2021 Twin Cities Early Holiday Events & Christmas Tree Lightings

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These Twin Cities early holiday events can get you started on your holiday family fun without the full-on pressure of late December. We want to help you plan for a festive holiday season! We will continue to update this as event details become available. Please keep coming back to check it out.

For our complete guide to holiday happenings in the Twin Cities, jump over HERE.


ST PAUL: Rice Park Tree Lighting Ceremony

One again to signal the start of the holiday season in St Paul, Rice Park will dazzle with thousands of twinkling lights throughout the winter. November 19, 2021, 5:30pm.

ST PAUL: Union Depot Tree Lighting

Catch the giant tree light up at 6:30pm, Union Depot downtown St Paul. Screening of Elf to follow at 7pm. Dec 4, 2021. Event begins at 4:30pm.

St Paul: Grand Meander Tree Lighting

The holiday tree is lit outside Charlemagne Fine Jewelry around 5pm. The whole day has traditionally been filled with browsing the Grand Avenue shopping district, soup tasting, carolers, trolley rides and visits with Santa. December 5, 2021.


ANOKA: Christmas Tree Lighting

Enjoy horse-drawn trolley rides, holiday music, bonfires, and Santa. December 4, 2021.

BLAINE: Winter Celebration

Tom Ryan Park, 10802 Town Square Drive NE, Blaine, MN 55449
Lighting ceremony, holiday music, s’mores & hot chocolate by a bonfire and Santa and his reindeer. November 28, 2021; 5:30pm-8pm.

OSSEO: MiniDazzle Tree Lighting

Central Ave, Osseo, MN 55369
Light Parade and tree lighting at 6pm. Pictures with Santa, a bonfire and other entertainment follows. Dec 3, 2021, 6-8pm.

ROBBINSDALE: Annual Holiday Tree Lighting & Sing-Along

The event will take place at City Hall. Dec 7, 2021, 6-6:30pm.


Shoreview: Holiday Lighting Event

The grounds of Shoreview Commons will be lit for the holidays. Music, cookies and cocoa included. Nov 15, 6-7pm.

STILLWATER: Twinkle Party and City Tree Lighting

The city tree is lit at 5:30, part of the annual Hometown for the Holidays celebration. Dec 7, festivities start at 4pm. Dec 4, 2021

TAYLORS FALLS: Taylors Falls Lighting Festival

The annual tree lighting takes place at 6pm downtown. Festival highlights include the Santa Parade, Christmas at the Folsom House, storytime with Mrs. Claus and wagon rides. Nov 26-28, 2021.


AFTON: Village Holiday Tree Lighting

The village hosts a tree lighting ceremony in Town Square Park (Fri, 6pm), horse and wagon rides, a family photo booth and roving carolers throughout the weekend downtown Afton. December 3-4, 2021. Cancelled.

APPLE VALLEY: Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony

Complete with caroling, cookies and cider. November 23, 2021, 6:15-7pm.

BURNSVILLE: Winter Lighting Ceremony

The annual event is both in-person and streaming live this year from the park. November 24, 2021. 6pm.

EAGAN: Community Holiday Tree Lighting

Complete with music & hot cocoa. December 7, 2021. 4:30-7pm.

INVER GROVE HEIGHTS: Holidays in the Heights Tree Lighting

Tree lighting at 6pm, entire event runs 5:30-8pm with free swimming with Santa games and treats. December 2, 2021.

ROSEMOUNT: Community Tree Lighting

The annual tree lighting plus treats, kids activities, choir performances, and a visit from Santa. Nov 20, 2021, 6-7pm.

SAVAGE: Tree Lighting Ceremony

Cocoa, live music, a bonfire and ornament-making go with the lighting of the tree. December 2, 2021, 5:30pm.


CHANHASSEN: Tree Lighting Ceremony

The tree lights up at 5pm – follow along virtually on their social media page. December 4, 2021.

CHASKA: City Square Park Tree Lighting

Featuring crafts, outdoor games, hot cocoa and cookies & pictures with Santa Claus. December 5, 2021, 6pm.

EDINA: Tree Lighting Ceremony

Along with the holiday tree lighting with be chorale singers, horse-drawn trolley rides and Santa Claus. Held at the 50th & France shopping district. November 26, 2021, 3-6pm.

EXCELSIOR: Christmas in Excelsior Tree Lighting

Annual tree lighting  plus bonfires, carolers, Santa, and carriage rides. December 4, 2021.

