The Best North Georgia Christmas Events for 2021

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

[Updated December 1, 2021]
 
Although my wife 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 best North Georgia Christmas events for 2021, 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

  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 Lights at Cherokee Veterans Park (Canton)
  12. Lake Lanier Christmas Lights (Buford)
  13. Light Up the Holidays at Barnsley Resort (Adairsville)
  14. Mountain Country Christmas in Lights (Hiawassee)
  15. Rock City Christmas (Lookout Mountain)
  16. Holiday Happenings (Alpharetta)
 
Christmas in Blairsville GA- Christmas on the Square
Christmas in Blairsville on the Square

CHRISTMAS IN BLAIRSVILLE GA

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 4th the Holiday on the Square event takes place which includes pictures with Santa at the Historic Courthouse from 4pm to 6pm, a festive parade starting at 6pm, and the annual tree lighting following the parade.

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

Other fun holiday events in Blairsville include the Blairsville Holiday Stop & Shop at the Union County Civic Center on Dec 3-4, the Holly Jolly Christmas- Breakfast with Santa (including photo opps) at the Union County Community Center on Dec 4, and the annual Vogel State Park Tree Lighting on Dec 11.

READ MORE: The 15 Best Things to Do in Blairsville GA & Union County

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

CHRISTMAS IN BLUE RIDGE GA

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 Gingerbread Village at the Arts Center also opens on Blue Friday and remains open through December 12th featuring 90+ 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 26-Dec 23. 

While the beloved Holidays at INOLA Blue Ridge won’t be happening this year, other events in Blue Ridge include the TubaChristmas downtown and the Christmas in North Georgia musical performance at the Epworth Community Club.

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

CHRISTMAS IN CLAYTON GA

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 the whole family can enjoy. First up is the Holiday Arts and Crafts Shopping Extravaganza, held at the Rabun County Civic Center from 9am to 4pm on Friday, Nov 26 and from 10am to 3pm on Saturday, Nov 27.

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 5pm on Dec 4, there’s the annual Clayton Christmas Parade. Hosted by the Clayton Rotary Club and the Town of Clayton, the parade will feature festive floats as well as an appearance by Santa himself! 

READ MORE: The Best Things to Do in Clayton GA

Santa & Belles at Christmas in Dahlonega Celebrations
Santa & Belles in Dahlonega GA

CHRISTMAS IN DAHLONEGA, GA

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 Nov 26 with the annual lighting of the tree, with the historic square (centered around a courthouse built in 1836) festooned in festive lights and decorations.

There are Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides ($10 for adults, $5 for children) around the public square to take it all in, and Santa will be available for family photos Nov 26-Dec 19 on Fridays from 5-7pm, Saturdays from 12-6pm and 4-7pm, and Sundays from 1-5pm.

There will also be a Christmas Parade at 3:30pm on Dec 11, with floats, marching bands, costumed characters, civic organizations, and more. Best of all, the Dahlonega GA Christmas celebration lasts until January 9, so you can ring in 2022 on a fabulously festive note!

READ MORE: The 15 Best Cabin Rentals in Dahlonega GA

christmas at the tunnel hill shindig in dalton GA
Christmas at the Tunnel Hill Shindig

CHRISTMAS IN DALTON, GA

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.

The seasonal events start with a Holiday Open House from Nov 4 to Dec 7. Shops in downtown Dalton will offer extended hours, special sales, and warm holiday greetings. There will also be pictures with Santa, horse & carriage rides, and special weekend performances. 

Downtown Dalton will also host its annual Christmas Tree Lighting celebration on Nov 26, and the Spirit of Christmas Parade on Dec 2.

But the town’s most unique Xmas event is the Christmas Shindig at Tunnel Hill (dates TBD). 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

CHRISTMAS IN DAWSONVILLE, GA

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, Dec 4, with the 9th 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 4pm.

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

READ MORE: The Top 15 North Georgia Waterfalls (& How to Get to Them)

CHRISTMAS IN HELEN, GA

For a unique Georgia Christmas with a heaping dose of Bavarian flair, head to the alpine town of Helen 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 26 from 5pm to 7pm. 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 27-28 and Dec 4-5 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 11 at 2 pm, with costumed characters, festive floats, and, of course, Santa Claus himself spreading holiday cheer through the streets of downtown Helen.

READ MORE: The 25 Best Things to Do in Helen GA

Christmas Parade in Rome GA
Christmas Parade in Rome GA

CHRISTMAS IN ROME, GA

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

The Rome Christmas Parade will be taking place this year on Nov 30 and will begin on Broad Street at 1st Avenue and end at 6th Avenue in front of City Hall.

