Iowa City Area Guide to Family Holiday Activities: 2020 Edition

As with everything else in this crazy year that is 2020, holiday events – and therefore this holiday guide – will look a bit different this year. While there are still events that will be held in person with COVID-19 precautions in place, others have moved online. Some have cancelled altogether, so we’ll appreciate what we have this year and look forward to their return next year. Whatever your current comfort level, there are activities for you!

At the top of the list are some ongoing events. Events are then listed by date and marked as Virtual Events, Mom Events, or Date Night as appropriate.

Another difference you will notice in this year’s guide is that events that are a little farther away are included. I don’t know about you, but these days I’m willing to drive some to inject a little bit of “normal” into the year!

Keep checking back, as additional events will be added as they pop up! (Look for “Added!” and “Updated!” events!)

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


Ongoing Events

** Virtual Event **
Updated! Coral Ridge Mall’s Virtual Visits with Santa at Home

What: A North Pole Virtual Visit! Make this holiday magical with a virtual visit to the North Pole! Santa’s helpers have been working hard decking the halls for you and your family, so don’t be late! Choose from our list of enchanting experiences for a jolly good time.

Visit with Santa
Live from the North Pole…it’s Santa Claus! Enjoy exciting pre-session entertainment and a live virtual visit with Santa. For extra holiday fun, add storytime with Santa or Mrs. Claus to your session. Invite up to four guests for this experience.

Storytime with The Clauses
Shhhhh, it’s storytime! Choose a session with either Santa Claus or Mrs. Claus and gather the family around as they read you a story. Choose from a selection of stories and invite up to four guests to join. Enchant your family with this unforgettable experience.

Pre-Recorded Personalized Santa Video
Bring Santa and his magical world straight into your home! Receive a pre-recorded message from St. Nick that’s personalized just for you. Santa will record a video message to your kids based on information you provide in your family profile during your booking. Watch your children stare in amazement as they watch their very own video from Santa.

Who: All ages, families
When: Daily, Now through Thurs., Jan. 7
Where: Online
Cost: $19.95 to $24.95, depending on the package. Make your reservations here!

** Virtual Event **
** Mom Event **
Downtown Iowa City Holiday Market Online

What: The traditional Downtown Iowa City Holiday Market has moved online! The Iowa City Downtown District in collaboration with downtown retailers has launched a new one-stop online shop for holiday shopping. As customers look to shop earlier and focus their spending locally this holiday season, the Downtown Iowa City Holiday Market will provide an easy, curated online shop for over 20 downtown stores in one location. The new holiday site is another initiative from the downtown district to help keep a focus on supporting local while recognizing that online shopping may be a popular option for 2020. The Downtown Holiday Market will allow customers to shop from a variety of downtown stores and select pick-up or free local delivery through the Downtown Delivers program. Additionally, the shop will be changing weekly as stores continue to add new items throughout the holiday season.
Who: Moms and older kids
When: Open now!
Where: Online
Cost: Just the cost of your purchases!

** Virtual Event **
University of Iowa Dance Gala 2020: IN MOTION (Multiple Dates Nov. 13-27)

What: Dance Gala 2020: IN MOTION celebrates the 39th anniversary of Dance Gala. The UI Department of Dance believes the arts can bring us together with hope and humanity. The COVID-19 pandemic has posed challenges to our in-person creative research activities. Rather than shutting down and taking the year off, we decided instead to find safe ways of allowing our students and faculty choreographers to continue their work and express their thoughts, ideas, and emotions to a broader audience than ever before.

The University of Iowa Department of Dance presents works in progress created by celebrated UI Dance faculty. Six works will be included. See descriptions of each piece here!
Who: All ages
When: Fri., Nov. 13 – Fri., Nov. 27, each night at 8:00 p.m.
Where: Online
Cost: FREE

Updated! Downtown Holiday Pop-Up Market (Ongoing Nov. 15 through the end of December)

What: The Iowa City Downtown District is set to bring back the Downtown Holiday Market/Pop-Up Shops on the ped mall this holiday season. The pop-up shops that make up the Holiday Market were originally constructed by Hardy Lawn Furniture and designed by AKAR Architecture in 2017. Starting in mid-November the Holiday Pop-Up Market sponsored by GreenState Credit Union will open, features different vendors and shops each week.

For 2020, the Holiday Pop-Up Market will look a little different due and will incorporate strict COVID-19 precautions. Each shop will be available for vendors and shops to occupy but capacity for shoppers will be limited to one party at a time or by appointment only. “The holiday market is one of our favorite traditions. These unique and gorgeous spaces continue to offer a fun festive shopping experience while adding opportunity for makers and our local shops to host a small pop-up shop”, said, Director of Creative Services for the Iowa City Downtown District, Betsy Potter. “It continues to be a challenging year for small businesses, if we can provide a fun and safe attraction for the holiday season that supports our overall mission to continue to drive spending towards our locally owned businesses, we will continue to do everything we can.” See the full schedule of shops here!
Who
: All ages
When: Daily from Nov. 15 through the end of December
Where: Black Hawk Mini Park at Ped Mall Iowa City
Cost: Just the cost of your purchases!

Downtown Gingerbread House Competition – AT-HOME EDITION (Nov. 19-Dec 22)

What: Join the Iowa City Downtown District this Holiday Season for the Annual Downtown Gingerbread House Competition (AT-HOME EDITION). Your ticket includes full gingerbread pieces to build your house and frosting from Molly’s Cupcakes, an assortment of candy from Sweets & Treats, pretzel and marshmallow packs, and an aluminum baking sheet for the base of the house.

All you need to do is purchase your ticket, select your pick-up or delivery date, create your masterpiece, take photos and submit, and see if you’re a winner!
Who: All ages
When: Kits are available to pick up Nov. 19th, and winners will be announced Dec. 22nd
Where: At home!
Cost: $40.00

** Girls’ Night Out or Extended Family Gathering **
Outing in an Igloo!

What: Tin Roost has 3 private igloos, complete with lounge-style seating for eight, festive lighting, and a heater that takes the edge off of the winter weather. You’ll have two hours to enjoy your private igloo. Every igloo experience includes keepsake camp mugs for your party to take home and enjoy, plus additional upgrades of your choice. An exclusive menu will be offered to all bookings. Our food and beverage menus are designed to be shared and great for casual gatherings. When you book your igloo, you will select food that will be waiting in your igloo when you arrive. More food can be added throughout your booking.
Who: All ages
When: Ongoing!
Where: Tin Roost, 840 W. Penn St., North Liberty
Cost: Depending on your package, there’s a $100-200 minimum for food and beverages for up to 8 people

** Virtual Events **
Classes + Events Online with Michael’s Arts & Crafts

What: Get your crafty on with a host of classes and events hosted online by Michael’s. Classes range from holiday cards, to brush lettering, to ornaments, to wreaths, to string art, to gingerbread houses, and more! Look through the catalog of classes here!
Who: Classes are geared toward ages 13+. Check out Kids Club Online for projects for kids 3+ or Boredom Busters that can be done any time!
When: Days and times vary
Where: Online via Zoom
Cost: FREE


Wednesday, November 18

** Mom Event! **
5th Annual Ladies Night Out: Holiday Edition

What: Tis the season to shop, and this year it’s more important than ever to SHOP SMALL and support local businesses! Grab your girlfriends and enjoy the 5th annual Ladies’ Night Out featuring extended hours and special offers from brick and mortar shops in West Branch, West Liberty, and Oxford.

Please help keep the communities safe by wearing a mask and practicing social distancing from anyone outside your group. Some shops will require masks for entry.
Who: Moms
When: Wed., Nov. 18, 5:00-9:00 p.m.
Where: Shops and restaurants/bars in West Branch, shops in West Liberty, and shops in Oxford (see full list in link above)
Cost: Just the cost of your shopping!


Thursday, November 19

Mount Pleasant Festival of Lights (multiple dates)

What: Come and visit the 1-mile Holiday Light Drive-Thru Park with over 120 Holiday displays! View 2018’s display via drone on YouTube to get a flavor for the show!
Who: All ages
When: Nov. 19-21 and 25-29. Dec. 2-6 and 9-31. 5:30-9:00 p.m. each night
Where: 405 E. Threshers Rd., Mount Pleasant, IA (~50 minutes south of Iowa City)
Cost: $10/family vehicle, $25/limo, $30/mini coach, $60/motor coach


Friday, November 20

Corridor Market: Holiday Edition (2 Dates)

What: Grab your gal and guy pals and head on over to Bella Sala Event Center for the area’s BEST holiday market! You’ll be able to complete your holiday shopping for every name on that list! Head over Friday afternoon for a signature holiday martini while perusing the booth spaces of over 70 Midwest makers and pickers. Want to beat the crowd? Check out EARLY ACCESS HOUR from 2:00-3:00 p.m.!

