Holiday Time

Only in the South: Celebrate the Arrival of 2020 with Unique New Year's Eve Drops (December 2019)

Log on to Cyber Monday Deals (December 2019)

Southern Hospitality Traveler's Favorite Things About October (October 2019)

Honor the Red, White and Blue in the South with Independence Day Celebrations (July 2019)

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler! Celebrating Mardi Gras 2019 (February 2019)

Pickle, Pelican or Peach: The Many Unique Ways the South Welcomes in the New Year (December 2018)

Get Into the Holiday Spirit with the 29th Annual Smoky Mountain Winterfest (November 2018)

17 Celebrations Honoring the Red, White and Blue (June 2018)

Celebrate Mom this Mother's Day with Getaways and Experiences (May 2018)

"Throw me Somethin' Mister!" Celebrating Mardi Gras 2018 (January 2018)

Beach Ball, Fleur-De-Lis, MoonPie: Unique New Year's Eve Drops in the South (December 2017)

25 Festive Events to Keep that Holiday Feeling Through the New Year (December 2017)

Awe-Inspiring Gingerbread Displays at Various Hotels and Resorts Around the South (December 2017)

Fun and Fireworks: 14 Events Celebrating Independence Day (June 2017)

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)

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

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

Celebrate the Holidays in Minden and North Louisiana with the Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights (November 2015)

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

Celebrate National Soup Month Anytime with Recipes from Benchmark Resorts & Hotels (January 2015)

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

Ways to Get Your Holiday On in the South (December 2014)

Liven Up Your Thanksgiving Meal with Some Myrtle Beach, S.C.-Style Comfort Foods (November 2014)

Warm Up the Days and the Nights with These Chili Recipes (October 2014)

Creating the Perfect Cheeseburger with Crawford Ker on National Cheeseburger Day (September 2014)

Celebrate National Martini Day with these Recipes (June 2014)

It's Great to be King...Celebrating Mardi Season with King Cake Creations (February 2014)

Celebrate Your Valentine with a Getaway (February 2014)

A MoonPie, Pickle, Red Stick and More...Welcoming in the New Year in the South (December 2013)

Celebrate the Holidays with a New Orleans' Reveillon Dinner (December 2013)

2013 Holiday Gift Guide...Packages and Escapes (December 2013)

2013 Holiday Gift Guide: Books (December 2013)

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

2013 Holiday Gift Guide: Made in the South (December 2013)

2013 Holiday Gift Guide: Experiences in the South (December 2013)

End Your Holiday Meal on a Sweet Note courtesy of Chef Sara Thomas (November 2013)

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

Firing Up the Grill: Tips and Recipes for a Successful and Tasty Grilling Season (May 2013)

Breakfast for Mom, Southern-Style (May 2013)

Mom-Worthy Hotels in the South (May 2013)

Talkin' Mardi Gras, Shreveport, La. Style (February 2013)

Southern Style: 13 Things You Must Do in 2013 (January 2013)

Holiday Joy: Tips for Creating the Perfect Gingerbread House (December 2012)

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

Absolutely Southern Gift Guide: Make It Memorable and Give the Gift of an Experience (December 2012)

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)

Treat Your Mom to One of These Eight Southern Destinations (May 2012)

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

It’s Mardi Gras Time in the South (February 2012)

Celebrate Elvis Presley’s Birthday in the South (January 2012)

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

Celebrate the Holidays New Orleans-Style with a Reveillon Dinner (December 2011)

"Treat" Yourself this Holiday Season with (November 2011)

Holiday Fun in the South After Thanksgiving (November 2011)

Holiday Fun at Gaylord Opryland (November 2011)

Tours and Treats Along Virginia’s Inn to Inn Cookie Trail and Tour (November 2011)

Celebrating Milestones in the South (August 2010)

5 Activities that Add a "Sizzle" to Your Summer Vacation (June 2010)

Forget Gifts, Give Experiences This Mother’s Day (April 2010)

Celebrating Mardi Gras 2010 (February 2010)

Published: December 2016
30 Ways to Get Your "Jingle" On in the South  

Skyline NOL

From Holiday Lights to Open Houses to Celebrations and more, there is still time and plenty of ways you can get your "jingle" on in the South.

Make your holiday season merrier and brighter, and start a new tradition at any one of these 30 events happening around the region

Holiday Lights 

1. With over one million lights, a 20-foot color changing tree, 8-foot Ferris wheel, a drive-thru light tunnel and more, it is easy to see how Finney's Christmas Wonderland (through Dec. 31, 6  -10 p.m.) in Crossett, Ark., won ABC's "The Great Christmas Light Fight" in 2015. What makes this unique is that it was started by one man 30 years ago who wanted to spread Christmas cheer. Don't miss the special section dedicated to the military as well as the displays highlight the Christmas story.

2. The Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth is lit up for the holidays. The annual Gift of Lights (through Dec. 30, 6 - 10 p.m., $25 per car) features 1.5 miles of over 500 light displays. Inside the track is Santa's Village. Stop by to visit with Santa, enjoy a hot cup of cocoa and see some of the Texas Motor Speedway cars on display.

