Atlanta Botanical Garden
Lose yourself in the wonder of lights as you stroll through Midtown’s 30-acre Garden, adorned with more than a million lights. Children can hunt for frelves (“enchanting frog elves”) hidden along the paths and get their photo taken nightly with the Lumina, the Garden’s mysterious sprite character. Bring your four-legged pal to the Reindog Parade on Dec. 8. Daily through Jan. 5, 5-10 p.m. 1345 Piedmont Ave. NE, Atlanta. 404-876-5859; atlantabotanicalgarden.org. Adults $20 (Thurs.-Sun), $17 (Mon.-Wed); ages 3-12 $14 (Thurs.-Sun.), $11 (Mon.-Wed.)
Atlanta Ballet’s annual production promises magic, elaborate costumes and sets, one Sugarplum Fairy and Tchaikovsky’s enchanting score performed live by the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra. Dec. 7-26; visit foxtheatre.org for performance times. 660 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 800-745-300. $20-$105.
Will Ebenezer Scrooge ever learn the meaning of Christmas? The classic tale by Charles Dickens returns to the Alliance Theatre. Look forward to beautiful costumes, songs and a valuable lesson.
Through Dec. 24. For show times, see alliancetheatre.org. 1280 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 404-733-5000. $21-$50.
Atlanta Symphony Hall
Jere Flint conducts the Atlanta Symphony Youth orchestra and a Broadway style mini-musical, “Second Chance Christmas,” unfolds. Other talent includes the North Cobb Singers, Lee Harper and Dancers, and the Kennesaw Mountain High Chamber Singers. Dec. 9, 16. 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. 1280 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta.
404-733-5000; aso.org. $15-$22.
The Children’s Christmas Parade. Downtown Atlanta. Families can enjoy festive floats and holiday cheer as downtown is taken over for the annual parade, a benefit for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Dec. 1. 10:30 a.m.-noon, rain or shine. Route begins at Peachtree St. and Baker, continuing right onto Marietta St and ending on Centennial Olympic Park Dr., Atlanta. Bleacher seats can be purchased for $15. 404-785-7310. Free.
Kennesaw Santa Parade and Celebration. Downtown Kennesaw. Holiday characters, floats and Santa and his reindeer parade down the streets. Enjoy puppet shows, petting zoo, inflatable slides, crafts and food. Dec. 1. Festivities, 1-6 p.m.; parade at 1 p.m.; tree-lighting program and sing-a-long, 5:30 p.m. 2828 Cherokee St., Kennesaw. 770-422-9714. Free.
Holiday Lights. East Cobb Park. Live entertainment by local performers, the lighting of the great tree and an appearance by Santa. Dec. 5. 5 p.m. 3322 Roswell Rd., Marietta. 770-591-3160. Free.
Season of Magic Carriage Rides. Piedmont Park. Horse-drawn carriage rides throughout the historical park under the Atlanta skyline; all funds benefit maintenance and security of the park. Through Jan 6. Daily from 4-10:30 p.m. 1345 Piedmont Rd. NE, Atlanta. 404-875-7275. $25 per adult; $20 per child ages 2-11.
Carousel Rides. Piedmont Park. Create a new holiday tradition with carousel rides. Through Jan. 6. Noon-9 p.m. 1345 Piedmont Rd., NE, Atlanta. 404-875-7275. $3 per ride.
Holiday Storytime. Barnes and Noble, Alpharetta. Enjoy a reading of the Polar Express. Pajamas encourage, look forward to goody bags and a surprise guest. Dec. 7. 7 p.m. 7660 North Point Pkwy, Alpharetta. 770-993-8340.
Reindog Parade. Atlanta Botanical Garden. Dress your dog in holiday attire to compete for prizes. There will also be a Doggie Expo. Pre-register dogs at atlantabotanicalgarden.org. Dec. 8. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. 1345 Piedmont Ave., Atlanta. 404-876-5859. Pre-register: $15 in advance, $18 at door; Garden admission, adults, $18.95; ages 3-17, $12.95; 2 and younger, free.
Inman Park Co-op Preschool Auction. Inman Park Trolley Barn. Join the fun at the auction and sale benefitting the kids of Inman Park Co-op Preschool. Dec. 9. 3-7 p.m. 963 Edgewood Ave., Atlanta. Free.
Make-A-Wreath for Make-A-Wish. Barrington Hall. The historic home will be dressed for the holidays with traditions unique to the south. Wreaths decorating the house will be for sale with profits going to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Through Dec. 30. Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; Sun., 1-3 p.m. 535 Barrington Dr., Roswell. 770-640-3855. Dec. 2, 8 and 16 the house is open at no charge. General admission, $8.
