While there truly is no place like home for the holidays, there’s also plenty of time between Thanksgiving and December 24 to celebrate the season in one of the many festive Christmas towns in Georgia.
The palpable holiday cheer mixed with the down-home Southern charm these towns in Georgia are known for is sure to have you feeling holly jolly in no time.
Whether you’re visiting one of the North Georgia Christmas Tree Farms to cut your own tree, taking a road trip to the region’s best Christmas light displays, or simply looking for new places to celebrate the season, these mountain towns offer special memories for everyone to enjoy.
Read on for our guide to the 10 Best Christmas Towns in Georgia, including info about what makes each place so endearing and the holiday events you can look forward to when you visit!
Best Christmas Towns in Georgia Guide
- Helen GA
- Dahlonega GA
- Blue Ridge GA
- Ellijay GA
- Hiawassee GA
- Blairsville GA
- Cleveland GA
- Dawsonville GA
- Dalton GA
- Clayton GA
1. Helen GA Christmas
If you’re looking for a truly one-of-a-kind Christmas experience, a trip to Alpine Helen GA is simply a must.
But in December, when the town is draped in twinkling lights and glowing with holiday cheer, it becomes an especially whimsical winter wonderland.
Celebrations kick off with the annual Lighting of the Village ceremony the day after Thanksgiving. This is where the downtown Helen Christmas lights are unveiled, and Santa and Mrs. Claus make their debut in Riverside Park.
The Christkindl Traditional German Market also opens that weekend, and the annual Helen Christmas Parade takes over the streets of downtown in early December, offering a jubilant display of costumed characters and festive floats led by Jolly Old St. Nick himself!
2. Dahlonega GA Christmas
Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the town of Dahlonega GA offers exceptional views and lots of things to do, including several great wineries, a network of hiking trails, a vibrant music scene, delicious restaurants, and the historic town square.
The town is best known as the site of Georgia’s 1828 gold rush. But it’s also one of the best small towns in Georgia to visit for Christmas, largely due to the month-long “Dahlonega’s Old Fashioned Christmas” event.
The weekends are filled with holiday activities, including carolers in the square, seasonal shopping, live street performances, and horse-drawn carriage rides that commence after the annual lighting of the tree.
There’s also an annual Christmas Parade filled with floats, characters, marching bands, and more, guaranteeing to give you that special hometown holiday feeling.
The Christmas celebrations spill over into January, so it’s also a great town to visit to ring in the new year!
3. Blue Ridge GA Christmas
Founded in 1886 with the arrival of the Marietta & North Georgia Railroad, Blue Ridge GA has grown to be one of Georgia’s most beloved mountain destinations.
Today, the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway’s Holiday Express takes visitors on a magical one-hour journey, during which you can listen to holiday music and a reading of “The Night Before Christmas” while enjoying breathtaking mountain scenery and sipping delicious hot cocoa.
Blue Ridge offers a number of other festivities during the holidays, starting with their signature event, Light Up Blue Ridge, which begins on “Blue Friday” (the day after Thanksgiving).
Along with enjoying the many great Blue Ridge restaurants, carolers, and holiday bargains, you can also head to the Gingerbread Village at the Arts Center to view intricately decorated gingerbread houses.
If you spend the night at one of the many Blue Ridge GA cabin rentals, you can enjoy more merriment the next day. It includes live entertainment, a window decorating contest, photos with Santa, and a Christmas Parade.
While other local holiday events vary from year to year, Christmas in Blue Ridge GA never disappoints!
READ MORE: The 20 Best Things to Do in Blue Ridge, GA
4. Ellijay GA Christmas
Recognized as the “Apple Capital of Georgia,” the mountain town of Ellijay is famous for its apple orchards and annual festivals, including the Georgia Apple Festival, Taste of Ellijay, and the Georgia Apple Blossom Festival.
Quaint downtown Ellijay’s antique shops, North Georgia Wineries, and restaurants are all adorned in twinkling Christmas lights that accent the festively decorated windows, which can be admired as you stroll through town.
This peaceful small-town feeling is juxtaposed by the adventure-filled hiking trails in the Chattahoochee National Forest nearby, which are particularly beautiful if you catch them after a light snow.
5. Hiawassee GA Christmas
Located right on the North Carolina border, Hiawassee GA is filled with breathtakingly beautiful scenery that manages to become even more magical around the holidays.
Hiawassee is home to over 100 miles of Lake Chatuge shoreline and the surrounding mountain vistas, as well as popular tourist hotpspots like High Shoals Falls, Brasstown Bald, and Hamilton Gardens.
While these attractions alone are worth taking a road trip for, the star of the show during Christmas in Hiawassee is the annual Mountain Country Christmas in Lights event.
