Carolina Calendar: December 2016
photograph by Emily Chaplin


Winter Lights • Asheville • November 18-January 1
The North Carolina Arboretum’s walking exhibit features the largest and longest-running light projection show in North Carolina, a 50-foot-tall animated tree, a lighted quilt garden, a model train, and an educational animatronics program.

Learn more:

Deck the Trees • Black Mountain • December 1-28
This fund-raiser for the Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry features more than 30 decorated Christmas trees at the Monte Vista Hotel. Support your favorite tree with a donation to keep families in need warm for the winter.

Learn more: (828) 669-8870 or

Lights and Luminaries • Dillsboro • December 2-3, 9-10
More than 2,500 luminaries light the streets in downtown Dillsboro. Shops will have refreshments and live music, and there will be carolers, visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and a live Nativity.

Learn more: (828) 586-2155 or

Cherokee Lights & Legends Christmas • Cherokee • December 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 30-31
Visit the Cherokee Indian Fairgrounds for visits with Santa, ice-skating, and interactive displays telling ancient Cherokee Christmas legends.

Learn more: (800) 438-1601 or

Madison County Christmas Pageant • Marshall • December 2-3
This outdoor drama brings Bethlehem to the streets of downtown Marshall with costumed townspeople, seasonal songs, and thoughtful narration.

Learn more: (828) 649-3031.

Toe River Arts Open Studio Tour • Mitchell and Yancey Counties • December 2-4
Meet area artists at a reception on December 2, then visit their workplaces over the weekend in this free studio tour hosted by the Toe River Arts Council.

Learn more: (828) 682-7215 or

Christmas with The Celts • Wilkesboro • December 2
World-renowned musical performers The Celts bring Irish and Scottish Christmas tunes — plus traditional carols with an Irish flair — to The Walker Center for a lively holiday show.

Learn more: (336) 838-6260 or

Guild Artists Holiday Sale • Asheville • December 3, 10
The Southern Highland Craft Guild’s annual holiday sale features handmade gifts by local artists, with different artists featured each day.

Learn more: (828) 298-7928 or

Santa on the Chimney • Chimney Rock • December 3, 10
Watch Santa rappel down one of the world’s largest chimneys — Chimney Rock, that is. As he takes on multiple 200-foot descents, enjoy live holiday music, refreshments, and kids’ activities.

Learn more: (800) 277-9611 or

Winter Wonderland • Franklin • December 3
Historic downtown Franklin transforms into a winter wonderland for this annual festival. Enjoy live music, wagon rides, a visit from Santa, and more.

Learn more: (828) 524-2516 or

A Candlelight Christmas • Huntersville • December 3
The Latta Plantation re-creates the 1828 Christmas wedding of Nancy Latta and Rufus Reid. See a live Nativity and beautifully decorated rooms, and enjoy music and refreshments.

Learn more: (704) 875-2312 or

Candle Tea and Bazaar • Newton • December 3
The Fred T. Foard High School Chorus will perform while visitors browse sweets, chicken pies, handmade candles, Moravian stars, and more at the 34th annual bazaar. Canned food donations are encouraged.

Learn more: (828) 294-4802 or

Christmas Arts and Crafts Fair • Sparta • December 3
Shop for handmade gifts by local artists at Sparta’s annual arts and crafts fair, then pick out the perfect Christmas tree from the choose-and-cut farm.

Learn more: (336) 657-3251.

Elkin Community Chorus Christmas Concert • Elkin • December 4
More than 30 local churches from five counties are represented in this 100-voice choir, performing its 56th annual Christmas concert.

Learn more: (336) 283-5022 or

Holiday Tea and Parade of Tables • Shelby • December 4
This third annual event includes live music, a raffle, pastries, finger sandwiches, and tea. All proceeds benefit the Earl Scruggs Center.

Learn more: (704) 487-6233 or

Fireside Sale • Brasstown • December 4
Shop for holiday gifts made by local and regional artists inside the beautifully decorated Keith House and Davidson Hall at the John C. Campbell Folk School on December 4. The school’s Craft Shop also will be hosting its annual sale, and there will be dance performances and light refreshments to celebrate the holiday season.

Learn more: (828) 837-2775 or

Connections Chili Pottery Fundraiser • Conover • December 6-7
Grab a homemade chili lunch with all the fixings and a piece of pottery made by members of Connections, a nonprofit for adults with mental illnesses. Face jugs, bowls, holiday pieces, and other pottery items will be for sale.

Learn more: (828) 466-0030.

Holiday Sip & Shop • Asheville • December 9-10, 16-17
For two weekends this month, holiday shoppers at Grovewood Gallery can enjoy artist demonstrations, arts and crafts sales, and complimentary wine, cider, and cookies.

