8 Des Moines December Events You Should Make an Annual Tradition

Tradition: The transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation, or the fact of being passed on in this way.

There’s no time like the present to start a new holiday tradition! Whether you are wanting to get away with the family or spend a weekend with friends, December is the perfect month to start something special. To help you out, we picked eight annual December Des Moines events that make for a fun, holiday outing year after year.


Brazilian 2wins Christmas Show

Hoyt Sherman Place

December 1, 2016

7 p.m.

Tickets: $25 in advance, $30 day of show

Locals love this high energy music group! Every year, they perform Christmas shows throughout the metro and state, but on December 1 they will take the stage at Hoyt Sherman Place. Get ready for a family-friendly event that will feature musical guests, actors, comedy, dancing and even snow!  No matter what type of music you like, you will love the Brazilian 2wins!


Jingle in the Junction

Historic Valley Junction

December 1, 8, & 15, 2016

5 – 9 p.m.


Shop local at Jingle in the Junction in Historic Valley Junction! The district is decorated with more than 150,000 twinkling lights and ice sculptures.  You can catch a free horse and trolley ride, listen to carolers, and visit Santa too! Browse local boutiques, eateries and shops while you enjoy the holiday sights and sounds.

RELATED: Find an Event in Greater Des Moines


Jolly Holiday Lights


December 1, 2016 – January 1, 2017

5:30 – 10 p.m. every day

$10 per car

A fun and easy way to get in the holiday spirit, stay warm and support a good cause. Now located at Adventureland, Jolly Holiday Lights is a 2.5 mile ride through more than 100 light displays. 100% of your proceeds go to supporting Make-A-Wish Iowa! If you have time, be sure to stop and get your picture taken with Santa (an additional $10) and enjoy a cookie and cocoa in his wish shop.


A little Jolly Holiday Lights action to end the night. #JollyHolidayLights #Christmas #Lights #MakeAWish

A photo posted by Jon Wilson (@jonw2013) on


Holly and Ivy Home Tour

Salisbury House & Gardens & Other locations

December 2-4, 2016

10 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily

$20 standard admission

If you love holiday decorations, then the Holly & Ivy Holiday Home Tour is the perfect excuse to get out and enjoy them! The Salisbury House and other unique locations across the metro will be decorated in holiday flowers, décor and furnishings. You can also enjoy live music at the Salisbury House and catch Santa walking around too. Other locations on the tour include Drake University Alumni House, The Wallace House, West End Architectural Salvage, and the Central Presbyterian Church Holiday Market. 


Holly & Ivy event at the Salisbury House #hollyandivy2015 #salisburyhousedsm

A photo posted by tigerhawkrosebud (@tigerhawkrosebud) on


Christkindlmarket Des Moines

Cowles Commons

December 2 – 4, 2016

Times vary by day


Christkindlmarket is a German-inspired Christmas market. The market will showcase European foods, products and activities that will educate and entertain attendees! Shop vendors from across the region and enjoy live music, and a beer tent serving up European-style beverages. This is a first-time family-friendly event happening at Cowles Commons in Downtown Des Moines, but Christkindlmarket’s happen all over the world!

RELATED: Shopping in Greater Des Moines



Ballet Des Moines Presents the Nutcracker

Hoyt Sherman Place

December 8-11, 2016

6 performances – Times Vary

Start at $25

This is the 15th year that Ballet Des Moines will perform The Nutcracker. As one of the most famous ballets in the world, Ballet Des Moines does it perfectly. More than 300 local student dancers get to be a part of the show along with the resident professional company.


Downtown Winter Farmers’ Market

Capital Square & Kaleidoscope at the Hub

December 16 - 17, 2016

9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

The Downtown Winter Farmers’ Market is the perfect spot to grab sweet holiday treats, décor, and jewelry as well as your produce and other Farmers’ Market staples. Find unique gifts and inspiration for your holiday gatherings. Soak it up while it lasts – this will be your last chance to shop the market until the regular Downtown Farmers’ Market returns in May.


Tonic Sol-fa Holiday Show

December 16 & 17, 2016

7:30 p.m.

Hoyt Sherman Place

Tickets start at $34.50

This a cappella ensemble has been bringing their holiday show to Des Moines for a few years now and that’s because no matter how many times you’ve seen them you will want to see them again! Their Emmy Award winning arrangements will hit the stage of Hoyt Sherman Place for two nights in December. The entire family will enjoy listening to their favorite holiday tunes sung by Tonic Sol-Fa.

Tonic Sol-fa Holiday Show


Of course there are plenty of other holiday events to enjoy too! Breakfast with Santa is back at the Science Center of Iowa, Santa at the Zoo returns, and Living History Farms will also hold their annual Family Christmas in December. Find your favorites and start making your plans! You can catch a long list of Des Moines holiday events here.


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