Celebrate the Holidays Hoosier Style with New and Traditional Events

Hoosiers love to celebrate. When the holiday season rolls around, it’s not surprising that Indianapolis has a treasure trove of special events designed to make lasting memories. For many people, the official start of the season is the day after Thanksgiving when folks gather for the traditional Circle of Lights at the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in downtown Indianapolis.

The geographic heart of Indianapolis, Monument Circle is the large circular plaza at the union of Meridian and Market streets. At the center of the Circle is the 284-foot-tall Soldiers and Sailors Monument, built in 1902 as a memorial to Indiana’s soldiers and sailors and a beacon for peace. Since 1962, the monument has been strung with lights to make one of the world’s largest Christmas trees. Each year, a local child is picked from a coloring contest to help “flip the switch” to signal the beginning of the holiday season.

Another tradition that has shoppers making their shopping lists and hoping to find the perfect holiday gifts is the 65th annual Christmas Gift and Hobby Show, held this year Nov. 5-9 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. More than 350 exhibitors display an incredible array of gifts.

Youngsters often miss out on the New Year’s countdown because it’s past their bedtime. But The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis has a fun family solution for that. The museum hosts a countdown at noon on New Year’s Eve. Revelers watch North America’s largest water clock count down drop by drop.




For more than half a century, thousands of Hoosiers have braved the cold on Friday night after Thanksgiving to enjoy a beloved holiday tradition – the lighting of almost 5,000 colored lights strung from the 284-foot-tall Soldiers and Sailors...  Read More



For feel-good family time, head to Jolly Days Winter Wonderland at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis. A marvelous place any time of year, the museum is a special treat during holidays. Take a ride down the two-story Yule Slide and discover...  Read More



For almost half a century, the Indianapolis Zoo has been hosting its special Christmas at the Zoo. In fact, the Indianapolis Zoo was the nation's first zoo to host a holiday lights event. Since it started in 1967, Christmas at the Zoo has become...  Read More



President Benjamin Harrison loved Christmas and all its traditions. When he was elected and moved his wife Caroline and family into the White House, Harrison took those holiday celebrations with him. Harrison is said to be the first President to...  Read More



Journey back to Christmas Eve 1836 when Prairietown residents at Conner Prairie are preparing for the holidays. Each has a story to tell. Mr. McClure, the town carpenter, is putting the finishing touches on handcrafted gifts. The Ullmans...  Read More



Held the week after Christmas, the Indianapolis Auto Show gives car lovers a head start on next year's Christmas wish list. The event runs from Dec. 26 through Jan. 1 at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis. Presented by the...  Read More



For 65 years, shoppers have flocked to the Christmas Gift and Hobby Show with shopping lists in hand. Nearly five acres of wild, wacky and wonderful holiday gifts are featured, all under one roof with thousands of gifts marked under $20....  Read More



Remember 9-year-old Ralphie who wants only one thing for Christmas - Red Ryder Range Shot 200 BB gun. Everyone from his mom to Santa himself tells the boy he doesn't need such a dangerous toy because "you'll shoot your eye out." Or how about...  Read More



Wartime shortages and Depression-era budgets affected Christmas celebrations during the 1930s and 1940s. But more than ever, people were embracing the holidays and wanting to reconnect with festive traditions. During Christmas at Lilly House,...  Read More



Christmas and toy trains seem to go together. For a fun holiday treat on a grand scale, visit "Jingle Rails: The Great Western Adventure" at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians & Western Art. This locomotive wonderland travels over more...  Read More


Meet Jackie Sheckler Finch

When Jackie Sheckler Finch moved to Indiana from Massachusetts more than two decades ago, she was asked to say hello to Larry Bird. The famous “Hick from French Lick” and former Boston Celtic...  More About Jackie