Learn more: (828) 253-7651 or

Appalachian Christmas • Lake Junaluska • December 9-11
Enjoy hearty meals, live music including Handel’s “Messiah,” and the Appalachian Christmas Craft Show, featuring the work of dozens of local artists.

Learn more: (800) 222-4930 or

Enchantment in the Garden • Mount Holly • December 9
The Mount Holly Community Garden will be decorated with lights, luminaries, and displays for the public to enjoy. Hot chocolate, apple cider, and homemade cookies will be served.

Learn more: (704) 460-0232.

A Carolina Christmas • Hendersonville • December 10
The Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra, in collaboration with South Carolina’s Greenville Chorale, performs seasonal favorites in its annual Christmas concert at Blue Ridge Community College, led by maestros Thomas Joiner and Bingham Vick Jr.

Learn more: (828) 697-5884 or

The Nutcracker Ballet • Franklin • December 16-17
Presented by A Family of Friends Productions in conjunction with Betsy’s School of Dance, this classic Christmas ballet will be performed at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts.

Learn more: (828) 524-1598 or

Christmas at Connemara • Flat Rock • December 17
Visit the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site for traditional holiday stories and music, hot cider and cookies, crafts, and beautiful Christmas decorations.

Learn more: (828) 693-4178 or

Jamie Laval’s Scottish Solstice Holiday Celebration • Tryon • December 30
Former National Scottish Fiddle Champion Jamie Laval brings the Scottish Highlands to North Carolina with traditional music, dance, poetry, and storytelling. He also will have shows this month in Hickory (December 27), Charlotte (December 28), and Asheville (December 29).

Learn more: (828) 859-8322 or

New Year’s Eve Extravaganza • Blowing Rock • December 31
Appalachian Ski Mountain’s New Year’s celebration includes a torchlight parade, nighttime ice-skating and skiing, and fireworks to ring in the new year.

Learn more: (828) 295-7828 or


Hometown Holiday • Hillsborough • November 25-December 18
Watch the annual Christmas parade (December 3), take a candlelight train tour of festive neighborhoods (December 10), join the Solstice Celebration Lantern Walk along the Eno River (December 18), and more.

Learn more: (919) 732-8156 or

Christmas House • Southern Pines • November 30-December 4
Visit the historic Boyd House, now the Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities, for Christmas carols, tours, music, light refreshments, a gift boutique, and locally designed vignettes.

Learn more: (910) 692-6261 or

“Christmas Wrapped in Brass” Concerts • Greensboro, High Point, Winston-Salem • December 1-3
The North Carolina Brass Band will perform holiday favorites and selections from their new album at the Carolina Theatre on December 1, First Baptist Church on December 2, and Brendle Recital Hall on December 3.

Learn more: (336) 340-6764 or

Holly & Tinsel • Davidson • December 1-18
The Flats & Sharps are on their way to a Christmas Eve concert when a snowstorm forces them to take cover in a diner, where they rediscover the meaning of Christmas.

Learn more: (704) 892-7953 or

Weihnachtsmarkt • Charlotte • December 2-3, 9-10, 16-17
This traditional, German-inspired Christmas market at the Olde Mecklenburg Brewery features open-air booths selling gifts and baked goods from Charlotte vendors.

Learn more: (704) 525-5644 or

Piedmont Blue • Durham • December 2-3
Jazz pianist and composer Gerald Clayton’s world-premiere Piedmont Blues concert is a tribute to the 1920s and ’30s music style that grew up around Durham’s tobacco warehouses.

Learn more: (919) 660-3356 or

Wendell Wonderland • Wendell • December 2
The town of Wendell kicks off the holiday season with vendors, ice and wood carving, holiday entertainment, food, trolley rides through historic downtown, Santa Claus, and a light show.

Learn more: (919) 366-2266 or

Christmas Holiday Shoppe Craft Show • Chapel Hill • December 3
The St. Thomas More Catholic Church’s 13th annual show includes handmade gifts and specialty items by North Carolina artisans and craftspeople.

Learn more: (919) 929-2241 or

Winter Bonsai Silhouette Expo • Kannapolis • December 3-4
Bonsai artists from up and down the East Coast travel to North Carolina to display their world-class trees and give demonstrations at this free annual exhibit.

Learn more:

Welcome to December Christmas Concert • Lexington • December 3
The Lexington Choral Society opens its 45th season at First Baptist Church with a concert full of Christmas favorites.

Learn more: (336) 956-8814 or

Historic Home Tour: Christmas in Wake Forest • Wake Forest • December 3
Only offered every other year, the Wake Forest Historic Preservation Commission and Wake Forest Woman’s Club home tour is a self-guided tour of several historic homes and buildings in Wake Forest.

