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Your one-stop guide to the best winter events in Georgia


December 07, 2016

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Whether you’re the kind of person who starts decorating on November 1 or the type who wants to rip their hair out when they see Christmas stuff in stores before Thanksgiving, the holidays are upon us. Whether you spend this time of year traveling to visit family or right here in Statesboro, you’re never far away from a winter-themed activity or event. I’ve done my best to compile a comprehensive list of the best events and attractions in the state to help get you and your family in the holiday spirit.
 
OUTDOOR FUN
 
Georgia isn’t known for its fantastic winter weather. I can count on one hand the number of snow days I have experienced in my lifetime, so if you’re looking for a white Christmas this year, why not check out your area’s ice skating rink? 
 
Savannah’s Martin Luther King Jr. Arena will be open through January 3, and Macon’s Centreplex will be open through the end of December. Columbus Ice Rink is open year-round. In Atlanta, check out Centennial Olympic Park through January 19, or Atlantic Station through February 15. Cost for admission and skate rental at all of these venues falls in the $10-$15 range.
 
Or, if what you really need this year is a snow day, look no further than Stone Mountain Park’s winter event “Snow Mountain.” Come out to Stone Mountain until February 26 for a day of sledding and snowball fights. Ticket packages include access to the Christmas Village and all of the park’s regular attractions.
 
ARTS AND CULTURE
 
Now through December 24 see David de Vires star as Ebenezer Scrooge for his third season in a row alongside Neal Ghant and Cynthia Barker as the Alliance Theatre presents “A Christmas Carol.” Adult tickets are $40-$65. 
 
For another holiday classic, come to Savannah’s Lucas Theatre December 29 for the Moscow Ballet’s presentation of “The Nutcracker.” Shows will be held at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. and tickets range from $28-$68. Go by the box office on East Broughton or call (912) 525-5050 to reserve your ticket.
 
Join the Savannah Philharmonic on December 17 as, for the eighth year in a row, they bring you “Holiday Pops,” a concert full of sounds of the season and holiday classics. Tickets for the 7:30 pm evening show range from $16-$75 and the 3 p.m. matinee costs $10 per person. 
 
LIGHTS
 
Growing up, it was an unspoken tradition in my family to “go look at the lights,” meaning that we drove to a particular neighborhood that went all out with their decorations every year and looked at all of the houses. This year, I’ve decided to leave it to the professionals. 
 
Join the Atlanta Botanical Gardens for its sixth season of “Holiday Nights,” a light display to be enjoyed as you stroll through the beautiful gardens. Tickets are around $25 for adults. Visit now through January 7.
 
Also through January 7, Callaway Gardens boasts over eight million lights in their annual “Fantasy in Lights” display. Visitors can drive their personal vehicle or take the provided trolleys. They offer several overnight packages which give guests access to both Fantasy in Lights and the gardens themselves. Tickets are sold per person and prices vary based on which package you choose.
 
CHARITY EVENTS
 
For a lot of people, this time of year is the perfect time to give, so I’ve found a few events in the Savannah area that will provide more than enough fun while also giving back to the community.
 
On December 31, lace up your running shoes and warm up for the annual Jingle Jog (5K). The race takes place at the Grand Prize of America Road Course on Hutchinson Island and starts at 5:30 pm. The race route is lined with Christmas lights and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to various children’s charities.
 
Or, on December 16, bring yourself and your ID, holiday spirits provided. (Sorry, it was too good to pass up.) The “Twelve Bars of Christmas” Charity Bar Crawl will begin at 4 p.m. at 21 E McDonough St. and wind all over historic Savannah. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to a local food bank.
 
Maybe everything you’ve read so far isn’t really for you. For something a little more off-beat, check out Thomasville’s 30th annual Victorian Christmas Festival featuring carolers, a live nativity, carriage rides and a carousel. The event takes place the evenings of December 8 and 9. Or take a drive up to Helen for their ninth annual “Christkindlmarkt,” a festival and market offering traditional German gifts and food.
 
I wish you all Happy Holidays, and I hope 2017 finds you well.

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