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Family Friendly New Year's Eve Ideas

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Go big and stay home! Is that YOUR motto for a New Year’s Eve spent with kids? The days of dancing past midnight and sleeping until noon may be gone, but that doesn’t mean the fun has to end! Nope. We’ve got you covered with these kid-approved FAMILY FRIENDLY NEW YEAR’S EVE IDEAS!

  1. New Year’s Eve Count Down Bags

  1. DIY Balloon Drop


  1. New Year Reflections


  1. Cookies and Milk Toast

  1. New Years Tree

  1. New Year’s Eve Scavenger Hunt

  1. Balloon Countdown


  1. Paper Plate Shakers

  1. Minute To Win It Competitions

Tips for Day after Christmas Shopping!

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Don’t worry if you missed Black Friday or Cyber Monday—you can still snag great deals the day after Christmas. Here’s how to get the most out of your post-holiday shopping.

Holiday Light Displays Around the Metro

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Nothing says “Holiday Spirit” like grabbing a snack and some hot cocoa, then jumping in the car to take in the lights and sights of the season!  In and around the Des Moines metro, the choices are plenty when it comes to areas for your tour de lights.  We’d like to take this opportunity to highlight just a few of our faves! 


Unfortunately for the Make A Wish Foundation and all of Iowa, our top pick, Jolly Holiday Lights, is now closed for the season. Heavy rains earlier this week were just no match for this awesome event. Those wanting to still make a contribution to Make A Wish, can do so {here}.  Though we are sad for the foundation, its volunteers, and all of those who enjoy this display year after year, we are confident they will be back again in 2016 and will be bigger and better than ever! Until then, we’ve got you covered with plenty of other lighting display choices!

For starters, we recommend planning a drive through of a few well-known Beaverdale neighborhoods!  Beaverdale Lights is a show of about 50 homes on Ashby and Wallace Avenues east and west of Beaver Avenue.  Some of these are historic homes with some serious holiday cheer!

One of the more popular light displays on this list, the entire Historic Valley Junction area, comes out with lights, Christmas icons, and tons of holiday cheer. They turn it on full force with more than 100,000 holiday lights strung around the shopping district.  You’ll want to get out of your car and walk around to take it all in!


While you’re out and about in Des Moines, see to it that your tour involves a drive to the Gingerbread House at 200 North Main Street in Grimes.  This is where Bob Jordan and his family set up their elaborate indoor and outdoor display every year. And just to put this one in perspective, the Jordan’s have so many lights that they beginning the decorating process in October!  A show said to use more than 1,000 feet of drop cord, the 2010 show used 127 plastic snowmen and 74 Santa Claus statues. The family gives all proceeds to the Special Olympics – a win, win in our book!

Up for just a little longer drive? Ted Lare Garden Center in Cumming is a great spot to see beautiful holiday lights. The garden center is decorated with thousands of twinkling lights, including their large metal cactus by the front doors of the Center. Put the kids in their jammies, turn up the Christmas tunes and make the drive. They’ll be asleep when you get home!

Looking to stay a little closer to home, Ankeny friends?  Our town is proud to feature several well-lit neighborhoods known for their festive-ness and magnificent light displays! 


Perhaps the most popular is the famous Gingerbread Lane on Richland Court and the nearby Richland and Rio Circles. Rumor has it that Santa, Mrs. Claus, and four elves will be making an appearance on December 18th, 19th and 20th and collecting donations for the Food Bank of Iowa from 6-8pm. These neighbors have a story to tell and do so using lights and decorations! 

Called the city’s best kept Christmas light secret, some homes in The Country Club division boast beautiful displays and lots of holiday spirit, as well!


Of course, the well lit and decorated homes in and around Ankeny are too numerous for us to mention all.  But we want to know…Where have you found the best light displays and festive decorations?  We’ll be checking the comments and making sure to take your advice!