Learn more: (919) 435-9516 or

Gingerbread Lane • Charlotte • December 8-28
See a stunning display of gingerbread creations at The Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge. Donate a dollar to your favorite to benefit Levine Children’s Hospital.

Learn more: (704) 248-4055 or

Sandhills Woman’s Exchange: Joyce Reehling • Pinehurst • December 8
DEC 8 Actor and writer Joyce Reehling, a Pinehurst resident, will speak to the Sandhills Woman’s Exchange about her 33-year career in theater, TV, and commercials. Reservations required.

Learn more: (910) 295-4677 or

Holiday Show featuring the Sights and Sounds of the Living Christmas Tree • Greensboro • December 9-11
Seventy musicians and singers perform Christmas music in the Living Christmas Tree — a 24-foot-tall tree-shaped structure decorated for the holidays — at the Four Seasons Town Centre Mall.

Learn more: (336) 686-4555 or

Artists in Our Midst • Greensboro • December 10
This inaugural art show and sale is composed entirely of Jewish artists from Greensboro. Complimentary refreshments and desserts will be served.

Learn more: (336) 292-7899.

Kernersville Moravian Church Candle Tea • Kernersville • December 10
Enjoy weaving, tin-smithing, and candle-making demonstrations; Moravian craft vendors; live music; and coffee and sugar bread at Kernersville Moravian Church.

Learn more: (336) 993-3620 or

Waltzing in a Winter Wonderland • Fayetteville • December 10
Enjoy traditional holiday music performed by the Fayetteville Symphony and led by guest conductor Aram Demirjian of the Kansas City Symphony.

Learn more: (910) 433-4690 or

Piedmont Chamber Singers Carols by Candlelight • Winston-Salem • December 11
The Piedmont Chamber Singers will perform traditional holiday carols in the 18th-century Gemeinhaus in Historic Bethabara Park.

Learn more: (336) 924-8191 or

Community Christmas at High Point University • High Point • December 14-15
One of the Triad’s largest free Christmas events includes gifts from Santa, a life-size Nativity, Polar Express train rides, community choirs, storytellers, food, and more.

Learn more:

Moonlight Swing Band • Nashville • December 15
The Moonlight Swing Band, a 1940s-style big band from Wilson, offers a holiday performance at the Nash County Arts Council.

Learn more: (252) 459-4734 or

The Nutcracker • Elon • December 16-18
The Sugar Plum Fairy, the Mouse King, and the Nutcracker take the stage in this classic Christmas ballet presented by Walkerdance Ballet Theatre and held at McCrary Theatre.

Learn more: (336) 214-3296 or

Christmas at Home Art Show • Franklinton • December 17
Visit the historic home of Elic Senter to shop for gifts made by local artists.

Learn more: (919) 497-6910 or

Donald Davis Storytelling • Pittsboro • December 17-18
Renowned storyteller Donald Davis will speak at the Fearrington Barn. Bring a canned good or children’s book donation for admission.

Learn more: (919) 542-3030 or

Holiday Stories • Raleigh • December 21
Join the Triangle Brass Band and guest narrator Tara Lynn at Meymandi Hall as they tell the story of The Nutcracker, ’Twas the Night Before Christmas, and other seasonal favorites.

Learn more:

Some Enchanted Evening • Greensboro • December 31
Hear the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra perform Broadway favorites by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Rodgers & Hammerstein.

Learn more: (336) 335-5456 or


Star of Wonder, Star of Night • Wilmington • December 1-3, 8-10, 15-17
Visit Poplar Grove Plantation for local art vendors, a food truck, marshmallow roasting, a children’s workshop in the blacksmith studio, wagon rides through the Abbey Nature Preserve, and outdoor Christmas movies.

Learn more: (910) 686-9518 or

Island of Lights Christmas Parade and Flotilla • Carolina Beach • December 2-3
Floats, bands, and Santa Claus parade down Lake Park Boulevard to Federal Point Plaza on December 2. Then, at the flotilla on December 3, fishing boats and pleasure craft decorated with thousands of lights cruise from Snows Cut to the Carolina Beach Boat Basin and back.

Learn more: (910) 458-5507 or

Christmas Tree Lighting and Flotilla • Edenton • December 2
Watch the annual tree lighting — featuring a performance by the Albemarle Sounds, local schoolchildren, and Santa — and flotilla, where lighted boats parade around Edenton Bay.

Learn more: (252) 333-0655 or

The Taste of Farmville • Farmville • December 2
After the Christmas tree lighting at 6 p.m., enjoy refreshments, live entertainment, visits with Santa, and carriage rides through town.

Learn more: (252) 753-5921.

Alina Kiryayeva • Oriental • December 2-3
This internationally acclaimed classical pianist from Ukraine performs two shows at the Old Theater: “Moving Pictures” on December 2 and “Sonatas” on December 3.

