photograph by Baxter Miller

Feature Image: Core Sound Decoy Festival • Harkers Island • December 1-2

Waterfowl of all shapes, colors, and wingspans will emerge during this festival’s 31st year. Decoy collectors and enthusiasts will gather at Harkers Island Elementary School for a weekend focused on preserving the tradition of Core Sound duck carving.

Learn more: (252) 838-8818 or


A Slice of Life: An Evening of Stories • Black Mountain • December 1

Nationally celebrated storyteller Connie Regan-Blake will collaborate with workshop participants in an enchanting evening of storytelling.

Learn more: (828) 669-0930 or

Tweetsie Christmas • Blowing Rock • December 1, 7-8, 14-15, 21-22, 28-29

See thousands of Christmas lights, take a nighttime train ride through the Blue Ridge Mountains as you sing Christmas carols, watch a musical variety show, roast s’mores, and meet Santa in his gingerbread house when Tweetsie Railroad transforms into a winter wonderland.

Learn more: (800) 526-5740 or

Hard Candy Christmas Art and Craft Show • Cullowhee • December 1-2

More than 100 regional artists will sell their handmade creations, including quilts, soap, Old World Santas and ornaments, leather products, jewelry, and more.

Learn more: (828) 524-3405 or

Chefs in the House with Rodney Scott • Highlands • December 1

After attending a charming small-town Christmas parade, join award-winning chef Rodney Scott at The Farm at Old Edwards to learn the secret to making delectable barbecue.

Learn more: (866) 526-8008 or

Sylva Christmas Parade • Sylva • December 2

Holiday cheer abounds on historic Main Street as more than 50 colorful floats loop around town. Tap your foot along with the band and look for Santa.

Learn more: (828) 586-2719 or

Art in the Hall: Uschi Jeffcoat, Watercolor Artist • Morganton • December 3-January 25

Uschi Jeffcoat is a German-American artist who will showcase her paintings in Morganton’s City Hall, which is housed in a renovated textile mill. Her watercolors mix nature and contemporary themes.

Learn more: (828) 438-5362 or

Appalachian Christmas Carol • Weaverville • December 6-8

Not your average Christmas Carol: This retelling of Charles Dickens’s original story features the ghosts of Christmas exploring the life of an enslaved woman named Venus.

Learn more: (828) 645-6706 or

Appalachian Christmas at Lake Junaluska • Lake Junaluska • December 6-9

Nostalgic mountain charm blends with Christmas spirit during this cozy event featuring live music, hearty meals, and a local craft show.

Learn more: (800) 222-4930 or

Holiday Sip and Shop • Asheville • December 7-8

The only thing better than getting your holiday shopping done early is enjoying complimentary wine, warm cider, and cookies while doing it. Buy American-made products from Grovewood Gallery at a 10 percent discount while local artisans perform craft demonstrations.

Learn more: (828) 253-7651 or

Dillsboro Festival of Lights and Luminaries • Dillsboro • December 7-8, 14-15

Explore a winter wonderland glowing with 2,500 luminaries. Downtown Dillsboro will offer horse-and-buggy rides, live music, goodies, carolers, and a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

Learn more: (828) 586-1439 or

Boone Christmas • Boone • December 8

Celebrate the holidays on King Street. Keep your eyes peeled for Santa, Mrs. Claus, and the Christmas elves as you munch on treats, then head up to the Jones House to warm up with hot cider and cookies.

Learn more: (828) 268-6280 or

Enchantment in the Garden • Mount Holly • December 8

The Mount Holly Community Garden glows on this special night — more than 50 plant beds will be covered in lights, luminaries, and displays. While strolling through the garden, check out food trucks, listen to live music, and enjoy complimentary hot chocolate, cider, and cookies.

Learn more: (704) 689-2051 or

Night Before Christmas • Waynesville • December 8

Aglow with hundreds of sidewalk luminaries, this annual holiday tradition is full of carolers, live music, Mr. and Mrs. Claus, wagon rides, a Bethlehem marketplace, and more.

Learn more: (828) 456-3517

It’s a Wonderful Life • Hayesville • December 22

The classic tale gets a twist that’s anything but static. Set in 1945, during a live broadcast at a struggling radio station, a family experiences off-air mishaps in addition to the actual show in this family-friendly performance.

