Table Talk: December 17–23

This week: Recipes for perfect cookies and punchy cocktails, where to spot twinkle lights and Santa Claus, plus plenty of events to round out the week.

By Claire Porter

Dec 17 2019 at 10 a.m.

Chocolate Mint Thin Cookies Packaged with Candy Canes
Photo By Vivian WheelerGet in the spirit of giving (and snacking) with crowd-pleasing recipes, holiday events and so much more. Purchase Photo
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Tis the Season

Happy happy holidays! Yes, we’re a week early, but you’ve got grocery shopping and cleaning to do, so I figured we’d get a jump on our plans so we weren’t panic shopping next week. To start out, I’ve done the hard work of scouring our recipe archives for all the sinful tastes you can serve at your multitude of social obligations. I really zeroed in on the booze and the sweets because, well, ‘tis the season for indulgences, and we’re probably all swearing we’ll “never drink again” after New Years anyway, so I wanted you to get a few sips in while you can. 

The Drinks

The Desserts

Feelin’ Foodie

In my opinion, one of the best things about the holiday—better than the quality time with loved ones, better than the snow days, better than all the gifts—is the food! So, naturally, I’m pretty excited about all the Christmas-adjacent foodie finds floating about. 

Never one to turn down a drink, I’m especially smitten with our holiday pop-up bars. Your favorite watering holes are aglow in lights, shimmering with sparkly tinsel and flush with drink specials. Golden Girl Rum Club, Missouri Spirits, Civil Kitchen and Finnegan’s Wake are participating in pop-ups for a cause. Reverie is hosting the 12 Days of Christmas. And J.O.B. is overtaken by a truly massive Christmas tree. 

While you’re breaking out the KitchenAid and softening your butter, why not make a party out of it? Follow Elle Feldman’s advice (and nab one of her recipes) for a buzz-worthy cookie exchange party

And if you’re truly all cookie’d out and the thought of more sugar is making you want to scream, maybe forgo the cookies for Santa tradition this year and plop out a charcuterie board—no, really! Lavish Grazing has launched Santa Boxes for $20, full of meats, cheese and crackers for “Santa;” carrots for his reindeer; plus a few cookies in keeping with tradition.


Round out the rest of your holiday season with our local guides to all things Christmas: 

• First, the big one. If you don’t have your tree yet, you’ve still got some time to hit up a local Christmas tree farm for that winter-fresh pine. And after the season is over and you’ve vacuumed needles off your floor for the umpteenth time, here’s where to dispose of your tree.

• Fool your friends and family into thinking you’ve been in the spirit for months by sending them a festive pic of you and the fam in front of Kris Kringle himself. We’ve gathered five places to see the jolly ol’ chubster.  

• Now that you’ve gotten your tree, you have to put some gifts under it, I guess. Check out our local gift guide for every type of recipient. The best part? All gifts are from local shops, so no need to pay for super deluxe shipping!

• Leaning into the most magical time of year, stores, parks and businesses everywhere are aglow with festive lights. Gas up the car and get ready for a little road trip in pursuit of the sparkliest, most brilliant holiday light displays.

• Finally, just a short hop, skip and a jump down south, Branson is establishing itself as Christmas central with holiday-centric activities, displays and shows to help you fill time with those out-of-town relatives. 

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Frosty & Friends

Now is the time of year when text chains start blowin’ up, old Facebook groups reignite, and the number of “Can you pick me up from the airport?” calls you get can be overwhelming. Now that your pals are in town, what are you going to do together? Fear not. The next few weeks are chock-full of tasty ways to celebrate the season. 

December 17

Who says camp is just for summer? Join Vino Cellars for Wine Camp tonight to learn about all things bubbly—just in time for the holidays. 

December 17–26

Missouri Spirits has transformed into Miracle on Walnut, a Christmas pop-up bar, and is hosting holiday events like gift wrapping, karaoke, and ugly sweater contests all week long.

December 18

Farmers Market of the Ozarks is taking over the evening with a holiday pop-up market with artisan vendors, photo-ops and an appearance from Santa. 

December 18

Hotel Vandivort is bringing Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick back for its annual Cocktails with Santa—an adults-only evening of cocktails and live music. 

December 18 

Let someone else do the holiday cooking this year. At Progress, the Chef’s Tasting Series this month is focused on family Christmas traditions.

