Guide to Holiday Shopping Events in Georgia

Downtown Thomasville decorated for the holidays

Shop downtown Thomasville during two festive events: Small Business Saturday Nov. 28 and the Victorian Christmas Festival Dec. 10-11.

Find unique gifts for everyone on your list at these special holiday shopping events throughout Georgia. Stroll through historic downtowns filled with boutiques, specialty stores and galleries while the sounds of the season fill the air. Shop for handmade crafts and gifts you can’t find anywhere else, and treat yourself to a bite in a local café. Make holiday shopping a merry event this year in Georgia!

Nov. 24: Candlelight Shopping on the Square, Historic Downtown Washington

Nov. 24: Shopping by Lantern Light, Statesboro

Nov. 26: Christmas in Possum Snout, Tallapoosa

Nov. 28: Christmas at the Art Center, Blue Ridge

Nov. 28: Small Business Saturday in Downtown Thomasville

Nov. 28-29: Mistletoe Market & Sugar Plum Tea Room, North Georgia Technical College Campus, Blairsville

Nov. 28-Dec. 20 (weekends): Dublin Christkindlmarket (Traditional German Christmas Market), Dublin Carnegie

Nov. 30-Dec. 15: Christmas at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center, Atlanta

Dec. 1-4: Holiday Book Sale, Georgia Museum of Art, Athens

Dec. 3-4: Christmas Extravaganza, Downtown McRae

Dec. 4: First Fridays in Historic Downtown Brunswick

Dec. 4: First Friday, Downtown Valdosta

Dec. 4: Friday Night Live: Christmas in Downtown Woodstock

Historic Olde Town Conyers business district

Find special sales and promotions in the historic Olde Town Conyers business district during the Dec. 4 Christmas Party.

Dec. 4: Olde Town Conyers Christmas Party

Dec. 4: Downtown in December, Jefferson

Dec. 4-5: Christmas on the River, Savannah

Dec. 4-6: Art Dublin Holiday Gala & Show, Dublin-Laurens Museum & Cultural Center, Dublin

Dec. 5: Christmas in the Mountains, Downtown Cleveland

Dec. 5: Holiday Open House and Christmas Parade, Valdosta

Dec. 5: Back to Nature Holiday Market and Festival, Chattahoochee Nature Center, Roswell

Dec. 5-6: Home for the Holiday Expo, Gwinnett Center, Duluth

Dec. 5-6: Victorian Christmas Open House, National Civil War Naval Museum, Columbus

Dec. 5-13 (weekends): 8th Annual Christkindlmarkt, Helen

Dec. 5-19 (Saturdays): Georgia Winery’s Christmas Open House, Ringgold

Dec. 10: 13th Annual Hometown Christmas, Downtown Warrenton

Dec. 10: Girls’ Night Out, Valdosta

Children visit with Santa in Thomasville

Take the kids to visit with Santa in Thomasville during the Victorian Christmas Festival Dec. 10-11, 2015.

Dec. 10-11: Victorian Christmas Festival, Thomasville

Dec. 11-23 (select dates): Dinner & Shopping in Truett’s Barn, The Rock Ranch

Dec. 12: Nacoochee Village Christmas, Helen

Dec. 12: Christmas Cookie Walk, Good Samaritan Catholic Church, Ellijay

Dec. 17: Christmas in Royston

Through Dec. 22: Mistletoe Market, Arts Clayton Gallery, Jonesboro

Through Jan. 9: Holiday Show and Sale, The Art Center, Blue Ridge

Looking for more unique shopping destinations in Georgia? Read Shopping for Kids this Holiday Season, visit the Shopping Trip Ideas page, and find many more holiday events on the Events page. Subscribe to the Explore Georgia email newsletter to receive the latest events and deals directly in your inbox!

5 Things Worth Bundling Up to Do Outside

Ice skating at Atlantic Station

Go ice skating at Atlantic Station Nov. 21, 2015- Feb. 14, 2016. Photo courtesy Atlantic Station.

Baby it’s cold outside, but that doesn’t mean you have to hibernate indoors. With the mild weather in Georgia, you can wait a day or two for the sun to come out and warm things up. If that doesn’t happen, here are five activities worth bundling up to do outside this holiday season.

Night Sky Shows at the Okefenokee Swamp, Fargo: There are no camels, kings or gifts, but you can follow a star of your own walking through the woods. Lack of light pollution in the Okefenokee Swamp makes this area of Georgia perfect for stargazing. You can even observe the night sky through a high-powered telescope.