Stone Mountain Christmas. Stone Mountain Park. Gaze at more than two million lights and enjoy live holiday shows including Toyrific! and Holly Jolly Cabaret. Stroll through Wonderland Walkway, see the Snow Angel at Snow Palace, listen to a story with Mrs. Claus and visit with Santa. Through Jan. 1. Check stonemountainpark.com for times. U.S. Hwy 78, Stone Mountain. 770-498-5690. Adults, $28; ages 3-11, $22; parking, $10.
Winter Wonderland. Fernbank Museum of Natural History. Dozens of cultural displays decorated in celebration of holidays and traditions observed around the world. Kids can get a photo taken with Santa-saurus and ride the Santa-saurus Express train. Through Jan. 6. Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun., noon-5 p.m. 767 Clifton Rd. NE, Atlanta. 404-929-6300. Adults, $17.50; ages 3-12, $15.50; 2 and younger, free.
Outdoor Ice Skating. Centennial Olympic Park. Take a spin around Atlanta’s only outdoor ice skating rink. Sessions run 90 minutes. Through Jan. 27. Mon.-Thurs. 4:30-10 p.m., Fri. 4:30-11 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-10 p.m. 265 Park Ave., Atlanta. 404-223-4412. $10/person; includes skate rental for 90 minutes.
Holiday Bonfire and Marshmallow Roast. Decatur Square. Visit Santa and munch on sweet treats in Downtown Decatur. Dec. 13. 7-8 p.m. Downtown Decatur. 404-371-8386. Free.
Candy Cane Hunt. East Roswell Rec Center. Bring a flashlight and hunt for candy canes of all sizes after beginning the evening with a pizza dinner. Dec. 14. 5:30-7:30 p.m. 770-594-6134. 9000 Fouts Rd., Roswell. $18/person.
Reindeer Day. Chattahoochee Nature Center. Meet live reindeer, warm up with wintery treats, make magic reindeer “food” and crafts. Dec. 16. 1-4 p.m. 9135 Willeo Rd., Roswell. 770-992-2055 ext. 237. Adults, $10; ages 3-12, $6; younger than 3, free.
Christmas in the White House. Bulloch Hall. A self-guided presidential look at the holiday season. Through Dec. 30. Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sun., 1-4 p.m. 180 Bulloch Ave., Roswell. 770-992-1731. Adults, $8; ages 12 and younger, $6.
Macy’s Pink Pig Train. Lenox Square. Atlanta’s most “pink-tacular” ride is in its 59th season. The train takes families through a life-sized storybook with a view of downtown Atlanta. Through Jan. 1. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Dec. 24, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Dec. 31, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Closed Christmas Day. 3393 Peachtree Rd. NE, Atlanta. 404-231-2861. $3/ride.
Christmas High Teas. Bulloch Hall. High tea served by ladies in period clothing. Dec. 4, 6, 11, and 18. 180 Bulloch Ave., Roswell. 770-992-1731. Pre-register, $40/person.
Christmas at Callanwolde. The dazzling Gothic-Tudor mansion is decorated to reflect the time periods of the 1920s through the 1950s. Look forward to holiday music played on the Aeolian pipe organ, listen to live cabaret performances, watch the ice carving contest and more. Dec. 7-18. Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Fri., 4-9 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. 980 Briarcliff Rd., Atlanta. 404-872-5338. Adults, $20; ages 4-12, $12; 3 and younger, free.
Teddy Bear Tea. Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Children are invited to bring their favorite teddy bear to tea. Storytellers, singers and Santa will make an appearance. Dec. 2, 9, 16, 22, 23. 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. 3434 Peachtree Rd., Atlanta. 404-240-7035. Pre-register. Adults, $47; ages 5-12, $52.
Weeki Wachee Mermaid Show. Georgia Aquarium. Mermaids are real at the Georgia Aquarium. Watch as these dancers perform choreographed routines underwater. Dec. 6-9, 13-16, 20-23. Show times vary, see georgiaaquarium.org. 225 Baker St. NW, Atlanta. 404-581-4000. Adults, $34.95; ages 3-12, $28.95; 2 and younger, free. Show is included with regular admission.
Kwanzaa Drop-In Craft. Buckhead Branch Library. Enjoy making a glittery Kwanzaa craft. Ages 4-12. Dec. 26-27. Noon-4 p.m. 269 Buckhead Ave. NE, Atlanta. 404-814-3500. Free.
Back to Nature Holiday Market and Festival. Chattahoochee Nature Center. Find unique, local gifts for the holiday season. Admission to CNC is free in honor of the market. Dec. 1. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 9135 Willeo Rd., Roswell. 770-992-2055. Free.
