By Collin Kelley

For nearly 30 years, Christmas at Callanwolde was a staple of the holiday season in Atlanta, with the mansion festooned in lights and greener. In 2003, the event was put on hiatus, but no one knew the break would turn into such a long one.

After a seven-year absence, Christmas at Callanwolde returns Dec. 1 – 12 with a Roaring 20’s theme. Atlanta’s top interior and floral designers will decorate the Gothic-Tudor mansion for the season to reflect the era when the Candler family lived in the historic home.

“Visitors have constantly asked us when Christmas at Callanwolde was coming back,” said publicity director Susan Summers. “There’s been a great demand for it to return. The event was always a great fundraiser for us to help our art programs, and we hope new generations will make it a tradition again.”

Visitors will be able to browse through items for sale at the Callanwolde Artists Studio Market, as well as enjoy holiday music and live entertainment throughout the day, including Callanwolde’s Aeolian Organ.

Also on tap is Breakfast with Santa on Saturdays Dec. 4, 11 and 18 at 9 a.m. and the Teddy Bear Tea on Sundays, Dec. 5, 12 and 19 at 3 p.m. Both are by advance reservation only.

There will also be the Battle of the Ice on Saturday, Dec. 11, at 2 p.m. featuring the city’s top ice wranglers competing to create the best sculptures in the Callanwolde amphitheater.

The Cook’s Warehouse will offer presentations by experts on wine and holiday entertaining tips. Scheduled to appear are Don Hackett on Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. (champagne and sparkling wines); Nancy Lutz on Dec. 5 at 1 p.m. (holiday tables and buffets); Hackett again on Dec. 7 at noon (red wines); and Virginia Willis on Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. (holiday entertaining).

The Artist and Studio Market, which will be ongoing through out the festival in the conservatory, will feature paintings, drawings, photography, prints, jewelry, pottery, textiles, ornaments and gifts for sale from Callanwolde students and teachers.

There will also be Cabaret Nights on Dec. 1 and Dec. 8 from 6 to 9 p.m. with performances by Gwen Hughes, Marsha DuPree, Maria Howell and Madoca.

A Premiere Party with live entertainment by Lindsay Appel and creative gourmet delights by Affairs to Remember will officially kick-off the event on Tuesday, Nov. 30 at 7 pm. Tickets are $75 and must be purchased in advance.

Hours for Christmas at Callanwolde are weekdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be extended hours on Wednesdays from 4 to 9 p.m.

Free parking and free shuttle bus service available one-half mile north at the Emory University Briarcliff Campus, 1256 Briarcliff Road. buses will run continuously throughout the hours of the event and will accommodate 25 passengers.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and groups of 20-plus, $14 for children ages 4 to 12. Children 3 and under get in for free. Purchase tickets online at

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.