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Omaha Magazine

Omaha CVB: Holiday Tourism in Omaha

Dec 03, 2020 09:51AM ● By Deborah Ward
Deborah Ward of Omaha CVB

Omaha has a long history of welcoming visitors during the holidays. The tradition of displaying one of the Midwest’s largest Christmas trees at The Durham Museum dates to the 1930s. According to Union Pacific, back when the museum was a train station, employees would cut down a massive evergreen in the Pacific Northwest, load it on a train and ship it to Omaha, where it would be displayed and decorated for travelers to enjoy during the holidays. Throughout tough times in history, such as the Great Depression and World War II, the tree stood tall and welcomed all who visited. Now, during a global pandemic, the tradition lives on and provides a bit of normalcy amidst the uncertainty. 

Other longstanding traditions continue as well. The Omaha Community Playhouse, the country’s largest, is celebrating its 45th season of A Christmas Carol, reimagined with a smaller cast. Lauritzen Gardens has designed a one-way, socially distanced experience for visitors to enjoy more than 5,000 poinsettia plants and the magnificent 20-foot-tall poinsettia tree at its annual holiday show. The Omaha Symphony’s popular holiday concert will still feature traditional favorites, seasonal classics, and the popular performance of “Sleigh Ride” but with fewer performances and only 30% of the seats filled.

Yes, tourism in 2020 looks different and this holiday season is no exception. There have been cancelations, postponements, and virtual replacements. While this year has been filled with upheaval and a lot of change, remember the tree standing at The Durham Museum and let it be a reminder of the strength and resilience of our community during this holiday season, and for years to come. 

This column was printed in the December 2020/January 2021 issue of B2B Magazine.