Branson carries the nickname, “America’s Christmas Tree City,” quite well. With each holiday season, this Ozark town in southwest Missouri has a lineup of festive events that begin in November and continue through New Year’s Day. Many sections of Branson also get into the spirit of an Ozark Mountain Christmas with Christmas trees and colorful light displays.
From attending Christmas-themed spectaculars to taking in holiday decor on public view, here are the top 10 things to do in Branson.
10 Branson’s Many Christmas Shows
Fans of Christmas shows will find many in Branson, with their format taking on country music or Broadway tunes.
Dolly Parton’s Stampede
“Dolly Parton’s Stampede” is quite the dinner theater experience. At this Branson attraction, the restaurant and show often features a presentation of 32 magnificent horses and a cast of top-notch riders performing daring feats of trick riding and friendly competition.
During the holiday season, the Stampede arena is turned into a fantasy land with twinkling lights, evergreens, poinsettias, old-fashioned holiday costumes and well-known Christmas music.
The live show might also have some new cast additions with the North Pole and South Pole elves facing off in a friendly rivalry — and St. Nick himself might make a guest appearance.
During the show, the audience will also enjoy a four-course, country-style meal with all the holiday fixings.
Deep In The Heart Of Christmas
“The Texas Tenors – Deep In The Heart Of Christmas” features this three-time Emmy Award-winning trio whose classical voices have crossed over into the country music scene.
Formed in 2009 by country singer JC Fisher, classical singer Marcus Collins and opera singer John Hagen, the trio were fourth-place winners on the fourth season of the hit TV show America’s Got Talent.
During their concerts, at Mickey Gilley Grand Shanghai Theatre, the vocal trio will sing country ballads and favorite arias in opera.
Their show is also accompanied by singers, dancers and magical characters along with special visual elements and effects providing a family holiday feel.
Legends in Concert Christmas Show
For 2022, “Legends in Concert Christmas Show” has their Celebrity Tribute Artists putting on a new Christmas show at Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater.
The show’s organizers are keeping mum on much of the program but what they did reveal some performers.
The audience will sing along to country classics performed by Carrie Underwood, Alan Jackson, Garth Brooks, The Blues Brothers™ (music from Bob’s Country Bunker) and be visited by Elvis Presley.
There may even be a special appearance by the jolly old man in red!
The Haygoods Christmas Show
“The Haygoods Christmas Show” is all about this group of six siblings (five brothers and one sister) presenting an all-new show at the Clay Cooper Theatre.
Hughes Brothers Christmas Show
The “Hughes Brothers Christmas Show” presents this foursome of siblings Marty, Jason, Ryan and Andy, along with their families. Together, they will create a Christmas wonderland full of song, instrumentals and dance.
“Christmas Wonderland” at King’s Castle Theatre is a lavish production filled with all the warmth of the season as a cast of singers and dancers guide the audience on an unforgettable and magical sleigh ride through a grand Christmas extravaganza.
The Duttons’ Christmas Show
“The Duttons’ Christmas Show” celebrates the holiday season with Celtic fiddles and Christmas classics to orchestrations and even a dancing snowman.
Presleys’ Christmas Jubilee
Then, there’s “Presleys’ Christmas Jubilee,” in which this longtime Branson act continues to entertain audiences with country, gospel and bluegrass music along with hilarious comedy.
9 Catch “An Old Time Christmas At Silver Dollar City”
Silver Dollar City, an 61-acre amusement park right outside of Branson, welcomes in this annual holiday spectacular every year.
The seasonal event urns this place into a seasonal wonderland with over 6.5 million twinkling lights and live holiday shows daily.
The venue will welcome a new half-million dollar production within their Red Gold Heritage Hall. It will feature a cast of 14 singers and dancers and a four-piece band performing many songs during five distinct Christmas scenes.
Along with this Christmas show, Silver Dollar City will provide family-style Christmas feasts. Seasonal offerings will include wassail, a paring of s’mores and hot chocolate, caramel apples and Christmas prime rib.
Aside from holiday offerings, the amusement park has a lot of water and motion rides and attractions.
There are also over 60 shops featuring collectibles and handmade goods for finding a souvenir to bring home.
8 Drive Through Christmas Light Displays
Take in Christmas lights in Branson while sitting in your car. The city has a number of drive through Christmas light displays.
Branson’s “Lights Of Joy Christmas Drive-Thru” gets in motion with hundreds of animated larger than life displays set up with various themes.
Some of the event’s themes will head on an imaginative trip to a Christmas Safari, Santa’s Village, and Penguin Holiday or stay with favorite classics such as “12 Days of Christmas.”
Also, a spectacular RGB color changing tunnel and with all LED lighting makes your experience bright. “Lights of Joy” is located at 700 Expressway Lane.
As Branson’s longest running drive through, the Trail of Lights at Shepherd of the Hills consists of a two-and-a-half-mile drive filled with many multicolored Christmas light displays.
Spot themed and animated displays, too. Afterwards, get something warm to drink from their Snack Shack.
“Let There Be Lights!” at Promised Land Zoo takes you on a two-mile Christmas lights display through the drive through portion of their zoo.
7 See Christmas Trees Around Branson
In referring again to Branson’s moniker as “America’s Christmas Tree City,” area businesses get involved in its meaning through putting up holiday trees.
For 2022, this tradition will be said to have displays of over 700 colorful trees that will come in various shapes, sizes and forms.
To help take in as many of these trees, the website, Branson Christmas.Info has compiled an “America’s Christmas Tree City Tour Guide.”
According to this website, this guide has mapped out Christmas trees that are said to be “at least 20 feet tall, completely unique or a part of a multi-tree display.”
Branson’s 2022 Community Christmas Tree will have the theme, “We All SHINE ON!”. The tree will appear in front of the Branson Ferris Wheel from November 1 through January 7, 2023.
Its decorating scheme is planned to be drenched in stars, light and color celebrating the unity and perseverance of Branson’s creative community.
Christmas shopping can feel like a fun activity, or completely the opposite, but Branson has places to go to make your gift buying cheerful. Silver Dollar City has a number of stores for making purchases while at the amusement park or log on to their online store.
Check out the year-round Christmas Hollow, or Jingle Bell Junction, or even the General Stock that’s stocked with modern farmhouse decor.
The Grand Village Shops also has many store options, with the Kringles Christmas Store and boutique and specialty shops.
5 Take a Showboat Cruise
A different way to celebrate the holiday season in Branson is on a boat. A Silver Dollar City attraction, the Showboat Branson Belle has a new Christmas show for 2022.
The show will feature five-star entertainers, backed by a four-piece band, performing music from the 1960s to today, with Christmas favorites sprinkled throughout the program.
The program will also include magic and comedy of the Showboat’s master of ceremonies, great soundtrack movie moments and some rhythm and footwork from the toe-tapping Showboat Dancers.
The sailing will also come with a three-course meal prepared in the ship’s galley.
4 Marvel At The “Miracle of Christmas Live on Stage”
Sight & Sound Theatres puts on their annual production of the Nativity Story that tells the chronology of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem to prepare for the birth of Jesus and then being visited by shepherds and The Three Wise Men.
Actors portray these religious figures, and the grand production fully tells of this Biblical story amid massive stage sets and live animals.
3 See Downtown Branson Adorned With Holiday Decor
For the 2022 holiday season, downtown Branson is planned to be decorated with a frosty glow. Overseen in part by the city’s Branson Christmas Coalition, candlelit snowflakes and icy swirls will decorate 65 lampposts in the Downtown Branson Historic District.
These new, custom-designed LED light displays will be aligning Main and Commercial street through the heart of this nostalgic shopping and entertainment area.
Owners of private business and public buildings are also expected to be adding some color to their spaces too to balance this frosty lamp post décor with bright, colorful curtains of light.
Among them, the Branson Centennial Museum will be covered in more than 5,000 LED lights and host the original star from the Adoration Scene on Mount Branson, freshly lit and on display for the first time in many years.
2 Purchase the Famous College Of The Ozarks Fruitcake
Fruitcake can be subjective to mixed feelings, but the College of the Ozarks has a longtime recipe for success with their student-made fruitcake.
Prepared on campus, the recipe goes back to 1933, when the college’s home economics teacher Annabelle McMaster introduced hers to her class.
The college’s then president decided to make the fruitcake a gift to donors. In turn, he promised to buy an electric stove from the resulting donations.
Since then, the fruitcake continues to be part of the campus’ history. Buy a fruitcake on campus or order one through their online shop.
1 Pay A Visit to Santa
In Branson, there are many opportunities for seeing Santa Claus, At Shepherd of the Hills’ The North Pole Adventure, visitors can come across Santa Claus in the 200-foot North Pole Tower.
It’s known as “Ho Ho Ho 200 Feet Up We Go,” and it is also the Tallest Santa Claus Visit in the country.
While there, see the Busy Elves in Santa’s workshop, visit real-live reindeer at “Stardust Stables” and have fun in the “Little Elves Playground” that has a barn hay maze, treehouse village, petting zoo, and more.
How about we take a train to see Santa? The Polar Express Train Ride departs from the Branson Scenic Railway to bring this classic holiday children’s story turned movie to life with this Christmastime adventure.
Passengers are taking “a ride to the North Pole” to pick up Santa Claus and this holiday train schedule operates on certain dates in November and December.