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December is always jam-packed with events — from stunning light displays to New Year’s Eve extravaganzas — so there’s no excuse not to participate in the holiday fun. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite December events happening all around the South. You don’t want to miss out!

21 Southern Events & Happenings: December 2021

Through December 12, 2021: Home for the Holidays Designer Showhouse — Atlanta, GA

Through Sunday, December 12, Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Magazine hosts the 13th Annual Home for the Holidays Designer Showhouse benefiting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. The 2021 house sits on a two-acre lot in Buckhead’s Paces neighborhood, and featured designers include Suzan Bozeman, Carter Kay, Liza Bryan, André Jordan Hilton, and more. Additional events include candlelight tours, pop-up shops, and workshops. Event hours are Thursday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are $35 online and $40 at the door.

Through December 23, 2021: Charlotte Christmas Village — Charlotte, NC

Returning for its sixth year, the 2021 Charlotte Christmas Village is partnering with the Charlotte Knights. Full of holiday cheer, the event includes a European-inspired market with specialty food and drinks, holiday lights at Truist Field, and plenty of shopping. Village-only tickets are $5, lights-only tickets are $10, and tickets for both the village and lights are also $10. Event hours vary based on the day.

RELATED: 3 Carolina Towns That Transform Into Magical Holiday Wonderlands

Through December 23, 2021: Holiday Wonders at the Garden — Memphis, TN

Memphis Botanic Garden’s most anticipated holiday event runs through Thursday, December 23. Activity areas include the Under the Stars Lounge, the Yuletide Yard, Snowy Nights, and Northern Lights. Take a walk through this magical light show with your friends and family to get in the holiday spirit! Tickets are $8 for garden members and $10 for non-members, and entry begins at 5 p.m.

Through December 31, 2021: Holiday at the Arboretum — Dallas, TX

Known as “Texas’ best Christmas event,” Holiday at the Arboretum features Victorian-style gazebos that have been decorated to represent the 12 Days of Christmas. The event also includes visits with Santa, a Christmas village, a new 50-foot musical tree, shopping, live music, and more. Tickets are $17 for adults (ages 13-64), $14 for seniors (ages 65+), and $12 for children (ages 2-12). Members receive free admission. Entry begins at 9 a.m.

Through December 31, 2021: Holiday Festival of Lights — Charleston, SC

A Charleston favorite, the Holiday Festival of Lights is a unique experience that can be shared with family and friends from the comfort of your vehicle. You can also step out of your car to marvel at millions of twinkling lights, enjoy concessions, and explore Santa’s Village. Tickets start at $15 per vehicle, and gates open nightly at 5:30 p.m.

Through December 31, 2021: Enchanted Forest Festival of Trees — Memphis, TN

Benefiting Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, the Enchanted Forest Festival of Trees is a winter wonderland that brings the holiday season to life with its cast of animated characters. Witness elves at work and penguins at play, and enjoy a special visit with Santa. The event takes place daily at the Memphis Museum of Science & History, and tickets are $6 for adults and $5 for children and seniors.

Through January 2, 2022: A Country Christmas — Nashville, TN

Celebrate Christmas the Nashville way at Gaylord Opryland Resort’s annual A Country Christmas event. Explore acres of twinkling lights and decorations along with other exciting holiday activities, shows, and events — from ice tubing and ice skating to The Oak Ridge Boys’ “Christmas in Tennessee” dinner show. New this year is Mission: Save Christmas featuring Elf™, where guests are invited into a multi-sensory experience to prepare for Santa’s arrival and help save Christmas. Events like the Christmas lights, Christmas fountain show, and Wildlife Rescue are free to attend, and ticketed events begin at $4.99. The fun runs through Sunday, January 2.

Through January 2, 2022: Fête De Noël — Louisville, KY

Head to the heart of Paristown for Louisville’s Fête De Noël festival. The event includes a 100-by-50-foot outdoor ice skating rink, the Brent Street Holiday Market, Santa’s Workshop, a holiday-themed escape game, and delicious food and drinks. Prices and hours vary based on each event.

December 2, 2021 – January 1, 2022: Spend the Holidays at The Hermitage — Nashville, TN

Spend the holidays at Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage to learn more about a leader who shaped a young nation’s future. Tour the Greek Revival-style mansion, enjoy a horse-drawn wagon ride, stroll through the garden, hike the trails with your four-legged friend, eat lunch in the new on-site café, Bailey & Cato Family Restaurant, and sample local wine and craft beer in the on-site tasting room, Natchez Hills Winery. Hours are Thursday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Note: The Hermitage is closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.)