Holiday Artist Market. High Museum of Art. Meet ten of Atlanta’s top local artisans. Browse exceptional gifts. Dec. 1. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 1280 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 404-733-4437. Free with museum admission. Adults, $18; ages 6-17, $11; younger than 6, free.
Christmas in Cumming. City of Cumming Fairgrounds. Annual Cumming arts and crafts show with more than 100 festive artist booths. Children can enjoy free photos with Santa on Fri. Dec. 7-8. Fri., 4-10 p.m., Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 235 Castleberry Rd., Cumming. 770-423-1330. $1 for ages 12 and older.
Holiday Faire and Artisan Market. The Children’s Garden Preschool. A wide variety of holiday crafts and games for children ages 2-7, including live music and puppet show storytelling. Dec. 8. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 486 Park Ave. SE, Atlanta. 404-624-8591. Free admission.
The North Georgia Art Ramble. Cherokee County Arts Center. Features 36 local artists, 20 studios and 11 galleries. Dec. 8-9. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 94 North St., Canton. 770-704-6244. Free.
Hot Chocolate Gift in a Jar. Atlanta Botanical Garden. Discover the cacao tree then make a hot chocolate mix in a jar. Dec. 15. 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. 1345 Piedmont Ave., Atlanta. 404-876-5859. $6 per child; Garden admission: adults, $18.95; ages 3-17, $12.95; 2 and younger, free.
Make It and Take It Workshop. Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History. Create cards and ornaments in the Victorian style. Ages 6 and older. Dec. 17, 10-11:30 a.m. 2829 Cherokee St., Kennesaw. 770-427-2117. Adults, $7.50; ages 4-12, $5.50; 3 and younger, free.
Decatur Holiday Candlelight Tour of Homes. Downtown Decatur. Tour homes in neighborhoods of Decatur. Nov.30 and Dec. 1. 5:30-9:30 p.m. See decaturtourofhomes.com for stops along the tour. 404-371-4100.Tickets, $20 in advance; $25 day of.
Marietta Pilgrimage. Marietta. Tour six private Marietta historic district homes decorated for the season. Ages 8 and older. Dec. 1-2. See times at mariettapilgramage.com Historic Marietta. 770-429-1115. $15-$25.
Christmas for Kids. Bulloch Hall. Includes a self-guided tour of the decorated historic house, candy cane hunt, snacks, crafts, storytelling and a visit from Mr. And Mrs. Claus. For ages 5-11. Dec. 8. 10 a.m.-noon. 180 Bulloch Ave., Roswell. 770-992-1731. $10/person.
Candlelight Tour of Historic Homes. Roswell. Tour three of the city’s historic sites in candlelight. Dec. 9. 5-9 p.m. Bulloch Hall, Barrington Hall, Smith Plantation in Roswell. 770-992-1731 ext. 7. Adults, $20; children, $10.
The Holiday Spirit. Atlanta History Center. Take a tour of the center’s gardens, trails and historic homes, led by a friendly holiday spirit from Christmas present. Dec. 15. 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. 130 West Paces Ferry Rd., Atlanta. 404-814-4000. Adults, $16.50; ages 13-18, $13; ages 4-12, $11.
Christmas in Georgia Plantation Tour. Smith Plantation. The 19th Century plantation home is dressed for the season. Tours start on the hour. Through Dec. 30. Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; Sun., 1-3 p.m. 935 Alpharetta St., Roswell. 770-641-3978. Adults, $8; ages 7-18, $6; 6 and younger, free.
Christmas Tours. Bulloch Hall. The antique house is decorated with a Charles Dickens tale for self-guided tours. Through Dec. 30. Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sun., 1-4 p.m. 180 Bulloch Ave., Roswell. 770-992-1731. Adults, $8; children, $6.
Magical Nights in Lights. Lake Lanier Islands. Drive through seven miles of twinkling holiday lights. At the end, visit the Holiday Village featuring carnival rides, pony rides and holiday treats. Through Dec. 31. Nightly, 5-10 p.m., including holidays. 7000 Holiday Rd., Lake Lanier Islands. 770-932-7200. $60/car.
Garden Lights, Holiday Nights. Atlanta Botanical Garden. Features nearly one million energy-efficient bulbs, including giant snowflakes, a bejeweled dragonfly and a “Starry Night Walk” inspired by Van Gogh’s famous painting. Sit by the fire and roast marshmallows. Through Jan. 5. Daily, 5-10 p.m.1345 Piedmont Ave. NE, Atlanta. 404-876-5859. Thurs.-Sun. Adults, $20; ages 3-12, $14. Mon.-Wed. Adults, $17; ages 3-12, $11.
Holiday in Lights. Centennial Olympic Park. Thousands of lights adorn Centennial Park. Through Jan. 27. 7 a.m.-11 p.m. 265 Park Ave., Atlanta. 404-223-4412. Free.
Holiday Lights Display. Pettit Creek Farms. More than a mile of Christmas lights on display at the farm, plus hay rides and live reindeer. Santa will be at the farm every Thurs.-Sun. until Dec. 23. Through Dec. 30. 6-10 p.m. 337 Cassville Rd., Cartersville. 770-386-8688. $15 per vehicle; hayrides: adults, $10; ages 2-12, $8.
Gift of Lights. Atlanta Motor Speedway. Millions of twinkling lights, including glowing versions of Rudolph and Frosty the Snowman. Through Jan. 6. Sun.-Thurs., 6-9 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 6-10 p.m. 1500 Tara Place, Hampton. 704-637-5363. $15 per car Mon.-Thurs.; $20 per car Fri.-Sun.
Coca-Cola Holiday Concerts. Atlanta Symphony Hall. Choose from Handel’s Messiah or Gospel Christmas. Dates vary throughout Dec. See atlantasymphony.org. 1280 Peachtree St., Atlanta. 404-733-5000. Messiah: $30-$60; Gospel Christmas: $18-$45.
Gala Holiday Concert. Rialto Center for the Arts. The Georgia State University School of Music performs a family concert of holiday songs. Dec. 1-2. Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m. 80 Forsyth St., Atlanta. 404-413-9849. $22-$52.
Georgia Symphony Orchestra Holiday Pops Concerts. Murray Arts Center of Mount Paran Christian School. Listen to traditional favorites such as Sleigh Ride and the annual carol sing-along. Dec. 8. 3 and 8 pm. 1275 Stanley Rd., Kennesaw. 770-578-0182. Tickets, $10-$60.
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Kid’s Christmas. Atlanta Symphony Hall. Youth orchestra performs seasonal favorites and dancers and special guests accompany the musicians. Dec. 9, 16. 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. 1280 Peachtree St., Atlanta. 404-733-5000. $15-$22.
Chanceo Choir Concert. Alpharetta First United Methodist Church. Hear all your favorite Christmas songs and enjoy a Santa visit. Dec. 16. 5 p.m. 69 North Main St., Alpharetta. 770-475-5576. Free.
Two from Galilee. Berean Baptist Church. A telling of the Christmas story framed by beautiful music. Dec. 12, 14, 15. 7 p.m. 1405 Hewatt Rd. SW, Lilburn. 770-985-5318. Free.
Santa’s Favorite Chamber Music. Michael C. Carlos Museum. Songs from the Emory Chamber Music Society. Dec. 9. 4 p.m. 571 South Kilgo Cir., Atlanta. 404-727-5050. Free.
Larry, Carols & Mo. Fox Theatre. It snows on Peachtree St. and inside the Fox during this event; enjoy photos with Santa, a sing-a-long, movie and organ concert. Dec. 17. Doors open 6 p.m.; sing-a-long, 7 p.m. 660 Peachtree St., Atlanta. 404-881-2023. Pre-register. Free.
Sounds of Sawnee. Cumming Playhouse. A musical celebration that will fill the night sky with goodness and light. Dec. 13. 8 p.m. 101 School St., Cumming. 770-781-9178. Tickets, $15.
White Christmas. The Earl Smith Strand Theatre. A merry musical based off the beloved Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye film. Dec. 7-9, 13-16, 20-23. Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m. 117 North Park Sq., Marietta. 770-293-0080. $25-$45.
Evening in Bethlehem. Roswell United Methodist Church. See live characters and real stable animals. Roam through the first century marketplace and watch the live production that tells the story of the first Christmas. Dec. 1. Tours at 5, 6 and 7 p.m. 814 Mimosa Blvd., Roswell. 770-261-1705. Pre-register at rumc.com/Bethlehem. Free.
Nativity Tour. Episcopal Church of the Epiphany. An exhibition of more than 250 Nativity scenes from around the world, made of everything from wood to volcanic ash. Dec. 1, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Dec. 2, 2-4 p.m.; Dec. 5-7, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; Dec. 7, 7-9 p.m.; Dec. 8, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Dec. 9, 2-4 p.m. 2089 Ponce de Leon Ave., Atlanta. 404-373-8338. Adults, $5; 12 and younger, free.
Bethlehem Walk. Mountain View United Methodist Church. Hear Old Testament stories, witness a blacksmith at work and see the shopkeepers. Dec. 1-2, 7-8. 7-9 p.m. 2300 Jamerson Rd., Marietta. 770-928-0050. Free.