3. More than one million lights and 100 animated light and sound displays make the Moody Gardens Festival of Lights (through Jan. 8, 2017, 6 - 10 p.m., admission fee varies) one of the largest holiday celebrations in the country. In addition to the lights, there is live entertainment, the area's only outdoor skating and Ice Land (admission fee varies) with its Artic slide. For more Galveston holiday fun, check out Winter Wonderland Island.

4. Christmas in the Crevasse (through Dec. 30, Friday - Sunday, 5:30 - 9:30 p.m., $5 per person, $3 per child, age two and under) in LaPlace, La., features over 80 lighted Christmas displays. Take it all in on a hayride through five acres of farmland.

5. Dancing Lights of Christmas (through Jan. 1, 2017, Sunday - Thursday, 5 - 10 p.m., Friday through Saturday, 5 - 11 p.m.) in Nashville, Tenn., a drive-thru lights show, features a 35-foot Christmas tree. Tune in the radio, turn it up and watch from your car window as hundreds of thousands of Christmas lights dance to Christmas tunes. Swing by Santa's Village to catch a glimpse of the "big man" himself and enjoy other activities like a petting zoo ($2), pony rides ($5.50) and more.

6. Callaway Gardens’ Fantasy In Lights (through Jan. 7, 2017; admission and time varies) in Pine Mountain, Ga., features over eight million lights. Recognized one of the “Top 10 Places to See Holiday Lights” as named by National Geographic Traveler includes woodland displays, two beach scenes and more. Opt to take “The Jolly Trolley” or drive through the lights in your vehicle. Be sure to visit the Christmas VillaChristmas Tree in the Plazage, where you can buy ornaments and gifts, as well as visit Santa.

7. St. Augustine's historic district is lit by more than 3 million white lights during Nights of Lights (through Jan. 31, 2017). Tracing its origins to the Spanish tradition of displaying a white candle in the window during the Christmas holidays, the lighting display reflects the city’s 450 plus year history. View them on foot, by bicycle or pedicab, on the Old Town Famous Nights of Lights Tour, aboard Ripley’s Red Train or by horse and carriage. This year, the city is offering a free Park ‘n Ride Shuttle every Saturday through Dec. 24.

8. Dozens of animated light displays greet you along the Celebrate the Season's Holiday Lights Driving Tour (through Dec. 30, 6 - 9:30 p.m., $5 per vehicle) route. Taking place at Old Santee Canal Park in Moncks Corner, S.C., not only will the displays leave you with a warm feeling about the holidays, but also clean energy as well. They get their glow using homegrown renewable energy from Santee Cooper's Green Power program.

9. The 1.5-mile drive through North Myrtle Beach Park & Sports Complex has been turned into a magical holiday wonderland during The Great Christmas Light Show (through Dec. 30, 5 - 9:30 p.m., $15 per vehicle) in North Myrtle Beach. Featuring nearly two million lights and over 400 magical light displays, enjoy a variety of animated figures and holiday scenes. End your visit with a stop in Santa's Village for additional activities such as ice skating, Santa Express Train Ride and more.

10. Continuing through the end of Blowing Rock (N.C.) Winterfest (Jan. 26-29, 2017), Chetola Resort's Festival of Lights illuminates the area around Chetola Lake. Scenes discovered along the drive include ice skaters, Rudolph's "catch" and others.mcadenville-water-and-christmas-trees

11. The entire town of McAdenville, N.C., glows during the holiday. Heralded as Christmas Town USA (through Dec. 26, Monday through Friday, 5:30 - 9:30 p.m., Saturday through Sunday, 5:30 - 11 p.m.) not only are nearly 400 trees decked out for the holidays but so are the houses. Drive or walk the 1.3-mile route and surround yourself with McAdneville's holiday spirit.

12. Small town, big lights. Celebrate Christmas Between the Lakes during Grand Rivers (Ky.) Festival of Lights (through the first week in January; lights turn on at dusk). Over 700,000 lights and various lighted displays decorate Patti's Settlement and downtown.

13. Thousands of sparkling lights and displays make up the annual Holiday Lights at The Distillery (through Jan. 2, 2017). From dusk to 11 p.m., drive through the grounds Buffalo Trace in Frankfort, Ky., to enjoy them.

14. Over 900,000 lights transform the 110-plus acres of Lotito City Park into a holiday wonderland during Holidays of Lights (through Dec. 31, Sunday through Thursday, 6 - 9 p.m., Friday through Saturday, 6 - 10 p.m., free but donations are appreciated). Bask in the glow and holiday spirit as you view the lights on the 1.5-mile driving trail.

15. Celebration of Lights (through Dec. 27, Friday through Sunday, 5 - 9 p.m.) in Fairmont, WVa., features more than 320 lighted displays. These displays decorate Morris Park, and can all be seen along the driving route.