The Saturday morning refreshment line-up includes a Bloody Mary AND Mimosa bar; shopping is always more fun with a drink in hand! And top-notch FOOD TRUCKS!? And wine tastings!? And craft beer tastings!? Great drinks, AMAZING tunes, scrumptious food, and the greatest shopping weekend of the year… what more could you ask for?!

Show up in your UGLIEST SWEATER, and there may be some goodies with your name on it!
Who: All ages
When: Fri., Nov. 20, 2:00-3:00 p.m. for Early Birds ($10) and 3:00-8:00 p.m. for general admission ($5) AND Sat., Nov. 21, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. ($5)
Where: Bela Sala Event Center, 205 S. Park Rd, Tiffin
Cost: Admission $5 ($10 for Friday Early Bird). Kids 12 and under are free

Thanksgiving Feast Food Box Distribution

What: South District Neighborhood Association has teamed up with HACAP Food Reservoir, Habitat for Humanity, Table to Table, Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County, Dream City, Open Heartland, Antelope Lending Library, and the City of Iowa City to bring our neighborhood its 3rd Annual Thanksgiving Feast and keep a South District neighborhood tradition alive!

While we usually get together, mix and mingle to get to know our fellow neighbor, this year we are working together to decrease food scarcity in our neighborhood and stay safe in this pandemic. Drive or walk thru along the “Our Children Spoke” neighborhood mural on Broadway street to pick up a holiday food box filled with Turkey breast, corn, fruit, milk, potatoes, cheese, pasta, orange juice, and more.

There is no requirement to provide personal information or sign up for services. Social distancing and masks are required. There will be disposable masks available.
Who: Families
When: Fri., Nov. 20, 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Where: Faith Academy, 1030 Cross Park Ave., Iowa City
Cost: FREE

** Mom Event! **
Ladies Day Out Block Party (multiple dates)

What: Join us in Downtown Swisher for our Annual Ladies Day Out Block Party – shopping, vendors, wine tasting, live music & more! There will be shopping & specials at Vault Boutique, shopping & vendors at Salon 221, live music at Black Squirrel Tap (Sat. 11 a.m.-2 p.m.) along with food & drink specials, 20+ vendors at the Swisher Legion, and specialty drinks, food, and shopping available at Kava House. **Masks will be required in vendor areas**
Who: Moms
When: Fri., Nov. 20, 5:00-8:00 p.m. and Sat., Nov. 21, 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Where: Downtown Swisher
Cost: Just the cost of your purchases!


Saturday, November 21

** Virtual Event **
Cozy Holiday Movie Snacks: Virtual Cooking Class

What: Join home chef Angie as she kicks off the holiday season with three delicious snacks, inspired by Hallmark Channel holiday movies! Cook along with her in this festive holiday-themed cooking class for all ages. Recipes include Sugar Cookie Popcorn, Ham and Gruyere Crescent Rolls, and Bread Bowl Dip. Stayed tuned for some holiday movie trivia and more!
Who: Families
When: Sat., Nov. 21, 5:30 – 6:45 p.m.
Where: Online in the comfort of your own home!
Cost: FREE! Just the cost of your ingredients. Register for this free class here.


Sunday, November 22

** Virtual Event **
“The Little White Church” Virtual Paint Party

What: Join Julie of Julie’s Paint Party for a painting tutorial of a white church with snow-covered trees! Here’s what you need: 12×16 canvas (or whatever you have); black, white, turquoise, and gold (or brown) paints; big 3/4″ flat head paintbrush; 1/2″ flat head paintbrush; liner/detail paintbrush; a cup of water to rinse your brushes; a napkin to wipe; and a paper plate to put your paints on!
Who: Tweens, Teens, Adults
When: Sun., Nov. 22, 12:00 p.m.
Where: Online Facebook Live on Julie’s FB page
Cost: FREE, you just need to get your materials!


Thursday, November 26

Cedar Rapids Turkey Trot – The 2020 Virtual Thankful Turkey Edition

What: The Cedar Rapids Thanksgiving tradition continues virtually in 2020 featuring the Thankful Turkey Half Marathon, 10K, & 5K commemorative gear.

Here’s how it works: Register to secure your spot and get your commemorative event gear mailed straight to your door. Run/Walk the distance between Thanksgiving Day – November 29th on a course of your choosing. Create a Team O’ Turkeys, run with your team bib, and celebrate with commemorative finisher certificates with your team name! Submit your results to the leader board, print off your finisher certificate and share (brag!) with your friends using this year’s selfie smile medal.
Who: All ages
When: Thurs., Nov. 26 – Sun., Nov. 29
Where: Wherever you want to run/walk
Cost: Early Bird Deal (ends 11/11): Kids 12 and under $14.99, Adults $29.99. After 11/11, prices go up to $30 and $60. Sign up here!


Friday, November 27

Opening Day at Cedar’s Edge Evergreen Market

What: Have you always wanted to go cut your own Christmas tree? Here’s your chance! Walk off that Thanksgiving turkey at Cedar’s Edge Evergreen Market. Be one of the first to get best pick of Choose and Cut Trees then spend some time picking out local gifts, coffee, and just enjoy good old-fashioned outdoor time!
Who: All ages
When: Opening day is Fri., Nov. 27, 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. (You can also get a pre-cut tree starting Sun., Nov. 22, 1:00-5:00 p.m.)
Where: Cedar’s Edge Evergreen Market, 2188 Ivanhoe Rd., Ely, IA
Cost: Varies

2020 Christmas Tree Opening Day at Colony Pumpkin Patch (Multiple Dates!)

What: There is nothing quite like a fresh tree for the holidays to bring a warm sense of yesteryear of how things used to be, a simpler time, and a peaceful time. And it seems like no better year than this year to start a new tradition by enjoying ‘a little country in the city’ at Colony Pumpkin Patch to pick out that special tree! We invite you to do just that starting Black Friday at 9 a.m.!
Who: All ages
When: Fri. Nov. 27, Sat. Nov. 28, Sun. Nov. 29, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day; Fri. Dec. 4, 4:00-6:00 p.m.; Sat. Dec. 5 and Sun. Dec. 6, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. each day.
Where: Colony Pumpkin Patch, 2780 Front St. NE, North Liberty
Cost: Varies.

Photos with Santa at Center Court (Multiple dates!)

What: If you’re looking for a fun and festive way to celebrate the holiday season in Coralville, IA, you’re in luck—we’re offering photos with Santa at Coral Ridge Mall! We know your celebrations will look a little different this year, and want to make you feel safe during your visit. Face coverings for you and Santa may be required during your contactless visit based on current state regulations. Additional COVID precautions can be found here.
Who: All ages, families
When: Fri., Nov. 27 through Thurs., Dec. 24 – See hours below:
November 27 – December 23:
Mon-Sat:
11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Sun: Noon-6 p.m.
December 24: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: Coral Ridge Mall, Center Court (by JC Penney)
Cost: Packages range from $39.99 to $49.99. Reserve your time here.

Tannenbaum Forest opens (Multiple dates!)

What: Step into a winter wonderland when you visit us at the Tannenbaum Forest in the Amana Colonies! Come to the Festhalle Barn to see over 40 unique Christmas Trees, each decorated by a different business, organization, group, or family. The entire barn will be decorated for the season, and we will have several areas for photo opportunities set up. Our 17-foot German Christmas Pyramid will be front and center!

This year, Santa Claus is unable to join us. To make sure he stays safe and healthy to deliver present this year, he and Mrs. Claus are hunkering down in the North Pole. He will miss you all dearly this year, but he can’t wait to get your gifts to you on Christmas Eve!

To protect each other, we will be requiring the use of face masks that cover both your mouth and nose in the Festhalle Barn. While you’re viewing our forest, please practice social distancing as well. We will have markings on the floors and walls to demonstrate a 6-foot distance, and we will also have a backup supply of masks in case you’ve forgotten yours. If you are experiencing any symptoms of illness, we ask that you please stay home. If you have been exposed to COVID-19 or are awaiting COVID-19 test results, please stay home. Remember to wash hands frequently and refrain from touching your face.

