Madison Area Holiday Events and Activities 2013

Christmas gift on defocused lights backgroundTo say that I love Christmas would be a bit of an understatement. I grew up in a family that was really into all things Christmas related – decorating, cookies, Santa (my grandma used to have Santa Claus come visit every year on Christmas Eve for my cousins and me) and of course, presents. I am only slightly ashamed to admit that I have already started decorating for Christmas – we even cut down a tree already. After living in Germany for 2 years, this is my first Christmas with my family in our own home, so I think that has contributed to the excitement of it all. That being said, I was really looking forward to writing this post and researching all the fun activities in and around Madison this season. It looks like there are a lot of fun, family-friendly events, so I hope I can fit in as many as possible this year! I’m sure there are some I missed, so please let me know in the comments if you have any other suggestions!

Tree Lighting – Middleton
November 24, 2013 4:30-6:30pm – Middleton, WI
Downtown Middleton kicks off the holiday season with a tree lighting ceremony, visit from Santa, and tasty treats!

Holiday Fire Truck Parade
November 29, 2013 6pm (approximate) – Sun Prairie, WI
Fire trucks from area communities decorate their vehicles in holiday splendor and take a trip down Main Street. They will park on Main Street so that you can get up close and personal with the firemen. It’s quite a sight!

Holiday Tree Lighting – Sun Prairie
November 29, 2013 6:15pm – Sun Prairie, WI
Santa arrives on a fire truck to light the Community Christmas Tree in the front yard of the Historical Library & Museum around 6:15pm. Free cookies and hot apple cider, music by the Community Band and a performance by students of Fusion Dance Academy. There will also be free horse drawn wagon rides throughout the downtown from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Loading and unloading in front of the Historical Museum.

Ice Sculpting at Peace Park
November 29, 2013 11am-3pm – Madison, WI
Watch nationally-acclaimed artist Maurie Pearson of Black River Ice Sculptures hand-carve holiday ice sculptures in Peace Park (next to the Downtown Visitor Center).

Middleton Public Library Cookie Swap
November 30, 2013 2:30pm-3:30pm – Middleton, WI
Bring in a batch of your favorite cookies to exchange. You’ll end up with a delicious assorted box to take home or to share with friends. Boxes will be supplied by the library. All ages are welcome. Kids 7 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Stop by the Main Level Help Desk or call (608)827-7402 to sign up.

Holiday Open House
November 30, 2013 10am-5pm – Middleton, WI
Enjoy fun, family activities and special discounts in downtown Middleton! Many businesses will be ready to help assist you with some great Holiday gifts by staying open with later hours. Enjoy the tree lighting and then check out one of the many great restaurants in Middleton.

Pictures with Santa
November 30-December 21, 2013 10am-1pm – Dreambank, Madison, WI
DreamBank is your holiday cheer headquarters – while shopping or dining downtown, drop in with the family for free hot cocoa and a chance to wrap your gifts with their festive supplies. Kids will get a special chance to snap pictures with Santa, tell him what’s on their list, and create a handmade gift of their own at our holiday crafting station! Gift wrapping, crafting, and cocoa are available all day, with Santa’s visit from 10am-1pm.

Governor’s Mansion Holiday Tour
December 4-5, 2013 12pm-2pm – Madison, WI
In December, the guided tour includes a brief history of the Executive Residence with a view of the main rooms on the first floor featuring beautifully decorated evergreen trees. There is no charge for admission. Groups fewer than 20 people do not need reservations. Groups of 20 or more are required to call ahead. Participants of the tours are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item to the Executive Residence for Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin.

Cambridge Country Christmas
December 6-8, 2013 – Cambridge, WI
Experience the original country Christmas in the Victorian village of Cambridge. Fabulous shopping in Victorian storefronts, enjoy free horse-drawn hayrides, visits and photos with Santa, Pop Up Art Gallery, Elf Shelf Kids Activities and Shopping, Caroling, Cookies, Strolling Madrigal Singers, magical Holiday Lights Display at Lake Ripley Park , traditional tree lighting ceremony, CAP’s Breakfast with Santa, live nativity, pet photos with Santa and more.

Christmas in the Grove
December 5 -7, 2013 – Cottage Grove, WI
Activities begin Friday evening with a tree lighting ceremony with Santa and Mrs. Claus at 7pm and continue through the weekend with an art fair, free horse drawn wagon rides (10:30-2:30pm), and Breakfast with Santa on Sunday from 9am-12pm.

Stoughton Victorian Holiday Weekend
December 6-8, 2013 – Stoughton, WI
Downtown Stoughton takes a step back in time to celebrate the holidays the old-fashioned way!  A weekend full of family-friendly activities, entertainment and shopping is in store for this 21st annual Victorian Holiday Weekend. Festivities include: Santa’s Workshop, Cookie Walk, Holiday Lights Display, Craft Show and more.

Verona Hometown Holiday
December 6-7, 2013- Verona, WI
This weekend begins with a Holiday Tree Lighting at Veteran’s Park at 5pm followed by a 5 alarm Chili Supper at the Senior Center. There will be carolers, and Santa will be making a special appearance!

Olbrich’s Holiday Express
December 7-31 Daily – 10am-4pm – Madison, WI
Large-scale model trains wind through a holiday scene and hundreds of colorful poinsettias! Members of the Wisconsin Garden Railway Society come from all over the state to show off their large-scale model trains during Olbrich’s Holiday Express. You’ll see different trains, depending on the day. This year, trains wind through a colorful, candy filled scene.
{$3 adults $2 kids 3 and up}

Downtown Holiday Trolley & Carolers
Saturdays, December 7, 14 & 21 10am-4pm (carolers 11am-3pm) – Downtown Madison, WI
The free Holiday Trolley continues Saturdays, December 7, 14, and 21, running from 10:00am to 4:00pm along with carolers strolling State Street and the Square Saturdays from 11:00am to 3:00pm.


While these are not actually events, I thought I should include at least a partial list of tree farms in the area. One of my favorite Christmas activities is cutting down our own tree. It’s so much fun to walk around looking at all the different trees before choosing “the one”. Many of these farms also offer special holiday activities like visits from Santa Claus, hayrides, hot chocolate and more.

Hann’s Christmas Farm – Oregon, WI

Summers Christmas Tree Farm – Middleton, WI

Paoli Tree Farm – Bellview, WI

Miller’s Christmas Trees – Rio, WI

CaPaul’s Country Place – Waunakee, WI


2 Responses to Madison Area Holiday Events and Activities 2013

  1. mary behnke December 15, 2013 at 6:01 pm #

    I loved your blog – I’m a grandma specifically looking for things to do the week
    of Christmas 2013 as my young grandchildren will be visiting from the east coast.
    Can you help me??

  2. Maryjo April 14, 2014 at 2:29 am #

    This is my first time visit att here and i am truly happy to read everthing at alone place.

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