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Twelve Days of Christmas

Your day-by-day holiday itenerary for Statesboro and Southeast Georgia

December 09, 2014

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    Christmas break is no time to sit at home with nothing to do. It's a time to celebrate friends and family, home and community — but sometimes it's hard to find things to do beyond baking cookies and watching movies at home. That's where we come in. Rather than a gift guide this year, Connect has hunted down the hottest holiday happenings in our little corner of Southeast Georgia and assembled your day-by-day itenerary counting down to Christmas day. It's our present to you. Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and may your season be bright!

Dec. 13: A night at the theatre
     The Averitt STARs are at it again, this time bringing the heartwarming holiday favorite Miracle on 34th Street to the Emma Kelly Theater.
    The 1947 classic will take on a contemporary twist; however, the same Kris Kringle, Susan, Doris and Captain Gaily will all take the stage in a musical performance. When Kris Kringle is hired by Macy’s department store to be Santa, he brings about a genuine miracle that leaves doubters and cynics believing and loving.
    “The story is fun and lighthearted, but there are serious elements, too, such as having faith in yourself,” said Joe Morgan, who plays Kris Kringle. “The central theme of the story is love.”
    Emily Wiggins, who plays the part of Susan, Doris’ daughter, says she is most excited to get up on stage and sing.
    Meredith Willson, who wrote the music for Music Man, also wrote the music for Miracle on 34th Street. Favorites such as “That Man Over There Is Santa Claus” and “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas” are anticipated by both cast and the audience alike.
    “It garners our need for hope and faith, and reminds us that good things actually do happen,” said Russ Lanier, who plays Captain Gaily.
    As Christmas quickly approaches, this performance is sure to remind everyone what really matters most.
    The performance is directed by Helen Rosengart and assisted by Glenn Spell. It will run Dec. 11–13 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 14 at 2 p.m.
    Tickets are $15 for non-members and $13 for members. Youth tickets cost $10. To purchase tickets or get more information, please call the box office during box office hours at (912) 212-2787. Box office hours are Tuesday–Friday from noon–5:30 p.m.

Dec. 14: Journey back to Bethlehem
    Visiting a Nativity scene is a holiday staple for many people, but Savannah Christian Church takes it to the next level; in fact, they’ve probably won the whole game.
     For the second day of Christmas, take a road trip down to Savannah and catch the last night of The Journey, an interactive Nativity performance that spans the SCC’s sprawling campus. A massive host of volunteers (over 1,000, with around 400 of them in costume) recreate the city of Bethlehem, complete with barn animals, Roman soldiers, a Bethlehem market and — of course — a manger with Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus. Wander the market as a Bethlehem citizen home for a census count and cross the “Sea of Galilea” in a boat with a small group of other participants. According to reviews, it's always an immersive, intriguing experience.
    The Journey began as part of SCC’s Christmas outreach initiatives in 1998. Since its conception, the program has exploded in regional popularity, attracting nearly 30,000 people last year.
    As of Connect’s print date, The Journey will run at the church’s campus Dec. 10–14 from 5–8 p.m. Tickets are $7 and can be purchased online or at the door.

Dec. 15: Holiday Card Exhibition
   You've probably gotten plenty of holiday cards stuffing your mailbox this season, but none of them are quite like the cards on display at the Averitt Center for the Arts. The Averitt Center is showing off the contenders of this year's Holiday Card Exhibition, an annual area art contest.
    "Every year since we've opened, we've invited area children and adults to create a piece of Christmas-themed artwork," said Melinda Roell, the Averitt Center's director of development.
    Once all entries are in, a judge chooses the best piece and the Averitt Center rewards the winner by purchasing his or her artwork for their holiday card for the year. The card then joins the ranks of past winners to go on display each year during the exhibition.
    This year's winning card, pictured below, was submitted by Terrence Johnson, a student at William James Middle School. The other entries — around 100, in addition to the winners of previous years — are on display in a wing of the Averitt Center's art gallery and are worth a look on the third day of our Christmas countdown.