Seasonal Ice Skating Rinks, Atlanta: Nothing says the holidays like bundling up and hitting one of the many seasonal ice skating rinks around Atlanta. The Marietta Square is a newcomer to the scene, joining Centennial Park, Atlantic Station, St. Regis, Conyers and Avalon ice rinks.

Santa on a zipline at North Georgia Canopy Tours

Photo courtesy North Georgia Canopy Tours

Ziplining at North Georgia Canopy Tours, Lula: Your heart pumping in your chest will keep you warm as you fly through the air. Ground school gets first-timers comfortable with the heights and the equipment. For experienced zippers, the adventure course gives you a bird’s eye view of the North Oconee River and surrounding forest.

Holiday Lights at the Ruins, Barnsley Resort, Adairsville: The historic Manor House Ruins are the perfect canvas for this extensive light display that extends through the gardens and the village. Garden hours have been extended until 8 p.m. for day guests, or spend the night with the Light Up the Holidays package. Note: some evenings the ruins are reserved for private events and not open to the public. Call before you go.

Senoia’s Candlelight Tour of Historic Homes, Senoia: On Dec. 13, grab your hat and mittens for a tour of six historic homes and the Senoia United Methodist Church.  Afterward, warm up with refreshments at the Senoia Area Historical Society House.

SueSue Rodman is Georgia’s official Smart Travel Explorer and the editor and publisher of the award-winning family travel blog Field Trips with Sue. Click here for more Smart Travel content from Sue.

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5 Places to See Reindeer in Georgia

Live reindeer at Chattahoochee Nature Center in Roswell

See live reindeer on Reindeer Day, Dec. 13, at Chattahoochee Nature Center in Roswell.

1.)  Pettit Creek Farms (Cartersville) – Comet and Cupid await your visit at Pettit Creek Farms, an 80-acre working farm and entertainment venue just north of Lake Allatoona. Through December, you can visit the farm and experience their Christmas Light Show, which gives you the opportunity to visit live reindeer and possibly catch one of Santa’s helpers ready to pose for pictures.

2.)  Center for Puppetry Arts (Atlanta) – Each year, the Center for Puppetry Arts presents its production of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, a show adopted from the classic television movie. Each ticket gets attendees into the Build Your Own Puppet Workshop after the show, where they’ll have the opportunity to put together a version of the puppets used during the show for at-home play.

3.)  Reindeer Day at the Chattahoochee Nature Center (Roswell) – Each year, the center hosts Reindeer Day, the opportunity for locals to meet and greet live reindeer and celebrate the creatures with learning opportunities about the species and crafts.

4.)  Caroling by Candlelight (Madison) – Bring your family to downtown Madison and participate in a carols sing-a-long Dec. 12, 2015, to raise your spirits as Christmas nears. While you’re there, be sure to take a minute to visit with reindeer who may or may not have flown into town from the North Pole for the occasion.

5.)  Annual Lighting of the Ruins at Barnsley Resort (Adairsville) – On Nov. 25, 2015, watch as the ruins of the former home and gardens of Mr. Barnsley are lighted with 1 million bulbs while one of Santa’s helpers and his reindeer friends make an appearance during the annual special event. If you can’t make it to the lighting, be sure to visit Barnsley Resort’s light display on one of the days when it is aglow throughout the holiday season.

eileen-1437426635-thumb-230-230-10-58-1000-783-90Eileen is Georgia’s official Festival Explorer and the editor of Occupy My Family, the Atlanta area’s most comprehensive resource for family fun. Clickhere for more Festival content from Eileen.

Six Ways to Save on Tickets to Stone Mountain Christmas

Meet Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer at Stone Mountain Christmas

Meet Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer at Stone Mountain Christmas. Photo courtesy Stone Mountain.

Every year we anxiously await the start of the holiday season with Stone Mountain Christmas. It gives us an opportunity to kick-start our festivities and relish what means most to us this season: the sparkle of magic in our children’s eyes. While I highly recommend splurging on Stone Mountain Christmas, sometimes families have to pinch pennies during gift-giving season. That is why I am sharing six ways to save on tickets to Stone Mountain Christmas/Snow Mountain.

Take pictures with the Snow Angel at Stone Mountain Christmas.