DIY Holiday Gift for Neighbors

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Christmas is right around the corner and we know how crazy life can be, so we’ve rounded up 10 of our favorite DIY Neighbor (or friend!) Gift Ideas! Oh, but these aren’t just any neighbor gift ideas.  These are the cutest, quickest, and easiest gift ideas out there. PLUS most of them come with free printables!  All you have to do is print – total score, right?!

1. Eat Drink & Be Merry

2. Snowball Playdough

3. Disposable Dishes

4. Snowman Mason Jar

5. Gingerbread House Kit

6. Christmas M&M Poem

7. Bread Wrappers

8. Donut Gift Tag

9. Christmas Stove Top Potpourri

10. Snowman Popcorn Covers

Now, the only question is: How will you ever decide which one to pick?!?

2015 Ankeny Holiday Event Round-Up

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Tis the season to spend time with family, friends...and your community!  Lucky for you, Ankeny is a town with lots of really special Holiday events happening soon, making that quality family/friend/community time a reality!  Below you will find a list of a few of our favorite must-see and do special events.
















Thursday, December 10, 2015


Ankeny Community Chamber Luncheon


This event is open to the public and requires tickets in advance. Stop by the Ankeny Chamber office at 210 S. Ankeny Blvd. to get yours today!




Friday, December 4, 2015


Mayor’s Tree Lighting



Join Ankeny's Mayor Gary Lorenz and City Council for The Mayor’s Tree Lighting on Friday, Dec. 4 at 6 p.m at the Fire Department.

Kick off the holidays with at this new event that is sure to become a tradition for the whole family! Kids can make a holiday craft and learn about the Keep the Wreath Green program, winter fire safety, and Pluggies Partners. The Fire Department will also be accepting donations for Toys for Tots. Refreshments will be available. 

At 6:45 p.m. guests will be invited outside to light the big tree with Mayor Lorenz.

This event is free! And rumor has it, Santa will be making an appearance!


Saturday, December 5, 2015


Ankeny Historical Society Christmas Cookie Sale


Need Christmas cookies, but don’t feel like doing the baking?



Christmas in Uptown Ankeny - Santa’s Treasure Hunt


Visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, get your picture taken and receive your token to hunt for your Treasure in participating Uptown Businesses. Start at the Ankeny Historical Barn then Hunt for your treasure in Uptown. There will be a cookie and candy sale, cocoa and other goodies. 
Free Horse drawn Wagon rides also available through Uptown from 12-3pm.




Thursday, December 10, 2015


Santa and Mrs. Claus visit the Library


Take your little ones for this event at our local library.  Let them visit with Mr. & Mrs. Claus, make a craft, watch a movie, and more from 6:00-7:30pm


Saturday, December 12, 201


Breakfast with Santa


A holiday tradition for the children of Ankeny continues with this year's Breakfast with Santa on Saturday, December 12

Boys and girls ages 3 through 7 can spend the morning visiting with Santa at the Lakeside Center. The program will begin with a delicious breakfast and, after, children will have an opportunity to decorate a Christmas sheet and share their holiday wishes with Kris Kringle.

This is an open activity and participants can arrive any time between 9:00 and 10:30 a.m. to visit with Santa and enjoy breakfast.

A paying adult must accompany all children. Each person eating breakfast must pay admission.


Please register online at by December 6, 2015.

Cost is $8.00 per resident, $10.00 for non-residents.

Breakfast with Santa is sponsored by Hy-Vee.




Tuesday, December 15, 2015


Holiday Crafts and Cocoa


Join Ankeny Parks and Recreation for a night jam-packed with crafts, cocoa and fun!

Kids aged Kindergarten through 5th grade will be able to complete a variety of holiday-themed crafts at their own pace to celebrate the holiday.

K - 2nd: 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

3rd - 5th: 7:15 to 8:15 p.m.

Fee is $15 for residents, $18 for non-residents.

Pre-registration is required. Space is limited. Registration deadline is December 11. 

To register online, please visit






Displaying blog entries 1-5 of 5