Its still a couple of weeks until a jolly fat guy in a red velvet suit shimmies down a gazillion chimneys, but until then you, your children and your out-of-town guests will find plenty of holiday activities to keep everyone entertained and (in the case of the tykes) distracted.
Besides dropping in on Mr. Scrooge in A Christmas Carol (at left), you and yours can go on a luminary walk, explore a chef-created gingerbread village, marvel at a jazzy reinterpretation of The Nutcracker and hang with the Grinch and Kansas Citys Fairy Princess. Not to mention Mr. and Mrs. Claus, who will be making so many appearances around town we wonder what those North Pole elves are getting up to.
Heres a sampler of kid-friendly, holiday-themed events around Kansas City.
Pretty lights (besides the Plaza)
Christmas in the Park, Longview Lake Park: 5:30-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 5:30-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday; through Dec. 31. A winter wonderland of 300,000 lights and 175 animated figures. Free. 11100 View High Drive. jacksongov.org/recreation
Community events (featuring Santa!)
All-Electric House, Shawnee: 1-4 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday; through Dec. 29. Its A Very Fifties Christmas, so rock around the aluminum tree! $1-$2. Johnson County Museum, 6305 Lackman Road. jocomuseum.org, 913-715-2550
Fairy Princess at Kansas City Museum: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays, noon-4 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 16. $8. Kids arts and crafts, complimentary photos with the princess. Also: Neighborhood Holiday Open House, 5-8 p.m. Friday, free. 3218 Gladstone Blvd. kansascitymuseum.org, 816- 483-8300
Whoville Holidays, City Market: 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Saturdays through Dec. 22. Bring a camera to take pictures with the Grinch (10:30-11:30 a.m. and noon-1 p.m.). Childrens activities area, too. Free. Fifth and Walnut. thecitymarket.org, 816-471-6168
Music and dance
Kansas City Ballets The Nutcracker: The holiday favorite, featuring the Kansas City Symphony. Saturday through Dec. 23, Muriel Kauffman Theatre, Kauffman Center. $29-$119. kcballet.org, 816-931-2232
Kansas City Symphonys TubaChristmas: Noon Dec. 13-14. Students, professionals and tuba enthusiasts perform Christmas tunes. Helzberg Hall, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway. Free, but reservations required. kcsymphony.org, 816-471-0400
Kansas City Symphony and Symphony Chorus Christmas Festival: Six shows Dec. 13-16. Songs of the season and a visit from Santa. $28-$70. Helzberg Hall, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway. kcsymphony.org, 816-471-0400
Holiday and patriotic songs, National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial: 12:30 p.m. Dec. 19. Featuring the Frank Rushton Elementary chorus from Kansas City, Kan. Free. 100 W. 26th St. theworldwar.org, 816-888-8100
This and that
Santas Crayola Christmas Land and Santas Gingerbread Village, Crown Center: Through Dec. 31. Kids can play on supersized Crayola products while waiting to visit Santa. Three locomotives choo-choo through the gingerbread village, created by Westin hotel chefs. Free. Also at Crown Center, dont forget the Mayors Christmas Tree; holiday choir shows (lunch hours and evenings, now through Friday, plus Dec. 3-7 and Dec. 10-14); the 40th season of Crown Center Ice Terrace; and family holiday movies at the Screenland Crown Center. 2450 Grand Blvd. crowncenter.com, 816-274-8444
Holiday Spirit Train, Union Station: The Jones Store Train was once a popular attraction at the downtown department store. Rider must be less than 48 inches tall (typically kids younger than 5 or 6). $5. Daily except Mondays through the holidays. Also at Union Station: holiday model railroad display, KC Holiday Memories exhibit, Kansas City Southerns Holiday Express train (and Santa) Dec. 14-16. 30 W. Pershing Road. unionstation.org, 816-460-2020
Fun With Santa and Mrs. Claus, Powell Gardens: 9 a.m.-noon Saturdays through Dec. 15. Kids can take a ride on the barrel train (weather permitting) and make something to take home. $7 for ages 4 and younger; $9, ages 5-12; $13, 13 and older. Also at Powell: luminary walks Dec. 8-9, holiday tea Dec. 15, holiday music Sunday and Dec. 8-9. Kingsville, Mo. powellgardens.org, 816-697-2600
Strawberry Hill Museum and Cultural Center, Kansas City, Kan.: Holiday Traditions of Many Cultures. St. Nicholas will drop by 1-4 p.m. Saturday. Exhibit hours noon-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; through Jan. 27. $3-$7. 720 N. Fourth. strawberryhillmuseum.org, 913-371-3264