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Have Yourself a Southern Little Christmas

Make precious memories throughout the state of Georgia with holiday lights, markets, parades and more. 

Get into the holiday spirit with a tour of the South’s finest Christmas festivities. Between world-renowned twinkling lights, shopping fit for Jolly ‘ol St. Nick himself and train rides through winter wonderlands, these Southern adventures are sure to be forever etched into your family’s yuletide memories.

Families will be laughing all the way at Chehaw Park’s Annual Festival of Lights in Albany, conveniently located off I-75 and I-10 in southwest Georgia. Crank the Christmas tunes and drive through more than 1,000 sparkling holiday light fixtures. Or, catch the jolly scenery aboard a train ride. Every glowing piece is handcrafted in the park’s welding shop, making this a truly one-of-a-kind spectacle, which runs throughout the month of December.

downtown-helen-at-christmasAlpine Helen/White County
Santa’s sleigh will overflow after a trip to this slice of Bavaria found in the North Georgia Mountains, about 90 minutes from Atlanta. Fill up your shopping bags at Helen’s annual Christkindlmarkt, a German tradition where the center of town is filled with booths offering specialty gift items, decorations, assorted savory food, drinks and candied treats, December 10-11. Don’t miss out on the annual Helen Christmas Parade that rolls through downtown on December 10.

Blue Ridge
Climb on board the Santa Express Train and be whisked away to the winter wonderland that is the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. Just 90 minutes north of Atlanta, this Southern mountain town will charm guests as they chug along to lasting Christmas memories. While on board, hear “Twas’ The Night Before Christmas,” sing carols and, of course, enjoy a meet and greet with Santa himself throughout December.

The Christmas spirit takes hold of Columbus before the leaves even begin to fall. This inviting Southern town is located 100 miles southwest of Atlanta, borders the state of Alabama and is home of The Ludy Christmas Spectacular. The Ludy family starts decorating in August and mesmerizes guests from both near and far with their 155,000 lights—featured on ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight.”

Celebrate Christmas of Yesteryear at Thomasville’s Victorian Christmas Festival December 8-9. This darling city is snuggled in the Red Hills region, located 35 miles northeast of Tallahassee and 45 miles west of Valdosta, Georgia. Fifteen thousand visitors stroll the streets each night while listening to live music and stopping in storefronts dressed for the season. Enjoy carriage rides with jingle bells, stilt walkers, carolers and performers dressed in Victorian clothing. Aromas fill the air with while food vendors dish up scrumptious seasonal delicacies. Catch a ride on the full-size Ferris wheel and carousel, and don’t forget to toast marshmallows on the open fire.

Eight million lights and 15 spectacular scenes make for one magical Christmas season an hour south of Atlanta and right along I-85. Visitors will immediately know why National Geographic named Callaway Gardens Fantasy in Lights as one of the top 10 Christmas light displays in the world. Or, celebrate the season in a big way at Hills And Dales. Deck the halls of this 1916 Callaway family manor that is 13,000 square feet and hosts 30 rooms. LaGrange is also where you can step back in time to the very first Christmas. “Follow the Shepard’s Walk” explores Mary and Joseph’s journey as they travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem at the Biblical History Center.

Photos courtesy of Travel Media Press Room and thomasvillega.com. 

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