Drawing thousands of visitors to the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds each year, the attraction combines a spectacular Christmas light display, Appalachian crafts, mouthwatering festival food, and live music.
Santa Claus himself also joins in on the celebration to pose for photos with kids and families.
6. Blairsville GA Christmas
At just over one square mile in size, with a population of less than 700 people, Blairsville GA’s charm lies in its authentic small-town feeling. But it seems just a little sweeter when mixed with some holiday cheer.
Starting off the festivities in early December, the Holiday On The Square event takes place in downtown Blairsville and features pictures with Santa, a parade, and the town’s annual tree lighting.
Throughout the month you can meander through 40+ beautifully decorated Christmas trees at the Union County Community Center, and enjoy events like the Blairsville Holiday Stop & Shop and Breakfast with Santa.
Just outside of town (10 miles south, to be exact) is the beloved Vogel State Park which hosts their annual tree lighting event each year as well.
7. Cleveland GA Christmas
While often overlooked because it’s so close to the ever-popular Alpine Helen, Cleveland GA’s Christmas celebrations rank with some of the best in the state, drawing in crowds with infectious yuletide spirit.
The season kicks off with the Christmas In The Mountains Celebration & Lighted Parade, which is one of the biggest holiday events in White County.
There’s also a Holiday Market on the Cleveland Courthouse Square, the Merry Merchants Open House, and a Community Christmas tree lighting in Freedom Park. The night comes to a euphoric close with the annual Christmas parade in downtown Cleveland.
The North Georgia Wildlife & Safari Park in Cleveland also hosts its own holiday celebration, which is filled with delightful Christmas music, hot cocoa, and a live Nativity featuring the park’s animals.
Special Starry Night Tours are also available, allowing you to take a walk through the zoo under the stars and enjoy the season alongside family, friends, and some incredible animals!
READ MORE: The 15 Best Waterfalls Near Helen GA
8. Dawsonville GA Christmas
Whether you’re tasting 150-year-old recipes at the Moonshine Distillery, hiking to Amicalola Falls State Park’s 729-foot waterfall, or making a pit stop at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame, Dawsonville GA has a lot to offer.
But enjoying a good old fashioned small-town Christmas in the winter is our favorite. The festivities start in early December with the Jingle Market, where you can buy gifts from local vendors and enjoy local food trucks.
Before the annual Dawsonville Christmas Parade later in the evening, kids can pose for pictures with Santa in race cars at the Racing Museum, or roast marshmallows over a bonfire.
Closing out the eventful night is the annual Lighting of the Tree at dusk, which marks the official beginning of Christmas in Dawsonville.
9. Dalton GA Christmas
Located in the northwest corner of Georgia, between Atlanta and Chattanooga, the city of Dalton offers a splendid mixture of traditional and modern flair.
With a population of 33,000+, Dalton offers an abundance of activities year-round. They include outdoor adventures at the Johns Mountain WMA and along the Conasauga River, exploring the arts and culture scene, and enjoying a meal at one of the town’s many critically acclaimed restaurants.
But Christmas in Dalton is noteworthy as well. The town’s festive events start with a Holiday Open House, wherein shops downtown offer extended hours and special sales.
There are also pictures with Santa, carriage rides, and special live performances on the weekend.
Downtown Dalton is where you can see the annual Christmas Tree Lighting celebration and, soon after that, the Spirit of Christmas Parade.
However, Dalton’s most special holiday event is the Christmas Shindig at Tunnel Hill, an annual variety show that features local dancers, singers, comedians, and more.
READ MORE: 101+ Things to Do in North Georgia
10. Clayton GA Christmas
If you’re a nature lover, Clayton GA (the largest town in Rabun County) is the place to be.
Clayton is home to 4 state parks, 4 lakes, several of the tallest North Georgia mountains, and 17 of the most beautiful North Georgia waterfalls (including Panther Falls, Angel Falls and Minnehaha Falls).
Outdoor attractions may be the town’s biggest claim to fame, but Christmas in Clayton GA is quite a show. There are plenty of Christmas lights sprinkled throughout the town, plus an array of events the whole family can enjoy.
It starts with the Holiday Arts & Crafts Shopping Extravaganza at the Rabun County Civic Center, where you can shop for one-of-a-kind locally made gifts, delicious baked goodies, and more.
There’s also a silent auction of decorated trees from the Annual Festival of Trees, which benefits a local charity.
And you won’t want to miss the annual Clayton Christmas Parade, which features festively decorated floats and an appearance by Jolly Ol’ St. Nick himself! –by Christina Maggitas; lead photo by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett