Thanksgiving Weekend Things to Do

Collage of three photos shows a man, woman, and teen daughter posing in front of a giant white statue of Santa Claus, a pan of chestnuts roasting over a fire, and a young girl in a red top and red and white striped pants standing outside a pen holding a reindeer

Your belly may be full of turkey and pumpkin pie, but Thanksgiving weekend is full of fun things to do with the family! Around here, it’s the “unofficial” kick-off of the area’s Christmas celebrations, and we have a whole itinerary’s worth of festivities waiting for you. 

Thanksgiving Thursday 

Get in the Christmas mood with a visit to the Santa Claus Christmas Store, open on Thanksgiving from 4:00 – 10:00 pm CT. Find some ornaments for the tree, visit with Santa, and grab a cookie for a late dessert (if you’re not too stuffed!). 

Thanksgiving also marks the opening night for two light shows in the area. The Santa Claus Land of Lights invites guests to drive through Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort and see the shining story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer brought to life in brilliant LED lights. And the Christmas in Dale Light Show features digital lighted decorations that dance to synchronized music.
Light display of Santa's reindeer and sleigh against a night sky background

Friday 

Who needs the hassle of fighting Black Friday crowds? Instead, spend the day enjoying some of the area’s wide-open spaces! 

A leisurely stroll around the grounds of Saint Meinrad Archabbey will help you start recovering from overindulging at the Thanksgiving table—and put you in a peaceful frame of mind for the rest of the day. 

Get your blood pumping with an invigorating walk or run through the woods at Lincoln State Park. Then cross over to Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial to see some of the park’s unique sites and pop into the Visitor Center. 

Hitting the links is a great way to enjoy a day off. And Christmas Lake Golf Club and The Rustic Golf Course are two great places to play!     

Don’t forget to fuel up as you go about your day. Start with a hearty breakfast at Darlena’s Lincolnland Restaurant. Grab a burger or pulled pork sandwich for lunch at Opie’s. And end the day with a family favorite—pizza and arcade games at Frosty’s Fun Center.
Young boy sits at a table with a slice of pizza on a plate in front of him and smiles at the camera while another young boy sits next to him in the background and eats pizza.

Saturday 

It’s Small Business Saturday, so it’s the perfect time to mark a few items off your list. Christmas shop ’til you drop for fashionable finds at Evergreen Boutique & Christmas Shop and Beverly J. Ellen. Discover local foods and gifts at Beloved FarmsPumpkins & Farm Market, and Steckler Grassfed Farms. Find festive decorations at Darlena’s Holiday & Gift Shoppe. 

Grab a bottle of Monkey Shine from Monkey Hollow Winery and Distillery. Try the local favorite Lakeview Peach at Pepper’s Ridge Winery—and while you’re there on Saturday and Sunday, stay for a bit to enjoy live music! 

Santa’s TOYS is also a great place to shop. And if you’re shopping on the Saturday or Sunday after Thanksgiving, it’s also a great place to make a new friend—the store is hosting its 5th annual Live Reindeer Exhibit! 

At the Santa Claus Haus, you can also meet Santa! Take home a unique keepsake photo and check out fun items in the gift shop.  

End the day with a favorite centuries-old tradition at Santa’s Candy Castle during their Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire event.
Santa Claus sits in a wooden chair with red accents and Christmas decorations on the walls behind him

Sunday 

Sundays are for comfort food, so try out some of the best in the area, like fried chicken from New Boston Tavern or spicy, cheesy, saucy favorites from Jimador Bar & Grill. 

Did you know there are 20+ Santa statues located throughout the town of Santa Claus? Make sure to get a #SantaSelfie with as many as you can find. Watch this video for a little help!

More Christmas Events to Come 

The first three weekends of December are positively packed with Christmas fun, from parades to fireworks and so much more. See the 2021 Christmas Event Guide to start planning your itinerary. 

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