Holiday Time

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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)

So Many Ways to Kick Off the Holiday Season in the South (November 2015)

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Published: December 2015
Six Places to Celebrate the Holiday Season  

canton lights

Holiday are about spending time together, and a great way to accomplish this is by traveling. Create memories and establish new traditions by celebrating the holiday season at any one of the six destinations.

Grapevine, Texas

With over 1,400 Christmas events scheduled throughout 40 days, it is easy to understand why Grapevine is considered to be the "Christmas Capital of Texas."

Festivities include everything from Christmas on Main to the North Pole Express at Grapevine Vintage Railroad. On December 5, celebrate a Victorian Christmas at Nash Farm. Learn about the holiday traditions of that period and create a Victorian ornament to take home. All ages can join in the fun of Christmas Sparkle at the Settlement to City Museums. Through January 3, 2016, take part in activities like creating cotton wreaths, sparkle ornaments and more.

Don't forget to check out the events at both Gaylord Texan Resort and Great Wolf Lodge. For a nominal fee, you can take part in activities such as ICE! (Gaylord Texan Resort) and Snowland (Great Wolf Lodge.)

New Orleans

NOLARevDinnerNew Orleans shines brightly during the holiday season. The Cresent City's schedule is filled with New Orleans traditions like Reveillon dinners, bonfires like the one scheduled for December 5 at Oak Alley Plantation, and caroling in Jackson Square.

For those who enjoy holiday lights, be sure to check out Celebration in the Oaks. Enjoy such displays as the Who Dat Tree honoring the New Orleans Saints and Mr. Bingle, an old-school New Orleans holiday character.

Starting on December 4 is Miracle on Fulton Street with a holiday market, live entertainment and refreshments, guaranteed to get everyone in the holiday mood.

And that's just a sampling of all the happenings. Don't forget about the activities with NOLA ChristmasFest, either.

Canton, Mississippi

With over 200,000 glittering lights decorating Canton's historic Courthouse Square to welcome in the holiday season, they've rightfully earned the title "City of Lights."

Through December 23, the city is abuzz with activities like an old-fashioned carousel and vintage car rides, trolley rides around the square and more, including an annual Sip N' Cider on December 11.

Make it a point to stop in Canton Animation Museums to take in the 135 life-size animated figures that highlight everything from history to fantasy.

Smoky Mountains

While it's always a great time to visit the Smoky Mountains, there's something "extra special" about the area during Winterfest.

In its 26th year, events across the area include Shadrack's Christmas Wonderland at Smokies Stadium; and a new show, "Thomas Kinkade’s Christmas of Light" winterfestlightsat Smoky Mountain Palace in Sevierville, Tenn. Don't miss the 40th Annual Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade in Gatlinburg on December 4.

Ride the trolley to see the lights and lighted displays throughout the area.

Want more? Visit Ober Gatlinburg not only for inspiring views but also for ice skating, aerial tram and other activities. Check out the new Christmas show at Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede, "Christmas at Dixie" that includes the 35,000 square foot arena transforming into a live nativity scene.

Florida Keys

Celebrate the season island-style in the Florida Keys. Kicking off December in Islamorada is the Florida Keys Holiday Festival on December 4, complete with a tree lighting ceremony, holiday parade with Santa Claus and more. Stick around for their Inaugural Stone Crab Jam Festival on December 5.

BightChristmasViolins_046During the Key West Holiday Fest, enjoy the Harbor Walk of Lights reflecting and honoring the area's rich maritime history. And speaking of maritime, the 25th annual Key West Lighted Boat Parade is slated for December 12.

Other events taking place throughout the month include additional boat parades, concerts and the Holiday Historic Inn Tour on December 11 and 18.

Winston-Salem, North Carolina

From home tours to Saturdays with St. Nick to Candle Tea in Old Salem, Winston-Salem charms visitors of all ages during the holidays.

Take a self-guided tour of Old Salem to take in the decorations reflecting the 18th and 19th century. Check out the different events happening as well, such as the Candle Tea and enjoy Moravian coffee and a piece of sugar cake. There's also the Anniversary Lovefeast at St. Philips on December 12. Enjoy listening to Christmas music by The Voices of God’s Children, followed by the serving of the Lovefeast buns and tea.

No visit to Winston-Salem is complete without stopping by the nearby Korner's Folly for a tour. Known as "the Strangest Home in America," it's dressed up for the season.

photo credits: (top) Canton, Miss., "City of Lights," courtesy of Visit Mississippi; (top left) Christmas New Orleans Style Reveillon Dinner, courtesy of NewOrleansOnline.com; (mid right) Winterfest Lights, personal collection; (bottom left) Key West Bight Christmas Violins, courtesy of Florida Keys, fla-keys.com

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