Holiday Activities in the Iowa City Area: Your 2018 Guide

Are you like me – do you love the holidays? I am a total sucker for Hallmark Christmas Movies, festive music on the radio, holiday lights and decorations, and basically all things red & green! We are lucky to live in an area where we can enjoy a wealth of holiday family activities! So grab your calendar, your red and green pens, and start planning all the fun you’ll have this holiday season!

Again included in the guide this year are some **Mom Events** you can enjoy for some “me time,” a girls’ night out, or even – gasp! – a date night! A few of the bigger events in Cedar Rapids are listed as well!

*Note: Many events are ongoing or take place on multiple dates. For brevity, they are only listed here under their opening day.


November Holiday Events Guide Calendar

Saturday, November 10

Pictures with Santa at Santa’s Workshop

Coral Ridge Mall – multiple dates!

What: Create lasting memories for the holidays by making a trip to visit Santa at Coral Ridge Mall! The kids will love having the chance to tell Santa Claus what’s on their wish list; plus, your pictures will make for excellent holiday cards! Skip the line by making reservations to see Santa. Reserve Monday-Wednesday through December 5 and save $5 on your photo package. Plus, receive a FREE personalized video with any purchase of a premium photo package. Check out special dates for pets, ugly sweaters, grandparents, and holiday PJs here!
Who: All ages, families
When: Sat., Nov. 10 through Mon., Dec. 24 – See hours below:

  • November 9-21:
    Mon-Sat: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. / Break: 3-4 p.m.
    Sun: Noon-6 p.m. / Break: 2:30-3 p.m.
  • November 22: Closed
  • November 23-December 14:
    Mon-Sat: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. / Break: 3-4 p.m.
    Sun: Noon-6 p.m. / Break: 2:30-3 p.m.
  • December 15-22:
    Daily: 9 a.m.-9 p.m. / Breaks: Noon-12:45 p.m. and 3:45-4:30 p.m.
  • December 23: 9 a.m.-8 p.m. / Breaks: Noon-12:45 p.m. and 3:45-4:30 p.m.
  • December 24: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. / Break: 12:30-1:30 p.m.

Where: Coral Ridge Mall, Belk Court
Cost: Packages range from $34.99 to $44.99. Reserve your time here, and if you reserve Mon.-Wed. through Dec. 5, you’ll save $5.00 on your package PLUS get a free personalized video with Premium package purchase.

University of Iowa Diwali 2018

What: The Indian Student Alliance (ISA) in collaboration with the South Asian Student Alliance (SASA) invites you for a magical evening filled with food, dance, and friends. Join in celebrating the Festival of Lights and be mesmerized by the captivating cultural performances and mouthwatering Indian food we have in line for you – all of which have produced SOLD-OUT shows in the past! If you are feeling lucky, you might just win the gift-card giveaways and multiple raffle draws!
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Nov. 10, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Iowa Memorial Union, Main Lounge, 125 N. Madison Street, Iowa City
Cost: Children 4 and under: free, Children 5 and up: $11.45, UIowa Students: Free (Must show student ID), General Admission: $16.64
VIP: $25 (includes first priority for food, seating and an edited photo that we will send to you) Tickets include dinner and may be purchased here.


Sunday, November 11

Corridor Market: Holiday Edition

What: Come check out the Corridor Market: Holiday Edition at Bella Sala, conveniently located only two miles from Coral Ridge Mall! Handcrafted, homemade, refurbished gems and refreshments made by over 70 LOCAL craftsmen, artisans, chefs, and brewmasters!

Start (and maybe finish) your holiday shopping just before Black Friday! You’ll be sure to find the perfect gifts for every member of your tribe. While you shop, enjoy wine tastings, food trucks, beer tastings, freshly brewed coffee, lattes, and mochas, lemonade shake-ups, Bloody Mary bar, fantastic bakery items, face painting, and SO much for you and the whole family to enjoy!
Who: All ages
When: Sun., Nov. 11, 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Where: Bella Sala Event Center, 205 S. Park Road, Tiffin
Cost: Admission $5. Kids 12 and under are free


Tuesday, November 13

University of Iowa Band Extravaganza

What: Get ready for the biggest band event in Iowa! The Hawkeye Marching Band, alongside the UI Golden Girl & Drum Major and the Iowa Dance Team, perform highlights from the 2018 football halftime shows. Also performing at the Band Extravaganza are the UI Symphony Band and the big band sounds of Johnson County Landmark. Come be a part of this Hawkeye Tradition! 
Who: All ages
When: Tues., Nov. 13, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Carver Hawkeye Arena, 1 Elliott Drive, Iowa City
Cost: Adults/Seniors $9 in advance or $14 at the door, Youth $6 in advance or $8 at the door, and U of I students $5. Tickets available through the Hancher website. Click here, search ‘extravaganza’ in the search bar, and order your tix!


Wednesday, November 14

** Mom Event! **
3rd Annual West Branch Ladies Night Out

What: Grab a friend and check out West Branch’s Ladies Night Out! Stop out on Herbert Hoover Hwy for Red Barn Market and then on into town for the rest of the shops: Little Lights, The Emporium, Cotton Creek Mill, 9Lilas, Marg’s Little Red House Antiques, Izzy’s Treasures, Brick Arch Winery, A Beautiful Purpose, and Main Street Antiques! Get your holiday shopping started off right!
Who: Moms
When: Wed., Nov. 14, 5:00-8:00 p.m.
Where: Red Barn Market Antiques, 5475 Herbert Hoover Hwy NE, West Branch AND Downtown West Branch
Cost: Just the cost of your shopping!

Pinterest Party – Winter Holiday Projects

What: For our November Pinterest Party we will be crafting decorative winter holiday projects using supplies from our own backyards. You won’t want to miss out on these rustic felt Christmas trees and scented pine cones. If you want to drop pine cones off in advance, we’ll prep them for use that evening. If you’re planning on attending, please register by Saturday, November 10th, to ensure that we have enough materials available for everyone. Do you have special scissors that you use for fabrics? We encourage you to bring them along. These decorations are great for fall-winter transitions so you can put them out as soon as they’re completed!
Who: All ages (may be most appropriate for elementary age and up)
When: Wed., Nov. 14, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Solon Public Library, 320 W. Main Street, Solon
Cost: FREE, but registration is required! Please register by Saturday, November 10th, by calling the library at (319) 624-2678.

** Mom Event! **
Ladies’ Night Out: Wine Barre

What: Join in for an hour-long pop-up class with Barre3, followed by wine and cheese tasting. Bring a yoga mat and water—and wear clothing you can move and sweat in! This event is hosted by The Iowa Children’s Museum Volunteer Guild in partnership with Barre3 Iowa City. All proceeds benefit The Iowa Children’s Museum.

About Barre3: Barre3 is a full-body balanced workout combining strength-conditioning, cardio, and mindfulness. The transformative power of our workout is more than just physical. Barre3 isn’t just about the hour you spend strengthening and balancing your body; it’s about the empowerment you carry with you the other 23 hours of the day.
Who: Moms!
When: Wed., Nov. 14, 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Where: Iowa Children’s Museum, Coral Ridge Mall, Coralville
Cost: $20 per person. Space is limited and pre-registration is required. Sign up here.


Thursday, November 15

Soup Luncheon & Sock Drive

What: In conjunction with National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, come enjoy homemade soups, breads, and desserts. They’ll be collecting new socks for Shelter House’s Low Barrier Winter Shelter. National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is an annual program where people come together across the country to draw attention to the challenges of hunger and homelessness. Participating groups spend the week holding a series of educational, service, fundraising, and advocacy events. No one should have to worry about whether they will have food on their plate or a roof over their head. The reality is that hunger and homelessness are widespread problems and affect far too many people. This event is sponsored by Gloria Dei Lutheran Church & Lutheran Campus Ministries and will benefit the Johnson County Shelter House. 
Who: All ages
When: Thurs., Nov. 15, 11:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Where: Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 123 E. Market Street, Iowa City
Cost: Donation of new socks + free will offering

Story Time: Turkey Time

What: Story Time: Turkey Time
Who: All ages
When: Thurs., Nov. 15, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Swisher Library, 72 2nd Street SW, Swisher
Cost: FREE

** Mom Event or Date Night! **
Backpocket Beer & Pie Pairing

What: Beer and pie pairing is back! The holiday season is fully upon us, which means you’re looking at two full months of pies, cakes, cookies, and candies. So why not start the sweets binge off a little early with some pie and beer? Backpocket Brewing is partnering with Kathy’s Pies in Cedar Rapids to see which of their beers tastes best with the season’s most popular pies: pumpkin, pecan, chocolate cream, and triple berry. If anyone asks what you’re doing chowing down on pie before Thanksgiving, just tell them you’re researching what to serve on the big day. And then tell them to back off! Everyone loves pie.
Who: Adults 21+
When: Thurs., Nov. 15, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Where: Backpocket Brewing, 903 Quarry Road, Coralville
Cost: Tickets are $24.97 and may be purchased here.