SHAKOPEE: Holiday Fest Tree Lighting

Carolers, Santa, a tree lighting ceremony and fireworks. December 4, 2021.

WACONIA: Community Tree Lighting

Hot cocoa, a bonfire and a visit with Santa included. Nov 26, 6pm.

WAYZATA: Light Up the Lake Celebration

Holiday music, an enhanced holiday lights display, warm fire pits, and Santa visits Wayzata in the annual Parade of Lights, 5:15pm. November 26, 2021.

Twin Cities Early Holiday Events – 2021

Night Trains at Twin City Model Railroad Museum

668 Transfer Rd Ste. 8, St Paul, MN 55114
A special holiday tradition at the Twin City Model Railroad Museum, the Night Trains season magically transforms the museum layouts. Buildings and street lights glow, and throughout the museum the layouts are adorned with Christmas lights. Saturdays, November 6-Feb 2022. $15/pp.

Northern Clay Center Holiday Open House Workshop 

2424 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55406
A hands-on workshop and holiday shopping event featuring pottery by local artists. Make your own candy dish in preparation for the Holidays. Sunday, November 14, 2021.

Stillwater Christmas at the Courthouse

Holiday Bazaar Saturday, November 20 & Sunday, November 21, 2021.  More details TBA.

Christmas at the Courthouse

Holiday Walk in the Woods Open House

The Woods Gifts |  Woodbury & Maple Grove locations
Visit with Santa and his reindeer at this annual Holiday shopping event. Activities include, a visit from Santa and his reindeer, stories, face painting, and food demos. November 20, 2021, 9am-3pm.

Gingerbread Wonderland

Norway House, 913 East Franklin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55404
Tour the gingerbread houses and even make your own to display (due Nov 9-19; free kits available while they last*).  November 23-December 31, 2021. $7/Ages 13+; Kids 12 and Under Free.

*These kits move fast, so Norway House encourages you to reserve a kit by email: info@norwayhouse.org.

Julglädje at American Swedish Institute

American Swedish Institute | 2600 Park Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55407
An ASI holiday tradition, back in-person with live musical performances.  November 27, 2021. Morning & afternoon performances. $5-$12/pp.

St. Lucia Celebration at the American Swedish Institute

Bachman’s Santa & Albert’s Annual Holiday Play

Have fun interacting with Santa and Albert! We are hoping to see the duo perform in this year’s edition of Bachman’s annual holiday play. Last year we tuned into Bachman’s Facebook on Saturday mornings for our weekly dose of Holiday Cheer, so we are hoping for at least that much this year. Stay Tuned. TBA.

Sundays at Landmark: Holiday Stories

Tune in to Landmark Center’s Sundays at Landmark webpage and social media pages for “Christmas Stories with J.B. Eckert.” Dec 5, 2021.

Holidazzle Yeti

Peavey Plaza, 1101 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55403
While the main event isn’t until mid-December this year, visit Peavey plaza to see the 17-foot illuminated Yeti. November 26 – December 3, 2021.

Map out your holiday lights tour: Light It Up: Twin Cities Christmas & Holiday Light Displays


That jolly old guy sure can get around! Santa starts accepting visitors as early as the beginning of November at department stores and malls. You can find many early Holiday events featuring Santa appearances over on our Santa Claus is Coming to Town page, including visits at community holiday festivals and at area malls and shopping districts.

Starting November 1, 2021, mailboxes all over the U.S. will be accepting Santa letters. They will be uploaded to Operation Santa where they can be adopted by volunteer teams of Santa helpers. Address your letters to:

Santa Claus
123 Elf Road
North Pole, 88888

More Christmas Tree Lighting Celebrations to Watch for


Seward Tree Lighting Ceremony | Minneapolis

Light up Triangle Park, part of the annual Seward Winter Frolic. Usually the first weekend of December. Tree lighting at 5pm.


ROGERS: Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony

Live Entertainment for the Holidays:

Get in the holiday mood with live entertainment from local theaters, musicians and more. Many of these shows start in early November:

Holiday Shopping Season: Black Friday & Beyond

Several opportunities pop up during November for early Holiday shopping with local artists and local businesses who often offer unique and high quality gifts:

Family Fun Twin Cities Holiday Shop on Amazon

If you still haven’t filled out your gift list, we can help you with our Holiday Shop on Amazon. We have carefully selected gift ideas to help you get a super fun gift for the littler ones in your life.

Amazon links are affiliate links and Family Fun Twin Cities receives a small commission on sales through our site.

Want more holiday happenings? Try our Top 10 Twin Cities Christmas Experiences

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