Dec. 16: 'Sing, choirs of angels'
   Celebrate the season with music! The Statesboro Youth Strings Ensemble and the new Statesboro Chamber Orchestra will present their first program in the Emma Kelly Theater. The youngest choir, Seraphim, will join them to produce a holiday performance. Tickets are $5, and the show will run at 7 p.m. on Dec. 17.
Dec. 17: Skatefest
    Short of Snowpocalypse Round 2, we down here in the South aren’t likely to see much of the cold white stuff or enjoy all the seasonal fun it offers. Sleigh rides? Not so much. Snowball fights? Ditto. Building magical talking snowmen? Fuggeddaboudit.
    But there is still one wintery recreational activity available to us, and that is ice skating. The Savannah Civic Center offers ice skating every day, excluding Christmas, from Dec. 12–Jan. 3. Seven dollars gets you 1 1/2 hours out on the ice and a pair of rented skates. Aside from being a fun holiday activity, ice skating makes for an adorable and romantic date. Since there won’t be much of a chance for taking a snowy stroll with your honey, go for a few wobbly, endearing loops around the ice skating rink and see if the cold and the fun can’t kindle a little Christmas chemistry.

Dec. 18: Here we go a'caroling
    What’s Christmas without a little live music? The choirs of the First Baptist Church of Springfield and the First Baptist Church of Rincon are coming together for a night of singing and fellowship, and they’re inviting everyone else in the region to join them. Their concert in the Mars Theatre will feature hymns and songs about the religious significance of Christmas, but you don’t have to be a churchgoer to enjoy or feel welcome. According to the press release, the music will “take the listener on a journey through the Bethlehem scene. Each selection stands on its own or may be combined with others to create a majestic choral backdrop and storyline for a nativity reenactment.” Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children and can be purchased at the door or online at

Dec. 19: 'The Night Before Christmas Carol'
  Everyone needs a dose of Dickens over the holidays. Where would we be without Scrooge, Tiny Tim and the ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Future to remind us to be good people or be haunted by the holidays? Rather than just recite the old story again, though, take a peek beyond the prose to the story of the story.
    Created by Dickens scholar Elliot Engel, The Night Before Christmas Carol takes the audience inside the mind of Charles Dickens as he works his way through the creation of his classic Christmas ghost story. The show stars the manically energetic David zum Brunnen as Dickens himself, playing the author with such convincing gusto that Cedric Dickens, Charles Dickens’ own great-grandson, said, “David absolutely becomes my great-grandfather on stage!” Zum Brunnen carries the comedic one-man show with plenty of Dickensian in-jokes and deft juggling of nearly 20 different characters from the author’s body of work.
    This show will be the Mars Theatre’s first theatrical production since its reopening in April. Tickets are $15 for adults, $8 for youth 18 and younger. The show will run for an hour and 30 minutes starting at 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 19.

Dec. 20: Shop local day
    Still have a few people left on your Christmas list? Luckily for you, Statesboro is full of unique local businesses to make your presents stand out among the stockings. Take this day to shop local and explore. Do you have a caffeine addict in the family? Try a holiday gift package from Three Tree Coffee Roasters. For delicious edibles you don’t have to bake yourself, visit CAKE Bakery or Simply Sweet and give the gift of a satisfied sweet tooth. Madame Coutoure’s on North Main Street downtown has great styles for the fashionista on a budget. Challenge the concepts of naughty and nice with a gift from Cheeky in the Statesboro mall, or pop into Galactic Comics at their new 20 Vine St. location for a challenging new board game. If none of those look like they’ll satisfy that hard-to-shop-for person, Statesboro has a surprising number of antique and consignment shops for the unique, quirky and downright bizarre. (Last week, while in B&R Treasures and Treats, I found a cake pan shaped like Harry Potter’s face. That’s not even a joke.)