Who: All ages
When: Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from Nov. 27 through Dec. 20. See schedule here.
Where: 622 46th Avenue, Amana
Cost: Suggested donation is $3, with proceeds benefiting the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital


Saturday, November 28

Downtown Hunt for Elves (Ongoing Nov. 28-Jan. 1)

What: Join us for the Downtown Hunt for the Elves, a FREE kid-friendly scavenger hunt in downtown Iowa City! Starting Friday, November 27th, there will be elves hiding in different downtown businesses waiting to be found! Make sure to check the sign on the shop’s door to see if their elf is hiding in the front window or inside the store. Please remember to wear a mask and keep a safe distance while doing the hunt. Shops who are hiding the elf inside will have capacity limits while the shops who have the elf hidden in the front window will allow you to search from outside.

Once you have found the elves in each participating store, get a stamp on your card or write in the name of the elf on the card to show proof you found it. Most elves hiding inside will have a stamp with their name for you to use and the elves hiding in the window will have a nametag next to them so you can write their name in the blank as proof you found them. Turn in your completed cards after finding 10 of the elves to Iowa Book to receive a small prize and to be entered to win a grand prize gift basket.
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Nov. 28 through Fri., Jan. 1, 2021
Where: Downtown Iowa City

Added! Small Business Saturday – Downtown Iowa City

What: Our Favorite DAY of the year! It’s time to celebrate what we in Downtown Iowa City Celebrate EVERY DAY but on a national level! The holidays might look a little different this year, but we can still show up for each other. #ShopSmall with us online, use curbside pick-up, or look into personal shopping appointments. Downtown shops will have limited capacity limits and customers are required to wear a face-covering while shopping downtown. ***Thanks to the City of Iowa City, there will be FREE PARKING in all downtown ramps on Saturday, November 28th.***
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Nov. 28, 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Where: Downtown Iowa City

Santa Saturdays Downtown (multiple dates)

What: Santa is making four special trips to Downtown Iowa City to meet the area’s good girls and boys! Kids and families are invited to visit Santa in his sleigh and drop off their letters and wish lists in his mailbox from the North Pole. For the safety of visitors, Santa’s visits have been moved outdoors with a socially distanced line and photo area, so bundle up and dress warmly. Additional COVID-19 precautions will require visitors and families to take their own pictures using their own cameras. Santa’s helpers will help direct groups as they take their photo and ask everyone to please keep a safe distance and wear a face-covering. Santa will be in his sleigh with a mask and groups can stand in the photo area marked 6 feet away.
Who: All ages
When: Saturdays Nov. 28, Dec. 5, 12, & 19, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Where: Outside in the Pedestrian Mall at the Weatherdance Fountain Stage from at 210 S. Dubuque St., Iowa City
Cost: FREE

Downtown Tractor Wagon Rides (Multiple dates!)

What: There is no better way to take in the sights and sounds of the holiday season than a Tractor Wagon Ride around downtown. Enjoy a FREE whimsical ride in an antique tractor provided by Bass Farms and sponsored by Hills Bank & Trust.

For the safety of attendees, the wagon ride will be in an open-air carriage with limited and spaced seating (15 spots per ride). For COVID-19 precautions, we ask families to sit together and that all riders wear a mask (except 2 & under). Hand sanitizer will also be available to use. Riders should come 15 minutes prior to their time but no earlier. All waiting will be done outside.

Who: All ages
When: Saturdays Nov. 28, Dec. 5, 12, & 19, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Where: Downtown Iowa City, starts outside Hills Bank, 201 S. Clinton St., Iowa City
Cost: FREE but tickets are required.
**“TICKETS” WILL BE NEED TO BE RESERVED ONLINE AHEAD OF TIME. We recommend reserving your time ahead before arriving to reserve your spot! In the chance seats are still available, walk-ups will be accepted. Watch the Hills Bank FB page for details!

** Virtual Event **
“The Happy Snowman” Virtual Paint Party

What: Join Julie of Julie’s Paint Party for a painting tutorial of a happy snowman with a cardinal and snow! Here’s what you need: 10×20 canvas (or whatever you have); black, white, light blue, red, and orange paints; big 3/4″ flat head paintbrush; 1/2″ flat head paintbrush; liner/detail paintbrush; a cup of water to rinse your brushes; a napkin to wipe; and a paper plate to put your paints on!
Who: Tweens, Teens, Adults
When: Sat., Nov. 28, 11:50 a.m.
Where: Online Facebook Live on Julie’s FB page
Cost: FREE, you just need to get your materials!

** Virtual Event **
Thanksgiving Leftovers Remixed: Virtual Cooking Class

What: Home chef Angie shows you how to create a delicious meal utilizing your Thanksgiving leftovers. Reach into the refrigerator and discover a new way to cook up your leftovers. Home chef Angie guides you through an inspired take with her Thanksgiving “stuffle” (stuffing + waffle). Learn how you can quickly craft this yummy creation or remix into a completely different entree.
Cook along with Angie by picking up your ingredients before the event begins.
Who: Families
When: Sat., Nov. 28, 5:30 – 6:45 p.m.
Where: Online in the comfort of your own home!
Cost: FREE! Just the cost of your ingredients. Register for this free class here.

Santa at Hotel Millwright

What: Santa is here to share some socially distanced Holiday Cheer to the Amanas! After families take their seats, Santa will arrive to tell holiday stories from a stage. After storytime, Santa will stay on stage and children can get a socially distanced photo with Mr. Claus. As families leave, hotel staff will pass out house-made and packaged sugar cookies.
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Nov. 28, 6:00 p.m.
Where: Hotel Millwright, 800 48th Ave., Amana
Cost: FREE


Tuesday, December 1

Added! Wickiup Hill Winter Outdoor Academy (Multiple dates!)

What: Winter Outdoor Academy at Wickiup Hill is taking education outside! Linn County Conservation (LCC) is offering small group, outdoor, in-person, enrichment programs at Wickiup Hill. These programs address the growing need to introduce and engage today’s youth in the natural world. Activities are designed to be fun, dynamic, and active while providing high-quality environmental learning experiences through games, crafts, stories, and in-depth nature exploration. Each Outdoor Academy session builds upon each other with different activities. Register for multiple days to help with home school learning.

Drop-off program. You will be greeted by a naturalist at the parking lot to welcome your child. Space is limited and pre-registration is required. To ensure all necessary health and safety group size will be limited to 12 students per session and social distancing guidelines will be followed. Program may be cancelled if minimum number is not reached. Students are required to bring a mask and wear it when instructed.
Who: Kids grades K-5
When: Tues., Wed., Thurs., Fri., Dec. 1, 2, 3, and 4; Tues., Dec. 8; Thurs., Dec. 10; Tues., Wed., Thurs., Fri., Dec. 16, 17, 18, and 19; Mon. Dec. 21. Each day from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Where: Online!
Cost: $10 per child. Register here!

** Virtual Event **
North Liberty Rec Center Santa Live on Zoom (multiple dates)

What: For the health and well-being of Santa and everyone, this year we are holding our annual chance to talk to Santa virtually. Sign up and have Santa call you over Zoom live from the North Pole. You can tell Santa exactly what you want for Christmas from the comfort of your own home.
Who: Kids ages 3-9
When: Tues., Dec. 1 and Thurs., Dec. 3,  5:00-8:00 p.m. each evening; Sat., Dec. 5, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Where: Wherever you are!
Cost: FREE, but you need to register at the above link

** Virtual Event **
** Mom Event or Date Night! **
CR Library “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” Trivia Night

What: Enjoy a festive Trivia Night with friends and family at home this month as we play “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”.  From Rudolph to the Rockettes, the Cedar Rapids Librarians have researched all things holiday!

Trivia Night is a Facebook event, so be sure to follow the CR Library on Facebook and mark “going” to the event (watch for it to be posted!) so that you will be notified when the quiz link goes live. The link is only live from 6:00-7:00 p.m., so get your team together and have some good holiday fun.
Who: Program listed for adults
When: Tues., Dec. 1, 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Where: Online! Make sure you follow the Cedar Rapids
Cost: FREE

** Virtual Event **
Added! Coe College Christmas Convocation

What: This Coe Christmas celebration service is brought to you by the Chaplin’s Office and the Department of Music, featuring Coe Music Department ensembles.
Who: All ages
When: Tues., Dec. 1, 7:00 p.m.
Where: Online here.
Cost: FREE


Wednesday, December 2

** Virtual Event **
Virtual Chanukah Cooking Class with Michael Solomonov

What: Our Chanukah gift to the Lehigh Valley Jewish community, in partnership with Federations across the country! Learn to make delicious dishes for Chanukah with Executive Chef and Co-owner of Zahav, Michael Solomonov, the 2019 James Beard Foundation award winner for Outstanding Restaurant.