December 3, 2021 – January 2, 2022: Winter Illuminations — Louisville, KY

Enjoy the holiday season at Winter Illuminations, a one-mile trail featuring over 10 different light installations. The event is sure to be fun for the whole family. Tickets start at $12.99 for children (ages 3-12) and $17.99 for adults. Hours are Sunday through Thursday, 5:45 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 5:45 p.m. to 10 p.m.

December 3, 2021: Sips Under the Sea — Atlanta, GA

Explore the Georgia Aquarium in an intimate setting at Sips Under the Sea. The 21-and-up event includes alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, food, live music, and a festive dance floor. Admission begins at 7 p.m. on Friday, December 3. Tickets for aquarium members start at $29.95, and non-member tickets start at $39.95.

December 3 – 19, 2021: Holiday Spectacular 2021 — Birmingham, AL

Head to Red Mountain Theatre on December 3-19 to see a special performance of all of your favorite Christmas music. Holiday Spectacular hosts RMT Conservatory students as they perform alongside Birmingham’s best local talent. Performance times vary, and tickets begin at $20.

December 4, 2021: Christmas on Caddo Fireworks Festival — Oil City, LA

Celebrate the holiday season with a stunning fireworks display over Caddo Lake. The Christmas on Caddo Fireworks Festival is a free event that takes place at Earl Williamson Park. Attendees can also enjoy delicious fair food, live music, and craft booths. Festival gates open at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 4, and fireworks begin at 6:30 p.m.

December 4 – 19: The Nutcracker — Atlanta, GA

Every holiday season, the Atlanta Ballet returns to the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre to present Yuri Possokhov’s The Nutcracker. Performances include bold costumes, stunning video projections, and breathtaking sets. Showtimes vary, and tickets begin at $30. (Note: Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 is required to attend this event.)

RELATED: 35 Gifts Under $50: Your Ultimate Southern Holiday Gift Guide

December 9, 2021: Samford Legacy League’s 11th Annual Christmas Home Tour — Birmingham, AL

Presented by ARC Realty, Samford Legacy League’s annual Christmas home tour features five beautifully decorated homes and festive holiday treats. Homes are located throughout Mountain Brook and Vestavia Hills, and tickets are $35. Tours begin at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Thursday, December 9. Proceeds from the event support scholarships for Samford University students with significant financial needs and challenging circumstances.

December 11, 2021: Atlanta Christmas 5K — Atlanta, GA

Since the 1980s, the Atlanta Christmas 5K has been the city’s premier holiday run, so lace up your running shoes and put on your Santa hat on Saturday, December 11. This year’s race takes place at Piedmont Park at 9 a.m. Registration begins at $45 and includes a long-sleeved shirt. Plus, be sure to stick around after the race for Christmas music, refreshments, and raffles.

December 11 & 12, 2021: 36th Annual Dickens of a Christmas — Franklin, TN

Presented by The Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, the annual Dickens of a Christmas event takes place in historic downtown Franklin on Saturday, December 11, and Sunday, December 12. The festival includes classic holiday decorations, dancers, live music, characters from A Christmas Story, and, of course, Father and Mother Christmas. Event hours are Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

December 17 – 30, 2021: NOLA ChristmasFest — New Orleans, LA

Celebrate the holidays New Orleans style at NOLA ChristmasFest from December 17-30. The event includes an indoor ice skating rink, ice slides, carnival rides, visits with Santa, gingerbread houses, and more. Tickets are $20 on weekdays and $25 on weekends, and the festival takes place at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Event hours are 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. (Note: Hours vary on Christmas.)

December 19, 2021: Candlelight Orchestra Christmas Concert — Charleston, SC

Enjoy classical Christmas music as you’re surrounded by thousands of flickering candles at Candlelight Orchestra’s Christmas concert. Held at South Carolina Society Hall, this event is a unique holiday experience. Performances take place on Sunday, December 19, at 5 p.m., 6:30 p.m., and 8 p.m. Tickets begin at $45.

December 30, 2021: TransPerfect Music City Bowl — Nashville, TN

The 2021 TransPerfect Music City Bowl returns to Nissan Stadium on Thursday, December 30, at 2 p.m. The participating teams have yet to be announced, but in-person tickets are on sale now, starting at $25. If you’re unable to attend the game in person, you can also watch it live on ESPN.

December 31, 2021: Tupelo’s New Year’s Eve Party — Tupelo, MS

Tupelo knows how to throw a party, and you’re invited! Make plans to ring in 2022 in downtown Tupelo, where can experience a safe, secure, and free celebration with entertainment for all ages. Festivities begin at 6 p.m. and include dance parties, live music on two different stages, a countdown to the midnight ball drop, a fireworks display, and more.

Happy December!


To see more great Southern events, visit our Happenings page!

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