Bethlehem: A Christmas Story. St. John United Methodist Church. Live nativity tour guided by shepherds, light refreshments served. Dec. 8-9. 6-8 p.m. 550 Mount Paran Rd., Atlanta. 404-255-1384. Free.
Children’s Nativity. Alpharetta United Methodist Church. Live nativity scene with angels, shepherds and wooly lambs. Dec. 2. 4 p.m. 69 N. Main St., Alpharetta. 770-475-5576. Free.
Living Nativity Drive Thru. Clairmont Hills Baptist Church. See scenes from the nativity. Dec. 7-9. Fri.-Sat., 7-9 p.m.; Sun., 6-9 p.m. 1995 Clairmont Rd., Decatur. 404-634-6231. Free.
Walk Through Bethlehem. Simpsonwood United Methodist Church. Walk through the outdoor nativity scene. Dec. 7-9. Fri.-Sat., 7-9 p.m.; Sun., 6-8 p.m. 4500 Jones Bridge Rd., Norcross. 770-441-2181. Free, but bring a canned good or hygiene item to donate.
Live Nativity. Chamblee First United Methodist Church. Enjoy the live nativity scene. Dec. 16. 7-8 p.m. 4147 Chamblee-Dunwoody Rd., Chamblee. 770-457-2525. Free.
The Nutcracker. The Grand Theatre. Presented by the Cartersville City Ballet. Through Dec. 2. Fri., 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sun. 3 p.m. 7 N. Wall St., Cartersville. 770-386-7343. Adults, $16; age 18 and younger, $14.
The Nutcracker. Roswell Cultural Arts Center. Presented by the Roswell Dance Theatre. Through Dec. 2. Fri., 7 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m. 950 Forest St., Roswell. 770-998-0259. $20-$55.
The Nutcracker. The Metropolitan Ballet Theatre. Join the MBT for its annual performance of this family classic. Dec. 21-23. Fri., 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 7 p.m.; Sun., 2 and 6 p.m. 11460 Maxwell Rd., Alpharetta. 678-297-2800. $25-30.
The Nutcracker. Gwinnett Performing Arts Center. The tale of a magical Nutcracker, a Rat Prince, dancing sugarplums and one lucky little girl. Weekends through Dec. 16. For showtimes visit gwinnettcenter.com. 6400 Sugarloaf Pkwy., Duluth. 800-224-6422. Tickets, $10-15.
The Nutcracker. Fox Theatre. Presented by the Atlanta Ballet. Dec. 7-26. See foxtheatre.org for show times. 660 Peachtree St., Atlanta. 800-745-3000. $26-$105.
The Nutcracker. Decatur Performing Arts Center. Presented by the Callanwolde Ballet Ensemble. Dec. 8-9. Sat., 2 and 7 p.m. Sun. 2 p.m. 310 N. McDonough St., Decatur. 404-872-5338. $12.
The Nutcracker. Blessed Trinity Theatre. Presented by the North Atlanta Dance Theatre. Dec. 7-9. Fri., 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 2:30 and 7:30 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m. 11340 Woodstock Rd., Roswell. 678-297-2800. $15-$25.
The Children’s Nutcracker. St. Pius X High School. Presented by the Academy of Ballet of Norcross. Dec. 15-16. Sat., 11 a.m., 2 and 5 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m. 2674 Johnson Rd., Atlanta. 770-242-6379. $10-$15.
Sanders Family Christmas. Theatre in the Square. Family-friendly holiday show full of music and dancing. Ages 10 and older. Nov. 29-Dec. 1 and 27-30. See theatreinthesquare.com for show times. 11 Whitlock Ave., Marietta. 404-377-9948. Tickets, $20-$35.
A Christmas Carol. Alliance Theatre. A musical performance of the classic story. Through Dec. 23. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2:30 and 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. For additional weekly show times, see alliancetheatre.org. 1280 Peachtree St., Atlanta. 404-733-5000. Tickets, $21-$50.
Sing Along with Santa. Aurora Theatre. Enjoy this Children’s Playhouse holiday sing along. Dec. 8. 10 and 11 a.m. 128 Pike St., Lawrenceville. 678-226-6222. $7/person.
Madeline’s Christmas. Horizon Theater Company. A musical holiday adventure with Madeline and friends. Dec. 8-30. For weekly show times, see horizontheatre.com. 1083 Austin Avenue NE, Atlanta. 404-584-7450. Adults, $15; children, $12.
Not So Silent Night. New Dawn Theatre. Watch a performance of a “soldier’s Christmas story.” Dec. 6-9, 13-16, 20-23. Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 2 p.m. 3087 Main St., Duluth. 678-887-5015. Tickets $12-$15.