In celebration of the holiday, Chef Solomonov will be making apple shrub, Abe Fisher’s potato lakes, roman artichokes with arugula and olive oil, poached salmon, and sfenj (Moroccan doughnuts) with cinnamon and sugar.
Who: Families
When: Wed., Dec. 2, 7:00-8:15 p.m.
Where: Live streamed over Vimeo
Cost: Optional donation. Register ahead here to get the ingredient list and event password!


Thursday, December 3

** Mom Event! **
** Virtual Event **
Updated! VIRTUAL: Wreaths & Wine

What: Since we know many of you aren’t comfortable with in-person events we’ve scheduled a virtual event! Come into Vue before the event to pick-up your supplies. NOTE: You’ll need your own clippers! You’ll get a bottle of wine (choice of White or Red) and Wreath Making Kit, provided by Beno’s Flowers. You’ll login virtually to learn a few assembly and decorating techniques and then be free to get creative with your decorating!
Who: Moms
When: Thurs., Dec. 3, 6:30-8:00 p.m.
Where: Online
Cost: $60 per person. Get your tickets here!

** Virtual Event **
Added! The Man Who Invented Christmas

What: The West Branch and Mechanicsville Public Libraries are sponsoring this program via Zoom. Would you believe Christmas used to be a very low-key affair? It’s true! Until the mid-19th Century, people did little to mark it & businesses didn’t consider it a holiday. Yet by 1900 it was our largest & most popular annual celebration. What changed society’s view of Christmas? The answer may be Charles Dickens & “A Christmas Carol”. Historian Kathy Wilson investigates how a novel about social reform transformed Christmas from a date on the church calendar into the holiday we know today.
Who: Likely geared toward tweens, teens, and adults
When: Thurs., Dec. 3, 7:00 p.m.
Where: Online via Zoom here.
Cost: FREE

Updated! A Christmas Past

What: With a heavy heart the WBCDG Board has decided to alter the Christmas Past plans in light of the increasing COVID-19 rates and new safety recommendations.
See the updated list of events here.
Who: All ages
When: Community Tree Lighting (from a distance): Thurs., Dec 3 at 5:00 p.m. Santa Claus Cruise: Sat. Dec. 5 at 9:00 a.m.
Where: Tree Lighting – Village Green, West Branch. Santa Cruise – Main Street, West Branch
Cost: Mostly FREE (although some events have a charge)


Friday, December 4

** Virtual with contactless pickup **
Updated! Nature’s Noel

What: Indian Creek Nature Center’s annual holiday fundraiser featuring fresh green decor, artisan gifts, frozen soups, appetizers, baked goods, and more will look a little different this year. Things will look a little different this year: to ensure physical distancing (COVID-19 safety procedures), sales will be entirely ONLINE this year. Sales open Fri., Dec. 4, at 12:00 p.m. and will close at 12:00 p.m. on Sat., Dec. 5. Contactless pick-up will be Sunday, Dec. 6 and Mon., Dec. 7 (times TBD). Items will sell quickly. As soon as the sale opens, we recommend adding your most favorite items to your cart and purchasing right away. Putting an item in your cart does not hold the item. Only until you hit purchase will it be yours. Shop early for the best selection!
Who: All ages
When: Online: Fri., Dec. 4 at noon through Sat. Dec. 5 at 10:00 a.m. In-person Sat., Dec., 1:00-4:00 p.m. (Contactless pick-up Sun., Dec. 6 from 12:00-4:00 p.m.)
Where: Indian Creek Nature Center, 5300 Otis Road SE, Cedar Rapids
Cost: Free (Other than your purchases!)

Updated! Prelude to Christmas

What:  Check out the Amana Colonies’ 35th Prelude to Christmas celebration! A magical weekend with special events and food/beverage sampling in the shops, carolers on the street, and the town decked out in Christmas finery that’s Prelude to Christmas in the Amana Colonies. The streets of Amana come alive with old world charm at no time more than Prelude to Christmas. The fences and storefronts sport pine boughs, there are red ribbons fluttering in the breeze, and an occasional melody from beloved Christmas Carols in the air.

Join us for a weekend of special shopping, activities, and much more. While you shop, eat, and sample, bundle up and join us at the Tannenbaum Forest to see over 40 unique Christmas trees decorated by local businesses and families. Throughout the Amana Colonies, you’ll find gifts for the whole family to enjoy. You’ll find the Prelude to Christmas brochure at the Amana Colonies Visitors Center as well as in businesses throughout the Amanas. Don’t forget to dress warm and bring your Christmas shopping and gift wish lists!

This year, the annual Amana Church Cookie Walk and Bazaar has been adjusted for the pandemic. Instead of the Cookie Walk, the Amana Church is hosting a cookie order fundraiser, for which you should order cookies through the Amana Church website prior to Thanksgiving. Click here for details.

As we plan, we will release more information on activities and specials for Prelude to Christmas. Keep an eye on the link above and on Facebook for updates!
Who: All ages
When: Fri., Dec. 4 through Sun., Dec. 6
Where: Amana Colonies, 622 46th Avenue, Amana, IA
Cost: Varies, but many things are FREE

Deck the District 2020

What: Deck the District is a collaborative community holiday celebration in Cedar Rapids’ Czech Village/New Bohemia Main Street District. Celebrations in years past have included shopping, dining and drink specials, crafts, a holiday movie, bingo, cookie decorating, music, free admittance to the National Czech and Slovak Museum & Library, and more. Watch the above link for details!
Who: All ages
When: Fri., Dec. 4 through Sun., Dec. 6
Where: New Bohemia and Czech Village, 3rd St. SE & 16th Ave. SW, Cedar Rapids
Cost: Just the cost of your purchases!

Added! Manger Project

What: Come participate in a one-of-a-kind Christmas tradition that will have your family thinking about the true meaning of Christmas! Each family will receive materials and help to build a wooden manger. The manger can be part of an outdoor Christmas display or set near your tree to remind the family what Christmas is all about. Families also get an advent booklet they can work through together. Families are invited to enjoy Hot Chocolate and cookies in the Atrium before, during or after building your manger. This is an open house style of event where families can work on their own.
Who: All ages
When: Fri., Dec. 4, 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Where:
Parkview Church, 15 Foster Rd, Iowa City
Cost: $15 per family to cover the cost of materials. Register here!

** Virtual Event **
Added! Ely Public Library Kahoot! Christmas Movie Trivia!

What: Join the Ely Public Library and test your Holiday Movie knowledge during this family fun trivia night! Play from the safety and comfort of your home using your own devices, such as computer, smart phone and/or tablet! You may be familiar with Kahoot from your children. It’s an online quiz format where multiple choice questions are posted, and you get points for correct answers and speed! It may help to download the Kahoot app ahead of time so you’ll be ready. Join in through Zoom here to get the Kahoot PINS to login and play.
Who: All ages
When: Fri., Dec. 4, 7:00 p.m.
Where:
Online! Join the Zoom to get the login info for the Kahoot!
Cost: FREE

** Virtual Event **
Christmas at Luther 2020: For Everyone Born

What: All are welcome to experience the online premiere of Christmas at Luther 2020: For Everyone Born. Newly formatted for this unique time in history, the performance will be free and available to be viewed from the comfort of your home.
Who: All ages
When: Fri., Dec. 4, 7:30-8:30 p.m.
Where: Online – Register here for the link!
Cost: FREE


Saturday, December 5

** Virtual Event **
Added! Letters to Santa!

What: Santa’s helpers at the West Branch Library have been busy making preparations to deliver your child’s letter to Santa!

