1 Holiday Express Train – The Kansas City Southern Holiday Express Train has returned to Union Station, 30 W. Pershing Road, Kansas City, and will be there through Sunday. Guests can visit Santa Claus and then tour the train for free, though there may be a cost for parking. The Holiday Express will be at Union Station 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. (Union Station members only) Friday and 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Of note: wait times vary, and strollers and wheelchairs cannot board the train.
2 Christmas in the Park – Jackson County's 32nd annual holiday lights display opened Wednesday at Longview Campground, 1499 S.W. County Park Road, Lee's Summit. The free drive-thru display includes more than a half-million lights, 175 animated figures and splashes of color. The display runs through Dec. 31 (except for Christmas), 5:30-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 5:30-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Donations for local charities are accepted. Call 816-503-4800 for more information.
3 Holiday season lights tours – Tours for decked out historic sites in Independence begin Friday, running through Dec. 30 (closed Dec. Monday-Wednesday). The Bingham-Waggoner Estate, 313 W. Pacific Ave.; Vaile Mansion, 1500 N. Liberty St.; and 1859 Jail and Marshal's Home & Museum, 217 N. Main St. are open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 1-4 p.m. Sunday, with admission at all three sites. The Chicago & Alton Depot, 318 W. Pacific St., next to National Frontier Trails Museum, is open for tours 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturdays and 12:30 p.m.-4:15 p.m. Sundays.
4 Storytime with Santa and Mrs. Claus – 11 a.m.-noon Saturday, Mid-Continent Public Library Blue Springs South Branch, 2220 S. Missouri 7. Santa and Mrs. Claus are making a special trip from the North Pole to read a holiday story. After the story, children can get a picture with Santa. Presented by Charles Wolber. Registration required at mymcpl.org. Also, The Dickens Carolers will perform 2-2:45 p.m., Sunday. Get into the Christmas spirit with a performance by these festive singers dressed in beautiful Victorian attire. Again registration required at mymcpl.org.
5 Christmas Carol – 10:30-11:30 a.m., Mid-Continent Public Library South Independence Branch, 13700 E. 35th St. Kids serve as the cast, and Theatre of the Imagination’s Miles McMahon narrates this interactive re-creation of Charles Dickens’ classic Christmas tale. Free and open for all ages, but registration required at mymcpl.org.