Learn more: (828) 389-2787 or

Jamie Laval’s Celtic Christmas • Asheville, Tryon • December 27-30

Internationally acclaimed violinist and storyteller Jamie Laval and a cast of Celtic performers present an evening of music, dance, song, and stories that hearken back to old Scotland during the winter solstice.

Learn more: (828) 389-2787 or

App Ski’s New Year’s Eve Extravaganza • Blowing Rock • December 31

Put your skis on to celebrate the New Year. This annual celebration features fireworks, torchlight skiing, moonlight ice-skating, and festive restaurant specials.

Learn more: (828) 295-7828 or


Christmas Holiday Shoppe Craft Show • Chapel Hill • December 1

St. Thomas More Catholic School will present its 15th annual craft show, a one-stop shopping event with music, treats, and a raffle, in addition to handcrafted items from 65 talented North Carolina artisans.

Learn more: (919) 929-2241 or

Home for the Holidays • Fayetteville • December 1

Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra will perform a heartwarming program featuring holiday songs sung by renowned jazz vocalist Gabrielle Stravelli.

Learn more: (910) 433-4690 or

Country Christmas Train • Denton • December 1-2, 7-10, 13-16, 19-23, 26-27

This holiday train takes you through beautiful light displays and a Nativity story. There will also be horse-drawn carriage rides.

Learn more: (336) 859-2755 or

Christmas Treasures Sale • Clemmons • December 1

You’ll find gently used ornaments, lights, trees, and other festive decorations at this 11th annual holiday sale.

Learn more: (336) 766-6273 or

Bryant House Christmas Open House • Carthage • December 2

Sip hot cider and step back in time at the 1820s Bryant House and the 1760s McLendon Cabin. With cookies, live music, and a cozy fireplace, you’ll soak up some history and holiday cheer.

Learn more: (910) 692-2051 or

Weymouth Center Christmas House Tour • Southern Pines • December 6-9

“Unwrap the Magic” at this annual fund-raiser, featuring 25 rooms beautifully decked out by local garden clubs and decorators to the theme of holiday songs.

Learn more:

Wendell Wonderland • Wendell • December 7

In downtown Wendell, visit Santa Claus, take a trolley ride, and participate in activities such as a cookie walk. There will also be a light show with more than 400,000 lights and cheery music that is just as bright.

Learn more: (919) 365-4450 or

An Old Salem Christmas Carol • Winston-Salem • December 7-9, 13-16, 20-22

Set in Winston and Salem in 1887, this delightful adaptation of Charles Dickens’s classic tale will feature farms and tobacco-rolling machines alongside ghosts and Scrooge.

Learn more: (336) 725-4001 or

A Candlelight Tour of Mendenhall Homeplace • Jamestown • December 8

Visit two 19th-century homes glowing with candlelight and decked out in holiday splendor. There will be homemade cookies, hot cider, and a gift-filled sleigh in the old barn.

Learn more: (336) 454-3819 or

A Kernersville Yuletide • Kernersville • December 8

Enjoy music at Kernersville Moravian Church and explore Körner’s Folly, then lace up a pair of ice skates for the outdoor rink downtown.

Learn more: (336) 996-7922 or

Welcome to December Concert • Lexington • December 8

Classical music blends with contemporary melodies at the Lexington Choral Society’s holiday concert.

Learn more: (336) 250-0475 or

Community Christmas • High Point • December 13-14

High Point University’s popular Christmas celebration attracts 20,000 people each year. There will be photos with Santa, a life-size Nativity, Polar Express train rides, thousands of lights, and more.

Learn more: (336) 841-4636 or

Magic of Christmas • Charlotte • December 14-23

From falling snow in the theater to sing-alongs and Santa, families have been making the Charlotte Symphony a part of their holiday traditions for more than 20 years.

Learn more: (704) 972-2000 or

The Nutcracker Suite • Cary • December 15

Enjoy Cary Ballet Company’s sweet and swift version of The Nutcracker in addition to a ballet demonstration by its artistic director.

Learn more: (919) 469-4069 or

Running of the Balls • Greensboro • December 15 (Our State will be here!)

This annual nighttime race is illuminated by colorful, orb-shaped Christmas lights hung in the trees throughout the Sunset Hills neighborhood. Proceeds support Second Harvest Food Bank.

Learn more: (336) 510-9390 or

Live Nativity • Laurinburg • December 21

Gather with loved ones to watch a live, narrated Nativity scene and enjoy refreshments.

