man and woman looking at holiday store display

Photography by Nick Krug

Travel home for the holidays in Holton

Spark your holiday spirit with an evening at Holton’s Small Town Christmas.

On December 9, visitors can expect to find the historic downtown decorated with an array of lights, a parade, Santa’s arrival and shops open late to ignite the community’s holiday season.

The hub of the town, the historic 1921 courthouse, is the three-story centerpiece of the annual celebration. Lights on the trees, the hum of local shoppers and the memorable architecture add to the glow surrounding the square.

“The ambiance of the lights on the courthouse and around the square give a cozy, warm feeling to the evening,” says Ashlee York, Holton’s chamber director. “It’s an easygoing, unhurried way to kick off Christmas.”

A performance outside the courthouse by a local dance studio leads up to the main event, the Parade of Lights at 5:30 p.m. Area clubs, churches, businesses, school groups, families, farm machinery, horses, the high school band and emergency vehicles all shine bright in this procession around the square.

Santa and Mrs. Claus bring up the rear, and afterward, make their way to the Santa House on the square for visits and pictures (watch for Santa at his house every Thursday throughout December). Other fun includes cookie decorating and story time with elves. Also, earlier in the afternoon, the local Beck Bookman Library hosts its annual children’s Christmas with readings, a classic film, crafts and goodies.



Small Town Christmas wraps up with shopping, treats and complimentary drinks until 7 p.m. at Holton’s downtown stores. Shoppers can enjoy holiday music as they stop by hometown classics such as More than Lemons for hand-blown glass ornaments, the Holton Mercantile for toys, old-fashioned candy and ice cream, and Third Eye Piper for jams, salsas and pickles made from homegrown peppers.

Make a night of it downtown with prime rib and chicken fried chicken at Boomers’ Steakhouse and Grill, Trails Café and other eateries, or try what’s on tap at Willcott Brewing Company.

“You’ll find something for everyone on your list at our selection of specialty shops,” York says. “The event [not only] reminds us that Christmas is near but also inspires us to shop locally in our unique and historic downtown.”