16. Festival of Trees at Museum of East Texas (through Jan. 3, 2017, Monday - Friday, 10 a.m.- 5 p.m., Saturday through Sunday 1 - 5 p.m. Extended hours, Dec. 19-23 until 8 p.m.) in Lufkin features over 100 uniquely decorated trees. View them for free, and walk away with some inspiration for your decorating.

17. A Nutcracker-themed tree and an Elvis-themed are just two of the many themed trees you can see during Trees of Christmas (through Dec. 30, Monday - Saturday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., $10 per person, $9 per senior, $5 per student). In its 48th year, the event takes place at Merrehope and F.W. Williams historic homes in Meridian, Miss.

18. Celebrating its sixth year, Huntsville, Ala.'s Tinsel Trail adds more holiday cheer to the downtown area. Located at Big Spring Park, the trail highlights around 250 live decorated Christmas trees.

19. During Eola Wonderland Christmas Tree Show (through Jan. 6, 2017) at Lake Eola Park in downtown Orlando, Fla., the Chrisfestival-treetmas tree comes alive with a synchronized light and music show. Performances are every night at 5:45 p.m.; 6:45 p.m.; 7:45 p.m.; 8:45 p.m. and 9:45 p.m.

20. Considered to be the largest tree display in South Carolina, the Festival of Trees (through Dec. 31; free with aquarium admission) at Ripley’s Aquarium in Myrtle Beach has grown. In addition to the themed holiday trees from each of the 50 states, there are an additional 20 themed trees. Situated throughout the aquarium, some of the more uniquely designed trees include the Kentucky Derby-inspired red roses tree and the Mardi Gras tree with masks and beads representing Louisiana.

Open Houses 

21. The Towers in Natchez, Miss., adds some dazzle to the holiday season. Each year, the bed and breakfast hosts "The Jeweled Christmas at The Towers" (through Jan. 7, 2017) that features vintage costume jewelry creatively incorporated in the holiday decorations throughout the house. It's truly sparkle and shine everywhere you look.

22. Through Jan. 8, 2017, experience Christmas in Graceland in Memphis, Tenn. Both the exterior and interior of Elvis' home is decorated for the season. Enjoy the life-sized nativity scene, lights and more, including some of the Presley family Christmas artifacts on display.

23. Historic Columbia (S.C.)'s Historic Holiday Tours (through Dec. 31) takes you into both the Robert Mills House and Hampton-Preston Mansion. Guides provide stories of holidays past in Columbia 2011holiday05and discuss how families decorated and entertained during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

24. Reynolda House Tours: A 1917 Christmas (through Dec. 31) in Winston-Salem, N.C., introduces you to the holiday decorations and styles favored by R.J. and Katharine Reynolds in the early 20th century. While on the tour, view the display of holiday greeting cards from the Museum Archives.

Festivals and Celebrations

25. Through Dec. 24, Saint Charles (Mo.) Christmas Traditions brings together Christmas past and present for the enjoyment of all ages. See Santas from around the world, meet characters like Ebeneezer Scrooge, enjoy performances by Victorian carolers and much more.

carousel26. In addition to the thousands of lights and dozens of Christmas trees at NOLA ChristmasFest (through Dec. 30) in New Orleans, there is also an ice skating rink (said to be city’s only authentic one), Kringle Carousel, Snowy Summit Climbing Wall and much more. From the New Orleans-themed gingerbread house exhibit to holiday arts and crafts, there's something for all ages and interests.

27. Canton, Miss., the "City of Lights," dazzles during the holiday season with its Victorian Christmas Festival (through Dec. 23, 5 - 9 p.m.). In addition to the over 200,000 glittering lights decorating the historic Courthouse Square, there are carousel rides, horse and buggy rides and more. A Light and Character Parade takes place Friday through Sunday, 6:30 and 8 p.m.  Stop by the Canton Animation Museums to view the life-size animated figures depicting various scenes.

28. Snow in Central Florida? Yes, but only if you visit Old Town Kissimmee. The nightly snow is part of the overall Christmas Wish at Old Town. Through Dec. 24, other festivities include an array of colorful lights, carolers and more.

29. Trees adorned with ornaments and animated holiday displays brightly decorate the gardens at Hoffman's Chocolate Winter Wonderland (through Dec. 30, 6 - 10 p.m.). Enjoy a variety of live entertainment, sample seasonal treats from Factory Shoppe & Ice Cream Parlour and  visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus (through Dec .23, Friday through Sunday.)

30. Programs and demonstrations provide a view of 17th- and 18th-century holidays traditions during A Colonial Christmas (through Dec. 31) at Jamestown Settlement and American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. Special events and live entertainment are planned for Dec 23-31.


photo credits: (top) St. Augustine skyline, courtesy of; (top right) Christmas Tree in the Plaza, courtesy of; (middle right) McAdenville (Christmas Town USA) Water and Christmas Trees, courtesy of; (middle left) Decorated trees at Festival of Trees at Ripley's Aquarium in Myrtle Beach, S.C., courtesy of Ripley's Aquarium; (bottom right) Reynolda House, courtesy of Visit Winston-Salem; (bottom left) carousel, courtesy of NOLA ChristmasFest