December 19 

Sneak in some last minute gift shopping, sip a Great Escape beer and—the best part—snuggle adoptable puppies at Culture Flock’s Yappy Hour puppy party. 

December 19

Feeling celebratory? Head to Macadoodles on Independence for a Holiday Bubbles Wine Bar Takeover, featuring tasting of premium sparkling wines. 

December 19

The party starts early on the north side at Ruthie’s on C-Street theme night, featuring spiked eggnog, cider and hot chocolate, plus karaoke. 

December 19

Childcare can be hard to come by this time of year, but entrust the care of your young’un to a friendly elf as you grocery shop at Hy-Vee’s crafting sesh

December 19 

Tis the season for sweets, so naturally you’ll want to wind up at a bakery. Visit B + B Boulangerie & Bakery for its holiday open house.

December 19 

Or, head up to C-Street for Askinosie Chocolate’s Sip N’ Shop with free hot chocolate (even boozy ones!), factory tour, live music, deals and more. 

December 21 

Whiskey Tango wants you to get ugly. Well, besweatered and ugly. Join their Tito’s Ugly Sweater Party for drink specials and swag. 

December 21 

You’ve got friends and family coming into town next week—what are they gonna drink? Better make it one of the celebratory cocktails from Rogan Howitt’s cocktail class at The Workshop

December 21 

Pinkies out for tea and chocolate at The Keeter Center in Branson. The tea time gathering is sold out, but be sure to get your name on the waiting list for openings. 

December 21

Pick up a build-your-own gingerbread cookie kit from Tea Bar & Bites and snap a pic with Santa at the Pickwick Place Santa visit

December 21 

Grab some buds, down some brews and take in the Christmas lights as the 417 Brewery Bus Tourtakes you around Springfield craft breweries. 

December 22 & 29

Christmas’s midweek appearance means you have double the weekends for holiday brunch. Make one of them The Keeter Center’s Christmas Brunch

December 24 

Save yourself, your family and your dishwasher a lot of distress by just heading out for Christmas Eve. Hemingway’s Blue Water Cafe is serving Christmas Eve buffet

December 28 

By this time you’ve (hopefully) survived the holidays. Now get a jumpstart on that New Years Resolution to learn a new skill by taking a holiday bread baking class at The Workshop. 

Through December 30

Bask in the glow of thousands of lights at Silver Dollar City’s Old Time Christmas, and be sure to grab treats and snacks from the park’s eateries to help you stay warm. 

Through December 31 

Joining the pop-up holiday bars is Reverie, which has literally decked its halls and rolled out a frosty cocktail menu for a 12 days of Christmas celebration. 

Had Your Fill?

Whether you’re hosting family or looking to escape them, there are plenty of ways to soak in the holiday spirit that don’t involve food. (If you’re anything like me, you’re probably so full of cookie dough samples and chocolate oranges that the thought of another meal is, honestly, kind of sickening. Although don’t let that stop you from digging into a big bucket of popcorn.)

December 17–18

For those of us tired of flipping through streaming channels, Alamo Drafthouse is screening all the holiday classics like Elf, Christmas Vacation, Polar Express, Scrooged and more

December 18–21, 26–28

Meander through the picturesque Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden and see the park in a new light, literally, at Gardens Aglow

December 20–23 

Bask in the magic of the holiday classic The Nutcracker at Springfield Ballet’s live performances of the quintessential Tchaikovsky ballet. 

December 21 

Is it Christmas if you don’t hear the Nutcracker Suite at least once? Take in the fancy footwork from the comfort of a movie theatre seat at The Moxie’s showing of The Nutcracker.  

Through December 22 

Rutledge-Wilson Farm Park dons twinkly accessories as it transforms into Candy Cane Lane, a drive-through light experience. 

December 22

Get in the holiday spirit after hours at Midnight Rodeo’s Christmas Party. You only have a few days to solidify your naughty/nice status, so tread carefully. 

December 24 

Take in the sights and a little history as you cruise around town with the Birthplace of Route 66 Association during their Christmas Eve Cruise

December 27

If winter break has you and your kids getting cabin fever, spend a night at Wonders of Wildlife’s winter overnight while you explore the aquarium after dark. 

Through December 31 

Take in holiday cheer lakeside at Branson Landing’s Winter Wonderlanding, featuring decked out windows, lights, trees and more. 

Through December 31 

Bask in the magical glow of Downtown Springfield as it glitters with holiday lights, plus window displays and special events throughout the season at the Festival of Lights

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