10 Holiday Traditions to Start in Omaha, NE

holiday traditions in omaha

Omaha, Nebraska has its own history and culture.

Omaha is the gateway to the west. It’s the home of the Reuben sandwich, butter brickle, raisin bran, and the ski lift (our mouths are watering). If you ski, or even just eat, you should be grateful.

But Omaha is also one of the very best cities at celebrating the holidays. November and December are absolutely packed with events to help you unwind, celebrate, shop, dance, commemorate, and relax while enjoying the true meaning of Christmas. There’s something for everyone in the family. Whether you love food, tradition, music, wine, or the arts, there’s something in this list of holiday traditions for you.

1. The 16th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony

What would the holidays be without an annual tree lighting ceremony? More than just a ceremony, this festive family event includes a concert, cookies, and hot cider, and it is free to all families. Come and enjoy free carriage rides and the arrival of Santa. Make this annual event one of your family’s holiday traditions.

2. KETV Family Festival

One of the most family-oriented Omaha Christmas traditions offers a community-wide number of sites that each celebrate Christmas in their own artistic and family-friendly way. At this festival, musicians perform at various sites, and the trolley to get to each location is free (and heated!).

Last year, the KETV Family Festival celebrated a dozen cultures within Omaha with the Holiday Culture Trees Exhibit. It also included visits with Santa, the largest indoor Christmas tree, free books for children, live holiday music, and storytimes.

3. Omaha Holiday Expo

The Holiday Expo is all about food, shopping, and arts and crafts! There is something for everyone to enjoy. Tons of free food and prizes are given away. Let Mom relax at the beauty bar while the children take their photo with Santa. Enjoy everyone’s favorite family food (pizza), and score a free tote bag if you’re one of the first 150 people to enter. General admission is only $1! Nobody does Christmas like the Midwest.

4. Home Free Dive Bar Christmas Tour

Are you a Home Free fan? So are we. Take in the rich, southern harmonies at Omaha’s Home Free Dive Bar Christmas Tour. Visit this site for ticket information. “Tim Foust, Rob Lundquist, Austim Brown, Adam Chance and beatboxer Adam Rupp are coming to town this winter.” (visitomaha.com)

5. Christmas in Greece

Take a magical holiday trip to Greece—no passport required. Greek food and pastries, Greek beer and wine, Greek music and folk dancing—all things Greek! Come have a big, fat Greek Christmas with us at St. John the Baptist’s Greek Orthodox Church.

If you’ve never experienced a Greek festival, you’re missing out. It’s a mixture of tradition and fun no one should miss. And Christmas in Greece is hosted by “Omaha’s Original Greek Festival,” so it doesn’t get much more authentic than this memorable Christmas event. Include this in your list of fun holiday traditions.

6. Holiday Wine Walk-through

We had to put in something for the adults sans kids because what’s Christmas without a little kid-free date night out?

Dante is a fine Italian restaurant in Wright Plaza. Look no further for Italian wine and wood-fired Italian and Neapolitan pizza. Come enjoy 20 different fine Italian wines, stuff stockings, stock your bar for the holidays, or simply buy yourself a Christmas present in an authentic Italian atmosphere.

7. Christmas in the Village

Are you looking for the largest holiday celebration in Omaha? Then come to Christmas in the Village. With the best food, the most beautiful holiday music, and an opportunity to join in the true meaning of Christmas by making donations to the Toys for Tots Drive, Christmas in the Village has found a way to weave together our favorite elements of the Christmas season in one unforgettable event. If you can only attend one thing in Omaha this year, this is the one. This should be on top of your list of family holiday traditions to keep.

8. Christmas at Union Station Concert

For some, Christmas music is the best music, and the best Christmas music is traditional. It’s amazing; some Christmas songs date back to 1100AD, but we still sing them every year on what, for some, is the holiest of nights.

Take a break from all the business and would-be stress of the holidays and bask in the awe of some of the oldest music known to mankind. Nothing says peace on Earth like a chorale choir singing, well, “Peace On Earth.”

“Come hear our Cantate Choral Academy and Cathedral Choirs perform [the] music of Advent and Christmas in front of the magnificent Christmas tree.” (TrinityEpiscopal.org)

9. Visiting the Dentist

Visiting the dentist has become part of the list of holiday traditions for many families — believe it or not. Visit your dentist to help reverse the effects of all those holiday pastries and goodies you’re enjoying! Or visit the dentist just before all the holiday parties, so you have fresh breath for the mistletoe. Call as early as possible to beat the crowds.

We are big believers in self-care at Tooth Doc. While you engage in the hustle and bustle of the holidays, make sure you take time for yourself. Getting squeaky clean teeth along with healthy gums is one of the best ways to do this.

10. A Christmas Carol

Ticket Omaha calls this “Omaha’s favorite Christmas tradition.” How could it be Christmas without Ebenezer Scrooge taking us on a life-changing journey to discover the true meaning of Christmas and honor it in our hearts?

As the description so beautifully says, “A Christmas Carol is a beautiful reminder of the power of redemption and the generosity that lies at the heart of the Christmas holiday.”

We hope you get to experience a taste of this redemption and generosity this holiday season, along with the love of family and friends!

Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Holidays, and Merry Christmas from your friends at Tooth Doc!