Heritage Hall in Madison, Georgia

Heritage Hall in Madison, Georgia

Time to Get Festive with 15 Holiday Favorites on Georgia's Antebellum Trail

Step back in time celebrating the holidays this year. It is time to plan your seasonal stroll down Georgia's Antebellum Trail, where old meets new and classic rhythms roll to the pizzazz of today. This holiday season, travel through some of Georgia’s most historic cities celebrating the festivities with a Classic City Tour of Homes, Christmas parades, an Antebellum Christmas at the Mansion and ring in the New Year at Hay House.

Athens

A sorority house on the Classic City Tour of Homes in Athens, Georgia
A sorority house on the Classic City Tour of Homes in Athens, Georgia. Photo courtesy of UGA Miracle

Classic City Tour of Homes

Dec. 2, 2018

Anyone who has driven through the South Milledge Avenue historic district of Athens has marveled at the expansive mansions lining the street along the University of Georgia’s “Greek Row.” Once a year, on the first Sunday of December, the UGA sororities and some fraternities open their homes for public tour during the Classic City Tour of Homes. Holiday decorations are on full display, and many homes will also offer refreshments and vendors with gift items for sale. This annual event is a much-beloved time for girlfriends, mothers and daughters, and couples to stroll down Milledge and enjoy these lovely homes. All proceeds benefit UGA Miracle, which supports Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

Athens Holiday Market at Big City Bread
Athens Holiday Market at Big City Bread. Photo courtesy of Athens Convention & Visitors Bureau

Athens Holiday Market at Big City Bread

Dec. 13–14, 2018

Athens’ creative spirit is in top form during the holiday season, with plenty one-of-a-kind gift ideas from local makers in shops and at holiday markets throughout November and December. One of the best-known markets takes place in the lovely courtyard of Big City Bread. The 2018 Holiday Market has been expanded to two nights, Dec. 13 and 14 from 5-9 p.m. Local artists and makers will be selling their wares under the stars at this evening event. Throw in the live music Athens is known for and a bonfire, and you’ve got plenty of amazing local flare to go along with your holiday shopping. Do not forget to order up a glass of wine at the Big City Bread bar!

New Year's Eve in Athens, Georgia
New Year's Eve in Athens, Georgia. Photo courtesy of Athens Convention & Visitors Bureau

New Year’s Eve in Athens

Dec. 31, 2018

Don’t forget New Year’s Eve when planning your holiday calendar! Escape from the ordinary in Athens, with live music at a world-renowned venue like the Georgia Theatre or 40 Watt Club, or pick a New Year's Eve package with all the trimmings: dinner, live music and deluxe overnight accommodations at Hotel Indigo Athens or Graduate Athens. If your tastes lean more toward culinary than music experiences, check out Chef Hugh Acheson's special New Year's Eve menu at Five & Ten, or head to one of Athens’ craft breweries for special editions on draft.

Watkinsville

Crafts at the Annual Holiday Market & Artists' Shoppe in Watkinsville, Georgia
Crafts at the Annual Holiday Market & Artists' Shoppe in Watkinsville, Georgia. Photo credit: OCAF

Annual Holiday Market & Artists’ Shoppe

Nov. 30–Dec. 22, 2018, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation’s 24th Annual Juried Holiday Market will open Nov. 30 and run through Dec. 2, 2018, offering gift-buyers an opportunity to select unique art and crafts objects from 70 of the region’s most gifted artists. The market will include pottery, paintings, fiber art, stained and fused glass, jewelry, sculpture, photography, woodwork, and more. The Artists’ Shoppe will remain open Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., through Dec. 22.

John Berry
John Berry. Photo credit: JohnBerry.com

Christmas Songs and Stories with John Berry

Dec. 19, 2018, at 7 p.m.

John Berry returns with his crowd-pleasing Christmas concert, Christmas Songs and Stories with John Berry, Wednesday, Dec. 19 at the Oconee County Civic Center. The singer-songwriter rose to stardom on the country charts of the 1990s with such mega hits as “Your Love Amazes Me,” Standing on the Edge of Goodbye” and “She’s Taken a Shine.” His annual Christmas tours brighten the holidays for thousands as does his electrifying rendition of “O’ Holy Night.” This show in Watkinsville has become a holiday tradition.

Madison

Heritage Hall in Madison, Georgia, decorated for the holidays
Heritage Hall in Madison, Georgia. Photo courtesy of Madison-Morgan County Convention & Visitors Bureau

Holiday Tour of Homes

Nov. 30–Dec. 1, 2018

Step into a winter wonderland as you celebrate the season with a holiday favorite, the Holiday Tour of Homes in Madison! With both daytime and candlelight itineraries, this magical event is not to be missed. This is a walking tour of historic and private homes fully decorated for the holidays.

Madison, Georgia, Holiday Parade
Madison, Georgia, Holiday Parade. Photo courtesy of Madison-Morgan County Convention & Visitors Bureau

Holiday Parade and Caroling by Candlelight in Town Park

Dec. 8, 2018, from 4–7 p.m.

Celebrate the holiday season in small-town style. Come to Madison for the Holiday Parade and Caroling by Candlelight! The Holiday Parade will feature floats, walking groups, vintage cars, horses, dogs, dancers and the award-winning MCHS Marching Bulldog Band, all decorated to this year’s theme, "Deck the Halls." After the parade, join us for an evening full of music and holiday spirit. Local choral groups, bands and community-based musicians will perform holiday carols certain to warm our hearts. Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and the Elves will be on hand to hear Christmas wishes. Warm your hands with a steaming cup of hot chocolate and tasty marshmallows roasted over an open flame.