Babes in Toyland. Roswell Cultural Arts Center. Let yourself be whisked away to Toyland and enjoy incredible costumes and spirited dance by the Atlanta Dance Theatre. Dec. 7-8. Fri., 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m., 2 and 7:30 p.m. 950 Forest St., Roswell. 404-438-3028. $12.50-$23.50
A Christmas Carol. Bulloch Hall Osage Terrace Room. A seasonal classic play where Charles Dickens shows the audience Ebenezer Scrooge. Dec. 14-16, 18-19, 21-23. 8 p.m. all days except Sun., 7 p.m. 180 Bulloch Ave., Roswell 770-992-1731. $12/person.
The Winter Polar Express. Roswell Cultural Arts Center. The Academy Dance Company presents a story about a young girl who climbs aboard a mysterious train headed to the North Pole. Dec. 14-15. Fri., 7 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 7 p.m. 950 Forest St., Roswell. 770-578-8272. Adults, $12; children, $10.
Twas the Night Before Christmas. Aurora Theatre. The classic tale performed by Piccadilly Puppets. Dec. 15. 10 and 11 a.m. 128 Pike St., Lawrenceville. 678-226-6222. $7/person.
It’s a Wonderful Life: Live from WVL Radio Theatre. Roswell Cultural Arts Center. This clever stage adaptation breathes new life into the poignant story of Georgia Bailey and Bedford Falls. Dec. 21-22. 8 p.m. 950 Forest St., Roswell. 770-594-6411. Adults, $25; Ages 14 and younger, $15.
Trouble in Toyland. Aurora Theatre. A fun tale performed by That Puppet Guy. Dec. 22. 10 and 11 a.m. 128 Pike St., Lawrenceville. 678-226-6222. $7/person.
Madeline’s Christmas. Horizon Theatre. Back by popular demand is the little girl with big dreams – Madeline! Families can look forward to delightful and happy children during this musical adaptation of the uber-popular children’s book. Dec. 8-30. See Horizontheatre.com for show times. 1083 Austin Ave., Atlanta. 404-584-7450. $12-$15.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Center for Puppetry Arts. Live puppet presentation of the heart-warming tale, based on the classic TV special. Through Jan. 6. See puppet.org for show times. 1404 Spring St., Atlanta. 404-873-3391. $16.50; Ages 2 and younger, free.
Hometown Holiday. City Hall Plaza, Peachtree City. Kids can enjoy a craft station, entertainment from rising high school bands, lighting of the Christmas tree and more. Dec. 1. 5-9 p.m. 151 Willowbend Rd., Peachtree City. 770-631-2525. Free.
Christmas Candlelight Tour. New Echota State Park and Lodge. Candlelight, Christmas carols, hot apple cider, Cherokee stories and more. Dress warmly. Dec. 1. 6-9:30 p.m. 1211 Chatsworth Hwy., Calhoun. 706-624-1321. $4-$6.
The Polar Express. Great Smoky Mountains. This 75 minute round-trip train ride takes a journey through the wilderness for a special visit with Santa Claus at the North Pole. Visitors enjoy warm cocoa, carols and a treat while listening and reading along to the classic story. Through Dec. 29. Departure times at gsmr.com. 226 Everett St., Bryson City, NC. 800-872-4681. $39-68.
Fantasy in Lights. Callaway Gardens. Drive through more than eight million twinkling lights and a garden decorated for the season. Through Dec. 30. Opens at 6 p.m. Hwy. 27, Pine Mountain. 800-225-5292. Adults, $16-$25; ages 6-12, $8-$12.50.
A Country Christmas. Gaylord Opryland Resort. Enjoy lavish holiday displays, horse-drawn carriage rides, incredible ice sculptures and performances by the Radio City Rockettes. Through Jan 1. 2800 Opryland Dr., Nashville, Tenn. 888-672-0091. Activity times and prices vary, see christmasatgaylordopryland.com.
North Pole Limited. Tennessee Valley Railroad. A 75-minute round-trip journey to the “North Pole”, featuring storytelling, light refreshments and an appearance by Santa. Through Dec. 22. See tvrail.com for times. 4119 Cromwell Rd, Chattanooga, TN. 423-894-8028. $24/person; Ride in Santa’s private car, $48/person.
Festival of Trees. Unicoi Lodge. See beautifully decorated trees throughout Unicoi Lodge. Through Dec. 8. 8 a.m.-10 p.m. 1788 Hwy. 356, Helen. 800-573-9659. Free; parking, $5.
