Holiday Fun Checklist

The holiday season is here, and there are lots of family-friendly activities to enjoy around Indy. If you’re searching for ways to sprinkle some Christmas magic into your month, you’ll find it here! Add these festive ideas to your family’s holiday checklist to make sure your holiday season is filled with wonderful memories.

Mail a Letter to Santa

Santa and his elves have been busy placing mailboxes all over central Indiana. Make the Big Guy’s job easier by writing him a letter and letting him know what you’re wishing for this year! In Indy, you’ll find a Santa mailbox in downtown’s Monument Circle. In Hamilton County, you’ll find them in Fishers City Hall (1 Municipal Drive), Carmel Arts & Design District (110 W. Main St.), Noblesville’s Federal Hill Commons and the Santa House, located at the corner of Main and Cedar Street in Zionsville. Of course, letters are welcomed all year long at the Santa Claus Museum & Village in Santa Claus, Indiana!

Chop Down Your Own Christmas Tree

There’s something magical about picking the perfect Christmas tree with your family and cutting it down yourself. Indy has a few U-cut options, all located just a short drive away. On the south side, you’ll find Jay’s Tree Farm in Mooresville; on the west, Evan Whispering Pines in Danville. Up north, visit Dull’s Tree Farm in Thornton; and on the east side, Clearview Family Christmas Tree Farm is located in Arlington.

family cutting christmas tree

Share a Meal with Santa and His Elves

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and no one knows that more than Santa! Enjoy breakfast with Santa at Conner Prairie, Feinstein’s at Hotel Carmichael in Carmel or at the Greenwood Community Center on December 9. Or enjoy a pancake feast (and epic snowball fight) with Santa’s friend Buddy the Elf on December 16 in Avon’s Penguin Park.

Breakfast with Santa

Enjoy a Nutcracker Performance

The Nutcracker is a must-see holiday tradition. Fortunately, there are many performances happening in Indy this year. The Moscow ballet performs on December 5 for Nutcracker! Magical Christmas Ballet at the Murat Theatre. Watch the renowned Indiana Ballet Conservatory remake this iconic classic at the Murat Theatre on December 15-17, and see Ballet INitiative perform Nutcracker with a Twist at Basile Theatre at the Athenaeum on the same dates. For young kids with short attention spans, the Nutcracker Short & Sweets at Village Dance Studio in Whitestown includes excerpts from The Nutcracker during a family-friendly production on December 10.

Indiana Ballet Conservatory presents The Nutcracker

See (or Hop Aboard) a Holiday Train

Jingle Rails at the Eiteljorg Museum is a true Indy tradition around the holidays. See miniature trains chugging through intricate miniature scenes through January 15, 2024. See even more mini trains (and brilliant poinsettias displays) at Conservatory Crossing at Garfield Park through December 31. Want to experience a real train? Then hop aboard the Reindeer Express at the Nickel Plate Express in Noblesville on select dates through December 23. Watch the scenery pass by as you sing carols, enjoy a cookie and cocoa, and meet Santa during a train ride through Hamilton County.

Santa Train

Visit a Christmas Market

Bundle up and celebrate the magic and wonder of the holiday season at an outdoor Christmas market! The Athenaeum Christkindlmarkt is the place to eat, drink and be merry this holiday season, and features traditional festival elements and special German traditions through December 17. In Hamilton County, enjoy a delightful blend of German holiday food, drinks, gifts, decorations, special performances and ice skating in downtown Carmel at the Carmel Christkindlmarkt through December 24.

Watch a Merry Movie

Holiday movies should be on every family’s bucket list! On December 12, catch a showing of White Christmas at IMAX Theatre at Indiana State Museum and see this Christmas classic on one of the biggest screens in the state. At the Toby Theatre at Newfields, watch The Muppet Christmas Carol during the Cereal Cinema event on December 9, and enjoy a free bowl of cereal while you’re there, too. Or climb inside the Story Castle at Westfield Washington Public Library for a free showing of The Polar Express on December 16.

These are just some of the great ways to celebrate the holidays in Indy. Go out and make the most of this merry season!

Nicole Sipe
Nicole Sipe
Nicole Sipe is the editor of Indy's Child and Southwest Ohio Parent magazines. She has a BA in Journalism from California State University Northridge, and has been involved in the print and digital publishing world for most of her life. Born and raised in Southern California, Nicole traded the city and sun for corn and creeks, and now lives in central Indiana with her husband, two sons and Collie. Her latest book for children, “All About Me! Art Journal” was published in 2022 by Walter Foster Jr. In her spare time, she likes traveling with her family, enjoying good food and drink, volunteering at her children’s schools and around her community, and practicing yoga.

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