They will be handing out letter kits in the take-home craft bags as a part of the Santa Claus Cruise during Christmas Past on December 5th (OR you may drop off your own letter if you are unable to get one that day). 𝗗𝗿𝗼𝗽 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗹𝗲𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗼 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗹𝗶𝗯𝗿𝗮𝗿𝘆 𝗯𝗼𝗼𝗸 𝗿𝗲𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗻 𝗯𝘆 𝗗𝗲𝗰𝗲𝗺𝗯𝗲𝗿 𝟭𝟭𝘁𝗵 so Santa has plenty of time to read your letter and write a letter back to you from the North Pole!
GUARDIANS: Santa, of course, knows where each child lives; however, the post office needs home addresses to deliver the letters! And because each child at the same address will receive their own letter from Santa at home, it is most important that you check to see that your child’s name and complete home address are correct and legible.
Please contact the library with questions!
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Dec. 5 through Fri., Dec. 11
Where: West Branch Public Library, 300 Downey St., West Branch
Cost: FREE

Breakfast with Santa – Dubuque, IA

What: A Toys for Tots Fundraiser. Great fun for the kids! Join us for a delicious breakfast, crafts, cookie decorating, Christmas stories, music, and (of course!) a visit from Santa! Children eat free with a donation of a new, unwrapped toy for Toys For Tots.
Breakfast will be plated and include French Toast Sticks, Sausage, and Apple Juice Boxes for the children, and Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, Chef’s Potatoes, Orange Juice, and Coffee for adults.
Reservations are recommended. Due to COVID-19 mitigation efforts, only tables of six guests may be reserved. Temperature checks will be taken in order to attend and to visit Santa. Call 563.588.5595 to make your reservation.
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Dec. 5, 8:00-11:00 a.m.
Where: Hotel Julien Dubuque, 200 Main St., Dubuque (~1.5 hours NE of Iowa City)
Cost: $9.50 or a Toys for Tots donation for children; $16 for adults

Updated! Breakfast with Santa – Vinton, IA

What: To encourage social distancing, this year our Breakfast with Santa event will be drive-thru style! Santa will be handing out gift bags through vehicle windows and breakfast will be given in to-go containers! Includes breakfast, a visit with Santa (a wave through your car window), coloring book and crayons, and a special treat from Santa! All family members welcome.
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Dec. 5, 9:00-10:00 a.m.
Where: Vinton Skate & Activity Center, 1703 C Ave., Vinton, IA (~45 minutes north of Iowa City)
Cost: $5.00 per person

Holiday Thieves Market (multiple dates)

What: Summer of the Arts happily stepped in to continue a favorite, 50-year holiday tradition. They are proud to offer this fine art show as an opportunity for area residents to shop for those special holiday gifts. Attendees can browse the amazing ceramics, fiber, drawing, glass, jewelry, metal, mixed media, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, and wood items. Many of the participating artists have been involved for over 20 years! Masks and social distancing required at this event.
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Dec. 5 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Sun., Dec. 6, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Where: Coralville Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, 300 E. 9th St., Coralville
Cost: Just the cost of your purchases!

Santa at the Farm!

What: Join Bass Farms for another year of Santa at the Farm! Come sit on Santa’s lap and give him your Christmas Wish List!! Grab a picture with Santa while you are here! (Please bring your own camera, BYOC!) Shop the country store filled with local honey, jams, jellies, meat sauces, salad dressings, Edgewood Locker Meats, fabulous wine, local hand soap, and more! Grab a scoop of peppermint ice cream or another favorite from our shop!
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Dec. 5, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Where: Bass Farms, 840 Bass Lane, Mount Vernon, IA
Cost: FREE

Cancelled Christmas in Kalona

What: Join us for a full day of holiday festivities! Christmas in Kalona will have some changes this year due to COVID but we are still planning to have activities downtown for all ages! Watch here for upcoming details.
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Dec. 5, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Where: Kalona, IA
Cost: Just the cost of any purchases!

Added! 2020 Holiday Retail Open House

What: Join our downtown shops for the annual Holiday Retail Open House! Each participating retailer will be hosting a holiday party at their store that includes snacks, drinks, or a small gift for you at each stop. See details below whether each shop is hosting the event in-person, online, or by curbside pick-up. Make sure to check the shop’s websites or social media pages for store hours.

For the safety of customers, the shop’s hosting the event in-person will have a limited capacity. Check the signs on their doors to see how many patrons are allowed in at a time and remember, face-coverings are required, hand sanitizer is provided, and please keep a safe distance while shopping.
Participating Retailers:
In-Person: Active Endeavors, Akar Design, Beno’s Flowers, Catherine’s Boutique – Iowa City, Discerning Eye Optical, Dulcinea Iowa City, Ewers Mens Store Iowa City, Herteen & Stocker Jewelers, Luxe Interiors, Prairie Kitchen Store, Tailgate Iowa, Ten Thousand Villages, Iowa City, Velvet Coat, Textiles, Domby, Om gifts for body and soul, and Glassando
Online Only: Revival Clothing Store
Curbside Only: rsvp, Sweets and Treats of Iowa City
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Dec. 5, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Where: Downtown Iowa City
Cost: Just the cost of your purchases!

Christmas at the Farm

What: Join us for our first Christmas at the Farm in Walker, IA. Christmas market held indoors featuring the best local handmade crafters. Cozy up by the wood stove, shop, and support local business! Pine Hill flower shop will be open and filled with holiday inspiration and goods. Handmade wreaths, centerpieces, Pine Hill candles, Door County Coffee, and more. Slow down with an outdoor campfire & take in the holiday sights of the farm.
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Dec. 5, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Where: Pine Hill Farm, 4022 Campfire Rd., Walker, IA (~1 hour north of Iowa City)
Cost: Just the cost of purchases!

Updated! Old World Christmas Market

What: Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we will not have our traditional in-person Old World Christmas Market the first weekend of December. We are doing things differently this year so we can all be safe, healthy, and happy together for many holiday celebrations in the future! The NCSML will be open regular business hours from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, December 5, and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, December 6, with a reimagined virtual market:
– Shop the award-winning Museum Store online at store.ncsml.org. Free shipping available for orders placed Nov. 27 through Dec. 24, with local delivery options. The Store is available for in-person shopping whenever the NCSML is open.
– Support the vendors online at store.ncsml.org from Nov. 27 through Dec. 24.
– Pick up holiday treats at the first-ever Drive Through Cookie Walk from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Sat., Dec. 5. Pre-order will be available starting Nov. 23 through Dec. 4 here.
– Thanks to UFG Insurance, visitors can enjoy free admission to NCSML galleries Dec. 5 and Dec. 6. All visitors must wear facemasks and maintain social distancing.
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Dec. 5, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Where: National Czech & Slovak Museum, 1400 Inspiration Pl. SW, Cedar Rapids
Cost: Just the cost of your purchases!

** Virtual Event **
Added! 19th Annual Cedar Rapids Area Merry TubaChristmas 2020

What: Yes, we are having a Greater Cedar Rapids Area Merry TubaChristmas event for 2020, and yes, due to COVID-19, it will be quite different than previous years! This year our event will be a virtual streaming event via Facebook. This year we have partnered with the Cedar Rapids Municipal Band to produce an online streaming event via Facebook. The Low brass quartet from the Municipal Band will perform the usual line-up of great Christmas tunes from past TubaChristmas concerts. These musicians are volunteers and will follow social distancing guidelines during this performance.

If you are interested in playing along at home, details can be found here!
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Dec. 5, 2:00 p.m.
Where: Online here
Cost: FREE

** Mom Event or Date Night **
Prelude to Christmas Vintner Dinner

What: The Ox Yoke Inn and White Cross Cellars present our Prelude to Christmas Classic Vintner’s Dinner. Enjoy a specially prepared four-course Prime Rib meal at the Ox Yoke Inn featuring White Cross Cellars wine paired with each course. Celebrate the holiday season with a classic meal on the evening of Prelude to Christmas after enjoying the ambiance of Amana’s candlelit streets.
Who: Adults
When: Sat., Dec. 5, 6:00-8:30 p.m.
Where: Ox Yoke Inn, 4420 220th Trail, Amana
Cost: Please check back for more details on this menu or call the Ox Yoke Inn at 319-622-3441 to purchase your tickets.  Seating is limited.

** Virtual Event **
UI Choirs Broadcast

What: The University of Iowa choirs will be streaming their December concert online!
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Dec. 5, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Online here
Cost: FREE


Sunday, December 6

Updated! Virtual: Santa at NewBo City Market

What: Santa is returning to the Market! This year, they’ll be reading stories live on Facebook every Sunday! They’ll also be reading your letters LIVE! Starting November 29, Santa’s mailbox will be at the Market, and you can come drop off your holiday wishes to be read on the Facebook livestream the following Sunday!
(We’ll also be seeing some different faces represent Santa this year! Check back soon for more info!)
No need to register to have your letter read, although you can use the ticket link here to donate to the Market so that they can continue providing fun and family-friendly programming in the future!

Who: All ages
When: Sundays Dec., 6, Dec. 13, and Dec. 20 from 12:00-2:00 p.m. each of these dates
Where: Online!
Cost: FREE, but your donations are welcome here.