Friday, November 16

Elf The Musical 

Opens Nov. 16 and runs through Dec. 16

What: Join Theatre Cedar Rapids for this all-singing, all-dancing, magical holiday extravaganza! Elf the Musical tells the hilarious tale of Buddy, a young orphan child who mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported back to the North Pole. Unaware that he is actually human, Buddy’s enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. With Santa’s permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his dad, discover his true identity, and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas. This modern-day Christmas classic is sure to make everyone embrace their inner elf.
Who: All ages (suggests ages 5+)
When: Fri., Nov. 16 through Sun., Dec. 16
Where: Theatre Cedar Rapids, 102 3rd Street SE, Cedar Rapids
Cost: Tickets are $25-$53 and may be purchased here.


Saturday, November 17

2018 Holiday Farmers Market 

2 dates!

What: Shop local this holiday season. The Iowa City Farmers Market is pleased to host two Holiday Market events, which feature handcrafted, homemade, and homegrown items from some of your favorite Iowa City Farmers Market vendors.
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Nov. 17 and Sat., Dec. 8, 8:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. each date
Where: Robert A. Lee Community Recreation Center, 220 S. Gilbert Street, Iowa City
Cost: Free to attend

Holiday Traditions Exhibit opens

What: Head to West Branch and the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library & Museum to enjoy Holiday Traditions. This exhibit features twenty Christmas trees, each decorated to represent a different holiday tradition – carols, angels, Frosty, and Rudolph – just to name a few! This is always a sight to behold and fun for the whole family!
Who: All ages
When: Sat, Nov 17 through Sun, Jan 6, 2019
Open 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. daily.
Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day
Where: Herbert Hoover Presidential Library, 210 Parkside Drive, West Branch
Cost: Exhibit included with museum admission: $3 – $10
Adults (ages 16 – 61): $10.00
Seniors (ages 62 and over), Active/Retired Military with ID and College Students with ID: $5.00
Ages 6-15: $3.00
Ages 5 and under: FREE
Hoover Presidential Foundation members: Free
** Also there is usually FREE admission during West Branch’s A Christmas Past weekend, this year Dec. 7-8 **

** Mom Event! ** 
Make a Holiday Swag

What: Holiday swags are an elegant variation on wreaths and can be used in many settings, including framing a doorway, above a mirror, and as a table runner. It can be modified for fall or winter.
Who: Moms
When: Sat., Dec. 17, 9:30-11:00 a.m.
Where: Land Alliance Folk School & Retreat Center, 1259 Rhoret Road SW, Oxford
Cost: $45.00. Tickets available here.

 Cedar Rapids Festival of Trees & Holiday Market 2018 

2 days

What: Join the Cedar Rapids Jaycees and The Gazette Special Events to kick off the holiday season with the Festival of Trees! Enjoy a stroll through the 30+ beautifully decorated trees from local companies and organizations. All tree proceeds are donated back to local area non-profit organizations, including HACAP’s Adopt-a-Family, Shoes for Kids, and Toys for Tots…just to name a few!

In addition to the holiday market, the Cedar Rapids Jaycees will be hosting a silent auction with gift certificates, gift baskets, and many other gift ideas. All proceeds from the silent auction items will benefit the DreamMakers, which will fund the Jaycees’ 2019 scholarship program.

Don’t forget: Santa will be there! Plus you can take advantage of the great shopping selection from local area vendors. Get your holiday shopping done early!
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Nov. 17 & Sun., Nov. 18, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. each day
Where: Hawkeye Downs, 4400 6th Street SW, Cedar Rapids
Cost: FREE ADMISSION

Bear Says Thanks Storytime

What: What better way for Bear to say thanks than to have a big dinner with all his friends! Join in this special Thanksgiving Storytime celebrating family and friendship and get a coupon from the Café for a grilled cheese sandwich with milk or juice for $4!
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Nov. 17, 11:00 a.m.
Where: Barnes & Noble, Coral Ridge Mall, 1451 Coral Ridge Ave. Suite 1108, Coralville
Cost: FREE

Explore the Magic Harry Potter Event

What: Live the adventure of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts! Join us for activities, games, cosplay, LEGO building, special offers, and giveaways! Please sign up in the store for the LEGO build.
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Nov. 17, 2:00 p.m.
Where: Barnes & Noble, Coral Ridge Mall, 1451 Coral Ridge Ave. Suite 1108, Coralville (319-337-3337)
Cost: FREE, but sign up at the store for the LEGO build!


Sunday, November 18

Alternative Christmas Market

What: Join Zion Lutheran for their 11th annual Alternative Christmas Market. As you plan your Christmas giving, choose your first gifts for those in need. This is a great opportunity to teach children how to share our abundance with those in need by purchasing alternative gifts & Fair Trade items. Bid on delicious sweet and savory specialty foods in the Silent Auction to bring home for the holidays! All money raised will go to Cross Park Place, the Housing First project of Shelter House.
Who: All ages
When: Sun., Nov. 18, 9:30-10:45 a.m. (between services)
Where: Zion Lutheran Church, 310 N. Johnson Street, Iowa City
Cost: Cost of items purchased (checks or cash, no credit cards accepted)

Kalona Holiday Open House

What: Take a relaxing Sunday afternoon and turn your sights to Kalona for a holiday open house. A great way to cross a few of those folks off your holiday shopping list. Over a dozen shops will be open for your shopping convenience!
Who: All ages
When: Sun., Nov. 18, 1:00-4:00 p.m.
Where: Various locations around Kalona (south of Iowa City on Hwy 1)
Cost: Just the cost of your shopping!


Wednesday, November 21

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

What: Enjoy a feast with your favorite Peanuts characters as Charlie Brown celebrates Thanksgiving with Snoopy and all of their friends. We will also offer a craft and a snack with the movie.
Who: Preschool (recommended for children age 3, 4, or 5)
When: Wed., Nov. 21, 10:30-11:30 a.m.
Where: Iowa City Public Library, 123 South Linn Street, Iowa City
Cost: FREE


Friday, November 23

Alternative Black Friday

What: Skip the mall and craft some homemade gifts at the library instead! They’ll provide supplies for beaded jewelry, paper plate wreaths, felt bookmarks, and more. They’ll even have supplies for wrapping your gifts available. Get into the holiday spirit and spend some time with family at the library.
Who: Geared toward kids through tweens
When: Fri, Nov 24, 2:30-4:30 p.m.
Where: Storytime Room, Iowa City Public Library, 123 South Linn Street, Iowa City
Cost: FREE

Tannenbaum Forest opens

Multiple dates!

What: This is a must-do holiday event! Tannenbaum Forest is a holiday tradition. Come see the twinkling lights of over 40 decorated real Christmas Trees, visit Santa, stop by St. Nick’s Cafe, and see the 17-foot German-style Christmas pyramid!
Who: All ages
When: Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from Nov. 23 through Dec. 16. See schedule here.
Where: 622 46th Avenue, Amana
Cost: A good-will offering is collected with proceeds benefiting the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital


Saturday, November 24

FilmScene’s The Picture Show: Miracle on 34th Street

First of 3 showings

What: In this Christmas classic, an old man going by the name of Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) fills in for an intoxicated Santa in Macy’s annual Thanksgiving Day parade. Kringle proves to be such a hit that he is soon appearing regularly at the chain’s main store in midtown Manhattan. When Kringle surprises customers and employees alike by claiming that he really is Santa Claus, it leads to a court case to determine his mental health and, more importantly, his authenticity.
Who: Recommended for ages 6+ (film is not rated)
When: Sat., Nov. 24 & Sun. Nov. 25 at 10:00 a.m. and Thurs., Nov. 29, 3:30 p.m.
Where: FilmScene, 118 E. College St., Iowa City
Cost: Children are FREE with the purchase of a $5 adult ticket. Special Picture Show pricing on concessions, too! Pick-Two combo: choose any two of candy, popcorn, or a drink for $5!

Mickey Mouse Goes Christmas Shopping Storytime

What: In this charming vintage book, Mickey and Minnie take Mickey’s nephews to a big department store for a day of holiday shopping they’ll never forget. Join in this Storytime and get a coupon from the Café for a grilled cheese sandwich with milk or juice for $4!
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Nov. 24, 11:00 a.m.
Where: Barnes & Noble, Coral Ridge Mall, 1451 Coral Ridge Ave. Suite 1108, Coralville
Cost: FREE

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe opens

4 dates!

