Christmas in Kalona returns with new, old traditions

By Molly Roberts
Posted 11/16/21

After a hiatus in 2020 due to the pandemic, Christmas in Kalona will return to the community this year, featuring many different events and activities for families and all sorts of …

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Christmas in Kalona returns with new, old traditions


After a hiatus in 2020 due to the pandemic, Christmas in Kalona will return to the community this year, featuring many different events and activities for families and all sorts of visitors.

Christmas in Kalona will be Saturday, Dec. 4 throughout downtown Kalona.

“It’s way at the beginning of December so it’s a really good introduction or kickoff to the holiday season, it really gets you prepped and ready for what’s coming the rest of the month,” said Olivia Kahler, member of the Christmas in Kalona committee and Director of Youth Services at the Kalona Public Library. “It’s great to have the camaraderie and the community come back and all be together to celebrate again, especially this time of year. It’s such a joyous occasion not only to be back in person, but to be part of the holiday season.”

Kahler said the year off was interesting because it gave the organizers a break to see what Christmas in Kalona could be, which is part of the reason why there will be some new and returning traditions this year.

One event that will return this year is the Christmas tree walk, Saturday evening at the Kalona Historical Village.

“Previously, about 10 years back or more, we did a Christmas tree walk inside the Kalona rec center, before it was the YMCA. Businesses in the area would sponsor a Christmas tree and decorate it themselves and you could walk through and see 50 to 100 Christmas trees,” said Krista Hershberger, assistant director of the Kalona Area Chamber of Commerce. “We wanted to bring that back, but this time it will be outdoors and we can tie in the Historical Village, and they will be doing the lighting of their buildings the same night that we do the lighting of the trees.”

The event will be free to the public and give local businesses the chance to decorate their own tree in a way to highlight their business.

“It’s an opportunity for businesses to promote themselves and get their name out in the community. We’re really hoping they’ll go all out and create a really unique and special tree that will stand out to people and get their name out there,” Hershberger said.

There will also be walking stockings for kids all through the day.

“We’re excited to bring back some of the things that have been really popular in the past and the walking stockings is one of those things,” Hershberger said. “Basically, kids can pick up a free stocking either here at the Chamber or at the YMCA and then they visit the downtown businesses and they each will have a free little goodie for them to put in their stocking. It’s a really fun way to explore the downtown businesses and check out their Christmas specials. The kids love it as well.”

There will also be a Christmas market at the YMCA in the morning. Hershberger said there has already been a lot of interest from local vendors and she is hoping for a good selection of vendors to help people kick off their Christmas shopping.

At the same time as the Christmas market, there will be activities for kids, including face painting done by high schoolers from Pathway Christian School, a craft or take-home craft from CBI Bank, an ornament making station from Hills Bank and more.

“Of course we will have the arrival of Santa,” Kahler said. “He usually shows up on the back of a fire truck and we’ll have photo opportunities with a backdrop from KCTC for kids to get their picture taken with Santa. The pictures are on behalf of Hills Bank, they take your photo and print it for you right there, so you get to take it with you.”

Overall, Christmas in Kalona is an opportunity for the businesses and people of Kalona to come together to celebrate the holiday season.

“It’s really cool how the businesses come together to make this happen,” Hershberger said. “Everything is free. There’s no cost for anybody who wants to come to Christmas in Kalona.”

More information about Christmas in Kalona is available on the Chamber website at, including sign-up forms for any groups or businesses wanting to participate in the holiday market or Christmas tree walk.


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