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I’ll admit, this title may be a little misleading. Just know this–Branson, Missouri, does Christmas in a big way. Branson at Christmas time is a Christmas-lover’s paradise. But if you’re not feeling it yet and you need a little Christmas, Branson will make any Grinch’s heart grow ten sizes. Here are the my favorite ways to embrace the holidays in Branson.
1. An Old Time Christmas at Silver Dollar City
If you only have time for one attraction in Branson during the Christmas season, you should choose An Old Time Christmas at Silver Dollar City. This 1880s theme park transforms into a magical Christmas town complete with over 6.5 million Christmas lights. Merry and bright, indeed.
Silver Dollar City has so much to offer during Christmas time. The comfort food is abundant, and you’ll have so many entertainment options that you won’t be able to see everything in one day. Consider arriving before the park opens to get in line to catch the most popular show, A Dickens’ Christmas Carol. Be sure to leave plenty of time in the evening to see the Christmas lights, including the new Christmas in Midtown display. You’ll want to see Rudolph’s Holly Jolly Christmas Light Parade and watch the lights dance to music on the Christmas tree in the square.
2. Christmas Shows
Branson is known for its great live entertainment, and the shows at Christmas time are particularly exceptional. Almost all headlining shows add at least a Christmas segment to the performance. In the past, we’ve seen Six and The Haygoods at Christmas, and their shows were amazing. Clay Cooper’s show would be another great choice. To read about our experience at Clay Cooper’s Country Express this summer, click here.
One of my daughter’s favorite shows is Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede Dinner Show. Actually, the first time we ever saw this show was at Christmas time, and we had a blast. The show features music, dancing, singing, and live animals. You also get to watch this show while various courses of dinner are served. Everyone is served the same food unless a vegetarian meal is requested. We were stuffed after the show; even my picky eaters were full. One thing worth noting is that no utensils are offered, so you may want to bring some plastic cutlery. Also, my husband’s allergies flared up during the show, so you may want to bring some medicine to counteract that. The show had my daughter on the edge of her seat for the entire performance, and I have enjoyed my subsequent visits. I especially look forward to the creamy soup!
Another great place to catch a show is at the Sight and Sound Theatre where Bible stories are brought to life in a Broadway-style show. One of the most memorable parts of any show they do is using live animals to tell the story. Click here to read about our experience this summer. During an Ozark Mountain Christmas, the production is The Miracle of Christmas which depicts the birth of Christ. This immersive production will be a great memory for you and your family.
3. Drive-Thru Christmas Light Displays
Branson has several options if you’re looking for light displays you can see from the comfort of your own car. One of those light displays is the Trail of Lights at Shepherd of the Hills. Admission to this display includes visiting Inspiration Tower and hot chocolate.
In town, the Promised Land Zoo offers a new drive-thru experience this year. This summer the private zoo expanded to include a drive-thru safari experience, and during the Christmas season, that drive-thru safari has turned into a Christmas light display complete with a live Nativity and animal encounters. To read more about our experience at Promised Land Zoo this summer, click here.
4. Festive Shopping
Branson provides many opportunities for shopping, and the decorations in Branson will definitely put you in the mood for buying Christmas gifts for the special people in your life.
Grand Village Shops
The Grand Village, located on the famous 76 Strip, even had a shop that sells Christmas merchandise all year round!
Kringles Christmas Shop has several themed rooms filled with Christmas decorations. It’s hard for me to resist this store when we’re in Branson.
We have a tradition in which we add a piece to our Fontanini Nativity every year, and this shop sells a wide variety of Fontanini figurines. Decorations are also grouped by theme or color, so the displays in the store are even more stunning.
This Grand Village has many other shops that sell unique items. One of our favorite stops is the Thomas Kinkade shop at the back of the village. We love to see the Thomas Kinkade Disney reproductions.
The whole village is decorated for Christmas during this time of year, and you may just find that perfect photo opportunity!
Another great area to shop is at the Tanger Outlets which are also located right off the Strip. We always find great sales at Tanger, and we love to stop at the Disney Outlet.
Downtown and Branson Landing
Branson’s newest shopping location, the Branson Landing, is downtown along Lake Taneycomo. We often browse the shops in the Downtown Branson area, including Dick’s 5 & 10, and then we stroll through the Landing shopping area. By the way, the Branson Scenic Railway is located downtown, and during the Christmas season, the railroad offers a Polar Express train ride. Here are some people in their pajamas waiting to board the train.
The Branson Landing is a shopping and dining district. Many national chains have stores and restaurants here, and Bass Pro is one of the anchor stores located at the Landing.
During Ozark Mountain Christmas, the Landing is decorated and Christmas music is piped in.
You can also catch the fountain show periodically in the evenings.
Strolling along the Landing has become a staple of our Branson trips, especially at Christmas time. We usually have dinner at one of the restaurants, and then we make our way up and down the Landing. Many restaurants have patio seating overlooking the lake, and November is often a nice time for patio dining because the temperatures are cooler.
5. Comfort Foods
Speaking of dining, Branson is a great place to find comfort food all year long, but it’s even more fitting at Christmas time when we often crave holiday foods.
Grand Country Buffet
One of our favorite places is Grand Country Buffet. I know many people aren’t fans of buffets, but this one is clean and the food is fresh. The building also has a large fiddle sticking out of it.
This restaurant is part of the Grand Country complex that features shows, lodging, mini-golf, and an indoor water park. While we haven’t tried all of the offerings, we do frequent the buffet. Here is the carving station.
They have a variety of cold and hot items.
They also have plenty of kid-friendly favorites perfect for picky eaters everywhere.
Don’t forget the bread!
Mel’s Hard Luck Diner
Another one of our favorite places to eat is Mel’s Hard Luck Diner at the Grand Village. If you’re looking for nostalgic diner fare with singing servers, then this is the place for you! This place is even more fun during the holidays!
Grab a burger and a shake, or split an ice cream treat with the family. You’ll be ready for more Christmas shopping after you fuel up here. To read more about our experience at Mel’s Hard Luck Diner, click here.
Branson is a wonderful place to get into the Christmas spirit with your family. There is so much to do that it’s hard to fit everything in! You may just find yourself coming again year after year to try the things you’ve missed and to experience your favorites again. Be sure to check the schedules of shows and attractions; some shows close a couple of weeks before Christmas day. Others are open until the new year. So what are you waiting for? Plan your Ozark Mountain Christmas getaway today!