Tree lighting, candy cane hunts and more — Family-friendly things to do in JoCo this December

Johnson County holiday events

There's plenty of ways to celebrate the holiday season in Johnson County this year. Families can enjoy lighting ceremonies, a breakfast with Santa and candy cane hunts, among other planned activities. Above, the 2020 Sar-Ko Aglow in Lenexa — one of the several events happening again in 2021. File photo.

The holiday season is here, and there are plenty of ways to celebrate in Johnson County this December.

From lighting ceremonies to candy cane hunts, there’s something for everyone to enjoy this holiday season.

Here’s what’s happening in Johnson County:

    • Mayor’s Holiday Tree Lighting Prairie Village’s 36th annual holiday tree lighting will take place on Thursday, Dec. 2 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Corinth Square. It will feature performances by the Shawnee Mission East Chamber Choir, as well as the KC Wolf and Santa. Donations to the holiday tree fund, used to help provide Prairie Village residents with utility and rent assistance, can be made online here.
    • Sar-Ko Aglow
      Lights will be turned on at Sar-Ko-Park Park and Trails in Lenexa on Dec. 3 for Sar-Ko Aglow. Above, an image from the 2020 event. File photo.

      Sar-Ko Aglow Lighting Ceremony The city of Lenexa is hosting a lighting ceremony for Sar-Ko Aglow on Friday, Dec. 3 at 6 p.m. Lights at Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park will turn on for the first time, featuring Santa Claus and hot cocoa. Lights will be on display until Jan. 17.

    • Mission Holiday Lights and Festive Sights A mayor’s tree lighting, visit with Santa, a luminary walk and more are all happening in downtown Mission on Friday, Dec. 3, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.. Attendees can also enjoy the city’s event at the Mission Market for free.
    • Christmas in the Courtyard The city of Merriam is hosting a new annual tradition of lighting the Merriam Municipal Plaza on Friday, Dec. 3 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Newly elected mayor Bob Pape will flip the switch, while Merriam Park Elementary’s choir performs. A showing of “Charlie Brown’s Christmas” will be played inside the community center following the plaza lighting, along with a visit with Santa. Attendees are encouraged to bring a new toy, canned food item or cash donation for the North East Multi Service Center.
    • Luminary Walk Overland Park
      The Luminary Walk at the Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens is available during select weekends in December. Families can walk the arboretum at night to see the lights, and enjoy musical performances. Photo via Overland Park website.

      Holiday Market Grab gifts and holiday goods from the Overland Park Farmers Market on Saturday, Dec. 4 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Local foods and fresh produce will also be available at this time.

    • Breakfast with Santa Join the city of Merriam for breakfast with Santa on Saturday, Dec. 4 from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. A pancake breakfast, story time with Johnson County Library staff and holiday crafts and games will be featured at the event. It is $5 per adult, and children get in free with paying adults. Register by Wednesday, Dec. 1 here.
    • Westwood Mayor’s Tree Lighting Ceremony The city of Westwood is hosting a tree lighting ceremony on Thursday, Dec. 2 at 6 p.m. at Westwood City Hall. It will be held completely indoors and will feature fire pits, refreshments, Santa and the Westwood View Elementary choir.
    • Christkindlmarkt Downtown Shawnee’s Christkindlmarkt on Saturday, Dec. 4 will feature reindeer, Santa Claus, crafts and games, live entertainment and more. Around 5:30 p.m., Mayor Michelle Distler will present the mayor’s Christmas tree fund to Shawnee Community Services and the Shawnee Storm, a local Special Olympics team.
    • Prairie Village Foundation Gingerbread House Party Join the Prairie Village Foundation for its annual gingerbread house-decorating party on Sunday, Dec. 5 from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Houses are $45 each, with a limit of four people per house. To-go houses are available. All money raised will be used for summer recreation scholarships. Register for the event by Tuesday, Nov. 30.
    • Tree Lighting Ceremony Roeland Park is hosting a tree lighting ceremony on Wednesday, Dec. 8 at 6 p.m. at the community center. The Roesland Elementary choir will perform, and cookies will be provided.
    • Reindeer Games and Selfies with Santa Visit the Lenexa Rec Center on Saturday, Dec. 11 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for snowball fights, homemade ornaments and selfies with Santa. It is $5 per participating child, and registration can be completed online here.
    • Grinch Candy Cane Hunt The city of Mission is hosting a Grinch Candy Cane Hunt at Beverly Park on Thursday, Dec. 16 at 6 p.m. Children ages 5-12 can help find the candy canes (before the Grinch steals them all), and then warm up with hot chocolate and a showing of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” at the Sylvester Powell Jr. Community Center. Adult supervision is required, and it is $5 per child. Register online here.
    • Holiday Lights on Farmstead Lane Until Jan. 7, visit Deanna Rose Farmstead in Overland Park to see holiday lights synchronized to holiday and movie music. The lights will be available nightly from 5:30 to 11 p.m. Tune into 90.5 Rose FM to hear the music.
    • Most Spirited Holiday Home 2020
      Submissions for Overland Park’s Most Spirited Holiday Home contest will be taken through Dec. 17. Above, a 2020 home submission. Photo via Overland Park website.

      Most-Spirited Holiday Home Contest Whether you’re submitting your home or voting on a home, the most-spirited holiday home contest hosted by Overland Park is happening through Dec. 17. The winner will be announced on Dec. 20 and will receive an Overland Park parks and recreation gift card and a sign for the winning house. Submissions can be made online here.

  • Candy Cane Hunt From 9 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the Lenexa Community Center on Friday, Dec. 17, kids up to age 6 can hunt for candy canes. After the hunt, there will be milk and cookies, winter activities and a Mr. Stinky Feet performance. It is free admission with no registration required, though it is for children ages 6 and under.
  • Luminary Walk Visit the Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens by candlelight on select days in December. It is $15 per person, children under the age of 5 are free. There will be musical performances in four different locations, in addition to the illuminated scenery. Register online here.