What: Stage production of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Join the adventures of four children as they wander through a dusty old wardrobe into the mystical, snow-covered land of Narnia! C.S. Lewis’ classic novel comes to life onstage as the children help Aslan the Lion try to defeat the White Witch’s curse of eternal winter. 
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Nov. 24 at 1:00 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 1, 8, & 15, at 10:00 a.m.
Where: Old Creamery Theater, 39 38thAve, Amana
Cost: $10.00 – purchase tickets here.

** Mom Event! ** 
Festival of Trees 

What: This fundraiser for City Circle Theatre Company, Young Footliters Youth Theatre, and the Coralville Center for the Performing Arts is a great way to kick off the holiday season with an evening of food, fun, festive performances, and holiday decor. Your ticket includes sweet and savory hors d’oeuvres, features performances by City Circle and Young Footliters, dancing to the sounds of the Rod Pierson Not So Big Band, and more! There will be live and silent auctions of artistically decorated trees and wreaths and the ever-popular grab bags. This party is fun for all ages and the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit.
Who: Adults
When: Sat., Nov. 24, 7:00 p.m.
Where: Brown Deer Golf Course, 1900 Country Club Drive, Coralville
Cost: $30 per ticket or $250 per table of 10. Proceeds benefit City Circle, Young Footliters, and the Coralville Center for the Performing Arts

Downtown Iowa City Santa Saturdays 

5 dates!

What: Santa will leave his busy workshop for five special trips Downtown to meet the area’s good girls and boys. Families can enjoy FREE photos with the jolly ol’ fella at FilmScene. In addition to the free photos provided, families are welcome to take pictures using their own cameras.
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Nov. 24, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Also Dec. 1, Dec. 8, Dec. 15, & Dec. 22
Where: FilmScene, 118 E. College Street, Iowa City
Cost: FREE

Horse Drawn Trolley Rides 

5 dates!

What: There is no better way to take in the sights and sounds of the holiday season than a horse drawn carriage ride around downtown. Enjoy a FREE whimsical ride while singing carols to the tune of antique sleigh bells, nestled in the enclosed comfort provided by Country Gentleman’s Horse and Carriage.
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Nov. 24, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Also Dec. 1, Dec. 8, Dec. 15, & Dec. 22
Where: Downtown Iowa City
Cost: FREE (**The trolley ride is FREE and it fills up very quickly! “Tickets” will be handed out at Hills Bank & Trust in downtown Iowa City, starting at 11 a.m. each Saturday. The rides normally are completely full within 30 minutes of opening, so get there early because spots are not guaranteed!)

ICMB Mother of All Markets

What: Back by popular demand! Join the Iowa City Moms Blog on Small Business Saturday for another Mother of All Markets–a craft + vendor show designed to showcase mom-run businesses and allow our community to support the creative, driven women behind them! This is your one stop to SHOP LOCAL for unique holiday gifts and more.
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Nov. 24, 12:00-4:00 p.m.
Where: Radisson Hotel & Conference Center, 1220 1st Avenue, Coralville
Cost: FREE (plus the cost of your shopping!)

Downtown Hunt for Elves 

Ongoing

What: Over 25 of Santa’s Elves are hiding all over downtown waiting to be found! The hunt begins on November 24th and participants will have until January 1st to track down 15 elf locations within the downtown businesses. Those who find at least 15 of those mischievous elves will receive a prize at Iowa Book, The Englert Theatre, or the Iowa City Public Library Children’s Room and be entered to win a grand prize basket!
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Nov. 24 through Tues., Jan. 1, 2019
Where: Downtown Iowa City
Cost: FREE

Downtown Teddybear Room 

Ongoing

What: Come see Teddy Bears galore! Yes, the Teddy Bear Room is exactly how it sounds, for 4 weeks, one of the Hilton Garden Inn’s rooms will be filled with over 100 teddy bears, big and small! From November 24 to December 23, families, children, and anyone is invited to come by hug a bear, and take photos with the bears. Who doesn’t need to hug a bunch of Teddy Bears every once in a while?!
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Nov. 24 through Mon., Dec. 24
Where: Hilton Garden Inn, 328 S. Clinton Street, Iowa City
Cost: FREE

** Mom Event! **  
Cider and Ceramics 

2 times available

What: Looking for something fun to do over Thanksgiving Weekend? Join Wilson’s Orchard, Wilson’s Hard Cider, and Big Picture Gallery & Studio for Cider & Ceramics! Create a hand-built mug while you enjoy hard or soft cider from Wilson’s and light snacks! Spots are limited – to sign up, simply register on the Big Picture Gallery and Studio website.
Who: Moms!
When: Sat., Nov. 24, 1:00-4:00 p.m. OR 5:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.
Where: Big Picture Gallery & Studio, 185 IA-965, Suite #3, North Liberty
Cost: $35 per person. Register here.


Sunday, November 25

NOËL the Musical

What: NOËL, a brand-new holiday family musical, is the touching story of a young girl who is preparing for her starring role in a school Christmas performance when her mother disappears. Set in London, as the little girl tries to find her mother, she encounters a diverse group of homeless folk who have lost their way in life. One particular man, Nick has lost his faith in humanity and indeed, the joy of Christmas. We learn that Nick is St. Nicholas who has turned his back on his old “job.” He found that the world had forgotten the real meaning of Christmas so he walked away to help the people who really needed it. In their adventure to find NOËL’s mom, together they all learn to find hope in themselves and in the world. With a gorgeous score, NOËL is a heart-warming poignant message of love that teaches us all to find the joy in our own lives and to rediscover the magic of Christmas.
Who: All ages
When: Sun., Nov. 25, 3:00 p.m.
Where: Paramount Theatre, 123 Third Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids
Cost: Tickets range from $43-$68 and can be purchased here.


Wednesday, November 28

Family Night: The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe with the Old Creamery Theater

What: Join the adventures of four children as they wander through a dusty old wardrobe into the mystical, snow-covered land of Narnia! C.S. Lewis’ classic novel comes to life onstage as the children help Aslan the Lion try to defeat the White Witch’s curse of eternal winter.

The Old Creamery Theater is currently running their production of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. Come to the library this evening with the whole family to see a preview of the show, make crafts, and learn more about this classic piece of children’s literature.
Who: The whole family
When: Wed., Nov. 28, 6:00-7:00 p.m.
Where: Meeting Rooms A, B, & C, Iowa City Public Library, 123 South Linn Street, Iowa City
Cost: FREE


Thursday, November 29

Winter Welcome Story Time

What: Story Time: Winter Welcome
Who: All ages
When: Thurs., Nov. 29, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Swisher Library, 72 2nd Street SW, Swisher
Cost: FREE

Sing-Along Messiah

What: Conductor Ed Kottick brings together an orchestra, professional soloists, and local choirs to fill the Center for a joyful holiday celebration. Buy your tickets in advance for general admission or to sit by vocal part (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, or Bass). Tickets purchased the day of the show will be seated in the general admission area. General admission seating is for any voice part, for families wishing to sit together, or for those who would simply like to listen and enjoy the music. Limited sheet music will be available for purchase at the event, so please bring your own sheet music with you.
Who: All ages
When: Thurs., Nov. 29, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Coralville Center for the Performing Arts, 1301 5th Street, Coralville
Cost: Adult: $12, Senior (55+): $10, Student (18 & under): $8. Purchase tickets here. (Groups of 10 or more can save 15%; contact the Box Office for details.)


Friday, November 30

Family Free Friday!

What: Come to Coral Ridge Mall on the last Friday of every month and enjoy an evening called Family Free Friday! This is a year-round event, occurring every month! FREE Admission to the ice arena for all (skate rental is $2/person), FREE Carousel rides for all, FREE Admission to The Iowa Children’s Museum for all, and various Food Court meal deals for kids.
Who: All ages
When: Fri., Nov. 30, 5:00-8:00 p.m.
Where: Coral Ridge Mall, 1451 Coral Ridge Ave, Coralville
Cost: FREE

Prelude to Christmas

What:  Check out the Amana Colonies’ Prelude to Christmas celebration! Enjoy candlelit streets, the beautiful Tannenbaum Forest, great shopping for unique gifts, and delicious food all in a place like no other. Prelude to Christmas is a special time in the Amana Colonies with the main village of Amana decorated for the Christmas Holiday. The Heritage Museum has a special display for you to catch a glimpse of what Christmas in the communal era was like, and the Amana Church presents a Cookie Walk on Saturday that is always a sellout. Start a Christmas tradition of your own! Watch for the complete listing of events here.
Who: All ages
When: Fri., Nov. 30 through Sun., Dec. 2
Where: Amana Colonies, 622 46th Avenue, Amana, IA
Cost: Varies

** Mom Event or Date Night **
3rd Annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Bus Ride!

What: **On Tacky! On Ruffled! On Loud and Gawdy! Come Sequined! Come Glittered! Come Fringed and Shoddy!** Put on your ugliest holiday sweater and join us for an Ugly Sweater Bus Ride! That’s right, get your ugly Xmas/holiday sweaters and other gear ready to go. The more wild and fun the better!