Take pictures with the Snow Angel at Stone Mountain Christmas. Photo courtesy Stone Mountain.

Atlanta Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort Christmas Package. With prices starting as low as $209 per night, staying overnight is a treat but not a splurge! The Christmas Package includes overnight accommodations, breakfast at the restaurant, passes to Stone Mountain Christmas and access to the heated pools.

Groupon. For the next two weeks (or as supplies last), Groupon is offering a 32% discount on tickets to Stone Mountain Christmas!

Snow Mountain & Christmas Combo Pass. This includes two hours at Snow Mountain, plus all the celebrations of Stone Mountain Christmas. You can do both in the same day, or spread the fun over the season.

Free meal and unlimited drinks. Purchase your Adventure Pass online and get a free meal from Marketplace and unlimited drink refills.

Save on an Adventure Pass. If you’ll be eating off-site, then consider purchasing the Adventure Pass online. It doesn’t include the meal voucher, but can still save you $5.

Snow Mountain Pass. If you want to skip Stone Mountain Christmas but still want to play in the snow, then grab the Snow Mountain-only pass.

You can read more here about why Stone Mountain Christmas is special to us, or find over 150 additional Christmas events in Atlanta!

And don’t miss our other fun Christmas articles:

LesliLesli is the Georgia’s official Family Explorer and the owner of 365AtlantaFamily, which offers a daily dose of inspiration for metro-area families. Click here for more Family content from Lesli.

Top 5 Holiday Activities in Georgia’s Lake Country

christmas photos - elves

Georgia’s Lake Country is wrapped with traditional and delightful holiday events. From concerts and caroling to ice skating and Santa sightings, Greensboro, Madison, Eatonton and Milledgeville have you covered this holiday season.

1.) Sing Christmas carols, or….
Let others sing them! On December 2, the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center will host the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra for a holiday concert.

Then on December 4, Georgia College’s Music Department presents a Holiday Concert at Russell Auditorium in #Milledgeville.

Ritz-Carlton Ice Skating

Go ice skating at the Ritz-Carlton in Greensboro Nov. 25, 2015-Jan. 3, 2016.

2.) Go ice skating — the perfect way to get holiday spirit!
The Ritz-Carlton in #Greensboro will host its annual outdoor ice skating rink at the Pavilion. The rink opens November 25 and lasts until January 3. All the fun is topped off with hot cocoa! It’s an event that’s a blast for the whole family!

Madison Holiday Tour of Homes

Tour historic homes dressed up for the holidays in Madison Dec. 3-5, 3015.

3.) Take a tour of historic homes and sites.
December 3-5, step into #Madison’s Town & Country Holiday Tour of Homes. This event is one that you do not want to miss.

The Old Governor’s Mansion in Milledgeville will be open November 21-25 and then December 1-23. The mansion will be transformed into a winter wonderland!

Stepback, Georgia, in #Eatonton is a recreation of a 1900s community. Join the Pierce family on December 12 to “step back” into how Christmas was celebrated over 100 years ago!

Santa and Mrs. Claus in Milledgeville's Christmas Parade

See Milledgeville’s Christmas Parade Dec. 5, 2015

4.) Of course, See Santa!
Milledgeville welcomes #Santa with a parade down Main Street. This year’s parade is on December 5, and the theme is Sounds of the Season. Enjoy bands, festive floats and Santa!

On December 13, Crooked Pines Farm is bringing back “Santa & Sweets.” This event will wow your kids! Children will decorate cookies and have a one-on-one with Santa himself! Parents will receive a thumb drive with all of the photos of your children.

5.) Shop til you drop!
Eatonton hosts Christmas in the Briar Patch on December 5 from 3-6 p.m. Arts and crafts vendors will line the courthouse lawn. This is the perfect place to get your holiday shopping done! Stick around for “Light up the Night Christmas Parade” starting at 6 p.m. where Eatonton will welcome Santa to the square for free pictures with Santa!

For more information on these events, contact Maddie Atkinson with Georgia’s Lake Country.

Maddie AtkinsonMaddie Atkinson is a 2014 graduate from Georgia College in Milledgeville. After falling in love with Middle Georgia, Maddie decided to find a job there. After landing the tourism, marketing & special events position with the Eatonton-Putnam Chamber of Commerce, she began working actively on Georgia’s Lake Country marketing committee. She has since bought a house in Lake Country with her husband and two children.