinkles, creativity, and definitely Christmas music.
Chocolate Christmas Village Houses
For many North Kansas Citians, the holidays wouldn’t be the same without a chocolate house from Wally's Pastry Shop (3855 N. Oak Trafficway, North Kansas City, MO, 816.452.7535). Master pastry chefs Wally Uhl and his son, Manfred, were trained in Europe and they’ve been preparing their confections for Kansas Citians, including President Truman and other local celebrities, for decades. Their delightful Christmas village houses are both whimsical and delicious—the perfect centerpiece for your holiday table.
Made-from-Scratch Gingerbread Houses
Mely’s Yogurt & Ice Cream (4051 Somerset Dr., Prairie Village, KS, 913.381.9642) has been a Corinth Square landmark for more than 30 years. In addition to the frozen treats, patrons delight in the holiday confections. Mely’s bakes beautiful gingerbread houses and they offer both decorated and undecorated houses for customers. You may buy their premade houses to decorate at home. In addition to the gingerbread houses, they also sell sugar arts (sugar bells, sugar balls, Christmas tree, lamb) and peanut brittle.
Gingerbread Lane benefitting CCVI
The houses of Gingerbread Lane® will be on display at the Webster House (1644 Wyandotte, KCMO) beginning Nov. 21, 2018. You can view the houses during normal business hours. You may also enjoy these special events:
- Holiday Cocktail Party from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 29. Get into in the holiday spirit with Kansas City's premier '90s band, Thunder Jacket, playing holiday tunes, the Webster House dressed in its holiday finest, and seven amazing gingerbread creations made by local chefs along Gingerbread Lane®. Be sure to vote for your favorite to win the “People’s Choice Award” or bid on your favorite in the silent auction! Tickets are $50 and include two drink tickets and hors d'oeuvres. While you’re at the party, you can take part in the Holly Jolly Drawing with four prizes.
- Breakfast with Santa Dec. 1 at the Webster House! Tickets are $25 for adults; $20 for children age four and above; and free for children age 3 and younger. Save your seat by calling 816-841-2284 x2016. After breakfast, explore the amazing gingerbread houses along Gingerbread Lane®, have your family photo taken with the Jolly Old Elf himself, and wrap up your holiday shopping. The Webster House is generously donating 10 percent of sales back to CCVI until noon on Dec. 1. Webster House features a unique selection of gifts, clothing, jewelry and decorative accessories with something for everyone on your list.
Many local shops specialize in holiday treats with a rich heritage. Some of our favorites include:
- Winstead’s. (Multiple locations: WinsteadsSteakburger.com). This Kansas City original, since 1943, has been serving steak burgers, fries and rings for families on the Country Club Plaza after a light-seeing tour for generations. They are known for their Skyscraper - a giant ice cream soda or shake meant for sharing. And, to make it even more memorable, the drink is served with a holiday (or birthday, or celebratory) song!
- Strawberry Hill Povitica (7226 W. Frontage Rd., Merriam, KS, 800.634.1002). The shop makes handmade European sweet bread in an open kitchen where customers can watch as the bread is baked from scratch.
- Country KeepsakesTearoom (501 Main St., Belton, MO, 816.348.7888) Country Keepsakes is one of the quaint shops lining Main Street Belton. Offering a wide variety of teas, quiches and sandwiches, the home-cooked menu changes every month. Throughout the holiday season their delicious hot cocoa hits the spot.
- Dolce Bakery Yule Log (3930 W. 69th Ter., Prairie Village, KS, 913.236.4411). The chocolate yule log cake is just one of the favorite pastries at this shop, which also specializes in cookies, cakes and treats.
- André's Confiserie Suisse Buche Noel (5018 Main St., Kansas City, MO, 816.561.3440). Andre’s refers to their Christmas cake shaped as a yule log by its French name, Buche Noel. The cake lives up to its reputation as a delicious and beautiful dessert.
- Annedore's Fine Chocolates Plaza Christmas Lights (5000 State Line Rd., Westwood Hills, KS, 913.831.0302). Annedore’s makes an array of gourmet chocolates, but their holiday signature is a box of chocolate Country Club Plaza Christmas lights wrapped in an artisan box with a gold bow—they’re almost too pretty to eat! They also make a fabulous cup of hot chocolate.
- Topsy’s Popcorn in the Christmas Tin (Multiple locations: TopsysPopcorn.com). Serving Kansas City their famous gourmet popcorn since 1950, Topsy’s makes it seem like Christmas. At our house, their popcorn is essential to our holiday celebration, in flavors of cinnamon, cheese and caramel, presented in their beautiful Plaza tin.
- Laura Little's Candy Kitchen Fudge (2100 W. 75th St., Prairie Village, KS, 913.722.2226). Laura Little’s makes beautiful chocolates, and they’ll even personalize them for your loved ones—but their fudge can’t be beat.
- Betty Rae's Ice Cream (multiple locations: BettyRaes.com). This local ice cream shop is taking the city by storm with their gourmet one-of-a-kind flavors and made-from-scratch waffle cones. Their Egg Nog Ice Cream is a holiday favorite and the shop also sells fresh pies for Christmas.
- The Upper Crust Pie Bakery (7943 Santa Fe, Overland Park, KS, 913.642.2999 and lower level of Pryde’s Old Westport, 115 Westport Rd., Kansas City, MO) is owned and operated by sisters who know the art of a delicious made-from-scratch pie. Their shop specializes in buttery, flaky crusts and delicious flavors. Try Grandma’s apple pie with a hint of nutmeg, blackberry apple, pumpkin pie or French apple with a streusel crumb topping.
Discover more holiday fun with our KC Christmas Guide.
We want to know.... where do YOU find the best hot cocoa in KC? The best Christmas cookies? The best holiday treats? Please comment below! We love discovering new places around town!