Fun, Food, Cocktails with Friends in Ugly Holiday Clothing, while riding a bus! What could go WRONG?! Complimentary beer, wine, and soft drinks on the buses and light snacks at some of the stops!

All proceeds benefit Junior Achievement of Eastern Iowa! Each bus ticket supports two kids in the Iowa City area to receive Junior Achievement programming in their classroom. Junior Achievement is the world’s largest organization dedicated to educating students about workforce readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs. To learn more please check out the JA website.
Who: Adults 21+
When: Fri., Nov. 30, 6:00-10:00 p.m.
Where: Touring the townie bars of West Branch, Wilton, Muscatine, and West Liberty (watch link above for details!)
Cost: $84.95 per ticket

Holiday Classics at Marcus Theatres 

First week

What: It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and Marcus Theatres wants to celebrate it with you! Bring the whole family to the theatre this December to see classic holiday films, back on the big screen! The best part is, tickets are only $5! Start a new holiday tradition!
Who: All ages
When: Fri., Nov. 30 through Thurs., Dec., 6, times vary. See dates/times here (use the drop-down menu to select your date).
Elf (rated PG)
It’s a Wonderful Life (rated PG)
Home Alone (rated PG)
Where: Marcus Sycamore Cinema, 1602 Sycamore Street, Iowa City
Cost: $5 per ticket

RiverBend Bronze Holiday Handbell Concert

What: Come and enjoy the sound of handbells as RiverBend Bronze, and handbell ensemble with members from Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois, rings in the holiday season with Ding Dong Merrily on High, Angels Sing, Go Tell it on the Mountain, Twelve Days of Christmas, Jingle Bell Rock, and more! You won’t want to miss this exciting concert!
Who: All ages
When: Fri., Nov. 30, 7:00 p.m.
Where: St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, 140 Gathering Lane, Coralville
Cost: FREE

Nolte Academy’s The Nutcracker opens

What: The Englert Theatre and Nolte Academy are proud to present a new production of The Nutcracker! This time-honored Christmas story includes performances by more than 150 dancers and features both a live orchestra conducted by Carey Bostian and a girls choir conducted by Beth Ackerson. This year’s classic Nutcracker ballet features exquisite new costuming, enchanting new sets, and captivating new choreography under the direction of Nolte’s Interim Ballet Director and Nutcracker Artistic Director, Mauro Villanueva, all while embracing the classic Nutcracker we have all grown to love.
Who: All ages
When: Performances Fri., Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m., Sat. Dec. 1 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Sun. Dec. 2 at 2:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Where: The Englert Theatre, 221 E. Washington Street, Iowa City
Cost: $38 Reserved Seating Adult, $28 Senior/Student, $22 Youth (12 and under). Purchase tickets here.


December Holiday Events Guide Calendar

Saturday, December 1

Iowa City Moms Blog Pancakes & Pajamas AND Gingerbread House Decorating

What: Bring the whole family out to enjoy a delicious holiday breakfast and an impressive line-up of festive and fun children’s games, crafts and activities to celebrate the holiday season!! Don’t forget to wear your festive PJ’s! Mrs. Claus will be reading a couple books to the children between 9:00-10:00am. You are welcome to capture informal photos! Enjoy pancakes, sausages, coffee & cocoa with all the toppings you can imagine. TICKETS REQUIRED: Not available at the door.

NEW THIS YEAR for the big kids: Along with our friend Michele from Vanilla Beans and Daydreams, we will be hosting a Children’s Gingerbread House Contest following the Pancakes & Pajamas event (10:30-12:00; same location). Stick around with your 5 to 15-year-old kids (teams of up to 4 kids) to participate in the contest, all supplies will be provided! {Separate ticket required; see ticket link below for details}
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Dec. 1, 8:30-10:00 a.m. (This is an open house event, so come anytime during these hours. Breakfast will be hot & ready the entire time!)
Where: South Slope Community Center, 980 North Front Street, North Liberty
Cost: Tickets are $5 for kids and $7 for adults for the event. TICKETS REQUIRED: Not available at the door. Gingerbread House Contest tickets are $40 for teams of up to 4.

Pinterest Presents

What: Make some Pinterest-inspired projects! Classes are free, and supplies are provided. Your finished projects will make great gifts!
Who: Upper elementary and older
When: Sat., Dec. 1, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Where: Ely Library, 1595 Dows Street, Ely
Cost: Free, but registration is required online or by calling 319-848-7616. (Facebook registrations are not accepted)

Nature’s Noel

What: When it’s time to deck the halls, it’s time for Nature’s Noel! Held annually on the first Saturday in December, the Nature Center grounds are adorned with beautiful fresh-cut evergreens fashioned into wreaths, centerpieces, kissing balls, swags and yule logs, all available for purchase to make your home festive for the holidays!

Nature’s Noel is expanding! Come in the morning for the fresh green decor and the artisan gifts you’ve always loved, and stay for a day of family fun! Enjoy Noel’s Attic, featuring used holiday décor for purchase, festive children’s crafts, naturalist-guided activities, and magical winter nature walks. Visit Santa and peruse a variety of holiday vendors. Brewhemia will be onsite with coffee and hot chocolate available for purchase.

Centerpieces, wreaths, and swags made with fresh greens; frozen soups and appetizers; vendors with various handmade wares; cookie dough and baked goods; and live music combine to create a festive holiday event. Shop early for the best selection! Sponsored by Friends of Indian Creek Nature Center to benefit the Nature Center.

Who: All ages
When: Sat., Dec. 1, 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Where: Indian Creek Nature Center, 5300 Otis Road SE, Cedar Rapids
Cost: Free

** Mom Event **
Downtown Iowa City Holiday Retail Open House 

What: Come enjoy downtown Iowa City this winter season and experience that nostalgic, warm feeling of what the holidays should be! Join downtown retailers for a holiday open house! Each participating retailer will be hosting a holiday party in their store that includes snacks, drinks, or a gift for you at each stop. Participating retailers include: Moss, Ten Thousand Villages, MC Ginsberg, The Makers Loft, Domby, Discerning Eye, Textiles, Akar Design, Active Endeavors, Hands Jewelers, Prairie Lights, Luxe Interiors, The Shop Iowa City, rsvp, Glassando, Tailgate Iowa, Velvet Coat, Revival Clothing Store, Catherine’s Boutique, Dulcinea, and the Iowa Artisans Gallery. Enjoy a free trolley ride to and from the Thieves Market at the Iowa Memorial Union (IMU). The trolley will be running from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and making stops outside the IMU, Washington St., and Market St.
Who: Moms (although you may want to bring your older kids along)
When: Sat., Dec. 1, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Where: Downtown Iowa City
Cost: FREE + cost of your shopping!

Holidays at the IMU

What: Come to the Iowa Memorial Union for a great group of holiday activities! In addition to the Holiday Thieves’ Market (see below), the following events will be taking place:

  • Festival of Wreaths Silent Auction (Ground Floor): Bid on beautifully decorated wreaths with all proceeds going to UI Dance Marathon, a student organization providing year-round emotional and financial support to pediatric cancer patients and their families treated at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. Auction winners can pick up their wreaths after 4pm on Sunday, December 3rd.
  • Cocoa and Carols with Old Gold Acapella, Sat and Sun at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. (Hawkeye Room, Ground Floor): Listen to classics sung by the Old Gold Acappella, the U of I co-ed vocal group. Old Gold A cappella was born out of the Old Gold Singers, an original student show choir that dates back to 1957. In 2014, the group underwent massive administrative changes and voted to re-brand as an a cappella group, a decision that’s resulted in a unique take on collegiate a cappella.
  • Children’s Activities (Ground Floor): Enjoy crafting activities with the kids both mornings, including making your own sock-puppet snowman, coloring, and other craft activities. Also, new this year, take the family on a free trolley ride downtown and back with stops at the Iowa Memorial Union, and two locations in downtown Iowa city (Saturday only).
  • Craft Wine & Beer Tasting, Sat. & Sun. 12:00-3:00 p.m. (River Room): Sip craft wine and beer from breweries and vineyards around Iowa and the Midwest. Must be at least 21 to participate.
  • Free Gift Wrapping (Iowa Hawk Shop, Ground Floor): Take your purchases from the Thieves’ Market to the Hawk Shop for free gift wrapping and shop while you wait with store-wide holiday sales! Note: Not all products available at the Thieves’ Market will be wrappable due to size and fragility restrictions.