Learn more: (252) 617-2125 or

Southport Winterfest • Southport • December 2-10
Traditional holiday celebrations include a tree lighting, cookie contest, movie night, parade, craft festival, book sale, Santa’s workshop, Old Timey Gospel Fest, tour of homes, and the Southport Christmas Flotilla to top off the week.

Learn more: (910) 457-7927 or

Enchanted Airlie • Wilmington • December 2-4, 9-11, 15-22
Take a half-mile, self-guided walking tour through Airlie Gardens’ light display, which includes local food and beverage vendors and a visit from Santa.

Learn more: (910) 798-7700,

Christmas Homes Tour & Bazaar • Greenville • December 3
Tour seven homes beautifully decorated for Christmas and visit St. Paul’s Episcopal Church for some holiday shopping at the bazaar.

Learn more: (252) 752-3482.

Coastal Christmas Flotilla • New Bern • December 3
Kick off the Christmas season in New Bern with the Marine Corps Band, a parade of lights on beautiful boats, and visits from Santa after the flotilla.

Learn more: (252) 639-2902 or

Forestry Festival • Washington • December 3
In celebration of the NC State Parks centennial, Goose Creek State Park will hold a forestry festival featuring tar kiln demonstrations, tree planting, music, and food.

Learn more: (252) 923-2191 or

Old Wilmington by Candlelight Tour • Wilmington • December 3-4
Take a festive candlelight tour of private homes, churches, and historical sites in downtown Wilmington.

Learn more: (910) 762-0492 or

Christmas Open House • Kinston • December 4
Historic Harmony Hall, decorated for Christmas by the Extension Master Gardener Volunteers and Dirt Daubers Garden Club, will host a bake sale, raffle, and refreshments at its annual open house.

Learn more: (252) 522-0421.

The Raleigh Ringers • Washington • December 4
This internationally acclaimed concert handbell choir, based in Raleigh, will play unique interpretations of sacred, secular, and popular music at Washington High School.

Learn more: (252) 946-6738 or

Christmas Open House at Hope Plantation • Windsor • December 4
The Hope mansion and King Bazemore House will open to the public with period decorations, live holiday music, refreshments, carriage rides, and dancing and games by costumed performers.

Learn more: (252) 794-3140 or

Dickens Christmas Candlelight Tour • Edenton • December 9-10
Take a tour of private homes adorned with natural Christmas decorations from the Dickens era in this event sponsored by the Edenton Historical Commission.

Learn more: (252) 482-7800 or

Gingerbread Festival • Morehead City • December 9-11
View the entries from the SECU Crystal Coast Hospice House’s annual gingerbread competition; hear live music; see decorated crab pot holiday trees; make holiday crafts; and have story time, pictures, and cookies and cocoa with Santa.

Learn more: (252) 808-2244 or

Historic Murfreesboro Candlelight Christmas Tour • Murfreesville • December 9-10
Tour 14 sites, including two private homes, with musical entertainment, carriage rides, and Christmas dinner along the way.

Learn more: (252) 398-5922 or

Christmas in Halifax • Halifax • December 10
This colonial-inspired Christmas event features guided and self-guided tours of historic buildings, a Christmas parade, and a visit from Santa at the Colonial Tap Room.

Learn more: (252) 583-7191.

Poplar Grove Christmas Arts, Crafts, and Gift Show • Wilmington • December 10-11
Visit Poplar Grove for arts and crafts, food vendors, a bouncy house, a petting zoo, Santa’s workshop, and marshmallow roasting.

Learn more: (910) 686-9518 or

The Oak Ridge Boys • Roanoke Rapids • December 14
See this upbeat quartet known for its four-part harmonies perform at The Roanoke Rapids Theatre.

Learn more: (252) 536-5577 or

A Very Merry Christmas Spectacular • Morehead City • December 16-17
This inaugural Christmas variety show at the Carteret Community Theatre features the talents of local performers.

Learn more: (252) 497-8919 or

Santa by the Sea • Kure Beach • December 17
Visit Santa at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher for holiday crafts, games, prizes, storytelling, and music.

Learn more: (910) 772-0500 or

Greenville Choral Society’s Christmas Concert • Greenville • December 17
The Greenville Choral Society Concert Choir performs under its new director, Dr. James Franklin, at Memorial Baptist Church.

Learn more: (252) 353-5495 or

The Embers Christmas Show • Morehead City • December 20
The Embers perform classic Christmas tunes with a beachy twist at the Carteret Community Theatre.

Learn more: (252) 497-8919 or

New Year’s Countdown • Kure Beach • December 31
Count down to the new year with a giant beach ball drop, fireworks, music, dancing, refreshments, and party favors.

Learn more: (910) 458-5507 or

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