Holiday Time

Celebrate 2017 Mardi Gras in the South (February 2017)

Three Festive Ways to Avoid Going Stir Crazy Before the Holidays (December 2016)

30 Ways to Get Your "Jingle" On in the South (December 2016)

Five Ways to Experience the Holidays "Louisiana-Style" (December 2016)

"Brighten Up" Your Holidays with These Holiday Light Displays (November 2016)

Red, White, Blue and You: Fourth of July Celebrations in the South (July 2016)

Drops, Celebrations and More: Memorable Ways to Welcome in 2016 (December 2015)

Spark Your Holiday Spirit with the Many Events Happening Around the South (December 2015)

Six Places to Celebrate the Holiday Season (December 2015)

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14 Dazzling Holiday Light Displays Throughout the South to Enjoy Now (November 2015)

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New Twist on an Old Favorite: Amping Up the Grilled Cheese (April 2015)

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Move Over Ball Drop - This is How the South Welcomes in the New Year (December 2014)

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2013 Holiday Gift Guide: Food and Beverage (December 2013)

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From Their Table to Yours: Holiday Recipes from The Carolina Inn (November 2013)

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Absolutely Southern Gift Guide: Secret is in the Sauce at Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley (December 2012)

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8 Reasons to Visit Louisiana’s Holiday Trail of Lights this Season (December 2012)

Absolutely Southern Gift Guide: Chef's Table at Emeril's Delmonico (December 2012)

Absolutely Southern Gift Guide: Simply Ballastone Cookbook (November 2012)

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Seeing Various Shades of Green: St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations in the South (March 2012)

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A MoonPie, a Pickle, a Horseshoe and More: Ringing in the New Year Southern-Style (December 2011)

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Celebrating Mardi Gras 2010 (February 2010)


Published: December 2014
Ways to Get Your Holiday On in the South  

Light Show Spectacular

It’s the last weekend before Christmas, so why not make it one to remember.

From ice skating to light displays to caroling and much, much more, there are so many ways to experience the holidays in the South.

Need some ideas? Here is a quick look at events around the region that’ll get you in the holiday spirit, or increase it.

  • The Light Show Spectacular in the heart of historic downtown Grapevine, Texas features a free choreographed show nightly from 6 - 10 p.m., through January 4. This is one of the many events going on in the “Christmas Capital of Texas.”



  • Join in during the Ford Holiday Boat Caroling along the San Antonio (Texas) Riverwalk. The event takes place at 6:15 - 9:15 p.m., nightly.



  • Take in the half-million lights, themed Acadian home porches, local cuisine and more at Noel Acadien au Village  at Acadian Village in Lafayette, La. Don’t miss getting your photo made with the big guy, either. Nightly through December 23, 5:30 - 9 p.m. $10 per person, children, ages four and under are admitted free.



  • Enjoy the “Feaux Sneaux” that falls every 30 minutes, starting at 5 p.m.,  in Antique Alley in West Monroe, La. The event is a part of the city’s larger Christmas by the River, which in turn in part of the larger Holiday Trail of Lights, which highlights holiday events in five cities.




  • The live oaks in Bay St. Louis, Miss., are glowing with lit snowflakes during Snowflakes in the Bay through December 31.



  • Lace up your skates for ice skating with Holidays in the River in Tuscaloosa, Ala., through January 4, 2015.



  • The Wharf in Orange Beach, Ala., is home to Holiday Spectra, a free light show nightly at 6, 7 and 8 p.m.



  • In addition to the nightly self-guided driving tours through the lighted displays, from 5 - 9 p.m.,  xFinity Christmas at Chilowee Park in Knoxville, Tenn., also includes free activities and lighted trees floating on the lake. The event continues until January 1, 2015.




  • It’s free to drive through the Holiday Light Spectacular in Cornelia (Ga.) City Park. The nightly event is from 5 - 11 p.m., through January 1, 2015.



  • Bake cookies at the Holiday Cookie Workshop at Publix Apron's Cooking School or make tamales at the Holiday Tamale Workshop at Sur la table at North Point Mall, both places in Alpharetta, Ga.

  • There is still time to enjoy Winterfest in Pensacola, Fla. The Performance Tour  dates are December 19 - 21, while the Reindeer Games is scheduled for December 20 - 22. Both events start at 5 p.m., with the exception of December 19, which begins at 5:30 p.m., and new performances every 15 minutes until 8:30 p.m. Santa’s Express Tours is slated for December 22 and 23, beginning at 5:30 p.m., with new performance every 30 minutes until 8p.m.



  • Check out the various gingerbread house creations at the Gingerbread House Extravaganza in Jacksonville, Fla. The event runs through December 23, with weekday hours of 11 a.m.  - 5 p.m., and weekends, 10 a.m. -  5 p.m. Suggested donation of $5 per adult and $3 per child.



  • The Garden Club of Charleston has partnered with the Joseph Manigault House to present “Charleston’s Antebellum Charms” through December 31. The themed floral display uses only live plant materials that would have been available in the Lowcountry during the first quarter of the 19th century.



  • Nights of a Thousand Candles at Brookgreen Gardens has over 5,500 hand-lit candles as well as sparkling lights through December 20, 3 - 10 p.m. Complete the experience with a  warm cup of cider while listening to the sounds of hand bells ringing and carolers singing.



  • Check out Chetola Resort’s Festival of Lights in Blowing Rock, N.C. Free and open to the public, the resort provides a guide detailing information on the displays. Runs nightly from 5:30 - 9:00 p.m., nightly through January 25, 2015.



  • Visit McAdenville, N.C., “Christmas Town USA” through December 26. In its 59th year, its lights, Christmas music and more lights. Visit Monday - Friday, 5:30 - 9:30 p.m., and Saturday - Sunday, 5:30 - 11 p.m.




  • Work your way through the Fields-Penn House in Abingdon, Va., to see the decorated trees. Be sure to bring one non-perishable food, because you will use this to vote for your favorite by placing it at the base. The event is free and runs through January 3, 2015.



  • The Willet Distillery Moonlight Distillery Tour in Bardstown, Ky., features treats, tastings and a visit from Santa Claus (so be good!) The event is 5:30  - 7:30 p.m., with a suggested donation of $10 or a donation of a toy for children.



  • There are numerous holiday festivities going on at Shaker Village in Harrodsburg. Ky., during Holidays at Shaker Village. Hours and prices vary for each.



  • The annual Holiday of Lights Festival at Lotito City Park in Bluefield, WVa., features 600,000 lights. The free event is open 6 - 9 p.m., Sunday  - Thursday, and from 6 - 10 p.m., Friday-Saturday. The event ends on December 31.



  • Roast chestnuts from 12 - 5 p.m., or enjoy seasonal songs from 12 - 1 p.m. on December 20 during Christmas in Shepardstown (WVa.) Events rounding out Sunday include carriage rides from 12 - 4 p.m., and reciting of "A Christmas Carol” at 2 p.m.


photo: Light Show Spectacular in Grapevine, Texas; courtesy of Grapevine CVB

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