Dec. 21: Glitz and glamor
    I know we keep sending you down to Savannah, but they're the only place around that really puts on the Ritz for the holidays and gives the Christmas tradition some extra razzle-dazzle. The Savannah Theatre's two-hour extravaganza, A Christmas Tradition, features classic Christmas songs from the religious to the secular, from the serious to the hilarious. With dancing Santas, prancing reindeer,  lights and music and all the trimmings, A Christmas Tradition might just work its way into your annual holiday itenerary.  Show dates run through Dec. 26. The show on Dec. 21 starts at 3 p.m. Tickets are $35 for adults and $17 for youth. A full schedule and a link to purchase tickets can be found online at

Dec. 22: Nights of lights
    Every year, Guido Gardens in Metter, Georgia, decks out its 3–4 acres of manicured gardens in a quarter of a million Christmas lights of all colors and varieties. There’s a little something here for everyone: Bible stories recreated for the religious crowd; Christmas trees and angels for the holiday traditionalists; animals, helicopters and rainbows just to shake things up a bit. Dr. Lawrence Guido, president of the Guido Bible Institute with which the gardens are affiliated, said that the Nights of Lights at the gardens attract 15,000 to 18,000 people a year.
    “It’s quite an extravaganza,” Guido said.
    The Nights of Lights started around 20 years ago, although the gardens themselves have been around for a few more decades. They used to be where Michael Guido — Lawrence’s brother — would film and produce a televised devotional series. Now, Lawrence Guido says, the Guido Evangelical Association keeps them up for their beauty. The gardens are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and are free and open to the public.
    “It’s our little gift to the community,” Guido said.
    The Nights of Lights will be running Dec. 18–31 from 6–9 p.m.

Dec. 23: Christmas classic X2
   If you have a heart, it is virtually impossible to make it through the holidays without watching either It’s a Wonderful Life or A Christmas Story at least two or three times. But instead of watching one movie on your TV or laptop while bumming on your couch, you could go see both on the big, beautiful screen of the historic Mars Theatre in Springfield. In the words of Tommy Deadwyler, the theatre’s director of cultural affairs, “You can always sit at home and watch these movies on your own TV, but the popcorn’s not nearly as good and it’s not nearly as much fun.”
    The theater, which opened in 1945 (coincidentally, just a year before It’s a Wonderful Life hit the silver screen), has recently been restored to its former glory and resumed its role as a movie theatre and stage space last April. With its accurate ‘40s architecture and atmosphere, the theatre evokes all the nostalgia of an Irving Berlin song or a Currier and Ives print, making it the perfect venue for your vintage holiday movie binge. Grab some popcorn and a date and snuggle up for a moviegoing experience straight out of America’s Golden Age. (And if the two listed movies aren’t your cup of hot chocolate, you can go on the 22nd when they’ll be playing Miracle on 34th Street and A Muppet Christmas Carol.) Tickets for each film are $6. The first film starts at 3 p.m., and the second begins at 6 p.m. For more information and more events, check out the Mars Theatre website,

Dec. 24: TMT Farms Christmas lights
   For the last night of Christmas, stick to and celebrate the beauty of your hometown. Every year the historic homes of Statesboro make up a winter wonderland with light displays. A casual drive around town will find plenty for you to gaze at, but the place to be is TMT Farms out on Statesboro's Old River Road North.
    The Thompson family of TMT Farms has been putting on this massive, sprawling wonderland of lights for several years, and they're back again this year. From 6 p.m.–midnight every evening until early January, patrons can walk or drive through and marvel at the displays, which include everything from religious imagery to Christmas characters to a recreation of Statesboro's legendary diner and the birthplace of Georgia Southern football, Snooky's. There's no charge to enter the lights at TMT Farms, but they request and appreciate donations of canned food or unwrapped toys for people in the community.
    If you'd like a holiday soundtrack for your drive, tune in to FM 90.3 to "listen to the lights." Marvel at the lights and return home to snuggle up under the fire — and have yourself a very, very merry little Christmas.


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