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
Three Festive Ways to Avoid Going Stir Crazy Before the Holidays  

The stockings are in their place and the presents are wrapped; and honestly, the house is as clean as it going to get.

You did it; you got everything done with time to spare.

So, now what?

Avoid going stir crazy while waiting for the holidays (and extended family) to arrive by treating yourself and your family (or friends) to some holiday fun.

Here are three festive ways to keep everyone occupied and out of the house.

See the Lights

Bask in the warm glow of millions of lights during Holiday Lights on the River Walk (through Jan. 9, 2017; from dusk until dawn) in San Antonio, Texas. Change up the view by enjoying the lights and scenery aboard a boat tour or taxi.

Hop on the trolley or walk the route to enjoy the light show at the 2nd annual Gulfport (Miss.) Harbor Lights Winter Festival (through Jan. 1, 2017; 5:30 - 9:30 p.m., $5 per person). Afterward, check out the Christmas Market tent to get something unique for a special someone. Extend your visit (and fun) with a ride on Santa’s Big Wheel - just one of many amusements at the festival.

Through Dec. 24, premium nights ($17.50 per vehicle) at Chehaw's annual Festival of Lights (starts at 6 p.m.) in Albany, Ga., include last-minute visits with Santa, snow pit and crafts activities. Drive through the Park and then ride on the Wiregrass Express train to view bright displays of winter and holiday scenes. Lights-only nights run Dec. 26-30, $15 per vehicle.

The 1.1 long Wickham Park in Melbourne, Fla., is decked out for the holidays during Space Coast Lightfest (through Jan. 1, 2017; 6 - 10:30 p.m., $15 per car). Enjoy over the brightness of over 2.5 million with a finale that features a 200-foot light tunnel.

And don't forget the twinkle and sparkle of gardens throughout the South.430439

Discover the magic of the holidays at Dallas (Texas) Arboretum and Botanical Garden with "The 12 Days of Christmas" (through Jan. 8, 2017, 9 a.m.- 5 p.m., special evening viewing Wednesday through Sunday, through Dec. 31;  $20 per adult, $15 per senior and $10 per child, age 3-12) outdoor exhibit. Enclosed in handcrafted glass gazebos are the animals and characters featured in the famous Christmas carol.

Over 1,000 set pieces decorate Bellingrath Gardens in Mobile, Ala., during the 21st annual Magic Christmas in Lights (through Dec. 31; $15 per adult, $7.50 per child, age 5-12, 5 - 9 p.m.). Take them all in as you stroll through the 65-acre garden estate. Also, the Bellingrath Home is dressed up for the holidays. It's an additional cost to see the lights and tour the home ($24 per adult, $13 per child, age 5 - 12).

Various animated displays greet you as you drive through Galaxy of Lights (through Dec. 31; 5:30 - 9 p.m., $25 per person) at Huntsville Botanical Garden in Huntsville, Ala. Be sure to keep a look out for the icicle forest.

Lights Before Christmas (through Dec. 30; 5 - 9 p.m., $11 per adult, $9 per child, age 2 - 12) at Riverbank Zoo & Garden in Columbia, S.C., gets you into the holiday spirit. As "Columbia’s longest running holiday tradition," it features nearly one million lights, Jingle Bell Bonfire and other holiday treats.

Experience the joy of the holidays during Winter Lights presented by Southern Bank (through Dec. 30 and again Jan. 6-7, 13-14 and 20-21, 2017;  6 - 9 p.m., $11 per adult, $9 per youth, ages 6-17, $6 per child, age 5 and under) at The Elizabethan Gardens in Manteo, N.C. Take in the various sights and sounds as you walk down the paths. Finish up by enjoying the open-air fire at the Great Lawn.

The Dominion GardenFest of Lights: Living Color (through Jan. 9, 2017, 5 - 10 p.m., $13 per adult, $11 per senior and $8 per child, age 3 -12) at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, Va., explore the effects of color. Offering something for everyone, enjoy the over half-a-million twinkling lights, view the hand-crafted botanical decorations, see the model trains and more. Round out your experience with some s’mores and hot chocolate.

Go Ice Skating

Lace up those skates and try to maintain your balance as you take to the ice at such places as:

- NOLA ChristmasFest (through Dec. 30, 10 a.m. - 8 p.m., excluding Christmas Eve, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., and xmasfest-73Christmas Day 2 - 8 p.m., $20 per person, which also include admission to the attractions and rides) in New Orleans, La.,

- The Wharf in Orange Beach, Ala., (through Jan. 10, 2017, weekdays 3 - 10 p.m., weekend 10 a.m. - 10 p.m., $10 per person)

- Knoxville, Tenn.'s Holiday on Ice at Market Square (through Jan. 8, 2017; Monday through Thursday, 1 - 9 p.m, Friday through Saturday, 10 a.m. - 10 p.m., and Sunday, 1 - 9 p.m., $10 per adult, $7 per child, age 12 and under)

- Baytowne on Ice (through Feb. 10, 2017; various times, $11 to skate, $3 skate rental) at The Village at Baytowne Wharf in Sandestin, Fla.,

- Winter in the Park in Winter Park, Fla. (through Jan. 8, 2017; Monday through Thursday, 3 - 9 p.m., Friday 3 - 10 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. - 10 p.m., Sunday noon- 8 p.m., $12 per person)

In Fairmont, WVa., enjoy "iceless" ice skating (various dates and times; free) at Palatine Park.

View Gingerbread Displays

On display until Dec. 28 at Hilton Americas-Houston's main lobby rotunda is a one-and-a-half-story gingerbread house. Created by the property's pastry team, the creation features chocolate children and deer, snow and much more. The finer details to the masterpiece include a mailbox with a letter to Santa and a Christmas tree with lights inside the house.

From the life-size gingerbread house replica of the city's famed 'Wedding Cake House' at Ritz-Carlton New Orleans to the 16-foot-tall St. Louis Cathedral at Harrah's New Orleans Hotel, the Crescent City doesn't play around when it comes to constructing gingerbread structures. Also, don't miss the gingerbread model of Jackson Square at Sheraton NOLA and the seven-foot gingerbread tree at Teddy's Cafe in The Roosevelt Hotel New Orleans.

The "largest gingerbread village in east Alabama" is on display at The Hotel at Auburn University in 31142793676_f765e15755_zAuburn, Ala. You can view it in the foyer of the conference center until the beginning of the new year.

Check out the creativity and craftsmanship of gingerbread houses from both amateurs and professionals at the annual Gingerbread House Contest  at Creole Nature Trail Adventure Point in Sulphur, La., the 2016 Savannah (Ga.) Harbor Gingerbread Village Competition at The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa, the 24th annual Gingerbread House Competition at Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, N.C., and the Galt House Hotel Gingerbread Contest in Louisville, Ky.




photo credits: (top right) "The 12 Days of Christmas" outdoor exhibit from November 6 to January 8, and the new Claus Collection Santa exhibit, November 25 to December 31 at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, courtesy of Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden; (middle right) ice skating at NOLA ChristmasFest, courtesy of NOLA ChristmasFest; (bottom right) Adult Top 10 Heather Haynes; Clarksville, IN, 2016 at 24th annual Gingerbread House Competition at Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, N.C.