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Oh, to be young again. It’s a common phrase among those of us who have navigated the stormy waters of youth and are now paddling a little more slowly toward that golden-year glow on the horizon. I have wonderful news: Branson may not be able to make you young again, but it can certainly make you feel that way during the Christmas season.

From world-class entertainment and any kind of dining that suits your taste to downtown shopping, thrilling rides, and handmade keepsakes at Silver Dollar City, Christmas in Branson, will put the smile of youth on your face, a spring in your step, and a happy song in your heart. Oh -- and did I mention Christmas lights? Millions of them are strung, emitting a glow that can be seen for miles.

The nightly Christmas parade at Silver Dollar City is a sight to behold. Branson is world-famous for being family friendly, and there is something for every age and interest. So load up the kids, the grandkids, and maybe even some of the neighbors and head for the holiday season of a lifetime in historic Branson. Here are just a few of the city’s hundreds of delightful holiday attractions.

The Polar Express in Branson.

Ride The Polar Express

Settle back into an earlier era on one of the luxurious 1940s and ’50s classic coaches on the Branson Scenic Railroad. The Polar Express is one of the most popular Christmas attractions in the entire Midwest, and you can be sure this 40-mile trip will become a favorite memory. You’ll board the train from the historic 1906 depot and feel the soft rhythm of its rails as it heads through the Christmas lights and out of Branson.

Santa is also a passenger, so kids and grandkids can share their wish lists. You’ll have a great time journeying through little rural towns, caroling, enjoying hot cocoa, and learning about the history of the area. Whether you’re in the dining car, an observation car, or coach, the Polar Express experience will brighten your holiday season.

A house along Branson's North Poll Adventure.

North Pole Adventure

This is a walking excursion for the entire family and is completely new this year. Enjoy Christmas Court, where storefronts, streets, and trees are adorned with thousands of holiday lights. Continue on to Stardust Sawmill and Snowflake Hill where Santa’s elves work hard to make wooden snowflakes. At Candy Cane Lane the air smells like peppermint and candy grows on the shrubbery. Visit the little White Sided Church in the Woods at Light of the World Way, where lanterns light the pathway and music fills the sanctuary.

You can also visit Jingle Junction, Lite It Up Lantern World, and other unique stops along the way. Be sure to take a ride to the top of North Pole Tower to visit Santa. A stroll through North Pole Adventure reminds us once again why this time of year is so spellbinding.

The Christmas Wonderland Show in Branson.

Christmas Wonderland Show

Branson boasts dozens of wonderful, live performances all year long, but the holiday season adds a magical air to every performance in town. One presentation I consider a must-see is the delightful Christmas Wonderland. Bring the whole family and enjoy an evening of beautiful ladies and handsome gentlemen singing and dancing to the Christmas songs you love most. And yes, Santa is part of it all.

Marvel at the exquisite holiday costumes and the fabulous chorus line complete with those famous high-leg kicks. And the sets…oh my! As snow gently falls on stage and little lights twinkle all around, youngsters stare in amazement and you’ll be transported back to Christmas times gone by. Christmas Wonderland is a lavish, world-class production that would bring feelings of love and joy to Scrooge himself. It’s live, it’s extravagant, and it’s wonderful.

Inside the Branson Auto and Farm Museum.

Branson Auto And Farm Museum

The Christmas season produces feelings of nostalgia as we drift back to memories of days gone by. How about a walk down memory lane to visit the cars that were on the streets when we were kids? The ’58 Edsel, VW Beetle, 1970 Chevy Camaro, the classic Thunderbird -- they’re all here for you to see again. Enjoy gazing at more than 150 cars and pickups that were on the streets from the early 20th century to the 21st century.

And if you have farming in your blood, there are 170 items to behold -- from vintage tractors to various kinds of farm implements. There are two full acres for you to revel in. This Christmas season, give yourself the gift of carefree youthful memories by moseying through Branson Auto and Farm Museum. If you see a vehicle or farm item you wish you could own, know that many of the exhibits are for sale. One of them could make the ultimate Christmas gift!