Holiday Pet Pictures

What: Head to the Cedar Valley Humane Society for a holiday professional photo session with Carl from Visions Photography, a fantastically tempting bake sale, and be sure to check out our retail pet toys and supplies while 20% off! Bring your kiddos (dogs, cats, and kids alike) and have some fun Christmas photos taken!
Who: You and your pets!
When: Sun., Dec. 6, 12:00-4:00 p.m.
Where: Cedar Valley Humane Society, 7411 Mount Vernon Rd. SE, Cedar Rapids
Cost: You will receive a digital photo for only $10. Book your time slot here today!

** Mom Event **
Wood Sign Painting Workshop at Guild

What: Come create a one-of-a-kind piece with Creative Expressions Galena! There are over 250 wood sign designs to choose from, or they can customize something for you. There are many different shapes and sizes, and various stain and paint-color choices, and prices vary. Your seat will be waiting for you with all of your supplies, and your wonderful instructor will guide you through each step.

Be sure to support the location by purchasing food and/or drinks as they are generous in welcoming us into their space.

Please read their Covid-19 disclaimer prior to registering for the workshop. This workshop is not recommended for persons over 65 years of age or women who are pregnant at this time due to COVID-19.
Who: Tweens, Teens, Moms
When: Sun., Dec. 6, 1:00-3:00 p.m.
Where: Guild, 52 2nd St., Coralville
Cost: $55.00-$119.00; prices vary depending on the project you choose. Register here.

** See this link for more dates in Kalona, Blue Grass, Iowa City, Lisbon, Muscatine, West Branch, Morning Sun, Coralville, Mount Vernon, Riverside, and more! **


Monday, December 7

** Virtual Event **
North Liberty Rec Center Calls from Santa (multiple dates)

What: Here is your chance to have Santa Claus call your house and talk to your kids! The calls are free and will fall within the selected date and time. Please take the time to fill out all the questions and write down what day and time you select. Each call will last from 2-3 minutes.
Who: Kids ages 4-9
When: Mon., Dec. 7 through Thurs., Dec. 10, 6:30-7:30 p.m. each evening
Where: Wherever you are!
Cost: FREE, but you need to register at the above link

** Virtual Event **
UI Bands Broadcast (multiple dates)

What: The University of Iowa bands will be streaming their December concert online!
Who: All ages
When: Mon., Dec. 7 and Thurs., Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Online here
Cost: FREE


Wednesday, December 9

** Mom Event **
Wood Sign Painting at Frida Kahlo Mexican Restaurant

What: Join Gena’s Designs from the Heartland for a fun time where you will make your own wood sign to take home and show off! Not creative? No problem! Gena will walk you through the class step-by-step. All supplies will be provided. Pre-registration is required by December 1st or when seats are full. See designs here.
Who: Tweens, Teens, Moms
When: Wed., Dec. 9, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Where: Frida Kahlo Mexican Restaurant, 101 Windflower Lane, Suite 500, Solon
Cost: $49-$100, depending on what sign you choose. Register here!
** See this link for November dates in Marengo, West Branch, Muscatine **

** Virtual Event **
Added!
The World’s Best Christmas Tree Competition 2020 (Online)

What: “Santa Claus Live” has set this World’s Best Christmas Tree Competition 2020 event up as a bit of fun in the hope that people enjoy taking part in the competition or just looking at all the amazing trees. Remember, no Christmas tree is better than the next no matter how big or expensive, it is what the tree means to you that makes it special.

If you would like to enter your Christmas Tree in to the competition or simply look and vote on the amazing tree’s then please click “Going” on the event then join the Competition Facebook Group here. Details on entering the competition or voting on your favorite Christmas Trees are on the pinned post at the top of the group.
You can post your entries from today and the first round winners will be announced on 15th December in the group.
Who: All ages
When: Wed., Dec. 9 through Wed., Dec. 23
Where: Online
Cost: FREE

Thursday, December 10

** Virtual Event **
Happy Hanukkah (Chanukah)!!! Story Book Read

What: Kick off the first night of Hanukkah with a special storybook read. This event will include learning new songs and reading themed books such as Elmo’s Little Dreidel.
Miss Melissa will teach us, including Miss Lydia, how to play with the dreidel!
Who: Geared toward preschoolers
When: Thurs., Dec. 10, 2:00-2:30 p.m.
Where: Online here at the Hackley, Michigan, Public Library’s FB page
Cost: FREE

** Mom Event **
Event Full, but…

See this link for more dates in Kalona, Blue Grass, Iowa City, Lisbon, Muscatine, West Branch, Morning Sun, Coralville, Mount Vernon, Riverside, and more!

Wood Sign Painting Workshop at Cedar Ridge

What: Come create a one-of-a-kind piece with Creative Expressions Galena! There are over 250 wood sign designs to choose from, or they can customize something for you. There are many different shapes and sizes, and various stain and paint color choices, and prices vary. Your seat will be waiting for you with all of your supplies, and your wonderful instructor will guide you through each step.

Be sure to support the location by purchasing food and/or drinks as they are generous in welcoming us into their space.

Please read their Covid-19 disclaimer prior to registering for the workshop. This workshop is not recommended for persons over 65 years of age or women who are pregnant at this time due to COVID-19.
Who: Tweens, Teens, Moms
When: Thurs., Dec. 10, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Where: Cedar Ridge Winery & Distillery, 1441 Marak Rd. NW, Swisher
Cost: $55.00-$119.00; prices vary depending on the project you choose. Register here.

** Virtual Event **
Virtual Menorah Lighting (multiple dates)

What: Join us for a virtual lighting of the Menorah which represents the Jewish Festival of Chanukah. It is marked by the successive kindling of eight lights. This is a recurring event. We will be lighting the Menorah on Facebook Live on December 10, 14, 15, 16, and 17, at 5:00 PM PST each day. We hope you can join us!
Who: All ages
When: Dec, 10, 14, 15, 16, and 17 at 7:00 p.m. each evening
Where: Online!
Cost: FREE! Join the FB Live here!


Friday, December 11

Event Full Cedar Rapids Library Program to Go: Family Holiday Fun Pack

What: “Programs to Go” are kits that patrons reserve in advance for pickup. The Program to Go Holiday Fun Pack will include loads of activities for the whole family. Paint a wooden ornament, read a family-friendly book, create a Santa Claus craft, and more!  Make some Happy Holiday memories! Everything in the kit, including a book, is yours to keep. Register in advance to pick up a Holiday Fun Pack on December 11 at the Downtown or Ladd Library. One kit per family, please.
Who: Families
When: Fri., Dec. 11
Where: At home, but kits may be picked up at the Cedar Rapids Downtown Library (450 5th Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids) or Ladd Library (3750 Williams Blvd. SW, Cedar Rapids)
Cost: Free, but advance registration is required. Registration opens 11/16/20. See link above.

** Mom Event **
The Maker’s Second Annual Holiday Market (Multiple dates)

What: The Maker’s was started by a group of local artists and makers. Come celebrate this holiday season shopping small and gifting handmade goods for all the people in your life. The Makers: Holiday Market in December will look a bit different this year. To allow a safe shopping event, for both artists and shoppers, masks will be REQUIRED at all times while in the building. A limited number of people will be allowed in at one time. Private shopping hours will be available upon request, both Friday and Saturday. These shopping times are outside the normal hours of operation. Please contact them to schedule a private viewing.
Who: Moms and maybe your older kids
When: Fri., Dec. 11, 11am – 6pm; Sat., Dec. 12, 10am – 5pm; Sun., Dec. 13, 10am – 3pm
Where: 312 E. College St., Iowa City
Cost: Just the cost of what you buy!

** Virtual Event **
Holidays with the Hawkeyes – Tubas!

What: The tubas must go on! Celebrate the holiday season virtually with the University of Iowa Holiday Tubas. Make a cup of hot cocoa and enjoy this annual campus tradition in the comfort of your own home.

Can’t tune in for this virtual performance? Watch it later on the University of Iowa Center for Advancement’s YouTube page.
Who: All Ages
When: Fri., Dec. 11, 12:30-1:30 p.m. (or later on YouTube)
Where: Online!
Cost: FREE, but register here for the link

Holiday Laser Light Show (multiple dates)

What: See holiday lights in a whole new way! Join us for a drive-in laser light show on the grounds of Hawkeye Downs! Each show is 30 mins long.
Who: All ages
When: Fri., Dec. 11, Sat., Dec. 12, and Sun., Dec. 13, shows at 5:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m., and 9:30 p.m. each night
Where: Hawkeye Downs Speedway & Expo Center, 4400 6th Street SW, Cedar Rapids
Cost: $25/car. Tickets available here.

