There’s no Humbug in Hamburg
Welcome to the 2023 Holiday Guide, part 2

Are you feeling the holiday spirit yet? There’s no Humbug in Hamburg. Get ready to share pancakes with Santa, hop in a horse drawn sleigh, and experience live nativities. There’s something to celebrate every day. 

Confirm events and dates with the venue — as always, all programming is subject to change, and some may be weather-dependent. 




Celebrating its 30th year at the Kentucky Horse Park, Southern Lights invites guests to view over a million twinkling lights on a beautiful drive-thru tour.  Enjoy the return of the Holiday Village which features photos with Santa, Animal Land, model trains, and so much more. 5:30 pm to 10 pm thru December 31. (Closed on Christmas Day.) Named one of Kentucky’s Top 10 Winter/Holiday Festivals and Events by Kentucky Travel and Tourism, Southern Lights is a three-mile driving tour of lights 




Celebrate Christmas at Hamburg Pavilion. Free photographs with Santa Claus every weekend leading up to Christmas.

Saturdays start at 10 AM and Sundays at Noon in the Hamburg Pavilion Event Space: 2308 Sir Barton Way #190 (in the former iLoveKickboxing location)

hamburg: santa hugging a young boy with a stripped shirtSanta Claus will be there both Saturdays and Sundays. Face painting and other free activities will be provided, and don’t forget the carriage rides — pick up and drop off at the gazebo next to Ted’s Montana Grill.

Friendly reminder to bring your own camera/phone to capture magical moments.




Join Joseph-Beth Booksellers for Breakfast with the Grinch at 8:30 am in Lexington Green. 


A Kentucky Christmas at Ashland, the Henry Clay Estate will include a Holiday Market on December 2. Explore a wide variety of handmade crafts, local artisan goods, and delectable treats. Dine at the delicious Ginkgo Tree Café. It’s the ideal place to find unique presents that will make this holiday season truly special. Visit the charming Hillenmeyer Christmas Shop where you can find fresh cut trees and greenery, unique holiday decorations and gifts that will make your season even brighter.  Enjoy the Candlelight Tours during Kentucky Christmas at Ashland on December 2nd, 7th, and 9th. Step back in time and enjoy a guided tour of the historic estate, aglow with the soft, warm light of candles. It’s a magical journey through history and the perfect way to embrace the holiday season. 


UK Choirs presents “Collage: A Holiday Spectacular” in the SCFA Concert Hall. Rejoice in the holiday spirit with the 26th annual Collage. Celebrated vocalists and musicians from the UK School of Music and the Lexington Singers Children’s Choir perform holiday favorites from close to home and around the globe, conducted by UK Director of Choirs, Dr. Jefferson Johnson. 




A Charlie Brown Christmas comes to life in a faithful stage adaptation featuring all of your favorite characters and classic Vince Guaraldi score, 6 pm, EKU Center for the Arts. Join Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus and the rest of the Peanuts gang as they stage a play, save a tree and uncover the true meaning of Christmas.




The beloved TV classic Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer soars off the screen and onto the stage this holiday season. See all of your favorite characters in the musical. 7:30 pm EKU Center for the Arts. 




Have Pancakes with Santa. Santa Claus is coming to town, and he’s bringing pancakes for breakfast at Forcht Bank in Hamburg! Free breakfast will include pancakes, sausage, fruit, and other goodies. There will be reindeer games and crafts, too. Donations will be accepted for the Visually Impaired Preschool Services, 9 am to 11 am. 


Spend the evening at Drive-Thru Bethlehem, as live actors and animals portray the Christmas Story, 6 pm to 9 pm at South Elkhorn Christian. 



Join Sayre Christian Village for their annual Live Nativity, a family-friendly evening filled with holiday cheer. There is NO COST for this event and it’s open to the public.

LIVE Nativity

FREE PICTURE WITH SANTA! (donations welcome)

Large Display of Nativities from all over the World

Chili & Beer Cheese Fundraiser

Complimentary Cocoa Bar

Photo Op with Hank the Horse

Caroling & Kids Craft


Don’t forget to bring your letter to Santa!

Come Hungry! Back by popular demand, is a chili & beer cheese fundraiser in the Friendship Towers cafe! You can dine-in or carry-out to make dinner a breeze that evening.

Proceeds benefit the Resident Honor Fund at SCV. Just as Mary and Joseph were searching for shelter long ago, many older adults are also searching for shelter and need benevolent care.

Event is mostly indoor (no rainouts!) with some booths in the courtyard. Parking is available on the Sayre Christian Village campus, Friendship Towers, 580 Greenfield Drive. 4:30 pm to 7 pm. 



Have you seen The Nutcracker in One Act? The Bluegrass Youth Ballet will bring to life Clara’s adventures through the Land of Snow and the Land of Sweets in a family-friendly, one-act performance. Meet your favorite Nutcracker characters and enjoy drinks and snacks at Clara’s Tea Party, immediately following the Saturday Nutcracker performance in the President’s Room. UK Singletary Center. 




Kentucky Ballet Theatre presents The Nutcracker, a magical Christmas ballet, set to the music of Tchaikovsky.  This holiday performance is complete with Drosselmeyer and Clara, along with a cast of snowflakes, mice, soldiers, angels, fairies, and of course the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier. 2pm matinee at Lexington Opera House. 



Experience a ‘Very Darren Crissmas’ with Darren Criss, 8 pm at the Lexington Opera House. 



Lexington Ballet’s Nutcracker marches back onto the EKU Center stage this holiday season. Join Marie on a magical journey with the Sugar Plum Fairy, waltzing flowers, the Snow Queen, and, of course, the Nutcracker Prince as they battle the Mouse Queen and travel to the Land of Sweets. 2 pm EKU.

This article appears on pages 8-11 of the December 2023 issue of HJ. To subscribe to digital delivery each month, click here.