Christmas in Dahlonega, Georgia

Christmas in Dahlonega, Georgia

These 8 Small Georgia Towns Do Christmas Right

You can't help but feel festive during the holidays in these Georgia small towns.

There is just something special about celebrating a Southern Christmas in a charming little town – something that makes it distinctive and memorable. Georgia is full of enchanting small towns, and these locations take pride in knowing how to create holiday celebrations your entire family will remember for years to come. This year, with COVID-19 precautions, they're taking extra steps to keep everyone safe and healthy while sharing the festive spirit of the season.


Fröhliche Weihnachten!! That's German for Merry Christmas, if you’re not familiar. Partake in festive Alpine cheer as you head to Helen for the annual Christkindlmarkt – a tradition that lines the center of town with gifts, decorations, candied treats and more. It's open the last weekend in November and the first weekend in December, but you'll also want to bring the family when Santa arrives on his Bavarian sleigh as part of the Helen Christmas Parade on Dec. 12, 2020. Before your trip, review Helen's COVID-19 precautions.

Visit Helen

Santa at Babyland General Hospital in Cleveland, Georgia


Not too far from Helen is Cleveland, which offers several unique holiday experiences. Visit on Dec. 5, 2020, for the Christmas in the Mountains Celebration & Lighted Parade. Explore Babyland General Hospital's drive-thru holiday lights, and shop for special gifts for children and the Cabbage Patch fans in your life. Also, the animals on the Starry Night (Nov. 28, 2020) and Winter Wonderland Tours (starting in December) at North Georgia Wildlife Park will get you in the spirit of the season. Before your trip, review Cleveland's COVID-19 precautions.

Visit Cleveland

Thomasville Victorian Christmas Festival Carriage


Although Thomasville isn't having its Victorian Christmas Festival in 2020, its downtown is still a wonderful place to shop, eat and spend time during the holidays. Plan a trip over Nov. 22 to take part in the Holiday Open House, featuring delectable dining, shopping experiences, and a festive atmosphere. And on Fridays Dec. 4-18, 2020, explore downtown during the Holiday Sip & Strolls, when merchants have extended hours and opportunities to enjoy beer or wine and stroll through the downtown underneath the sparkling lights. Thomasville is an award-winning "small-town," and its Christmas cheer exemplifies why it's a well-deserved award! Before your trip, review the city's COVID-19 precautions.

Visit Thomasville

Christmas tree at Hills & Dales estates in LaGrange, Georgia


Home to the Callaway family, you can enjoy the 1916 Hills & Dales estate (Fuller and Ida Callaway's home,) decked in decadent holiday decor, or dazzle the kids with a nearby stop in Pine Mountain at Callaway Resort & Gardens’ Fantasy In Lights. Did you know National Geographic dubbed it one of the world's best places for Christmas sparkle? Want to dive a little deeper into the first Christmas experience? Make a stop at the Biblical History Center for a historical experience of the season. 

Before your trip, review the COVID-19 safety precautions for:

Visit LaGrange


Christmas trees, mistletoe and thousands of twinkling lights adorn historic Dahlonega from Thanksgiving until year-end, creating an old-timey holiday experience during Dahlonega's Old Fashioned Christmas. A home-town parade welcomes the Jolly Old Elf on Dec. 5, 2020, followed by carolers, live music, wine tastings, horse-drawn carriage rides and more. Don't miss a visit with Santa in the Public Square, where you can take a picture with Santa on his throne, social distancing behind the children.

Visit Dahlonega

Madison Holiday Tour of Homes


Named "One of The South's Best Small Towns" by Southern Living in 2018, Madison is home to the largest collection of 19th century architecture in Georgia with a mix of Greek revival, late Victorian and Romanesque-style buildings. See them decorated for the season, and stroll through the festively decorated downtown sampling holiday treats at the many restaurants and sweet shops. In November, visit for Shop, Sip & Stroll Saturdays to enjoy retail promotions, light refreshments and holiday music. And, be sure to stop into the Madison Artists Guild Gallery in November and December to shop for unique gifts at the Holiday Market. Before your trip, review Madison's COVID-19 precautions.

Visit Madison

Santa Train in Blue Ridge, Georgia

Blue Ridge

Ahhh, the Blue Ridge Express at Christmas…what a way to kick off the season. Listen to a Christmas story, sing carols and meet with the big guy, St. Nick. There are also daytime and nighttime pavilion rides, which are longer tours and a chance to meet with Santa on the pavilion. Before your trip, review the railroad's COVID-19 precautions.

If you can’t make the train ride, then see Santa and Mrs. Claus before and during Light Up Blue Ridge on Nov. 28, 2020. Before your trip, review Blue Ridge's COVID-19 precautions.

Visit Blue Ridge

Holiday lights in the Columbus Botanical Garden in Columbus, Georgia


Christmas in the Garden is magical experience at the Columbus Botanical Garden. Celebrate the holiday season among the lights in the Camellia Garden, where every twist and turn brings new lights and other features. The lights are available throughout December with the main event taking place Nov. 27, 2020, to Jan. 1, 2021. Before your visit, review the garden's COVID-19 precautions.

And while you're in Columbus, be sure to shop at the Merry Market at the Columbus Convention & Trade Center Dec. 4-5, and don’t miss the Springer Opera House's exciting holiday event select dates Dec. 10-22, 2020. Before your trip, review the theater's COVID-19 precautions.

Visit Columbus

Published: October 2020
Written by: Lesli Peterson