** Virtual Event **
Added! Ely Public Library Kahoot! Christmas Music Trivia!

What: Join the Ely Public Library and challenge your holiday music knowledge from the safety and comfort of your home using your own devices, such as computer, smart phone and/or tablet! You may be familiar with Kahoot from your children. It’s an online quiz format where multiple choice questions are posted, and you get points for correct answers and speed! It may help to download the Kahoot app ahead of time so you’ll be ready. Join in through Zoom here to get the Kahoot PINS to login and play.
Who: All ages
When: Fri., Dec. 11, 7:00 p.m.
Where:
Online! Join the Zoom to get the login info for the Kahoot!
Cost: FREE

** Virtual Event **
Added! Jim Brickman: Comfort & Joy at Home Live! Virtually

What: THIS IS A VIRTUAL CONCERT! Enjoy a one of a kind personal concert experience with Jim Brickman and support the Paramount Theatre from your couch, bed or comfy chair! Grammy Nominated Songwriter and piano sensation Jim Brickman will be taking the nation by storm this holiday season with the “Comfort & Joy at Home 2020” Virtual Tour. A portion of each ticket purchased to this LIVE event will be benefit the Paramount Theatre. Fans and their families can enjoy this unique virtual concert experience from the comfort of home, while supporting the Paramount Theatre during this challenging time.

Brickman will bring the LIVE concert experience up close and personal by blending yuletide memories and holiday carols with his own hit songs such as, “The Gift,” “Sending You A Little Christmas,” “Angel Eyes” and “If You Believe.” Brickman will warm the hearts of all as sweet sounds of faith and love make spirits bright, bringing family and friends together for anything but a silent night. The Jim Brickman’s Christmas tradition continues, with a front row experience like never before.
Who: All ages
When: Fri., Dec. 11, 7:00 p.m.
Where: Online!
Cost: $40-$125. See the different levels and get your tickets here!

** Virtual Event **
Added! It’s a Wonderful Life – A Live Radio Play

What: This beloved American holiday classic comes to captivating life as a live 1940s radio broadcast by The Giving Tree Theater in Marion. With the help of an ensemble that brings a few dozen characters to the stage, the story of idealistic George Bailey unfolds as he considers ending his life one fateful Christmas Eve.
Who: The movie version is not rated. Common Sense Media recommends it for ages 9+
When: Dec. 11, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, and 20 from 8:00-10:00 p.m. each night
Where: Online!
Cost: $22, and you can get your tickets here!


Saturday, December 12

Added! Holiday Hoopla (Drive-Thru)

What: Hosted by Infuse Church. Santa, Cookie, Crafts, and more are back this year, Drive-Thru style. Stay in your car the entire time, decorate cookies, get your pic with Santa, and it’s all free. Event will continue so long as supplies last, so get there early. Check FB for weather-related updates.
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Dec. 12, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Where: New Tiffin Soccer Fields Parking Lot
Cost: FREE

Added! Virtual Gingerbread Party

What: Stop by Center Court on December 12th and pick up your gingerbread kit to make at home! Post your finished house to social media and tag Lindale Mall to be entered to win a gift card!
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Dec. 12, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Where: Pick up your gingerbread kit at Lindale Mall, 4444 1st Ave. NE, Cedar Rapids
Cost: FREE

** Date Night plan for the kids! **
Kidcreate Studio Date Night – Silly Santa

What: Do you have plans that don’t include your little ones? Do you want to see a movie that isn’t animated or enjoy a dinner that doesn’t include french fries? Sign your kids up for their own night out!

Ho ho ho! Silly Santa stuck in the chimney again?? In this class, artists will use clay, paint, and more to create a hilarious sculpture. This whimsical creation is sure to be the hit of your Christmas display… or it makes a great gift for a friend or relative with a silly sense of humor. Be sure to register early; this class fills up FAST!

Please pack a nut-free snack and a drink for your child.
Who: Kids ages 4-9
When: Sat., Dec. 12, 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Where: 1121 Blairs Ferry Rd. NE, #300, Cedar Rapids
Cost: $33 for members, $37 for non-members; Additional children 50% off! Register here.

** Mom Event or Date Night! **
WineStyles Annual Holiday Showcase

What: Mark your calendar so you don’t miss WineStyles’ Annual Holiday Showcase. This annual event is their way of saying “thank you” for a great year! Stop in and have a drink on them – they’ll have about 50 open bottles for you to taste.
Who: Adults 21+
When: Sat., Dec. 12, 6:00-9:00 p.m.
Where: WineStyles Iowa River Landing, 920 E. 2nd Ave., Suite 115, Coralville
Cost: The Annual Holiday Showcase tasting is **FREE** for you, and for everyone. So tell your neighbors and bring your friends! (Register here to help them with their headcount.)

** Virtual Event **
Added! Canadian Pacific Holiday Train At Home Virtual Concert

What: The 22nd annual #CPHolidayTrain is back. And this year, its first—and only—stop is your home! Although the train might look a bit different this year, we’re keeping the spirit of Christmas alive with a virtual concert via Facebook Live to raise money for food banks across North America. Celebrate the holidays with us and listen to great music, including performances by Serena Ryder, The Trews, JoJo Mason, Logan Staats, and Kelly Prescott.
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Dec. 12, 7:00 p.m.
Where: Online
Cost: FREE


Sunday, December 13

** Virtual Event **
Tour the Old City of Jerusalem this Hanukkah – A Free Live Virtual Tour

What: Don’t miss this incredible opportunity to connect to Jerusalem and Hanukkah! This virtual tour, led by David Sussman Israel Tours, will be engaging for families and people of all ages. Will walk through the streets of the Old City leading up to the Kotel, or Western Wall. Meet local residents of the Old City and discover how they celebrate Hanukkah. Watch the official Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony at the Western Wall.
Who: All ages
When: Sun., Dec. 13, 8:30 a.m.
Where: Online!
Cost: FREE. Register here!

** Virtual Event **
Hanukkah LEGO Virtual Workshop

What: In this Virtual workshop, kids will become one with Jewish heritage as they learn the history of and recreate several relics of Jewish traditions, such as placing mezuzah’s on homes, the history behind Hanukkah, and the functions of dreidels and menorahs. Students will use a combination of learned history and their imaginations to create their own twist on these items using LEGO bricks and other building materials you have at home (bricks, baseplate if available, paper, and pencil).
Who: Ages 5-12
When: Sun., Dec. 13, 9:00-10:00 a.m.
Where: Online!
Cost: $10.00. Register here!

Coralville Aisle of Lights

What: See how thousands of white paper sacks, each filled with sand and a votive candle, create a magical scene on a winter evening! Miles of luminarias are available for viewing by foot or car. Aisle of Lights is held annually on the second Sunday in December.

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. Coralville’s annual Aisle of Lights luminaria display began in 1980. The City and community volunteers will light luminarias on 5th Street (1st Avenue to S.T. Morrison Park), 12th Avenue (Highway 6 to Oakdale Boulevard), and Holiday Road (1st Avenue to 12th Avenue).

Watch here for updates on all the activities for Aisle of Lights!
Who: All ages
When: Sun., Dec. 13, 5:00-9:00 p.m.
Where: Throughout Coralville
Cost: FREE

** Virtual Event **
Added! The Hip Hop Nutcracker Streaming Version

What: A holiday mash-up for the whole family, directed and choreographed by Jennifer Weber, The Hip Hop Nutcracker – recorded live at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center – is a contemporary dance spectacle set to Tchaikovsky’s timeless music.
Who: All ages
When: Sun., Dec. 13, 6:00-7:25 p.m.
Where: Online!
Cost: $20 ($50 for VIP) – Get your ticket here!


Tuesday, December 15

** Virtual Event **
A Magical Family Hanukkah Celebration

What: Join the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and jkidphilly for some safe, festive, holiday fun — 2020 style.
– Celebrate the festival of lights with neighbors and friends.
– Light candles.
– Belt out Hanukkah songs.
– Be mesmerized by the magic of Adam Elbaum.
– Compete in fun games like Hanukkah BINGO.
Hanukkah BINGO card and prayer booklet will be available via digital download upon registration!
Who: Families
When: Tues., Dec. 15, 4:30-5:15 p.m.
Where: Online!
Cost: FREE! Register here.


Friday, December 18

** Virtual Event **
 Coralville Center for the Performing Arts & City Circle Theatre Company present “A Christmas Cabaret”

What: When the quarantine blues cause Santa to consider canceling Christmas, it is up to the elves to restore his holiday spirit! Featuring talented performers from throughout the Corridor, this musical variety show will bring the holidays right to your screen in this internet broadcast.