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Photo courtesy of Madison-Morgan County Convention & Visitors Bureau

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Holiday Concert 

Dec. 12, 2018, from 8–10 p.m.

An annual favorite for over 40 years! The Grammy Award-winning Atlanta Symphony Orchestra performs a program of holiday and classical favorites at the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center, including a sing-a-long of familiar holiday tunes.

Eatonton

Stepback in Eatonton, Georgia
Stepback in Eatonton, Georgia. Photo courtesy of Eatonton & Putnam County Tourism

Christmas at Stepback

Dec. 8, 2018, from 11 a.m.–4 p.m.

Step back in time and experience Christmas in the country. Nestled off to the side of a Georgia highway at 176 Dennis Station Road in Eatonton, a short drive down a back road will take you just over 100 years in the past.

Stepback is a town complete with a general store, school, church and much more all built and furnished to replicate the life in the late 19th and early 20th century. During its Christmas celebration, Stepback is filled with the spirit and overflowing with excitement and décor. Come ready to walk the grounds as you sip on hot chocolate and listen to Christmas hymns echo from the church. Experience this community built to remind us of days gone by.

Light Up The Night Christmas Parade in Eatonton, Georgia
Light Up The Night Christmas Parade in Eatonton, Georgia. Photo courtesy of Eatonton & Putnam County Tourism

Light Up The Night Christmas Parade

Dec. 8, 2018, at 6 p.m.

Downtown Eatonton the Light Up The Night Christmas Parade will take place at 6 p.m. There is no fee to enter the parade. The lineup for the parade will gather at the Putnam County Elementary School. The theme for this year is Hometown Christmas. There will be a prize for the Top 3 voted on by our special panel of judges.

Milledgeville

Georgia's Old Governor's Mansion decorated for the holidays
Georgia's Old Governor's Mansion. Photo courtesy of Milledgeville-Baldwin County Convention & Visitors Bureau

Antebellum Christmas at the Mansion

Nov. 18–Dec. 21, 2018

Take a step back in time and see how the elite of Georgia celebrated the holiday season in Milledgeville. During Antebellum Christmas at the Mansion, Georgia's Old Governor's Mansion will be fully decorated and open for Christmas tours beginning on Sunday, Nov. 18 until Friday, Dec. 21. The Mansion will be closed for Thanksgiving Nov. 22-26. For a truly magical experience, attend an evening candlelight tour of the Mansion complete with choirs singing in the rotunda. Candlelight tours are at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Dec. 8, 15 and 18. Normal admission rates apply. Seeing Georgia's Old Governor's Mansion transformed into a Christmas wonderland is a delight for the eye.

Milledgeville's Rose Hill decorated for the holidays
Milledgeville's Rose Hill. Photo courtesy of Milledgeville-Baldwin County Convention & Visitors Bureau

Holiday Open House at Rose Hill

Dec. 8–21, 2018, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The circa 1852 Greek Revival Home, Rose Hill, will be beautifully decorated for the holidays in period-appropriate style. Milledgeville's garden clubs festively furnish the home for the holidays by using fresh greenery from the arboretum. For a special treat, visit on Saturday, Dec. 8 from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. to attend the Holiday Open House for a guided tour and to be one of the first to see the wonderful decorations. Or plan to enjoy the beauty, smells and ambiance on your own with a self-guided tour. Rose Hill will remain decorated through Dec. 21, and tours are $3 per person.

Macon

Macon's Main Street Christmas Light Show Extravaganza
Macon's Main Street Christmas Light Show Extravaganza. Photo courtesy of Visit Macon

Main Street Christmas Light Show Extravaganza

Nov. 30, 2018–Jan. 4, 2019

See a light show unlike any other in historic downtown Macon. The Main Street Christmas Light Show Extravaganza is a feast for the eyes and ears. Thousands of lights adorn the trees, bushes and features of the Poplar Street median in a rainbow of colors guaranteed to get you in the holiday spirit. The lights move in time to original music composed by the Macon Pops featuring local artists.

The lights come on every night at 6 p.m. and stay on until 11 p.m. Shows start on the hour at 7 p.m., 8 p.m., and 9 p.m. nightly. Get out of your car and stroll through candy cane lanes, illuminated arches and twinkling trees while enjoying the shops and restaurants of downtown Macon.

Macon's Hay House decorated for the holidays
Christmas at Hay House in Macon, Georgia. Photo courtesy of Visit Macon

Christmas at Hay House

Dec. 1, 2018–Jan. 1, 2019

Come delight in the season at the ever-festive Hay House. Enjoy guided tours featuring beautifully designed rooms with traditional Christmas decorations. During Christmas at Hay House, the month of December features exquisite holiday events like the Annual Christmas Gala, including live performances followed by an open bar and heavy hors d'oeuvres. Additionally, relish and recapture the grandeur of the 19th century and celebrate New Year’s in high style at the “Palace of the South.” This lavish masquerade will ring in the New Year with cocktails, live entertainment, a champagne toast and balloon drop in Hay House’s Music Room.

Downtown Macon decorated for the holidays
Downtown Macon. Photo courtesy of Visit Macon

Christmas in Downtown

Nov. 30, 2018–Jan. 4, 2019

Celebrate the holiday season with free pictures with Santa, free hot chocolate, caroling and snow! Christmas in Downtown Macon will feature a live kick-off concert with Macon Pops, a Community Tree Lighting, InTown Tour of Homes, free selfies with Santa, the Nutcracker of Middle Georgia, a New Year's Eve Silent Disco and more! Come downtown to enjoy light shows, unique, last minute gifts, and make memories with your family and friends.

Published: November 2018