An Ozark Mountain Christmas is Born

Branson has long been a town dedicated to celebrating Christmas. For more than a quarter century, Branson has made its holiday festivities a treasured tradition.

History of An Ozark Mountain Christmas

Every year, you can feel the Christmas Spirit as the town "decks the halls" for the holidays! It's all a part of a time honored tradition that's still evolving to this day. And it all started with a single Nativity Scene...


Nativity Scene

Branson's Christmas tradition began back in 1949.

In 1949 Steve Miller and Joe Todd worked feverishly to design and build a larger-than-life Nativity scene that would be illuminated on the bluff above Lake Taneycomo across from downtown Branson.

The inaugural lighting ceremony was on December 4, 1949, with 10,000 people packing the streets below (the population of Branson was only 1,100 at the time!). Over the next month, an additional 20,000 visitors had traveled to Branson to view the Adoration scene.


Adoration Parade

In 1953 the Chamber of Commerce started the Adoration Parade.

In 1953 the Chamber of Commerce announced that an Adoration parade featuring local marching bands and floats would accompany the Adoration scene, and this combined event continues today on the first Sunday of December. True to the founders’ hopes, this event’s focus is on the true reason for the reason, the birth of Jesus Christ.


Christmas Shows

Get in the Christmas spirit with a classic Branson Christmas show!

In the late 1980s, community leaders worked to expand the Branson tourist season well beyond the summer months, and Christmastime seemed the logical place to start. In 1988 Ozark Mountain Christmas was born. Beginning November 1 of each year, many of the live music shows converted to Christmas versions of their productions, businesses strung lights and hung festive decorations, and Silver Dollar City launched An Old Time Christmas. Click here to see our Live Christmas shows!


Festival of Lights

Explore the city of Branson with our Christmas Tree tour.

By 1990 the Ozark Mountain Christmas initiative added the Festival of Lights, which included placing impact light displays around town and hanging hundreds of lit stars on the streetlamps along Highway 76 and other major roads through Branson. Over the next few years, drive-through light displays, such as the Trail of Lights at The Shepherd of the Hills and others in the area, added to the season’s festivity. 


Experience an Ozark Mountain Christmas Today

Branson has not only kept the Christmas tradition all this time, but turned it into an even bigger, unforgettable experience.


Live Christmas Show Tradition

Get in the Christmas spirit with a classic Branson Christmas show!

With an amazing lineup of special performances and themed shows, a Christmas show in Branson is unlike any others. From country music to Broadway-style productions, Branson's lineup of live performances offers a wide variety of holiday entertainment.


Follow the Christmas Tree Trail

Make Branson your Christmas destination.

Today, Ozark Mountain Christmas is bigger and better than ever and has received multiple national designations as one of the top Christmas destinations in the country. Recently, Branson has been named “America’s Christmas Tree City” because during the holidays, over 700 colorful, unique, and creative trees in all shapes, sizes, and can be found throughout Branson. 


Drive-Thru Christmas Lights


Christmas light displays can be found all throughout the Branson area. Driving tours such as Let There Be Lights!, Branson's Lights of Joy and Trail of Lights are all great to explore. During the Christmas season, visitors can even experience light displays while walking down the Branson Landing.


Silver Dollar City's An Old Time Christmas

Explore the city of Branson with our Christmas Tree tour.

Silver Dollar City is home to the largest Christmas light display in this area during An Old Time Christmas. With Christmas in Midtown, you can find around 6.5 million lights across the park. Everyone can experience the wonder of Silver Dollar City during An Old Time Christmas festival. The child in everyone will come alive when they see the millions of lights covering the city. Live Christmas shows, 1,000 decorated Christmas trees, an eight-story Christmas tree with special effects and the Holly Jolly Christmas Light Parade are part of the park’s amazing holiday lineup. Don't miss this year's new show all the way from Broadway, Home for Christmas!


Ride the Polar Express

Get in the Christmas spirit with a ride on the Polar Express!

What better way to see the snowy Ozark Mountains than taking a ride on the train? The Branson Scenic Railway’s Polar Express Train Ride, based on “The Polar Express” film, will bring a warm smile to your face. Like the original story, hot chocolate and cookies are given out to each passenger. Santa will be there reading parts of the book during the train ride!

We hope that you’ll be able to experience the magic of the Ozarks Mountain Christmas season during your upcoming visit to Branson! See Christmas activities here

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