Ohio Holidays Top 5s: Tradition. Find It Here.
By Meg Schultz

Ohio Holidays Top 5s: Tradition. Find It Here.

Ohio offers time-honored traditions that connect family and friends through the years. From peaceful sleigh rides and festivals full of holiday cheer to days spent searching for the perfect tree or enjoying hot chocolate during a candlelight walk, Ohio provides ways to continue family traditions and make joyful, new memories. Check out the list below to discover holiday traditions in Ohio:

Holiday Lantern Tours at Sauder Village

Nov. 25 and Dec. 2, 8 & 9, Archbold

A favorite stop for getting into the holiday spirit, Sauder Village’s Holiday Lantern Tours offer a new theme twist this year: A 1920s Christmas. Celebrate the season by touring the village by lantern light, acting out “The Night Before Christmas” in the District 16 Schoolhouse, belting out period holiday songs, or making a novelty at the Tin Shop – just like those from generations past. Holiday shopping is available at the Sauder Village Gift Shop, Lauber’s General Store, the Herb Shop, Glass Shop and Pottery Shop. Make it an overnight at the Sauder Heritage Inn with the Holiday Lantern Tour Package. Reservations are required for the Lantern Tours, so make your plans today!

Memories of Christmas Past

Nov. 18 to Jan. 7, Youngstown

For the 10th anniversary of Memories of Christmas Past, the amazing 1905 Arts & Crafts mansion of Olive and Wilford Arms (and home of the Mahoning Valley Historical Society) is decked out in opulent, vintage holiday decor and vignettes crafted by professional designers. The event brings back the “best of” the past nine years including the stunning crystal tree, a tree covered entirely in Youngstown made Plakie Twinkler ornaments and a room bursting with color from thousands of American Shiny Brite ornaments. There are plenty of oooohhhs and ahhhhhs around every corner along with elves, reindeer games and special events including a model train display, behind the ropes tours and author visits.

Heritage Farms | Thursday – Sundays, Nov. 23 – Dec. 23 (until sold out), Peninsula

Channel your inner Clark Griswold and snag the perfect holiday tree at this 170-year-old farm nestled in the stunning Cuyahoga Valley. Afterward, warm up with hot chocolate and freshly baked cookies next to the sandstone fireplace at the onsite Tree Barn. Not in northeast Ohio? Browse Ohio’s other cut-your-own holiday tree farms here.

A Christmas Story House | Open Year-Round, Cleveland

Relive scenes from the movie as you tour the home from the “you’ll-shoot-your-eye-out” classic, “A Christmas Story.” The home has become a cherished holiday tradition since opening its doors a decade ago and provides the perfect setting for share-worthy pictures. Climb under the sink like little brother Randy, or decode a secret message in the upstairs bathroom like Ralphie. Don’t forget to pick up a souvenir leg lamp for someone on your gift list!

Steubenville Nutcracker Village & Advent Market | Nov. 24 to Jan. 7, Steubenville

Take your company to meet the Nutcracker soldiers of Steubenville. You will feel like you’re in a play as you walk through a lighted walkway flanked by the world’s largest collection of life-size nutcrackers – 150 strong, and still growing. Find the perfect holiday gift (or snack) at the open-air Advent Market, featuring local artisans selling their wares from miniature Swiss-style chalets.

Gardens Aglow at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens | Nov. 18 to Jan. 3, Columbus

The tradition of visiting Franklin Park Conservatory’s annual display of multi-colored poinsettias, seasonal foliage and twinkling lights will win the approval of all ages. This year, intricate gingerbread houses are being created to represent holiday traditions. Afterward, head several blocks west on Broad Street to see State Auto’s Christmas Corner, a life-size Nativity display that has been a must-see family tradition for decades.

Dickens of a Christmas at Ohio Village | Dec. 8-10 & 15-17, Columbus

A longtime favorite for history buffs and literary fans alike, Dickens of a Christmas exudes holiday joy from centuries past. The event brings Charles Dickens’ spirit to life through jolly carolers, decorations inspired by the famous author’s tales, and 19th -century-style cooking demonstrations. Browsing P. Wylie’s Emporium for the perfect gift is also a must.

Dickens Victorian Village | Nov. 1 to Dec. 31, Cambridge

Bundle up and travel back to 1850s England with this walking tour, featuring more than 180 life-size figures depicting scenes from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol throughout the city’s historic streets. Each day includes the Courthouse Holiday Lights Show, during which the 1881-era building is bathed in thousands of lights synchronized to holiday music. Enjoy a sweet candy cane cookie or gingerbread treat from Cambridge landmark, Kennedy’s Bakery.

WinterFest at Kings Island | Nov. 24 to Dec. 30 (select nights), Mason

Relive your favorite childhood memories at WinterFest, which returns to Kings Island after a hiatus that spanned more than a decade. Those who fondly remember ice skating on the Royal Fountain, marveling at the Eiffel Tower turned massive Christmas tree, and glimpsing Santa at the winter village along International Street will finally have a chance to introduce newbies to one of southwest Ohio’s favorite holiday traditions.

Christmas Candlelighting at Roscoe Village | Dec. 2 & 9, Coshocton

Embrace a simpler time and way of life during the lighting of this historic village’s 35-foot-tall Christmas tree, all while lighting your own candle and joining in the singing of “Silent Night.” Don’t miss out on a magical conversation with Santa, complimentary hot-mulled cider and cookies, and the special “A Roscoe Christmas” tour depicting 1830s-era holiday traditions.

Horse Drawn Sleigh Rides at Spiegel Grove | Dec. 26–31, Fremont

Snuggle up with someone special for a cozy sleigh ride fit for a president through Spiegel Grove, the estate and home of Rutherford B. Hayes. Don’t miss an opportunity to explore the nation’s first Presidential Library while you’re on the grounds, and take a turn engineering the multi-tiered, Victorian model train exhibit through intricate holiday scenes (opens Nov. 24).

Cincinnati Choo Choo Holiday Show | Nov. 18 to Jan. 7, Cincinnati

Krohn Conservatory, known for its stunning indoor and outdoor gardens, will delight train lovers young and old with this year’s holiday exhibition. It features trains and trolleys chugging through recreations of Cincinnati’s most iconic landmarks, surrounded by vibrant poinsettias and classic evergreens. Giggle as you capture selfies with miniature versions of the Roebling Bridge and Ault Park Pavilion.

Lebanon Horse-Drawn Carriage Parade | Dec. 2, Lebanon

Eagerly anticipated by visitors year after year, the Lebanon Horse-Drawn Carriage Parade is an iconic holiday tradition. Visitors can rejoice in the season with a day spent browsing the city’s quaint shops, like Golden Turtle Chocolate Factory and BluClover, where one-of-a-kind holiday gifts are plentiful. Listen for the melodic carolers and entertainment throughout the town before settling in with family and friends to watch majestic horses outfitted with jingle bells and polished harnesses pulling wagons decked out for the season.

Click here to search for more Holiday festivals and events (searchable by date and region) or click here to download/order your Ohio Fall/Winter Calendar of Events.
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About the Author

Meg is the Public Relations Coordinator for TourismOhio and works on editorial content for all print and digital publications. Meg is a Miami University graduate and currently serves as Public Relations Advisor for her collegiate sorority chapter. In her free time, Meg enjoys photography, writing and exploring all that her hometown of Columbus has to offer.

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