The 20 Best North Georgia Christmas Events for 2023

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. All hosted affiliate links follow our editorial & privacy policies.

[Updated November 16, 2023]
Although Mary and I have been working as a travel writer/photographer team for over a decade now, we always make sure we’re home in time to spend Christmas in Georgia.

Growing up in Atlanta, with extended family who lived far north of the city, I was blessed with so many great Georgia Christmas memories.

From riding the Pink Pig and watching the lighting of the Great Tree at Rich’s (now Macy’s) to cutting our own Christmas trees in the mountains, all of them became beloved traditions for getting my family into the holiday spirit.

As an adult, I loved seeing all the incredible Christmas lights in Georgia, including the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, Callaway Gardens, and Lake Lanier Islands.

But these days I increasingly long to spend Christmas in the Blue Ridge Mountains, with deep blue skies, wide open spaces, and a genuine possibility of snow turning the scenery into a winter wonderland.

To that end, here’s our look at the 20 best North Georgia Christmas events for 2023, including beloved mountain towns such as Blue Ridge, Blairsville, Clayton, Dahlonega, Helen, Hiawassee, and Lookout Mountain.

READ MORE: The 10 Best Christmas Towns in Georgia to Visit

North Georgia Christmas Events Guide

(Arranged alphabetically)

  1. Christmas in Blairsville 
  2. Christmas in Blue Ridge
  3. Christmas in Clayton
  4. Christmas in Dahlonega
  5. Christmas in Dalton
  6. Christmas in Dawsonville
  7. Christmas in Helen
  8. Christmas in Rome
  9. Christmas on Pettit Creek Farms (Cartersville)
  10. Goats On The Roof Christmas (Tiger)
  11. Holiday Happenings (Alpharetta)
  12. Holiday Lights at Cherokee Veterans Park (Canton)
  13. Holiday Lights of Hope at Hobgood Park (Woodstock GA)
  14. Lights of Joy (Kennesaw GA)
  15. Lights of Life (Marietta GA)
  16. Light Up the Holidays at Barnsley Resort (Adairsville)
  17. (Margaritaville) Lake Lanier Christmas Lights (Buford)
  18. Mountain Country Christmas in Lights (Hiawassee)
  19. Rock City Christmas (Lookout Mountain)
  20. World of Illumination (Marietta)
Christmas in Blairsville GA- Christmas on the Square
Christmas in Blairsville on the Square


Official Website

The tiny North Georgia mountain town of Blairsville GA doesn’t get as much attention as its neighbors, Blue Ridge and Helen.

But for those who prefer not to deal with the endless traffic and crowded trails that result from an influx of tourists, therein lies a big part of Blairsville’s charm!

Christmas in Blairsville is just as quaint and charming as you’d expect from a Blue Ridge mountain town of less than 700 people.

From Dec 1 through 31, you can check out the Tour of Trees at the Union County Community Center, where 40+ beautifully decorated trees and wreaths will be displayed.

On Dec 2nd the Holiday on the Square event takes place which includes pictures with Santa at the Historic Courthouse from 2 pm to 5 pm, a festive parade starting at 6 pm, and the annual tree lighting following the parade.

Afterward, make sure to grab a bite to eat at one of Blairsville’s restaurants.

Other fun holiday events happening in Blairsville on Saturday, Dec 2, include the Holly Jolly Christmas- Breakfast with Santa (including photo ops) and a tiny train and the Union County Farmers Market’s ‘Kris Kringle Market’.

READ MORE: The 20 Best Places to Celebrate Christmas in Georgia

Blue Ridge Scenic Railway in Holiday Lights , part of Christmas in Blue Ridge GA
Blue Ridge Scenic Railway in Holiday Lights, photo courtesy Explore Georgia


Official Website

The signature Blue Ridge Christmas event, Light Up Blue Ridge, begins on “Blue Friday” (aka the day after Thanksgiving), with bargains for holiday shoppers, great food from local restaurants, and wandering carolers.

The Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association’s Holiday Art Show and Sale shows up on November 18 and runs through December 16. It is a perfect spot to finish your Holiday shopping, or just to enjoy an afternoon. 

The annual Gingerbread Village at the Arts Center also opens on Blue Friday and remains open through December 11th featuring 65+ creatively decorated gingerbread houses for you to admire.

The following day, there is live entertainment, a window decorating contest, and a Christmas Parade at 5:30 pm.  

Santa will also be at the gazebo for photos or you can drop off your Christmas list for him at Santa’s mailbox and receive a hand-written reply days later. 

After that, you can ride the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway’s Holiday Express, which runs Nov 24-Dec 24. 

READ MORE: The Best Things to Do in Blue Ridge, GA

Santa at Rabun County Chamber of Commerce & City of Clayton Christmas Parade
Rabun County/City of Clayton Christmas Parade


Official Website

Located in northeast Georgia, Rabun County is best known for outdoor attractions, including 3 state parks and popular waterfalls such as Hemlock Falls and Minnehaha Falls.

But they also offer an array of great Christmas events in Clayton GA the whole family can enjoy.

Starting off the holiday festivities is the Holiday Arts and Crafts Extravaganza, which will be held at the Rabun County Civic Center from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on November 24th and 25th.

The shopping extravaganza features one-of-a-kind, locally-produced gifts such as Christmas arts and crafts, delicious baked goods, jams and preserves, honey, and more. 

Benefiting a local charity, the event will also feature a silent auction of fully decorated trees from the Annual Festival of Trees. 

Lastly, at 6 p.m. on December 2nd, there’s the annual Rabun County Christmas Parade, which features festive floats and even Santa himself! 

READ MORE: North Georgia Christmas Tree Farms: Cut Your Own Christmas Tree

Old Fashioned Christmas in Downtown Dahlonega GA
Lighting of the Square in Dahlonega GA by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett


Official Website

Located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Dahlonega GA is best known for its 1828 gold rush, its wealth of wineries, restaurants, and a music scene (including the Bear on the Square Festival) that birthed the careers of Indigo Girl Amy Ray and country star Zac Brown.

The main Dahlonega GA Christmas event, Dahlonega’s Old-Fashioned Christmas, is a quaint, decidedly retro affair that makes the holidays a great time to visit the tiny town.

It begins in Downtown Dahlonega on November 24th with the annual tree lighting, with the historic town square (centered around a courthouse built in 1836) festooned in festive lights and decorations.

There are Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides around the public square to take it all in, and Santa will be available for family photos Nov 24-Dec 17 on Fridays from 3-6 p.m., Saturdays from 12-6 p.m., and Sundays from 1-5 p.m.

There will also be a Christmas Parade at 11 a.m. on Dec 9th, with floats, marching bands, costumed characters, civic organizations, and more.

Best of all, the Dahlonega GA Christmas celebration will last until December 31st, so you can ring in 2024 on a fabulously festive note!

READ MORE: The 15 Best Cabin Rentals in Dahlonega GA

North Georgia Christmas Events - Dalton GA Christmas Parade
Dalton Christmas Parade via


Official Website

Located in northwest Georgia less than 30 miles south of Chattanooga, the city of Dalton is best known as the carpet capital of Georgia.

But this bustling city of 33,000+ people has a lot of other things going for it, including a small but diverse assortment of Christmas events.

Downtown Dalton will host its annual Christmas Tree Lighting celebration on Nov 24, and the Spirit of Christmas Parade on Dec 14.

The Creative Arts Guild will be hosting their Mistletoe Festival on December 2, where you can find local artists selling handmade goods such as jewelry and decor. Perfect for doing some Christmas shopping!

But the town’s most unique Xmas event is the Christmas Shindig at Tunnel Hill. Billed as “North Georgia’s most exciting Christmas variety show,” it will feature local singers, dancers, comedians, and more showcasing their talents with festive holiday flair.