Enchanted Garden of Lights. Rock City. See holiday scenes illuminated by a million lights around the mountain and Enchanted Trail. Though Jan. 5. 6-9 p.m., nightly. Chattanooga, Tenn. 800-854-0675. Adults, $18.95-$22.95; ages 3-12, $10.95-$11.95.
Santa at Rhodes Hall
Breakfast with Santa. Lucky Shoals Park Comm. Rec. Center. Share your wish list and make crafts. Ages 3-15. Dec. 1. 9 a.m.-noon. 4651 Britt Rd., Norcross. 770-723-9516. Pre-register. $5 per person; parents must attend with child and pay to eat breakfast.
Simon Kidgits PJ Party with Santa. Town Center at Cobb. Santa’s coming to read stories. Special holiday games and activities included. Dec. 1. 1-3 p.m. 400 Barrett Pkwy., Kennesaw. 770-424-9486. $5/person.
Simon Kidgits Club Breakfast with Santa. Mall of Georgia. Enjoy holiday crafts and breakfast in the food court with Santa. Dec.1. 8:30-10 a.m. 3333 Buford Dr., Buford. 678-482-2365. Pre-register. $5/person.
Pet Night with Santa. Northlake Mall. Bring your pet to get a photo taken with Santa. Please use a leash or carrier while walking through the mall. Dec. 3. 6-8 p.m. 4800 Briarcliff Rd. NE, Atlanta. 770-938-3565. Photos for purchase.
Make a Gingerbread House. American Girl Alpharetta Store. Make holiday memories with your favorite girl. Create a holiday house and enjoy a meal. Dec. 7 and 12. 4:30 p.m. 1202 North Point Cir., Alpharetta. 877-247-5223. For ages 8 and older. Pre-register. $40/person.
Breakfast with Cowboy Santa. Booth Western Arts Museum. He’s ready to wrangle cattle and field wishes. Dec. 8. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. 501 Museum Dr., Cartersville. 770-387-1300. Adults, $25; 12 and younger, $10.
Special Time with Santa. Summit Autism Center. Enjoy a private visit with Santa in a sensory friendly environment. Music, crafts and a photographer on site. Dec. 8. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. 1000 Holcomb Woods Pkwy, Ste. 440, Roswell. 770-904-4474. Pre-register. $20/family. Photos are $5.
American Girl Brunch with Santa. American Girl Alpharetta Store. Start the merriment with a visit from Santa and a brunch in the bistro. Dec. 9. 9 a.m. 1202 North Point Cir., Alpharetta. 877-247-5223. For ages 3 and older. $15/person.
Breakfast with Santa. Southeastern Railway Museum. Have breakfast or lunch with Santa. Dec. 1, 8, 15, 22. 9 a.m. or noon. 3595 Buford Hwy., Duluth. 770-476-2013. Pre-register. $15 per person; younger than 2, free.
Breakfast with Santa. Village Tavern. Santa arrives atop a fire truck, then meets kids enjoying a buffet breakfast. Santa will read The Night Before Christmas. Dec. 8, 15. 9 a.m. 11555 Rainwater Dr., Alpharetta. 770-777-6490. Pre-register. Adults, $15; 12 and younger, $10.
Breakfast with Santa. Gwinnett Historic Courthouse. Continental breakfast with Santa! Includes holiday craft and souvenir photo. Dec. 1, 8, 15. 8:30-10:30 a.m. 185 East Crogan St., Lawrenceville. 770-822-5450. Pre-register. $9/person; Discount for Gwinnett residents.
Santa in Central Park. Atlantic Station. Get a photo taken with Santa through Dec. 24. Times vary, check atlanticstation.com for details. 17th St., Atlanta. 404-733-1221. Cost for photos.
Breakfast with Santa. Courtyard Marriott Downtown Decatur. Watch as Santa arrives on a fire truck. Enjoy a breakfast buffet. Dec. 15. 8-10 a.m. 130 Clairmont Ave., Decatur. 404-371-8386. Adults, $12; ages 12 and younger, $7. Tickets are first come first serve, only 300 available.
American Girl Dinner with Santa. American Girl Alpharetta Store. Start the merriment with a visit from Santa and dinner in the bistro. Dec. 6. 6:30 p.m. 1202 North Point Cir., Alpharetta. 877-247-5223. For ages 3 and older. $17/person.
Santa at Rhodes Hall. Rhodes Hall. Make arts and crafts and take a photo with Santa. Dec. 1-16. Dec.1-2, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; Dec. 8-9, 4-7 p.m.; Dec. 15, 1-6 p.m.; Dec. 16, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. 1516 Peachtree St., Atlanta. 404-885-7812. Pre-register. $35 per family; includes entertainment, refreshments and photo; personal cameras can be used for $10.