With its theme of ”It’s Beginning to look a lot like Christmas,” the event will start at 6:30pm and feature a winter wonderland filled with festive music, floats, and fun holiday inflatables.

Other events being held for Christmas in Rome include a Holiday Open House on Nov 13, and the Roam for the Holidays holiday shopping extravaganza on Dec 2, 9, 16, and 23.

READ MORE: 30 Fascinating Blue Ridge Mountains Facts

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

CHRISTMAS AT PETTIT CREEK FARMS (Cartersville)

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.

There will be a live Nativity, and good old Santa Claus drops in for photos every Thursday through Sunday.

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

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

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

GOATS ON THE ROOF CHRISTMAS (Tiger)

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 11am to 3pm every Saturday from Nov 27 to Dec 11, posing for photos with you!

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

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

HOLIDAY LIGHTS AT CHEROKEE VETERANS PARK (Canton)

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 a 2-mile drive featuring over a million twinkling Christmas lights. They include animated displays, two drive-thru tunnels, 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.

The attraction will be available from Nov 23 until Dec 31, and will open at 6pm daily, rain or shine.

READ MORE: The 10 Best North Georgia State Parks to Explore

Seasons Greetings Christmas Lights at Lake Lanier Islands, GA
Lake Lanier Christmas Lights, photo by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett

LAKESIDE LIGHTS SPECTACULAR

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 the holidays at our special place, creating lots of great family memories.

So it was with great sadness when 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.

There will also be carnival rides, holiday games, and visits with Santa. The attraction runs nightly from Nov 12 through Feb 27.

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 Booking.com.

READ MORE: The 20 Best Christmas Light Displays in Georgia

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

LIGHT UP THE HOLIDAYS AT BARNSLEY RESORT (Adairsville)

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 luxury 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. The holiday fun lasts from Nov 28 to Jan 2. Check rates for the Barnsley Resort via Booking.com.

READ MORE: The Tragic Love Story Behind the Barnsley Gardens Resort Ruins

Mountain Country Christmas in Lights in Hiawassee GA
Mountain Country Christmas

MOUNTAIN COUNTRY CHRISTMAS IN LIGHTS (Hiawassee)

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 25 to 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), Appalachian arts and crafts, country-style food, and of course pics with ol’ St. Nick.

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 $6 dollars for adults, while kids ages 12 and under are free!

READ MORE: The Appalachian Culture of the Blue Ridge Mountains

Rock City Christmas Enchanted Garden of Lights
Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights

ROCK CITY CHRISTMAS (Lookout Mountain)

Now in its 27th 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 19 through Jan 2 (closed Dec 24), their colorful Christmas light display features 30+ holiday scenes (including the Arctic Kingdom and Magic Forest) and nearly a million LED lights, turning the rocky surroundings into a winter wonderland.

Visitors can also enjoy a variety of seasonally appropriate activities, from decorating gingerbread cookies (to-go kits available) and drinking hot cocoa, to eating Reindeer (Kettle) Corn and seeing Santa in his North Pole Workshop. Souvenir photos of Santa are available at additional cost.

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

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

HOLIDAY HAPPENINGS (Alpharetta)

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 on Nov 21 with the Lighting of the Avalon, there will be special holiday performances and entertainment, fun activities, the official opening of the ice skating rink, and even a magical visit from Santa.

Alpharetta will also be hosting the Season of Celebration event, which takes place the first three Fridays in December, starting with the annual tree lighting downtown on Dec 3. Each week the activities will vary from things like falling snow and carolers to photo opportunities with life-sized Nutcrackers and Santa. 

There will also be the Arts Alpharetta Artists Holiday Market at the Alpharetta Arts Center (Dec 3-4), the Jolly Jingle Jam for parents and kids (Dec 10), a Grinchmas Party at the Alpharetta Community Center (Dec 11), and showings of White Christmas: The Musical at ACT1 Theatre (Dec 3-5, 10-12, and 17-19). –by Bret Love; additional reporting by Christina Maggitas

 

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. Bret grew up camping and hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Georgia and North Carolina with his parents, and the couple both spent childhood summers on the water with their grandparents. After becoming empty nesters, they yearned for a pristine place where they could escape the hustle and bustle of the city, commune with nature and family, and embrace a sustainable lifestyle that leaves time to appreciate the simpler things in life. Join them and their team as they explore the region, offering expert insights on Blue Ridge travel as they search for the perfect mountain home.

Comments are closed.