This virtual performance is professionally filmed and streamed right into your home! Buy your tickets now, and watch the show at a time of your choice on December 18, 19, and 20!
Who: All ages
When: Fri., Dec. 18 through Sun., Dec. 20
Where: Online
Cost: $12 for students, $15 for seniors over 55, and $17 for adults. Selecting the right ticket is on the “honor system”—thank you for choosing the correct ticket price, it makes City Circle possible. Tickets available here.


Saturday, December 19

** 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. 19, 6:00-8:00 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. Get your tickets here!

** Mom Event or Date Night! **
Holiday Trivia night with Kenny “Kringle” Weets

What: It’s time to test your knowledge with round three of our popular trivia contest. This time it’s all about celebrating the season with some fun holiday-themed trivia! Guests can compete in teams of up to four members. Back by popular demand, Riverside’s own, Kenny “Kringle” Weets will be the trivia master and leader of holiday cheer for the evening. Your ticket gets you a table for up to four team members, your own personal spread of pub food favorites, and three drink tickets per team member. What’s a holiday festivity without gifts? Don’t you worry! Kenny and his elves will be giving away exciting door prizes throughout the night. What if the Hawkeyes are playing? We’ll broadcast the game on the big screen during the event so you won’t miss a thing! Grab your social distancing pod members and come play some holiday trivia!

It’s all part of our Winter Fest Entertainment series!  A chance to get out of the house for a date night with your significant other or bestie in a fun, safe, socially distanced environment! Seating is general admission, and all tables will be set up to follow proper social distancing guidelines.

The Menu: Pita Chips with Spinach Artichoke Dip, Grilled Beef Sliders with Cheddar Cheese on Brioche with pickle spears, Buffalo Chicken Wings, Pork Spring Rolls with Sweet Chili Sauce, Bourbon BBQ Meatballs with Crispy French Onions. A cash bar will be available at the event.
Who: Adults 21+
When: Sat., Dec. 19, 7:00 p.m. (Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for team check-in)
Where: Riverside Casino & Golf Resort, Riverside, IA
Cost: $140 for a table of 4 ($35/person) plus an online/phone ticketing fee (this fee is waived when tickets are purchased in person in the Gift Shop).  Tax and gratuity are included.  No individual tickets will be sold.  Each ticket gets you a table for up to four people. Tickets available here.

Added! Christmas in the Key of A – Alisabeth Von Presley

What: As many local performers and touring shows have cancelled their holiday shows this season, Alisabeth Von Presley thought to try something she’s always wanted to do – perform in her own full-length production at the gorgeous Paramount Theatre. “Christmas In The Key Of A” will feature all of your favorite holiday music, choreographed dancers, backup singers, costumes, a live band and, of course, sequins! There also might be a few surprise visitors, including the big man himself.
Who: All ages
When: Sat., Dec. 19, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Paramount Theatre, 119 3rd Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids
Cost: $20/ticket. Get yours here!


Sunday, December 20

Added! Christmas Toddler Time at Sky Zone Cedar Rapids

What: Come see Santa & The Grinch at Sky Zone! Join in this Toddler Time Event, and celebrate Christmas with your little ones at Sky Zone!
Who: Ages 6 and under
When: Sun., Dec. 20, 9:30-11:00 a.m.
Where: Sky Zone, 5515 Council St. NE, Cedar Rapids
Cost: $14.99 for one parent and one child; $4.99 for each additional parent; $2.99 for socks.

** Virtual Event **
Added! Mini Muni Music – Horn Quartet

What: The Cedar Rapids Municipal Band’s horn quartet shares beautiful music as part of our Mini Muni Music series.
Who: All ages
When: Sun., Dec. 20, 2:00-3:00 p.m.
Where: Online here.
Cost: FREE

Kwanzaa Celebration 2020: Global Edition

What: A holiday created by Africanist scholar Dr. Maulana Karenga, Kwanzaa is a celebration held across the United States and in other nations of the African Diaspora. Kwanzaa is observed from December 26 to January 1, culminating in a feast and gift-giving. Kwanzaa celebrates what its founder called the seven principles of Kwanzaa, or Nguzo Saba, consisting of what Karenga called “the best of African thought and practice in constant exchange with the world.” Each of the seven days of Kwanzaa is dedicated to one of the principles.

Join in on December 20th for the third annual Kwanzaa Celebration as a YouTube Live streaming event! This year, things are going to be a little different, but the amazing quality of dance performances and good storytelling will still be the same!
Who: All ages
When: Sun., Dec. 20, 5:00-6:30 p.m.
Where: Online!
Cost: FREE. Register here to get the link!

Tuesday, December 22

** Virtual Event **
Added! Virtual Doodlebugs: Boxing Day

What: Boxing Day. Grab a cardboard box—any size will do—and whatever else might be lying around the house! Paint it, cut it, glue stuff to it… Turn a boring box into something completely new! We’ll check out Stan Widerspan’s super-realistic painting of cardboard boxes, read a story about the things a cardboard box could possibly become, and then set your imagination loose to come up with something awesome! Each child could work on a separate box, or several could work collectively on the same box. Who knows what could happen!
To do the art project along with Miss Erin, you’ll need these materials at the ready: A cardboard box (any size), and any other art materials you have handy (paint, markers, pencils, scissors, glue, paper, tape, string, stickers, stamps, etc.)

Who: All ages
When: Sun., Dec. 20, 2:00-3:00 p.m.
Where: Via Zoom here. (Meeting ID 569 551 9009)
Cost: FREE


Friday, December 25

Community Christmas Dinner

What: You’re invited to celebrate the true spirit of community! The meal will be a traditional Christmas meal and be available for carryout or delivery only, due to COVID-19 guidelines. To receive a meal, call 319-653-3749 and specify your name, carryout or delivery, the number of meals you’re requesting, your address, and phone number.
Who: All ages
When: Fri., Dec. 25, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (Doors open at 10:30 a.m.)
Where: Washington First Assembly of God, 1602 E. Washington St., Washington, IA (~30 minutes south of Iowa City)
Cost: FREE


Tuesday, December 29

Vinton Parks & Recreation Winter Carnival

What: Check out the Winter Carnival sponsored by Vinton Parks & Rec!
Who: Grade school age
When: Tues., Dec. 29, 9:00-11:00 a.m.
Where: Vinton Skate & Activity Center, 1703 C Ave., Vinton, IA (~45 minutes north of Iowa City)
Cost: Game tickets are just $0.10 each!


Thursday, December 31

** Virtual Event **
Cedar Rapids Library’s Noon Year’s Eve

What: Grab your party hats, noisemakers, and balloons, and get ready to count down to noon with the Cedar Rapids Public Library at home! Join a special guest for some music, fun, and a celebration of the start of 2021!
Who: All ages
When:
Thurs., Dec. 31, 11:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Where: Virtual event that can be viewed on the CR Library YouTube channel or Facebook page.
Cost: FREE

Vinton Parks & Rec’s New Year’s Eve at Noon

What: Vinton Parks & Recreation is hosting a New Year’s Eve at Noon party! Roller skating, pizza, games, party favors, and fun! Held at the Skate Center.
Who: Grades: K-5th.
When:
Thurs., Dec. 31, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Where: Vinton Skate & Activity Center, 1703 C Ave., Vinton, IA (~45 minutes north of Iowa City)
Cost: Cost is $7/person, and you must pre-register here.

** Mom Event or Date Night! **
Boy Band Bingo

What: It’s Gonna Be May! Boy Band (Music) Bingo Come out on New Year’s Eve for B-I-N-G-O + Name That Tune + Sing-a-longs while we play Boy Band Music Bingo! #ThisAintYourGrandmothersBingoNight
Who: Adults
When: Thurs., Dec. 31, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Where: DanceMor Ballroom, 77 2nd St. SE, Swisher, IA
Cost: FREE to play, Win FREE drinks


As 2020 winds down, making family memories seems more important than ever, so review the list, choose some activities, and enjoy some together time, whether online or in person!


This is a sponsored post. ICM was compensated for sharing this piece.  However, we love connecting our readers with people and organizations that are doing good in our community, and we think you will find this information helpful and informative!

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About Our Sponsor

Hungry? Chomp delivers! Chomp is an online ordering, takeout, and restaurant delivery service, bringing hot delicious local eats to people in the greater Iowa City area.  Check out their massive list of participating restaurants, and order exactly what you want when you want it. In a year where sitting around tables or sharing a meal or a drink with friends just isn’t an option, we are ESPECIALLY grateful for our friends at Chomp for bringing our favorites to our doorstep!

Sara C
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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