The giant Christmas tree at Branson's Landing.

Branson Landing’s Winter Wonderlanding

Dining, entertainment, a shopping mall, a lakeside boardwalk, and an unrivaled fire and water spectacle are just a few of the enchanting allurements at Branson Landing on the shore of Lake Taneycomo. Sounds of holiday music follow you as you stroll along the boardwalk or visit the stores and shops all decked out with picturesque Christmas decorations. Visit the town square, where kids and adults alike will enjoy a stunning 50-foot Christmas tree.

Watch in awe as the lakefront fountains shoot huge jets of water 120 feet into the air while music plays and colored lights illuminate the scene. Fire cannons exhale flames, keeping time with the water and music. There’s plenty of stadium-style seating for Branson Landing’s Winter Wonderlanding, or you can bring your own folding chair. Either way, be sure to make some time for this unparalleled attraction.

A butterfly at the Butterfly Palace in Branson.

Butterfly Palace And Rainforest Adventure

It’s the Christmas season, your toes are cold, and Jack Frost and butterflies are nipping at your nose. What? Butterflies in winter? That’s right -- in Branson you can visit the Butterfly Palace and Rainforest Adventure to see for yourself. Enjoy thousands of colorful, tropical butterflies flitting through the air. And you can feed them! It’s an unforgettable experience for all ages, and the butterflies are just the beginning.

See exotic birds and tropical plants brought to Branson from far away jungles. Visit the Banyan Tree Bungee Adventure, where the brave try to avoid being tangled in an array of bungees. Stop by the Living Rainforest Science Center with its incredible display of unusual, live creatures. Laugh yourself silly in the Emerald Forest Mirror Maze, experience the Rainforest Theater, and be sure to check out the goodies at the Base Camp Gift Shop. During it all, you and your loved ones will relax to the sounds of Christmas music and marvel at the colorful lights.

An Old Time Christmas parade in Branson.

An Old Time Christmas

Branson’s world-famous Silver Dollar City Theme Park is home to an enchanting, internationally acclaimed holiday festival that helps make this truly the most wonderful time of the year. The park’s buildings and trees are adorned with 6.5 million sparkling lights. Of those, 1.5 million illuminate the breathtaking Christmas in Midtown Light Spectacular, which will include a new, 80-foot-tall Christmas tree this year.

The crowning Silver Dollar City Christmas event is Rudolph’s Holly Jolly Christmas Light Parade, held nightly on Main Street. Storybook characters come to life; elves, animals, and Santa himself march or ride on eye-catching floats. The costumes, the people, the animals, and the floats are all decked out in countless gleaming lights, much to the glee of onlookers. Bring the kids and grandkids and enjoy their oohs, ahhs, and giggles. There are wonderful buffets available as well as caramel apples, hot chocolate, hot cider, and other Christmas goodies. Forget the stresses of today; smile and immerse yourself in An Old Time Christmas.

Santa's Pancakes and PJ's Cruise in Branson.

Showboat Branson Belle

The grandeur of Christmas is on display all around Branson, but this magnificent 1800s sternwheeler provides the ultimate in holiday entertainment and pampering. While you cruise picturesque Table Rock Lake, be sure to explore all four levels of this amazing vessel and gaze at the unrestricted views of the beauty of the Ozarks.

Sit back and enjoy a gourmet meal while enjoying live entertainment, hysterical comedy, and singers and dancers performing a musical assortment of oldies, present-day hits, and holiday favorites. If you’re traveling with youngsters, it’s all aboard for Santa’s Pancakes and PJ’s Cruise. Join Santa and his helpers for breakfast fun and entertainment for the kids, who are encouraged to dress in their favorite pajamas for this jamboree. The Showboat Branson Belle will treat you to memories you’ll treasure for a lifetime.

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