Small-Town Holiday Traditions in Ohio’s Largest Playground

Blog by Scott Hutchinson

Hour-long lines. Log-jammed parking lots. Parties to plan and people to see. Albeit the ‘most wonderful time of the year’, the hustle and bustle of the holiday season can often leave us feeling anything but jolly. 

Sometimes, in fact, what we could really use during the dizzying blitz of the holidays, is to be anywhere but home. That’s where Warren County comes in!

Home to a bevy of heartwarming holiday events and traditions, this Southwest Ohio hideaway offers busy travelers a quick and convenient wintertime escape brimming with old-time holiday charm. Stroll the lamp-lit streets of historic Downtown Lebanon, indulging in festive handmade treats from the Golden Turtle Chocolate Factory and Homegrown Ohio by The Jam & Jelly Lady. Book an evening stay and enjoy a mouthwatering meal at the Golden Lamb Restaurant & Hotel, just as Charles Dickens, legendary author of A Christmas Carolonce did. Explore the festive halls of Glendower Mansion, a historic, Greek Revival home first erected in 1845.

Punch your ticket to the North Pole to enjoy cookies and hot cocoa with Santa Claus and friends aboard the Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad. Then take in the splendor of one of the Midwest’s most magical holiday events, the annual Lebanon Horse-Drawn Carriage Parade & Christmas Festival, featuring two separate parades (one during the day and a second candle-lit procession at night) of more than 100 decorated carriages pulled by Clydesdales, Percherons, miniature horses and more incredible breeds.

Want to check off those wishlists with something unexpected? Travel just a few minutes north of Lebanon to explore endless aisles of one-of-a-kind items while avoiding the mayhem of big-box stores and malls in the ‘Antique Capital of the Midwest’—the Village of Waynesville. While there’s no wrongweekend to peruse the charming community’s seemingly endless array of antique dealerships, art galleries, and artisan shops, many choose to plan their wintertime Waynesville adventures around the village’s annual holiday festival, Christmas in the Village.

A holiday performance at La Comedia Dinner Theatre | Springboro, Ohio

Still not through exploring? Swing through Morrow to witness an awe-inspiring light display previously featured on Good Morning America and HGTV at The Christmas Ranch, or make your way up to the City of Springboro to check more off your holiday wishlists at its terrific selection of locally owned stores. Treat the art lover in your group to dinner and a professional Broadway-style production of a seasonal show at La Comedia Dinner Theatre–one of the largest and most beautiful professional dinner theaters still operating in the United States.

Finally, adventure lovers and those traveling with kids won’t want to miss out on the City of Mason. Great Wolf Lodge, the city’s incredible wilderness-themed lodge and indoor water park, transforms into Snowland–a festive holiday wonderland each winter–while Beach Mountain sends thrill seekers speeding down a 400-foot long snow-tubing hill.

When holiday planning turns a little too hectic, look no further than the small towns of Ohio’s Largest Playground for your wintertime escape!