Top 5 Christmas Events for Thanksgiving Week

Christmas has been all up in Thanksgiving’s business for decades, and this year is no different. Here are some ideas to get you started early.
Scuba Santa is coming to town. Photo courtesy of Newport Aquarium.
Scuba Santa is coming to town

Photo courtesy of Newport Aquarium

1. Santa’s Arrival (By Helicopter) & Union Terminal Tree Lighting
If you want to see your kids completely lose it, just wait until Santa descends from the sky in a whir of helicopter blades and lights. Santa will light the Christmas tree in the Rotunda at Cincinnati Museum Center immediately following his dismount from the chopper. If the babes ask where Santa got a helicopter, he borrowed it from his good friends at UC Medical Center for the occasion. Fri, Nov 27, 11 a.m., Cincinnati Museum Center, 1301 Western Ave., downtown, free, (513) 287-7000,

2. Macy’s Light Up the Square
More than 20,000 holiday lights will usher in the Christmas season on Fountain Square. See the lighting of the Fountain Square tree, musical performances, the opening of the Cincideutsch Christkindlmarkt, and a fireworks show. Alongside the regular ice skating and concessions, visitors can expect a special appearance by Santa Claus. Fri, Nov 27, 6 p.m., Fountain Square, 520 Vine St., downtown, free, (513) 621-4400,

3. Scuba Santa
Santa will be trading in Rudolph, Donner, and Blitzen for shark rays Sweet Pea, Scooter, and Sunshine at the Newport Aquarium’s annual Scuba Santa and Winter Wonderland events. Kids can meet Scuba Santa in living color and sing along with his elves in the Shark Ray Bay Theater. In lieu of oxygen, Santa’s air tank will be filled with magical bubbles to be dispersed throughout the aquarium. We have now idea what this actually means, but apparently it’s for real. Don’t forget to send Scuba Santa your Christmas wish list (you can write it on a magic bubble, naturally) at Scuba Santa’s Post Office in the Kroger Penguin Palooza. Fri, Nov 27–Dec 31, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. daily, Newport Aquarium, One Aquarium Way, Newport, KY, $15 for children, $23 adult admission, 1-800-406-3474,

4. Light Up the Levee Grand Illumination
See 1.4 million lights on the Levee’s 50-foot Christmas tree during the lighting ceremony of Newport on the Levee’s Grand Illumination event. The Chris Comer Trio will be keeping it jazzy while you enjoy goodies from Levee tenants, prizes, and an ice sculpting demonstration. After the televised lighting ceremony (live on FOX 19) visitors can enjoy a holiday light show synchronized to popular Christmas music. Don’t miss the Levee’s LEGO-centric BRICKmas exhibit, which opens for the season on the same night as Grand Illumination. Tues, Nov. 24, 6 p.m., Newport on the Levee, 1 Levee Way, Newport, KY, free, (859) 291-0550,

5. City Flea “Small Mall”
With Walmart opening its doors for Black Friday at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, the busiest shopping day of the year is poised to completely engulf Turkey Day if Christmas shopping habits don’t change. This year, skip the doorbusters, spend Thanksgiving night with family instead of waiting in line, and support your favorite local businesses at the City Flea’s Small Mall. Starting at noon, the 21C Museum Hotel will host more than 30 local businesses including Sloane Boutique, Rock Paper Scissors, and Coffee Emporium. It’s a great opportunity to take a chunk out of your Christmas shopping list, and keep your money in the local economy. Sun, Nov. 29, noon, 21C Museum Hotel, 609 Walnut St., downtown, (513) 578-6600,

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