Learn more: (910) 280-1874 or

Greensboro POPS — The Dukes of Dixieland  • Greensboro • December 31 (Our State will be here!)

Ring in the New Year with The Dukes of Dixieland, a lively jazz band from New Orleans.

Learn more: (336) 335-5456 or


Christmas Tree Lighting Jubilee •  Havelock • December 1

Get crafty with a gingerbread house contest, face painting, and Christmas card decorating. An afternoon filled with Santa and sweet treats concludes with the lighting of the city Christmas tree.

Learn more: (252) 444-6429 or

Hertford Christmas Shoppe Open House Reception • Hertford • December 1

This open house will be stocked with perfect presents and will feature artwork from more than 70 artists: pottery, jewelry, woven items, and more.

Learn more: (252) 426-3041 or

Covenant Moravian/Dewey’s Bakery • Wilmington • December 1-23

Winter is sweet at this pop-up bakery selling all things Moravian. Sales will benefit Covenant Moravian Church and Dewey’s Bakery.

Learn more: (910) 799-9256 or

Christmas by the Sea Parade • Oak Island • December 1

This 2.4-mile parade will showcase local organizations and a float-decorating contest that make this event a favorite with locals and visitors alike.

Learn more: (910) 457-6964 or

Christmas Open House • Windsor • December 2

Travel back in time at the Historic Hope Plantation. There will be live holiday music, refreshments, old-fashioned games, and carriage rides.

Learn more: (252) 794-3140 or

Ladies Afternoon Out Sunday Shopping Spree • Ocean Isle Beach • December 2

Bring your holiday gift list and a new, unwrapped toy to donate to the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Tidings of Joy drive, which benefits children in need.

Learn more: (910) 287-2800 or

A Merry Little Christmas Festival: Arts, Crafts, & Gift Show • Wilmington • December 7-9, 14-16

This outdoor shopping experience will feature local arts and crafts, items for the hearth and home, and unique stocking stuffers. Enjoy kettle corn and shaved ice while browsing the decorated grounds.

Learn more: (910) 686-9518 or

Historic Beaufort Candlelight Homes Tour • Beaufort • December 8

Ride on a double-decker bus with carolers and tour private homes decorated in their holiday best.

Learn more: (252) 728-5225 or

A Queen Street Christmas • Kinston • December 8-9

The 50-voice Queen Street Chancel Choir and 30-piece orchestra will perform in this annual holiday concert.

Learn more: (252) 527-2119 or

Scroogical — Ebenezer’s Musical Rhyme and Reason • Mount Olive • December 8-9

UMO Theatre presents an original take on Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol: Scrooge navigates twists and turns and travels through time on musical notes.

Learn more: (919) 440-6449 or

Backtrack • Oriental • December 14

The power of the human voice will be on full display during this performance from award-winning a cappella group Backtrack. You can expect pop covers and original Christmas compositions.

Learn more: (252) 617-2125 or

Child of Promise • Goldsboro • December 14-16

Experience the Old Testament Christmas story Broadway-style at the Paramount Theatre.

Learn more: (919) 583-8432 or

Combined Choirs Winter Concert • Greenville • December 15

All is merry and bright at the Greenville Choral Society’s winter concert, where you can listen to your holiday favorites sung live.

Learn more: (252) 412-7927 or

115th Anniversary of Powered Flight • Kill Devil Hills • December 17

Celebrate the Wrights’ legacy with music, speakers, and a fly-over by NASA, as well as the induction of Katherine Johnson — also known as one of NASA’s “Hidden Figures” — into the Paul E. Garber First Flight Shrine.

Learn more: (252) 441-1903 or

The Beach Boys: Reason for the Season Christmas Tour • Wilmington • December 18

Enjoy all that a coastal Christmas has to offer at this musical event that celebrates the legacy of the Beach Boys and the spirit of the holidays.

Learn more: (910) 362-7999 or

OWWA Oyster Roast & Shrimp Boil • Ocracoke Island • December 29

Line up to shuck oysters, peel and eat shrimp, and slurp fish stew. Eat your fill, then wash it all down with a cold beer.

Learn more: (252) 928-6711 or

Island of Lights Festival New Year Celebration • Kure Beach • December 31

Dance the night away at this family-friendly event. There will be a DJ, refreshments, and midnight fireworks.

Learn more: (910) 458-5507 or

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