READ MORE: The Best Christmas Lights in Atlanta and North Georgia

Santa & Mrs Clause arrive for Christmas in Dawsonville GA
Santa & Mrs. Clause arrive for Christmas in Dawsonville


Official Website

Located 15 miles southwest of Dahlonega GA in the foothills of the North GA mountains, Dawsonville is best known for Amicalola Falls, the Appalachian Trail‘s southern terminus, and the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame.

But Christmas in downtown Dawsonville GA is nothing to shake a stick at either, with loads of different options sure to appeal to every member of the family.

The holiday festivities begin on Saturday, Nov 18, with the 10th annual Jingle Market offering a chance to shop for Xmas gifts from local vendors and dine from a variety of food trucks.

Kids can pose for pictures with Santa in race cars at the Racing Museum, roast marshmallows to make S’mores over a bonfire, and check out the Dawsonville Christmas Parade starting at 4 p.m.

The eventful day ends with the Lighting of the Tree at dusk, which signals the official beginning of the Dawsonville Christmas season.

READ MORE: 15 Festive Ways to Celebrate an Asheville NC Christmas

Christmas in Helen GA
Christmas in Helen GA by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett


Official Website

For a unique Georgia Christmas with a heaping dose of Bavarian flair, head to the alpine town of Helen GA in December!

Christmas in Helen GA is always a hoot, with most of the local attractions decking their halls (and windows) with holiday spirit.

The joyous festivities kick off with the Lighting of the Village on November 24 from 5 pm to 7 pm. In addition to unveiling the beautiful downtown Helen Christmas lights, the event will feature the arrival of Santa & Mrs. Claus to Riverside Park, musical performances, and other merriment.

The Christkindl Traditional German Market will be open on Nov 25-26 and Dec 3-4 where you can shop for unique Christmas gifts and decorations as well as a variety of sweet treats. 

The annual Helen Christmas Parade will take place on Dec 9 at 2 p.m., with costumed characters, festive floats, and, of course, Santa Claus himself spreading holiday cheer through the streets of downtown Helen.

READ MORE: 15 Fun, Festive Ways to Celebrate Christmas in Helen GA

GA Christmas Events - Rome Christmas Parade
Rome GA Christmas Parade


Official Website

Located west of Cartersville in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Rome is a mid-sized town of 36,000+ people situated at the confluence of three rivers.

The annual Rome Christmas Parade will take place this year on November 28 and will be on Broad Street at 1st Avenue and end at 6th Avenue in front of the City Hall.

The event will start at 6:30 p.m. and feature a winter wonderland filled with festive music, floats, and fun holiday inflatables.

Another event being held for Christmas in Rome is the Winter Art Market at the Rome Civic Center on December 2 and 3.

READ MORE: The 25 Best Western NC Christmas Tree Farms Near Asheville, Boone & Beyond

Santa and Reindeer at Pettit Creek Farms in Cartersville GA
Santa & His Reindeer at Pettit Creek Farms


337 Cassville Road, Cartersville GA

Official Website

Encompassing 80 acres in Cartersville GA, Pettit Creek Farms has been in the Allen family since 1945, when Raymond & Fannie Mae Allen relocated to the current location after Lake Allatoona was expanded.

Today the working farm is run by their grandchildren, with the great-grandchildren being groomed to take over.

So it’s no surprise that Christmas at Pettit Creek is a family affair, with old-fashioned hayrides, a petting zoo with live Reindeer, and more.

The celebration runs from Nov 23 until Dec 30, and good old Santa Claus drops in for photos Thursday through Sunday of every week.

You may want to bring some extra cash, as they have hot apple cider, cocoa, and S’mores kits for roasting by the campfire. They also have real Christmas trees for sale!

READ MORE: The 10 Best Christmas Tree Farms in Virginia

Santa at Goats On The Roof Christmas
Santa at Goats On The Roof


3026 Highway 441 S, Tiger GA

Official Website

If truly bizarre Georgia Christmas events are more your speed, make plans to visit Goats On The Roof, a roadside attraction on Hwy 441 S in the tiny town of Tiger, GA.

If you’ve never been there, it’s a crazy place. There are actual Goats on the roofs of multiple buildings, all connected by a sky bridge (the only thing missing is a troll!).

The Goats (who tend to prefer shade in the heat of summer) can also come down to ground level to be fed and petted by visitors, with goat chow available for purchase.

If that’s not enough interaction for you, then check out Goats On The Roof Christmas. Santa will be there from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. TBD, posing for photos with you! 

Unfortunately, Santa will not have his baby goat this year. All photos are self-take and free.

READ MORE: 50 Fascinating Facts About the History of Santa Claus

Seaon of Celebration in Alpharetta
Photo courtesy of the Alpharetta Convention & Visitors Bureau


Official Website

The city of Alpharetta is packed with a variety of events during the holiday season that are perfect for enjoying with friends and family members of all ages.

Kicking off the holiday fun, there will be 3 tree lightings, starting on Nov 17. On Nov 19 the Lighting of the Avalon will also include special holiday performances and entertainment, fun activities, the official opening of the ice-skating rink, and even a magical visit from Santa.

Alpharetta’s first Holiday Hop and Shop event on Dec 2 will include four holiday art markets which will be set up across town. They will have a shuttle running between the markets for ease of transit. The shuttles will also stop at the Alpharetta Welcome Center which will be hosting a free photo with Santa event on the 2nd from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

READ MORE: The 20 Best Places to Celebrate Christmas in Atlanta

Holiday Lights at Veterans Park in Canton GA
Holiday Lights at Veterans Park


7345 Cumming Highway, Canton GA 

Official Website

If you like Christmas in Georgia, Americana, and military veterans, you’ll LOVE this unabashedly patriotic holiday celebration at Cherokee Veterans Park in Canton GA.

The park is home to a monument that’s dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of all the military veterans who have served our country.

Starting in late November each year, this all-American attraction offers an almost 2-mile drive featuring over 2 million twinkling Christmas lights. They include animated displays, a drive-thru tunnel, and a 1/4-mile devoted to the various branches of the US military.

Tickets are $20 per car, and a portion of the proceeds are donated to various non-profits, including CRPA Play it Forward, Papa’s Pantry, and Veterans of Cherokee County.

Holiday Lights will be available from Nov 18th until Dec 31st, and it will be open daily no matter the weather.

READ MORE: The 30 Best Hiking Trails in North Georgia Bucket List

Lights of Hope at Hobgood Park in Woodstock GA
Lights of Hope at Hobgood Park in Woodstock GA by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett


6688 Bells Ferry Road, Woodstock GA

Official Website

Holiday Lights of Hope is a giant walk-through Christmas light attraction in Hobgood Park in Woodstock. Now in its 12th year, the attraction features over two million dazzling lights, including both traditional and animated displays!

There will be photo opportunities with Santa and a mile-long Christmas maze!

If you want to get some Christmas shopping done, you can meander through Santa Village and enjoy holiday tunes from Christmas carolers.

Tickets for the event are only $10, with children 12 and under getting in free, and the money will benefit the Anna Crawford Children’s Center. (The event is closed on December 24th-25th)

READ MORE:  The 20 Best Christmas Lights in Atlanta and North Georgia

Lights of Joy in Kennesaw Georgia Holiday Lights
Lights of Joy in Kennesaw GA via

14. LIGHTS OF JOY (Kennesaw)

1510 Ben King Road NW, Kennesaw GA

Official Website

Lights of Joy is known as the biggest residential Christmas light display in Georgia, featuring over 230 Christmas trees that are filled with lights. 

Beginning Nov 26, several Christmastime figures will decorate the area and the lights can even be synchronized with 102.1 FM alongside nine different musical trees. This gives visitors an amazing dancing light display!

Due to this being a walk-through Christmas light display, there is parking available at the Futures Church across the street.

It is a free holiday event with a possible minimal fee for parking. Guests are asked to leave their pets at home.

READ MORE: The 10 Most Festive Christmas Towns in Virginia to Visit

Gingerbread House at Lights of Life in Marietta GA Christmas Lights
Gingerbread House at Lights of Life in Marietta GA by Bret Love & Mary Gabett

15. LIGHTS OF LIFE (Marietta)

1269 Barclay Circle, Marietta GA 

Official Website

Lights of Life at Life University is one of the oldest holiday events in Atlanta, drawing in huge crowds each year. 

Located on Marietta’s college campus, this 1.5-mile drive features a million LED lights and a 65-foot-tall Santa and sleigh display that’s the tallest in all of the Southeast!

They change up the light display each year so visitors will see something new no matter how many times they see it. This year’s light display will run from Nov 23 to Dec 31.

Buses are $20 and all trucks and cars are only $10. They also have a petting zoo, concession stand, Christmas train rides, and a chance to get photos with Santa!

READ MORE: The 20 Best Places to Celebrate Christmas in North Carolina

Light Up the Holidays at Barnsley Resort in Adairsville GA
Light Up the Holidays at Barnsley Resort


597 Barnsley Gardens Road, Adairsville GA

Official Website

Located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Adairsville, GA, Barnsley Gardens is famous for its historic Manor House ruins, which date back to the pre-Civil War era.

Now a posh mountain resort, Barnsley annually decks its gorgeous English-style garden and ruins with a dazzling array of colorful holiday lights.

Decorating Christmas cookies, making gingerbread houses and wreaths, and telling stories around the campfire are just a few of the holiday-themed events offered at Barnsley Resort throughout the holiday season. 

There will also be exciting visits with Santa, and opportunities to take photographs with the jolly big man on November 25. 

All this holiday fun starts on Nov 22nd.

Check rates for the Barnsley Resort via

READ MORE: The 12 Best Places to See Christmas Lights in North Carolina

Places to see Santa in GA- Margaritaville at Lake Lanier
Santa at Margaritaville at Lanier Islands via Facebook


7000 Lanier Islands Parkway, Buford GA

Official Website

Back in December 2008, Mary and I fell in love and kissed for the first time at Lake Lanier Islands’ Magical Nights of Lights. We’ve been back almost every year since then to celebrate Christmas at our special place, creating lots of great family memories.

So it was with great sadness that we learned our beloved drive-through Christmas light display had officially been retired after nearly 30 years.

Fortunately, it was replaced with a new light display. Now called the Lakeside Lights Spectacular, the attraction is a walk-through light show set to holiday music, with hot cocoa and cocktails available for purchase along the way.

These Christmas lights and displays range from traditional holiday scenes to Margaritaville-themed arrangements and will run nightly from Nov 22 to Jan 15. There will even be carnival rides and holiday games!

Lanier Islands will also offer holiday-themed accommodations at the Legacy Lodge, including a Breakfast & Santa Package, Virtual Elf Tuck-In Package, Elf PJ Story Time Package, and Complete Holiday Adventure Package. Check rates for the Legacy Lodge at

READ MORE: The 20+ Best Western NC Christmas Events in Asheville, Bryson City & Beyond!

North Georgia Mountain Country Christmas in Lights
Mountain Country Christmas in Lights via


1311 Music Hall Road, Hiawassee GA

Official Website

Located on the shores of Lake Chatuge in Hiawassee, the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds are best known for hosting the Georgia Mountain Fair and Georgia State Fiddlers Convention.

But on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights from Nov 23 – Dec 23 (closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day), the venue is also home to the Mountain Country Christmas In Lights.

This Southern-fried annual attraction combines a spectacular holiday light show with Christmas music (often provided by local church groups), country-style food, and of course pics with ol’ St. Nick.

They expand their arts and crafts booths for better shopping opportunities during this time as well.