Who: All ages
When: Sat., Dec. 1, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. and Sun., Dec. 2, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Where: The Iowa Memorial Union, 1st and Ground Floors, 125 N. Madison Street, Iowa City
Cost: FREE

Holiday Thieves’ Market

What: The University of Iowa Fine Arts Council is proud to present the 2017 Holiday Thieves’ Market accompanied by our Wine & Craft Beer Tasting. This indoor art exhibition and sale is an Iowa City and Coralville community tradition held at the Iowa Memorial Union. A wide variety of artists showcase their work, ranging from painting, jewelry, photography, and printmaking, to glass, clay, metal, wood, fiber, mixed media, and more.
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Dec. 1, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. and Sun., Dec. 2, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Where: The Iowa Memorial Union, 1st and Ground Floors, 125 N. Madison Street, Iowa City
Cost: FREE

Christmas in Kalona

What: Head to Kalona for their annual Christmas in Kalona festivities! There are activities for all ages, so bring your family to celebrate and enjoy the Christmas spirit all around town! The skating rink will be back, along with the vendor market and handmade show. Bring your kids to decorate cookies, make ornaments, watch a holiday movie, and take pictures with Santa! Other activities include carriage rides, an ugly sweater contest, business bingo, and more! The fun doesn’t stop there–follow the FB event to hear about more of the activities!
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Dec. 1, 8:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
Where: Downtown Kalona (south of Iowa City on Hwy 1)
Cost: FREE

Just Added!  Christmas Tree Walk & Festival 2018

What: The Old Gold Diners & the Solon Centennial Lions would like to invite you and your organization to participate in this year’s Christmas Tree Walk & Community Events. Feel free to display a tree for the community to enjoy at the Family Life Center across from the Solon United Methodist Church. Categories are Youth, Original, Humorous, Business, Minature Display, & Traditional. There will be Vendors at the Palmer House, Local Food Vendors will have specials, Open House at E’s Florals, Candy Sale at Our Lord’s Church, & a Cantata at the Community Center. Join the community of Solon for a great day.
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Dec. 1, 10:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Where: Downtown, Solon
Cost: FREE

How to Catch a Snowman Storytime

What: Our heroes’ entry for the snowman contest has magically come to life. Will the snowman teach our heroes a lesson they’ll never forget? Who snows! Join in the Storytime and get a coupon from the Café for a grilled cheese sandwich with milk or juice for $4!
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Dec. 1, 11:00 a.m.
Where: Barnes & Noble, Coral Ridge Mall, 1451 Coral Ridge Ave. Suite 1108, Coralville
Cost: FREE

Cedar Rapids Library White Lights Holiday Music Series 

3 events!

What: Enjoy holiday music concerts Saturday afternoons in December!
December 1: Merry Tuba Christmas! The beloved 17th annual Cedar Rapids Area Merry TubaChistmas concert will be filling the Downtown Cedar Rapids Public Library with its larger-than-life sounds of the season!
December 8: Tye Male Jazz Ensemble. Watch the link for details!
December 15: Classic Celtic & American Holiday Music. Watch the link for details!
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Dec. 1, 8, and 15, 2:00-3:00 p.m.
Where: Cedar Rapids Public Library, Library Commons, 450 5th Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids
Cost: FREE

The Nutcracker with Ballet Quad Cities 

2 show times

What: A journey to the Land of Sweets kicks off the holiday season when Orchestra Iowa teams up with Ballet Quad Cities to present the perennial family favorite, The Nutcracker. This captivating performance filled with holiday magic will take your family on an enchanted adventure with Clara and her Prince as they battle the Rat Queen. Community dancer and Orchestra Iowa’s Discovery Chorus join the ballet and Orchestra Iowa musicians to create a magical performance you will not want to miss!

Also, stay for Cookies with Clara following the matinee performance of The Nutcracker. Little Clara & dancers of Ballet Quad Cities will be in the opus concert cafe to sign nutcracker dolls and pose for pictures. This FREE event is open to all Nutcracker attendees!

Who: All ages
When: Sat., Dec. 1, 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Where: Paramount Theatre, 123 Third Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids
Cost: Tickets are $18-$49 and can be purchased here.


Sunday, December 2

Sunday Fun Day: Snow Globe Fingerpaint

What: Come make a cute fingerprint snow globe craft for winter! It’s easy to make. You can make this snowman art project for Holiday cards or anything you want!
Who: All ages
When: Sun., Dec. 2, 2:00-4:00 p.m.
Where: Storytime Room, Iowa City Public Library, 123 South Linn Street, Iowa City
Cost: FREE

Live Celtic Christmas Music

What: Come out to Lion Bridge Brewing for some live Celtic Christmas music! They will be featuring some holiday food specials to be announced soon! Make an afternoon of it and visit the Old World Christmas Market at the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library.
Who: All ages
When: Sun., Dec. 2, 2:00-5:00 p.m.
Where: Lion Bridge Brewing, 59 16th Ave. SW, Cedar Rapids
Cost: FREE


Monday, December 3

Cook the Book: Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book

What: It’s time for Holiday cookies! The book we will be cooking is Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book, by Betty Crocker. When you sign up at the Information Desk, choose the recipe you’d like to make. Staff will make a copy of the recipe for you. The night of the program, we will sample each other’s cookies and share so everyone can take home cookies of each kind! Please bring containers for taking cookies home with you.
Who: Adults and older kids
When: Mon., Dec. 3, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Where: North Liberty Library, 520 West Cherry Street, North Liberty
Cost: FREE, but register in advance at the Information Desk to select a recipe!

Press Presents: W.I.P. Night (Work In Progress)

What: Is your work …still in progress? Join us Monday, December 3rd, to work on your craft! It’s the holiday season, so you probably have lots of cards/scarves/gift wrapping to do, why not bring it to Press and sip on a coffee or tea while you work? Our first W.I.P. Night was a great success and we’re excited to see what you are all working on! If you missed it last time, this night will be three unstructured hours for you to use our space to get some work done. We’ll have the coffee/tea/smoothies, sandwiches, or pastries–you just come get inspired!
Who: Moms and older kids
When: Mon., Dec. 3, 6:00-9:00 p.m.
Where: Press Coffee Company, 2201 E. Grantview Drive, Suite 102, Coralville
Cost: FREE


Wednesday, December 5

A Magical Cirque Christmas

What: A holiday entertainment blockbuster set to dazzle audiences of all ages. Featuring the best talent from around the globe, A Magical Cirque Christmas has it all–jaw-dropping magic, breathtaking circus acts, and the most angelic voices singing your favorite Christmas carols. Be transported to the golden age of entertainment by the mind-blowing talents, stunning costumes, comedy and more. 
Who: All ages
When: Wed., Dec. 5, 8:00 p.m.
Where: Paramount Theatre, 123 Third Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids
Cost: Tickets range from $34-$59 and may be purchased here.


Thursday, December 6

Holiday Movie at Tin Roost: Home Alone

What: Join in for Holiday Movie Night at Tin Roost–they’ll be showing HOME ALONE! Be sure to arrive early to secure your spot. They’ll offer a special hot chocolate from Chef Ben (that can also be enjoyed spiked for the grown-ups)!
Who: All ages (movie is rated PG)
When: Thurs., Dec. 6, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Where: Tin Roost restaurant, 840 West Penn Street, North Liberty
Cost: FREE


Friday, December 7

Read on the Rug storytime: Winter

What: Bring your toddler to enjoy a story and related activities at the Pentacrest Museums! Recommended for ages 2-4 years old.  Children must be accompanied by an adult for the duration of the program.
Who: Ages 2-4
When: Fri., Dec. 7, 10:00-10:30 a.m.
Where: Iowa Hall of the U of Iowa Museum of Natural History, Iowa City
Cost: Free, but sign-up required as space is limited to 10 kids for each program. Sign up here!

