The Color of December around the South
Regattas, beautiful gardens, antique holiday books, historic homes, a Dickens Christmas, drinks in the lobby of the Peabody, and Christmas bonfires on the levee—from New Orleans to Lutcher. There’s plenty to do all over the South for the next few weeks, with every city, town, and area celebrating the holidays in unique ways.
The Charleston Holiday Parade of Boats
Saturday, December 10, 2016, Charleston, South Carolina
Thousands gather along the harbor shore to view the beautifully decorated boats. The Parade of Boats event is produced by the City of Charleston and the Charleston Sail and Power Squadron.
Bonfires on the Levee
Christmas Eve, New Orleans, Louisiana
There are many colorfully imaginative traditions dating back to the earliest Cajun settlers of the regions of southern Louisiana to the west and north of New Orleans. One of them is the lighting of the bonfires along the Mississippi River on Christmas Eve. These bonfires, erected on the river levees by the keepers of this old tradition, are intended to light the way for “Papa Noël,” the Cajun Santa Claus, on his airborne journey to the area. Or, according to some sources, the bonfires may have also been a way of lighting the path to the nearest Catholic church for Midnight Mass. https://holiday.neworleansonline.com/traditions/christmas-eve-bonfires-on-the-levee/
Magic Christmas in Lights
Theodore, Alabama—Through December (Closed Christmas Day)
Bellingrath Gardens and Home is celebrating the 21st edition of Magic Christmas in Lights in 2016! The holiday tradition lets guests stroll through a dazzling display, which features more than 1,000 set pieces, 3 million lights and 15 scenes throughout the 65-acre Garden estate. In addition, the Bellingrath Home is decorated in its holiday finery and enhanced with beautiful poinsettias. Magic Christmas in Lights begins on November 25, 2016, and runs through December 31, 2016 (closed Christmas Day). Magic Christmas in Lights is open daily from 5 – 9 PM with tours of the Bellingrath Home every hour and half hour until 8:30 PM. 12401 Bellingtath Gardens Road, Theodore, Alabama
Christmas on the River…Cajun Style
December 9, 10, 11, 2016—Lutcher, Louisiana
Come out and experience a prelude to the famous Christmas Eve Bonfires: A tradition unique to St. James Parish and all the world!! Enjoy great food, live entertainment, crafts, Santa’s Very Merry Forest and carnival rides throughout the weekend. Each night will be highlighted with a single bonfire lighting!
Savannah Christmas Lights Tour
Savannah, Georgia—Through December
The 2016 Holiday Season heralds the return of the 19th Annual Old Town Trolley’s Holiday Sights Tour. Conductor “elves” entertain and amuse guests with tales of favorite Holiday Traditions and caroling. View historic homes and city squares. The tour is offered 28 nights throughout December and includes 2 stops: The historic Isaiah Davenport House and Savannah’s decorated Westin Resort with the area’s largest Gingerbread Village.
Christmas on the Bayou
Saturday, December 10—6 PM—Gulfport, Mississippi
Christmas On The Bayou is a unique event because not only do the boats decorate and participate in the lighted parade but the waterfront houses also compete to be named the Parade Captain’s Best House on the Bayou and serve as parade judges. Completely organized and presented by neighborhood volunteers and community donors, COTB embodies the Christmas spirit for all. Christmas On The Bayou is the only waterfront parade in Gulfport and gives everyone an up close and personal view of the boats. Presented by Bayou Bernard Boating Club and named one of the top twenty events in the southeast
Dickens on Centre Fernandina Beach, Florida—December 8–11
Charles Dickens’ novella “A Christmas Carol,” Dickens on Centre transform downtown Fernandina into a classic English village, sure to enliven your Christmas spirit. Travel back in time December 8-11, 2016 during the second annual Dickens on Center festival in Historic Downtown Fernandina Beach, Florida, on beautiful Amelia Island. Free to the public.
Candlelight Christmas Evenings at the Biltmore
November 4—January 7—Asheville, North Carolina
From fireplace mantels draped with evergreens to towering trees festooned with lights, Candlelight Christmas Evenings offer a warm welcome. By reservation only, these special evenings have become a cherished tradition for their unique view of holiday lights, live music, and Biltmore House displaying its magnificent Christmas decorations. Your self-guided Candlelight visit also includes daytime admission to Antler Hill Village & Winery, gardens, shops, and restaurants with special holiday menus (additional cost) on the day of your evening visit or the day after. Pricing available on the website:
Great Reveal Christmas Stories
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art—Bentonville, Arkansas—December 15, 6:30-7:30 PM
View rare books with a holiday theme, from lavishly illustrated nineteenth-century Christmas carols to a copy of Grandma Moses’s limited-edition Christmas Tale from 1952.
Holidays at the Peabody
Peabody Hotel—Memphis, Tennessee—Through December
The lobby of the historic Peabody Hotel is always magnificent, but it comes alive with Christmas magic during the holidays. The public areas are decked out in amazing lights and greenery, and an enormous, elegantly decorated tree graces the main lobby. The Peabody Gingerbread Village, created from massive amounts of sugar and eggs, delight young and old alike, and High Tea is served Wednesday through Saturday by reservation. Even the ducks are in a festive mood!
All images from respective web sites