The best KC events in December 2022

Photo courtesy of the Kansas City Ballet.

The Holiday season is in full-swing in KC with a big slate of Christmas concerts, shows and events. Here’s where we’ll be in December 2022.

Soul of Santa

The Soul of Santa “Do Good” Foundation is holding their fourth holiday celebration in the Jazz District. It will feature talks from local officials, including Mayor Quinton Lucas, along with the Christmas tree lighting and a holiday concert at the Gem Theater. December 2. 6 pm. 18th & Vine.

18th Ugly Christmas Sweater Party 

This long-running ironic holiday party features hip-hop trio Sugarhill Gang, whose 1979 hit “Rapper’s Delight” was the first rap single to become a top forty hit. Local Quite Frankly the Band will also play, and the event will have holiday-themed games, a photo booth, a best costume contest and raffle prizes, all benefiting Operation Breakthrough. December 2. 7:30 pm. The Truman.

Amahl and the Night Visitors

Pairing live singing and music with puppetry, this original Lyric Opera of Kansas City production was created with master puppeteer Paul Mesner. Based on Italian folktales of the Nativity and the Epiphany, this unique show retells the story of three kings—the Magi—as they make their journey to Bethlehem and meet an impoverished, disabled boy and his mother, who change the trajectory of their miraculous journey. December 2–4 and 9–11. Times vary. The Michael and Ginger Frost Production Arts Building.

The Doo Wop Project Christmas

The classic barbershop quartet-esque group brings audiences on a journey of sound, starting with street-corner singing to doo-wop-ified versions of today’s hits. They are bringing that same energy to Christmas, promising a nostalgic take on classic favorites. December 2. 8 pm. Kauffman Center.

Luminary Walk

The gardens are transformed bright with color as thousands of lights glow on trees, buildings and bridges. Candle-lined pathways lead to magical gnome and fairy villages and the colorful children’s garden. There are musical performances to enhance the holiday ambiance and even the opportunity to visit with Santa in his Woodland Depot. December 2–3, 8–10 and 15–17. 5 pm. Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens.

The Nutcracker

Kansas City Ballet’s annual tradition continues to be a wintertime favorite. The classic Victorian-era story of imagination is brought to life with opulent costumes, magical sets and enchanting choreography. December 7–24. Times Vary. Kauffman Center.

The 1975
Photography by Samuel Bradley.

The English indie band has been on the scene for nearly two decades, but it wasn’t until 2013 that they became a radio favorite with their hit “Chocolate.” Their newest album, Being Funny In a Foreign Language, gets help from powerhouse producer Jack Antonoff and stands at a short forty-four minutes, with focus on eighties-esque synth guitars, sentimental jazz beats and catchy hooks heralding the power of love. December 8. 7 pm. Cable Dahmer Arena.


The San Diego-based rock band has distanced themselves from their former Christian rock sound that skyrocketed them to fame with “Dare You to Move” over two decades ago. In a completely counterintuitive move, they are touring over the holidays for their newest LP, This Is Our Christmas Album. December 9. 7 pm. Uptown Theater.


One of the Kansas City Symphony’s most beloved holiday traditions, Handel’s Messiah is regarded as a choral masterpiece and includes the iconic “Hallelujah Chorus,” sure to inspire some holiday spirit. December 9–10, 7 pm and December 11, 2 pm. Kauffman Center.

Trampled by Turtles

Trampled by Turtles hails from Duluth, Minnesota, like fellow folkie Bob Dylan. The group has a contemporary bluegrass sound that relies heavily on banjo and fiddle with harmonious vocals, a formula that has served bands like The Avett Brothers and Old Crow Medicine Show well in the last decade. December 10. 7 pm. Uptown Theater. 

Rainbow Kitten Surprise

The North Carolina-based alternative rock indie band has been quietly building a following over the past decade with hummable melodies and surprising instrumentals on songs like “Cocaine Jesus” and “Its Called: Freefall.” December 13. 8 pm. The Midland.

Christmas Festival

The Kansas City Symphony and Symphony Chorus, with surprise guests, perform carols and other holiday songs. A family sing-along and an early visit from Santa are also promised to usher in the Christmas spirit for everyone. December 15–18. Times vary. Kauffman Center.


The show so annoying to parents and so beloved by tots that it was tested for hyper-stimulating effects is coming to KC. So bring your earplugs and tantrum-prone tikes to this immersive world of bright dinosaurs and giant babies. Or don’t. December 17. 3 pm. Kansas City Music Hall.

Martina McBride

Country pop queen Martina McBride has been on the scene since the early nineties, most notably giving us the soulful anthem, “This One’s for the Girls.” McBride’s bringing back nostalgic holiday feels with her The Joy of Christmas Tour, which features classic Christmas songs with her downhome country twist. December 17. 8 pm. The Midland.

A Drag Queen Christmas

Nothing says the holidays like chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose and Drag Queens. Now in its eighth consecutive year, Murray & Peter present A Drag Queen Christmas, with favorites from uber-popular RuPaul’s Drag Race like Nina West and Trinity Taylor hosting. December 20. 8 pm. The Midland. 

Elf in Concert

A giant big screen shows the now-Christmas classic film featuring the hilarious Will Ferrell in the iconic role of Buddy the Elf, a grown man who finds out he is human and embarks on a quest in New York City to find his real dad. John Debney’s score is played live by the KC Symphony along with the screening. December 21–23, 7 pm and December 24, 11 am. Kauffman Center.

Chiefs vs. Seattle Seahawks

While Russell Wilson is riding in Broncos Country, the Seattle Seahawks have emerged from the post-Russ era stronger than almost anyone assumed. This should be a great matchup of two elite coaches and teams that have opposing strengths. Plus, what’s better or more festive than Arrowhead on Christmas Eve? December 24. Noon. GEHA at Arrowhead Stadium.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

This ultimate winter rock band has dominated the super-niche Holiday-progressive metal genre for almost thirty years. With their unassuming instruments like guitar, drums and strings, the huge powerhouse group is an anomaly. TSO is the first major rock band to go straight to theaters and arenas—they have never played at a club, have never had an opening act and have never been an opening act. December 26. 3pm and 8 pm. T-Mobile Center.

A Charlie Brown Christmas
Photo courtesy of The Coterie.

The beloved cartoon comes to life as a live jazz trio plays the original Vince Guaraldi arrangements along with the holiday classic. Charlie Brown tries to direct the school Christmas pageant and tries to remind others of the season’s true meaning with a droopy,small fir tree. There will also be shows interpreted in ASL and sensory-friendly performances offered to include the whole community. November 15–December 31. Times vary. The Coterie.

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