Just Added!  Holiday Tubas

What: Gather on the steps of the Old Capitol Museum and join the UI Tuba and Euphonium Ensemble for an instrumental spin on traditional holiday classics, from “Frosty the Snowman” to “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas,” “Christmas Time is Here” to “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” and many more. Following the performance, cider and cookies will be served inside the museum. The show will go on regardless of weather. The public is invited to bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to the Domestic Violence Intervention Program (DVIP). Learn more about this organization here.
Who: All ages
When: Fri., Dec. 7, 12:30-1:00 p.m.
Where: Steps of the U of Iowa Old Capitol Museum, 21 N. Clinton Street, Iowa City
Cost: Free

Pajama Storytime & Activities Featuring The Polar Express

What: Join in for this beloved Christmas story featuring a young boy who is welcomed aboard on a magical trip to the North Pole where he gets to make his Christmas wish. Get free hot chocolate and a cookie from the Café, and don’t forget to wear your favorite cozy pajamas!
Who: All ages
When: Fri, Dec 7, 7:00 p.m.
Where: Barnes & Noble, Coral Ridge Mall, 1451 Coral Ridge Ave. Suite 1108, Coralville
Cost: FREE

The 12 Days of Christmas: Stage production by the Young Footliters opens

What: Christmas is just around the corner, and Shirley the Partridge is a bit nervous because it’s her very first time carrying out the ancient family tradition—gathering the French Hens and the Calling Birds and … oh … everyone—for the official singing of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” With strict instructions from her mom, Grammy, and Great Grammy to guard the Five Golden Rings, Shirley sets off on a quest to find the song participants. This fun-filled show is great fun for the whole family!
Who: All ages
When: Fri., Dec. 7, 7:00 p.m. and Sat., Dec. 8, 2:00 & 7:00 p.m.
Where: The Herbert Hoover Museum, 210 Parkside Drive, West Branch 
Cost: FREE, but tickets are required due to large crowds in the past (Tickets are on sale through the Coralville Center for the Performing Arts starting November 6 at noon)

A Christmas Past

What: Come celebrate the spirit of the season at the 97th Annual A Christmas Past celebration. Bonfires, horse-drawn carriage rides, toy train display, plus much, much, more.
Who: All ages
When: Fri., Dec 7, and Sat. Dec. 8
Where: West Branch Historic Main Street & the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, 210 Parkside Drive, West Branch, IA
Cost: Mostly FREE (although some events have a charge)

Holiday Classics at Marcus Theatres 

2nd Week

What: It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and Marcus Theatres want to celebrate it with you! Bring the whole family to the theatre this December to see classic holiday films, back on the big screen! The best part is, tickets are only $5! Start a new holiday tradition!
Who: All ages
When: December 7-13, times vary. See dates/times here. (use the drop-down menu to select your date).
Christmas Vacation (Rated PG-13)
The Polar Express (Rated G)
Miracle on 34th Street (Not Rated)
Where: Marcus Sycamore Cinema, 1602 Sycamore Street, Iowa City
Cost: $5 per ticket


Saturday, December 8

Just Added!  Breakfast with Santa

What: Santa will be waiting for kids, 10 years and under, to enjoy a hot meal provided by the North Liberty Lions Club, crafts, a model Christmas Village and train display. Don’t forget to visit with Santa and tell him what you want for Christmas. Don’t worry about a camera, photos will be taken free of charge by Sandi Spurrell Photography and posted to her website just days later. Crafts provided by Good Shepard Lutheran Church.
Who: Adults 21 and over
When: Sat., Dec. 8, 8:00-11:00 a.m.
Where: North Liberty Community Center, 520 West Cherry Street, North Liberty
Cost: $3 per person. Advanced registration only available in person at the recreation center front desk. Registration is required – deadline is Dec. 5.

Holiday Cookie Walk

What: Don’t have time to do holiday baking? Just in time, let the North Liberty Library take care of you! Stop by to get your homemade holiday cookies! Do you like to bake? The library is also accepting donations of homemade holiday cookies for the Holiday Cookie Walk. Please register via Eventbrite to let them know how many cookies/candies you plan to donate. Deliver items by noon on Fri., Dec. 7, on a dish that doesn’t need to be returned.
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Dec. 8, 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Where: North Liberty Library, 520 West Cherry Street, North Liberty
Cost: $6 per dozen cookies, proceeds benefit the FRIENDS of the North Liberty Library.

** Mom Event ** 
Not Your Mother’s Craft Fair

What: Check out this holiday festival of local artisans! Celebrate these local makers, good times, sweet vibes, + a cause. They are partnering with the Iowa Valley Global Food Project for this event, and a portion of the booth fees and drink sales will be given to their initiatives!
Who: Moms
When: Sat., Dec. 8, 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Where: MERGE, 136 S. Dubuque Street, Iowa City Ped Mall
Cost: Just the cost of your shopping!

** Mom Event – Calling all teachers! **
Barnes & Noble Educator Holiday Shopping Event

What: Inviting all Educators to come treat themselves to 25% off almost everything in store, and 10% off Cafe treats during this holiday shopping event. While in store you can enter for a chance to win a Pamper Yourself gift basket featuring Barnes & Noble products.
Who: Educators of pre-K through 12th grade students
When: Sat., Dec 8, 10:00 a.m.
Where: Barnes & Noble, Coral Ridge Mall, 1451 Coral Ridge Ave. Suite 1108, Coralville
Cost: Just what you buy!

FilmScene’s The Picture Show: Elf 

First of 2 showings

What: Buddy (Will Ferrell) was accidentally transported to the North Pole as a toddler and raised to adulthood among Santa’s elves. Unable to shake the feeling that he doesn’t fit in, the adult Buddy travels to New York, in full elf uniform, in search of his real father. As it happens, this is Walter Hobbs (James Caan), a cynical businessman. After a DNA test proves this, Walter reluctantly attempts to start a relationship with the childlike Buddy with increasingly chaotic results.
Who: Rated PG
When: Sat., Dec. 8 at 10:00 a.m. and Thurs., Dec. 13, 3:30 p.m.
Where: FilmScene, 118 E. College St., Iowa City
Cost: Children are FREE with the purchase of a $5 adult ticket. Special Picture Show pricing on concessions, too! Pick-Two combo: choose any two of candy, popcorn, or a drink for $5!

Just Added!  Dan & Debbie’s Holiday Eats

What: Come on over for our annual Dan and Debbie’s Holiday Eats at the creamery. This event celebrates all the delicious flavors of the holidays featuring a local foods tasting and shopping experience that’s fun for all. Enjoy fabulous wine samples, desserts, and cheese among a number of other Iowa-made and produced products that are here at our creamery store.
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Dec. 8, 1:00-4:00 p.m.
Where: Dan & Debbie’s Creamery,1600 Main Street, Ely
Cost: FREE

Iowa City Public Library Arts & Crafts Bazaar

What: Just in time for the holidays, the Iowa City Public Library will host their 7th Annual Arts & Crafts Bazaar and Winter Book Sale. Shop for unique, hand-crafted items donated by local artists and crafters. Proceeds from the Bazaar and book sale benefit the ICPL Friends Foundation, which supports the Summer Reading Program and other library programs and collections.
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Dec. 8, 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Where: Meeting Rooms A, B, & C, Iowa City Public Library, 123 North Linn Street, Iowa City
Cost: Just the cost of your shopping!

Gingerbread House Decorating Party

What: Join in the 12th Annual Gingerbread Decorating Party at the Ely Library. Mark your calendars and register for this FREE family fun event! One house provided free per family, additional houses may be purchased at $5 each. Please note additional house(s) when you register.
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Dec. 8, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Where: Ely Public Library, 1595 Dows Street, Ely
Cost: FREE (or $5 each for additional gingerbread houses), but registration is required so stop by, call 319-848-7616, or register online. by Wednesday, December 5th.

Updated!  Ceramic Coil Trees – Holiday Family Fun

What: Come out to Big Picture Gallery & Studio for some holiday family fun! Make and glaze your own set of coil-built ceramic trees. Enjoy cookies and cocoa while you work on your masterpiece!
Who: Age 5 and up
When: Sat., Dec. 8, 2:00-4:00 p.m.
Where: Big Picture Gallery & Studio, 185 IA-965, Suite #3, North Liberty
Cost: $25 per person. Get your tickets here!

Holiday Percussion Pops

What: Come check out Iowa Percussion, under the direction of Dan Moore, as they put on their holiday show!
Who: All ages
When: Sat, Dec 8, 3:00 p.m.
Where: Voxman Music Building, 93 E. Burlington Street, Iowa City
Cost: FREE

** Mom Event! **  
Ceramic Cone Trees

What: This Big Picture Gallery & Studio event is for moms! This evening’s project will be ceramic cone trees. Grab a girlfriend and have a night out! This is a BYOB event.
Who: Moms!
When: Sat., Dec. 8, 6:00-9:00 p.m.
Where: Big Picture Gallery & Studio, 185 IA-965, Suite #3, North Liberty
Cost: $30 per person. Watch their website for registration info!