Returning this year is “Cow Town,” which offers attendees a chance to milk a cow or help make butter, ice cream, and soap the old-fashioned way, using traditional methods and tools.

Best of all, admission is just $8 dollars for adults, while kids ages 12 and under are free!

READ MORE: The 15 Best Christmas Towns in North Carolina

Rock City Enchanted Garden of Lights Gingerbread House
Gingerbread House at Rock City Enchanted Garden of Lights via

19. ROCK CITY CHRISTMAS (Lookout Mountain)

1400 Patten Road, Lookout Mountain GA

Official Website

Now in its 29th year, the Enchanted Garden of Lights at Rock City is an award-winning celebration of the season straddling the Georgia-Tennessee border.

Named one of the Top 20 Events in the region by the Southeast Tourism Society, this annual attraction is arguably one of the best places to spend Christmas in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Open from Nov 17th through Jan 6 (closed Dec 24), their Christmas light display features 7 enchanted realms and a million LED lights, turning the rocky surroundings into a beautiful winter wonderland.

There’s no shortage of dazzling scenery when it comes to walking through the Grand Corridor in Yule Town or exploring the beauty of the Magic Forest.

Visitors can also enjoy a variety of seasonally appropriate activities, like decorating gingerbread cookies with Mrs. Claus, eating holiday-themed fudge, and watching Santa while he is in his North Pole Workshop.

Souvenir photos of Santa are available at an additional cost.

NOTE: Guests must reserve an entry time in advance online. Tickets cannot be purchased upon arrival at Rock City. 

READ MORE: The 15 Best Places to See Christmas Lights in Virginia

Tunnel of Lights at World of Illumination in Marietta GA
Tunnel of Lights at World of Illumination by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett


250 Cobb Pkwy N, Marietta GA 

Official Website

Coming back for another year of extravagant Christmas lights on November 15, World of Illumination is the producer of the largest drive-thru light show in the world. 

This year’s theme of Enchanted Safari will be filled with hundreds of animated animal displays and millions of colorful lights. 

There will also be a 500-foot-long tunnel of tentacles, sharks, and jellyfish, outfitted with LED lights!

The entire display takes 25-30 minutes to drive through and runs from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. each night. Tickets start at $40 per car, making it a great option for your next holiday outing. 

–by Bret Love; additional reporting by Christina Maggitas & Samantha Dickens. 

Leave No Trace logo

We encourage anyone who loves the Blue Ridge region to learn about the Leave No Trace principles of responsible environmental stewardship. 

Stay on marked trails, take only pictures, pack out your trash, and be considerate of others who share the trails and parks you explore. 

Remember that waterfalls and rocky summits can be dangerous. Never try to climb waterfalls or get close to a ledge to get a selfie.

When you're exploring the wilderness, it's better to be safe than to be a statistic!

The BRMTG was created by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett, the award-winning team behind the world-renowned responsible travel website Green Global Travel. Born and raised in North Georgia, Editor-In-Chief Bret Love grew up hiking and camping in the Blue Ridge Mountains with his family. A professional writer/editor since 1995, he's covered travel and culture for 100+ publications, including American Way, Destination Marriott, Georgia Travel Guide, National Geographic, and Southbound. In 2010 he co-founded the award-winning website, Green Global Travel, which is ranked among the world's top travel blogs. Since launching BRMTG in 2020, he and Mary Gabbett have visited 50+ Blue Ridge Mountain towns together. Though she lived in NYC for 14 years, photographer/Business Manager Mary Gabbett's family has Georgia roots dating back 200+ years. Her great-grandfather was President of the Western Railroad of Alabama. Before moving to Atlanta in 1989, she fell in love with the North GA mountains, where her aunt owned a cabin. In 2010 she co-founded Green Global Travel, and has since traveled to more than 40 countries on six continents. Her photos have appeared in numerous travel publications (including National Geographic and Southbound) and various textbooks.

Comments are closed.