12 Annual Holiday Activities in Central Ohio

There’s never any shortage of fun holiday activities to get into at home. From hanging the Christmas garland to ringing in the new year from a TV screen, you have options. But if you’re looking to get out on the town a little, Central Ohio has a ton of fun holiday activities for all to enjoy. While every year’s individual events may vary a bit, below are twelve holiday activities and the places you can go to check off all the items on your seasonal bucket list.

Make sure you check it twice!

house with red holiday lights
So many fun Christmas activities, so little time!

12 Fun Holiday Activities for Winter ’21… and Beyond!

This year, our Tinsel & Traditions Trail has a bunch of stops that include more winter, New Years, and Christmas activities to keep you busier than ever before. You bundle up! We’ll get the hot cocoa…

Homemade Christmas Cookies

Whether you make them yourself or leave them to the professionals, Christmas cookies are an absolute MUST for the holiday season. Stop by the Candy Cottage for any number of homemade sweets this time of year. And if you’re extra ambitious, they even sell the supplies for making your own. Now there’s a fun Christmas activity that really pays off!

Business windows decorated with holiday artwork

Holiday Light Displays

Christmas lights are certainly a classic holiday activity. Enjoy the variety — from the bright greens and reds of a blow-up yard Santa to intricate light work that leaves you marveling at the sheer amount of time it must have taken to hang. Countless small towns and cities around the world have fun with Christmas lights each year, but you really have to hand it to Lancaster for taking things to an extra special level

From a totally FREE drive-thru Christmas lights display to a holiday window display contest for local businesses with a digital map for charting your tour, we take holiday activities seriously — and it all starts with a great holiday light display.

Christmas Trivia

Question: Do you know who played The Grinch in the 1965 film?

Head on down to Christmas trivia, order some eggnog, and show off your skills! O’Huid’s Gaelic Pub is known for hosting some stiff competition. Do you have what it takes?

Answer: Boris Karloff

Tree Farms

There’s nothing wrong with going the artificial route, but there’s just something about the experience of chopping down a fresh Christmas tree, don’t you think? If you’re the type who likes to bundle up with your mittens around a cup of hot cocoa, go ahead and check out the Holiday Festivities at the Fairfield County Fairgrounds. There you can pick up a beauty of a tree each year from the Keller Farms Greenhouse while enjoying a variety of other fun Christmas activities.

Immersive Nativity Scene

The traditional nativity scene has always been part of the holiday season, but Crossroads Ministry Center tends to go big. Catch their indoor Fontanini nativity display between 6 and 9 p.m. on select days this year (and many years to come, we hope). Get ready for this full sensory experience to transport you back in time to a little town called Bethlehem…

Ugly Sweater Contests

You can’t escape it (but do you really want to?)!!! The annual ugly sweater competitions are always a blast. Local Ohio breweries and restaurants love to host, so check out our Holiday Events Page to see what’s happening this year!

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Holiday activities don’t get much better than this combination of jazz, drink, and hideous seasonal fashion.

Seasonal Museum Exhibits

The Decorative Arts Center of Ohio is always a wonderful spot for interactive holiday cheer, and this winter is no exception. We have multiple holiday-themed exhibits this year in Fairfield County. Both will be around into early January, so if you can’t make it before Christmas, be sure to check them out after!

Holiday Skate Party

When you saw “holiday skate party,” we know what you thought… but this is actually the other kind of skating. Don’t let the lack of snowflakes on an ice rink take you out of the holiday mood though! This event is festive, fun, and totally FREE!

Rumor has it there may even be some elves in attendance whenever there’s an Open Skate Party at Amanda Roller Rink. Show up to sneak in one last good word with Santa’s helpers (and to encourage them to come back again next year)!

FREE skate rentals + admission on Thursday, December 23rd from 6-8 p.m.

Christmas Plays

If all else should fail to put you in the Christmas spirit, a rousing holiday-themed performance from the Lancaster Playhouse certainly won’t. They were even nominated for a community theater award from Columbus Broadway not too long ago!

A group of six actors at the Lancaster Playhouse.
Looking for fun Christmas activities? Why not let your imagination run wild!

Ice Skating

We know we got your hopes up for nailing that triple axel before. But don’t worry… we would never actually deprive you of such a quintessential holiday tradition as ice skating.

Buckeye Lake, besides being one of the greatest fishing spots in Ohio, is also home to some amazing ice skating each year (assuming weather and ice conditions allow it). Check with the Buckeye Lake State Park to plan your holiday activities safely and glide through the winter in style!

Spring Predictions

Thought we were done with Buckeye Lake? Nope! Winterfest is just around the corner! With live music by the lake, fireworks, and plenty of specials from Winterfest sponsors, it’s never an event to miss.

Most importantly though, Winterfest is when we get our annual spring predictions from Benny the Bass (you can keep your Punxsutawney Phil, Pennsylvania). Benny has always been far more reliable than his famous peer at predicting how long of a wait we have before we can get back to boating in the spring, and we love him for it.

Fireworks and predictions begin at 7 a.m.

New Year’s Eve Countdown

Of course, before we leave December behind each year, there’s still one thing left to do…

Even if big ceremonies and displays aren’t your favorite, few among us can deny that there’s something heartwarming about coming together in symbol or in person to put a joyous cap on a year of hard work and memories.

A crowd of people gathered for the Glass Town Countdown nighttime holiday activity in Lancaster.
Looking for fun holiday activities? Don’t forget the Glass Town Countdown!

Have You Heard About Our New Year’s Eve Tradition?

Every year in our little part of Ohio, Lancaster community members work together from January through December to build an enormous piece of glass art. It really is gorgeous. So many hands work to build the giant sculpture that eventually helps us ring in the new year! We call it the Glass Town Countdown.

To us, it’s a symbol of togetherness and possibility — two values we hope to carry hand in hand into each new year. What are you looking forward to for the rest of this winter and the new year?