Just Added!  A Very Merry Christmas in Swisher

What: It’s going to be another fun-filled, festive evening in downtown Swisher at the annual holiday event – A Very Merry Christmas Celebration! Come to Swisher for a lighted Christmas parade, horse-drawn wagon rides, Christmas tree lighting, Shop Local ‘n Social, Cookie Walk, Christmas Caroling, Holiday Tree Walk, downtown business window decorating contest, and more!

The Jefferson-Monroe Fire Department will bring Santa Claus through town in the Parade and make a stop at Kava House @ 6:30 for Hot Cocoa and to visit with the kiddos!

Schedule of Events:
4:00-5:30 – Kids Craft @ DanceMor Ballroom
4:00-6:00 – Horse Drawn Wagon Rides, Shop Local ‘n Social, WILOS Cookie Walk @ Library, Holiday Tree Walk @ DanceMor Ballroom
5:30-7:00 – Christmas Caroling
5:50 – Lighting of the Christmas Tree (Next to City Hall)
6:00 – Lighted Christmas Parade on 2nd St.
6:30 – Visit Santa Claus @ Kava House
7:00-10:00 – Live Music w/ Jeff Mattison @ Black Squirrel Tap and Ugly Sweater Contest
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Dec. 8, 4:00-7:00 p.m.
Where: Downtown Swisher
Cost: FREE

Decade The Halls: Tenth Avenue North

What: Tenth Avenue North is an American contemporary Christian music band from West Palm Beach, Florida that takes its name from an east-west road in Palm Beach County.
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Dec. 8, 7:00 p.m.
Where: Paramount Theatre, 123 Third Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids
Cost: Tickets range from $23-$48 and may be purchased here.


Sunday, December 9

Just Added!  Meet Santa & His Reindeer

What: Come to SCHEELS to meet Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and one of their live Reindeer before they are called back to the North Pole. Pictures are welcomed and encouraged. Bring your own camera to take free family photos. One of our most popular events, you won’t want to miss it!
Who: All ages
When: Sun., Dec. 9, 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Where: Scheels, Coral Ridge Mall, 1461 Coral Ridge Ave., Coralville
Cost: FREE

** Mom Event **
Just Added!  Winter Wonderland VIP Shopping Experience

What: Join the Iowa City Moms Blog & the Makers Loft for an exclusive VIP shopping experience just before the holidays! Finish up all of those names on your shopping list AND shop from some of your favorite local moms/women in business! The Makers Loft has an amazing lineup of Iowa makers, artisans, and brands making up “Made in Iowa” at the Coral Ridge Mall, and we are excited to welcome you to a private, VIP event on December 9th. Our VIP guests will receive a 10% discount on all orders of $50 or more, complimentary drinks and snacks, and some AWESOME giveaways from local shops and restaurants!
Who: Moms!
When: Sun., Dec. 9, 3:00-5:00 p.m.
Where: Coral Ridge Mall, 1451 Coral Ridge Ave., Coralville
Cost: $5.00 per person. Tickets must be purchased in advance; no sales at the door. Get your tickets here!

Coralville Aisle of Lights

What: See how 30,000 white paper sacks, each filled with sand and a votive candle, create a magical scene on a winter evening! Miles of luminaria are available for viewing by foot or car.
Area businesses and organizations host a merry day of activities for all ages, and then participating residents and businesses light luminarias to burn in the evening. Check out all the activities held in conjunction with the Aisle of Lights:

  • Antique Car Museum (860 Quarry Rd.): Noon-5:00 p.m. Special admission rate $2.50
  • Hawkeye Model Railroad Club (840 Quarry Rd.): 1:00-5:00 p.m. View model railroads and watch the trains.
  • Iowa River Landing Holiday Open Houses (E. 9th St. & Quarry Rd.): 2:00-5:00 p.m. Holiday business open houses. Celebrate the magic of the season with family fun and activities!
  • Johnson County Historical Society Museum (860 Quarry Rd.) 2:00-5:00 p.m., Enjoy holiday activities at the museum.
  • Old Town Hall (407 5th St.): 3:00-6:00 p.m. Holiday open house with an exhibit of antique sleds and toys. (Also Sat., Dec. 8, 3:00-5:00 p.m.)
  • Coralville United Methodist Church supper (806 13th Ave.) 4:00-7:00 p.m. Offering a selection of homemade soups and delicious desserts.
    Free will offering accepted.
  • Santa and Trains at the Coralville City Hall (1512 7th St.): 5:00-7:30 p.m. Enjoy free hot cocoa and cookies, and bring a camera for photos with Santa in an antique sleigh. “Bop’s Choo Choo Trains: A Magical Victorian Winter Wonderland” return to City Hall. The trains are a delight for both the young and the young at heart!
  • The Big White House (1246 12th. Ave): 5:00-8:00 p.m. Hot drinks, cookies, games, and an open house in a renovated 1910 farmhouse.
    Hosted by Genesis Church.

Who: All ages
When: Sun., Dec. 9, 5:00-9:00 p.m. (see other event times above)
Where: Throughout Coralville
Cost: FREE


Monday, December 10

North Liberty Library Present Wrapping Party

What: Need time to wrap presents, away from prying eyes? Come to the library! We will have wrapping paper, scissors, tape, bows, and gift tags. Holiday music and cider and hot chocolate to warm you up! Limit of 5 presents, please. You are welcome to bring wine or beer.
Who: Adults 21 and over
When: Mon., Dec. 10, 6:30-8:00 p.m.
Where: North Liberty Library, 520 West Cherry Street, North Liberty
Cost: FREE, but registration required here.


Tuesday, December 11

Updated! Gingerbread House Decoration Workshop

What: It’s time for our annual Gingerbread House Decorating Workshop! Held in two sessions on Tuesday, December 11th. Each family will receive one house to decorate plus the frosting and assorted decorations. To reserve your house, stop in to sign up at the Circulation Desk or call the library at 624-2678. Sign up soon as these sessions fill up quickly!
Who: Families, all ages
When: Tues., Dec. 11, 5:45 p.m. OR 6:45 p.m.
Where: Solon Public Library, 320 W. Main Street, Solon
Cost: FREE, but must sign up in advance at the Circulation Desk or call the library (319-624-2678)


Friday, December 14

** Mom Event! **  
Merry & Bright String Art – Sip and Craft

What: This is another Big Picture Gallery & Studio event for moms! Try your hand at string art for this evening out. Grab a girlfriend and have some fun! This is a BYOB event.
Who: Moms!
When: Fri., Dec. 14, 6:00-9:00 p.m.
Where: Big Picture Gallery & Studio, 185 IA-965, Suite #3, North Liberty
Cost: $30 per person. Watch their website for registration info!

Family Movie Night: Sherlock Gnomes

What: Bring pillows and blankets for your viewing comfort. You can also bring snacks and covered beverages. Popcorn provided!
Who: Rated PG
When: Fri., Dec. 14, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Where: North Liberty Library, 520 West Cherry Street, North Liberty
Cost: FREE, but registration is required.


Saturday, December 15

FilmScene’s The Picture Show: The Grinch (2018) 

First of 3 showings 

What: The Grinch (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his loyal dog, Max, live a solitary existence inside a cave on Mount Crumpet. His main source of aggravation comes during Christmastime when his neighbors in Whoville celebrate the holidays with a bang. When the Whos decide to make Christmas bigger and brighter, the disgruntled Grinch realizes there is one way to gain peace and quiet. With help from Max, the green grump hatches a scheme to pose as Santa Claus, steal Christmas, and silence the Whos’ holiday cheer once and for all.
Who: Rated PG
When: Sat., Dec. 15 & Sun. Dec. 16 at 10:00 a.m. and Thurs., Dec. 20, 3:30 p.m.
Where: FilmScene, 118 E. College St., Iowa City
Cost: Children are FREE with the purchase of a $5 adult ticket. Special Picture Show pricing on concessions, too! Pick-Two combo: choose any two of candy, popcorn, or a drink for $5!

Just Added! 2nd Annual Big Grove Christmas

What: Tis the season! Big Grove Brewery & Taproom – Iowa City is hosting a special holiday event for you and your family. Noon-2pm: SANTA CLAUS is coming to Big Grove for a special visit! Get here early to grab your spot in line to see Santa, get a photo and a make your holiday present requests with Santa! From 10am-4pm: Hot Chocolate Bar, complete with whip cream, sprinkles, cookie bites, candy canes and more!
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Dec. 15, 12:00-4:00 p.m.
Where: Big Grove Brewery & Taproom, 1225 S. Gilbert Street, Iowa City
Cost: FREE (Although we recommend eating their great food while you’re there!)

Just Added! An Irish Christmas Ceili 2018

What: Join the Champagne Academy of Irish Dance for a local céilí (pronounced “kay-lee”), a relaxed gathering involving traditional Irish folk music and social dancing. This special holiday event is open to the public. The event will start with a performance and will have social dancing and live music following.
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Dec. 15, 2:00 p.m.
Where: South Slope Community Center, 980 N. Front Street, North Liberty
Cost: $16 per ticket. Tickets available at the door!

** Mom Event! **  
Joyful Holiday Tree – Wine & Paint

What: Come out to Big Picture Gallery & Studio for an evening of wine and painting! Grab some friends for a fun night out! This is a BYOB event.
Who: Moms!
When: Sat., Dec. 15, 6:00-9:00 p.m.
Where: Big Picture Gallery & Studio, 185 IA-965, Suite #3, North Liberty
Cost: $30 per person. Watch their website for registration info!


Sunday, December 16

** Mom Event **
Just Added! Brews, Books, & Babes: Women’s Book Club

What: Know what goes great with craft beer? Some R&R with your favorite book. Obviously! That’s why we’re kicking off a new Backpocket book club. Brews, Books & Babes will be a recurring monthly gathering geared toward women where we can enjoy a cold beer and catch up on that month’s book of choice. Come for the discussion, but stay for the beer! Attendees get to enjoy one free Backpocket beer. Next Up: Becoming by Michelle Obama
Who: Moms!
When: Sun., Dec. 16, 6:30-8:00 p.m.
Where: Backpocket Brewing, 903 Quarry Road, Coralville
Cost: FREE (just the cost of your beer beyond your first free one!)


Wednesday, December 19

K-12 Chilly Reading Challenge! starts

What: Kids and Teens grades K-12 are invited to chill out & read 3 “just right” books between December 19 and January 9 for a chance to win a prize!

Register online or at the Circulation Desk starting December 19.  Put your completed reading log into the bear’s tin by January 9 to be eligible for the drawing.  Reading logs can be printed off when you register or picked up at the front desk. 
Who: Grades K-12
When: Wed., Dec. 19 through Wed., Jan. 9, 2019
Where: Coralville Public Library, 1401 5th Street, Coralville
Cost: FREE, but registration is required in person at the Children’s Desk or online (watch link above for details of online registration)


Saturday, December 22

Just Added!  Brunch with Santa

What: Start your morning off right with a visit from Santa! Families enjoy a delicious buffet featuring hot-off-the-griddle pancakes with bourbon maple syrup, prime rib with horseradish sauce, cherry-wood smoked bacon, roasted vegetables, fresh fruit, pastries and more! Santa will be present between 9-1 PM. Families not dining with us are welcome to visit with Santa without reservations. Don’t forget your camera for photos!
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Dec. 22, 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Where: Cedar Ridge Winery, 1441 Marak Road NW, Swisher
Cost: $18.99 per adult, $8 for children 6-12 and free for children under 5 by reservation only. Call for yours today! (319) 857-4300

Santa Visits Hills Community Center

What: The city has received news that Santa will stop in Hills on Saturday, December 22! He is expected to take a short tour around town in a fire truck to scout out your chimney and end up at the Community Center at 10:00 a.m. Elfie will also be on hand to check the naughty and nice list!
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Dec. 22, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Where: Hills Community Center, 110 Main Street, Hills (just south of Iowa City off Hwy 218)
Cost: FREE

** Mom Event or Date Night! **
WineStyles Annual Bubbly Tasting

What: Love Bubbles? Please join WineStyles for their Annual Bubbly Tasting. They will be featuring wines from around the world: Cavas, Proseccos, Champagnes, Sparkling Wines…anything with Bubbles! Stop in and pick out some bubbles for the Holidays. These wines are great food wines (think Christmas morning with cinnamon rolls or Christmas dinner with your family).
Who: Adults 21+
When: Sat., Dec. 22, 5:30-8:00 p.m.
Where: WineStyles Iowa River Landing, 920 E. 2nd Ave., Suite 115, Coralville
Cost: $15 per person (Club Members: $10 per person): Refunded upon purchase of greater or equal value. RSVP: Required – (319) 337-WINE (9463)


Wednesday, December 26

Winter Break Lego Play & Crafts

What: Whether you’re a crafter or a builder, or both, the Iowa City Public Library has you covered for all your Lego needs. Stop by the Storytime Room to make a Lego-themed craft or just build to your heart’s content!
Who: All ages
When: Wed., Dec. 26, 2:00-4:00 p.m.
Where: Storytime Room, Iowa City Public Library, 123 South Linn Street, Iowa City
Cost: FREE


Thursday, December 27

The Science Center of Iowa: Simply Electrifying

What: The Science Center of Iowa, sponsored by MidAmerican Energy, is here to make sure you learn something new, even if you’re on a break from school! Explore the exciting world of electricity! Experience hair-raising fun with a Van de Graaff generator, become electrons and atoms, and see what happens when electricity meets pickle!
Who: All ages
When: Thurs., Dec. 27, 1:00-2:00 p.m.
Where: Meeting Rooms A, B, & C, Iowa City Public Library, 123 South Linn Street, Iowa City
Cost: FREE


Friday, December 28

Noon Year’s Eve Party

What: Join us as we kick off the New Year family style complete with a balloon drop at noon. There will be crafts, snacks, dancing, and superhero & princess guests. Register NOW!
Who: All ages
When: Fri., Dec. 28, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Where: North Liberty Library, 520 West Cherry Street, North Liberty
Cost: FREE, but registration is required via Eventbrite.

Mary Poppins: An Interactive Viewing

What: Head to the ICPL for a Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious afternoon to view the original Mary Poppins just in time for the theatrical release of the new one. Get ready to sing along, fly kites, sweep chimneys, and of course enjoy spoonfuls of sugar.
Who: All ages
When: Fri., Dec. 28, 1:00-3:30 p.m.
Where: Meeting Room A, Iowa City Public Library, 123 South Linn Street, Iowa City
Cost: FREE

Family Free Friday!

What: Come to Coral Ridge Mall on the last Friday of every month and enjoy an evening called Family Free Friday! This is a year-round event, occurring every month! FREE Admission to the ice arena for all (skate rental is $2/person), FREE Carousel rides for all, FREE Admission to The Iowa Children’s Museum for all, and various Food Court meal deals for kids.
Who: All ages
When: Fri., Dec. 28, 5:00-8:00 p.m.
Where: Coral Ridge Mall, 1451 Coral Ridge Ave, Coralville
Cost: FREE


Saturday, December 29

FilmScene’s The Picture Show: March of the Penguins 

First of 3 showings

What: At the end of each Antarctic summer, the emperor penguins of the South Pole journey to their traditional breeding grounds in a fascinating mating ritual that is captured in this documentary by intrepid filmmaker Luc Jacquet. The journey across frozen tundra proves to be the simplest part of the ritual, as after the egg is hatched, the female must delicately transfer it back to the male and make her way back to the distant sea to nourish herself and bring back food to her newborn chick.
Who: Rated G, best for ages 6+
When: Sat., Dec. 29 & Sun. Dec. 30 at 10:00 a.m. and Thurs., Jan. 3, 2019, at 3:30 p.m.
Where: FilmScene, 118 E. College St., Iowa City
Cost: Children are FREE with the purchase of a $5 adult ticket. Special Picture Show pricing on concessions, too! Pick-Two combo: choose any two of candy, popcorn, or a drink for $5!


Grab those calendars, choose your favorite activities, and start making those holiday memories!


 

Sara is a NW Iowa native who moved across the state to become a Hawkeye! After her time at the U of I, she left for optometry school and residency before coming home to Iowa to start her “adult” life in Coralville. She was in clinical practice for 5 years before trying her hand at the research side of eye care, working on clinical trials in the pharma/biotech industry. Sara is a wife, mom to a 5-year-old boy, and step-mom to four teenagers! Because her son was born at 25 weeks and had a lengthy NICU stay, Sara is passionate about all things related to prematurity, especially parent support in the NICU. She loves connecting with fellow NICU moms, both online and in person. Sara also enjoys spending time with friends and extended family, reading, scrapbooking, organizing, knitting, travel, keeping up with tech trends, finding new wines to enjoy, honing her photography skills, and serving on the Family Advisory Council for UI Children’s Hospital. She’s a consultant for Jamberry Nails, too, which lets her dabble in her creative side.

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