Saint Nick. Atlanta Botanical Garden. Bring a camera to meet Saint Nick in his dark green robe and botanical head wreath. Dec. 1, 8, 15. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 1345 Piedmont Ave., Atlanta. 404-876-5859. Adults, $18.95; ages 3-17, $12.95; younger than 3, free.
Breakfast With Santa. Callanwolde Fine Arts Center. Munch on a kid-friendly breakfast and take pictures of the kids with Santa. Dec. 8, 15. 9 a.m. 980 Briarcliff Rd., Atlanta. 404-872-5338. Pre-register. $20 per person.
Come December, we can always count on the likes of “The Nutcracker” and “A Christmas Carol.” Here are some newer traditions. These five events are sure to help put you and your family in the holiday mood.
‘Madeline’s Christmas’at Horizon Theatre
For a fifth year, the intown theater company stages a holiday musical adventure that revolves around the little girl featured in Ludwig Bemelman’s much-loved storybook. Dec. 8-30. See horizontheatre.com for performance times. In Inman Park at 1083 Austin Ave., Atlanta. 404-584-7450; horizontheatre.com. $12-$15.
Gift of Lights 2012, Atlanta Motor Speedway
Ready for the tunnel of lights and what is billed as Georgia’s largest holiday LED light show? Pack the gang into the car and get set to gaze and gawk upon some 2 million lights made into holiday displays that stretch more than a mile and a half through and around the grandstands. Enhance the experience by tuning your radio to the Speedway’s 90.3 FM signal for holiday music and messages from favorite NASCAR drivers. Now through Jan. 6. Sun.-Thurs., 6-9 p.m.; Fri. & Sat., 5:30-10 p.m. 1500 Tara Place, Hampton. 770-423-1330; atlantagiftoflights.com. $15 per car (Mon.-Thurs), $20 per car (Fri.-Sun. and holidays).
The Holiday Spirit at Atlanta History Center
This second annual event features crafts, live music, theatrical performances, fun with Radio Disney and a visit from Saint Nicholas. Friendly “spirits” will lead visitors through the center’s gardens, trails and historic homes. Step back in time to 1862 at the Smith Family Farm and to 1933 at the grand Swan House to learn how Atlantans in those eras celebrated the season. Dec. 15. 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. 130 West Paces Ferry Rd., Atlanta. 404-814-4000; atlantahistorycenter.com. Adults, $16.50; ages 13-18, $13; ages 4-12, $11.
Season of Magic in Piedmont Park
For the second year, get caught up in holiday lights and magic by taking a horse-drawn carriage ride through Atlanta’s central park. Both the young and young at heart can enjoy carousel rides. Now through Jan. 6. 1345 Piedmont Rd. NE, Atlanta. 404-875-7275; piedmontpark.org. Carriage rides: 4-10:30 p.m., $25 adults and $20 children 2-11. Carousel: noon-9 p.m., $3 per ride.
Winter Wonderland at Fernbank
Saunter through a winter wonderland at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History. Dozens of displays reflect holiday traditions from around the world. Special events include photo opportunities with the “Santa-saurus” mascot and a live holiday concert by Laughing Pizza (Dec. 8). Through Jan. 6. Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun., noon-5 p.m. 767 Clifton Rd., Atlanta. 404-929-6300; fernbankmuseum.org. Included with admission; adults, $17.50; ages 3-12, $15.50; 2 and younger, free.
Menorah Lighting. Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta. Menorah lighting ceremony, songs and enjoy refreshments. Dec. 10. 5:15-5:45 p.m. 5342 Tilly Mill Rd., Dunwoody. 678-812-4000. Free.
Menorah Lighting. Fountains of Olde Town Shopping Center. Sample Jewish foods and watch Atlanta’s tallest Menorah be lit. Dec. 11. 6:30 p.m. 736 Johnson Ferry Rd., Marietta. 770-565-4412. Free.
Meet the Holidays: Hanukkah. The Children’s Museum of Atlanta. Join the imaginators for the Festival of Lights, listen to a reading of Mazeltown and make a banner to decorate the house for Hanukkah. Dec. 15-16. Sat., noon and 3 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m. 275 Centennial Olympic Park Dr. NW, Atlanta. 404-659-5437. Regular museum hours are Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission, $12.75 for ages 2 and older.
Mt. Scopus Hadassah Women’s Hanukkah Brunch. Cupz and Cake. Enjoy a Hanukkah brunch with entertainment at a kosher coffee house. Dec. 16. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. 1171 Lavista Rd., Atlanta. 404-325-0340. Please RSVP by Dec. 7. Cost, $15/person.