The best things to do to get into the Christmas spirit this weekend

Credit: Pedal Wagon Dayton

Credit: Pedal Wagon Dayton

When Christmas Day lands in the middle of a week, the weekend before can feel like pre-Christmas.

Last-minute shopping, meal prepping and making arrangements with family and friends— it’s important to not let days off work slip by without having a little Christmas fun for yourself.

Here are the best holiday happenings going on around Dayton this weekend:

Did we miss an awesome holiday event? Let us know and we’ll be sure to add it to the list. Contact us at

🎅Holiday Festivities

Dayton Ballet's The Nutcracker 

“The Nutcracker” is a seasonal staple each December from dance companies around the world. However, no city has the modern update presented each December by Dayton Ballet. The program, reimagined in 2013, features choreography from the company’s artistic director Karen Russo Burke, sets designed by Ray Zupp and costumes by Lowell Mathwich.

The Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra and a cast of more than 100 Dayton-area students joined Dayton Ballet for "The Nutcracker," which opened a new run at the Schuster Center, Second and Main streets, Dayton, on Dec. 14. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with 2:30 p.m. matinees on Saturday and Sunday. A special sensory-friendly show is offered at 2 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 20.  "The Nutcracker" is presented through Sunday, Dec. 23. Cost: $18-$73. Tickets are $25 for the sensory friendly show. Call 937-228-3630 or visit

🎅Visit Santa

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

It’s no secret: all the kids know that Santa Claus comes to town before Christmas Eve to note what toys he needs to make at the North Pole before making his big trip. Luckily for us, Dayton has plenty of places you can visit Santa with your kids this year. Make this holiday a special one for your children and bring them out to experience a beloved holiday tradition with the jolly old man himself.

>>Here’s where you can find Santa in Dayton

Here one of Santa’s visits we are looking forward to the most this weekend:

*For a complete list of Santa's visits in the Dayton-area, click here

-Santa’s visit to Omega Music

Santa is already a very cool guy. Somehow, he gets even cooler when he’s “Record Store Santa”. Santa will be hanging out at Omega Music on Saturday to take free photos with good boys and girls, adults and even well-behaved pups. Don’t forget to bring your camera.

When: 1 p.m.- 3 p.m. Saturday, December 22

Where: Omega Music, 318 E. 5th St., Dayton

Admission: Free



Credit: Jerry Huffman

Credit: Jerry Huffman


The Woodland Lights of Washington Township is one of the longest-running and most popular annual lights festivals in the Miami Valley area.

The half-mile wooded path is perhaps the signature feature of Woodland Lights, featuring lighted holiday-themed figures and vignettes such as reindeer, elves and snowflakes, but also regular objects such as airplanes and helicopters. In addition to the lights, the event includes amusement rides, live animals, concessions and activities for kids. The display is open from 6-9 p.m. Friday through Sunday, Nov. 23-Dec. 2 and nightly Dec. 7-23. Countryside Park on the Washington Township Recreation Campus, 895 Miamisburg-Centerville Road, Washington Twp. Tickets are available at the gate, any Washington Twp. recreation facility or online. Tickets are $8 age 3 and up. Tickets are free for children 2 and younger.

More info: FacebookWebsite

>>This breathtaking holiday lights festival is one of Dayton’s longest running displays


It will be the second weekend for Dayton’s newest holiday lights tradition. See Carillon Historical Park’s 65-acre campus at 1000 Carillon Blvd. transformed into a winter wonderland of sparkle, magic and holiday cheer. The Carillon Tree of Light with thousands of lights stands at 200 feet, affixed to the top of 151 foot tall Deeds Carillon. The tree consists of over 20,000 light bulbs on nearly 100 separate strands that come to life each night at dusk and blaze through until dawn for the entire month of December. Special activities include photos with Santa, carolers, model train displays, plus train ride, carousel ride and scavenger hunts for extra fee. Hours are Sunday-Thursday, 5-9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 5-10 p.m. The cost is $10 per adult (18-59), $9 seniors (60 and older), $7 children (3-17), free for children under 3 and Dayton History members.

More Info: FacebookWebsite

>> The story behind Carillon’s Tree of Light

>> Our favorite photos of the Carillon Tree of Light


Unlike other light displays where the lights are already on when you arrive, Clifton Mill, 75 Water St., in Clifton, stages a dramatic opening where people who arrive at 6 p.m. get to see all four million lights turn on at once, producing that “ooh and aah” moment. Throughout the evening, either on the hour or every half hour, the lights will be turned off and then turned on again so the later-comers can experience it as well. Don't miss the Santa Claus Museum on site. Refreshments for sale. Open 5-9 p.m. nightly. Lights go on at 6 p.m. Closes at 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. Cost: $10. Kids 6 and under are free. Parking is free.

More info: FacebookWebsite

>>Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill wins $50,000 prize on national TV special

>> PHOTOS: Gorgeous photos of historic Clifton Mill in lights


Winter Solstice Concert Series

>>Celebrate Winter Solstice with 5 nights of tribute bands at the Yellow Cab

The darkest nights of the year are going to be some of the liveliest, as the Yellow Cab Tavern hosts the first annual Winter Solstice Concert Series on Wednesday, Dec. 19 through Sunday, Dec. 23 with performances from local tribute acts Petty Thieves, Come Together, Set the Controls, Road Eyes and Great Northern String Band. Purchase tickets on

Where:The Yellow Cab, 700 E. 4th St., Dayton


  • Wednesday, Dec. 19 at 7 p.m.: An evening with Petty Thieves (a Tom Petty tribute) — $7 advance / $10 doors
  • Thursday, Dec. 20 at 7 p.m.: An evening with Come Together (a Beatles tribute) — $7 advance / $10 doors
  • Friday, Dec. 21 at 9:30 p.m.: An evening with Set the Controls for the heart of the fun: the one-night reunion of American Pink Floyd — $10 advance / $15 doors
  • Saturday, Dec. 22 at 7 p.m.: An evening with Road Eyes (a Neil Young tribute) — $9 advance / $13 doors
  • Sunday, Dec. 23 at 7:30 p.m.: An evening with Great Northern String Band (a Grateful Dead tribute) — $7 advance / $10 doors / $60 4-course dinner with Greek Street Food Truck and Lost Tunnel

Admission: $35 for 5 day pass, individual day passes available.

More info: Facebook

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