Christmas at Callanwolde
Christmas at Callanwolde

By Kathy Dean and Collin Kelley

The holiday season is about family, friends, food and fun. Trees, wreaths and decorations appear all along the streets, and Christmas carols blast continually in shops and on the radio. All around Intown, holiday events are bringing everyone together. Make a plan to celebrate with the whole family.

Christmas Parade

Children’s Christmas Parade
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta will host the annual parade beginning at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3, in Midtown. The parade will step off at Peachtree Street at 16th Street and end at 5th Street. There will be floats, giant helium-filled balloons and marching bands and Santa Clause.

Holidays at Emory
The holiday season kicks off with “A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols” on  Friday, Dec. 2, at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 3 at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. at Glenn Memorial Auditorium. On Sunday, Dec. 11, at noon there will be “Santa’s Favorite Chamber Music” at the Michael C. Carlos Museum with a list by Old Saint Nick himself. “Christmas with Atlanta Master Chorale” returns to the Schwartz Center Saturday, Dec. 10, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 11, at 4 p.m. For tickets and details call (404) 727-5050 or visit

Candlelight Nights
The Atlanta History Center invites visitors to stroll through the decorated gardens and grounds on during Candlelight Nights, held on two successive Fridays, Dec. 9 & 16, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Guests enjoy a lively Christmas Market, then visit historic homes where they can experience how Southerners celebrated Christmas in three eras—pioneer days at the Wood Family Cabin, the Civil War era at Smith Family Farm, and the Jazz Age at Swan House. Tickets are $10 for members, $15 for non-members and $8 for children. Atlanta History Center, 130 West Paces Ferry Road. (404) 814-4000 or, click on Programs.

Christmas at Callanwolde
Now until Dec. 29, the grounds and gardens of the historic Candler Estate are a spectacular festival of lights from 6 to 10 p.m., thanks to Callanwolde Center’s partnering with Illuminating Design Inc. Marvel at the 23-foot tall LED tree with 37 billion color combinations choreographed to holiday music. This year’s Christmas at Callanwolde tour’s final day is Dec. 13, so hurry. The 27,000-square-foot, Candler Mansion is professionally decorated by interior and floral designers. Light show and tour tickets are $20, adults and children, for each event. Combination Tour Tickets of $35 are available for both events. Callanwolde Fine Art Center, 980 Briarcliff Road. (404) 872-5338 or

Fernbank Winter Wonderland
More than 30 twinkling, decorated Christmas trees create a Winter Wonderland at Fernbank Museum of Natural History until Jan. 8. The trees each display the diversity of celebrations, holidays, traditions and events from around the world. Museum admission is $18 for adults, $17 for seniors 65 and up, $16 for children 3-12, and free for Fernbank members. There are additional costs for IMAX theater shows and special exhibits. Fernbank Museum of Natural History, 767 Clifton Road. (404) 929-6300 or

Stone Mountain Christmas
More than two million lights light up Stone Mountain Park on select dates in December to Jan. 4. Live performances, holiday characters and music add to the magical experience. Don’t miss the Skylights Spectacular or Wonderland Walkway, a light-filled tunnel that leads to the Snow Angel Palace. The evening wraps up with a snowfall and fireworks display. Tickets vary in price, package deals are available and advance reservations are required. Stone Mountain Park, 1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd. 1-800-401-2407 or

Christmas with the ASO
A tradition for Atlanta families, the concert includes favorite Christmas carols and hymns sung by the Chorus and special guests, the Gwinnett Young Singers. The Morehouse College Glee Club perform their holiday signature piece, Betelehemu. Concerts scheduled on Friday, Dec. 9 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 10 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Ticket prices start at $20. The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, 1280 Peachtree St. (404) 733-4900 or

Atlanta Boy Choir Holiday Spectacular
Sounds of the season fill the air on Friday, Dec. 16, starting at 7:30 p.m. General admission tickets are $25. St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 435 Peachtree St. (404) 378-0064 or

Atlanta’s Celtic Christmas
This celebration of the diversity of Celtic music, song, dance and poetry will be Dec. 17 at 8 p.m. and Dec. 18 at 3 p.m. at Rialto Center for the Arts. 2016 marks the 25th anniversary of the production, which features Leah and Chloe Smith of Rising Appalachia, Irish harpist/vocalist Cormac de Barra, Scottish Fiddler Jamie Laval, Irish guitarist/singer John Doyle, vocalist/fiddler Leah Calvert, bassist Tommy Sauter, musician/raconteur Joe Craven, clogger extraordinaire Jesse “Flat Foot” Edgerton, Welsh harpist Kelly Stewart, Appalachian trio The Rosin Sisters, The Buddy O’Reilly Band, guitarist John Ferguson, Aris Theatre and more. Tickets are available at this link.

Macy’s Pink Pig

Macy’s Pink Pig
Squeals of laughter have returned to Lenox Square’s parking deck, as Macy’s Pink Pig spreads holiday cheer to families this winter. Guests are invited to ride along with Priscilla and her friends as they embark on a fairy-tale adventure. Tickets are available at the Pink Pig kiosk located between Abercrombie & Fitch and Godiva on the Buckhead mall’s upper level. The Pink Pig will be operating until Jan. 1.

Visit Santa at Rhodes Hall
Historic Rhodes Hall on Peachtree Street in Midtown will be hosting visits with Santa Dec. 3 – 18. There will be holiday entertainment, refreshments from area caterers, music, art activities and personal appointments with Santa. The cost is $40. 1516 Peachtree St.

Atlanta Santa Speedo Run
Strip down to your Speedos or undies for the 7th annual event on Dec. 10. The starting line will be at Manuel’s Tavern, 602 N. Highland Ave., at 2 p.m. (registration and merry-making begins at noon). The year’s beneficiary is Chris 180, a nonprofit that helps to heal children, strengthen families and build community. To register, visit

The Nutcracker

Atlanta Ballet’s The Nutcracker
The Nutcracker returns to the Fox Theatre Dec. 9-24 for its annual production. The Atlanta Ballet professional company stages the extravagant production live with the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra and the Georgia Youth Choir. For tickets and information, visit

Santaland Diaries

The Santaland Diaries
The outrageous holiday comedy written by David Sedaris returns to Horizon Theatre now through Dec. 31. Harold Leaver stars as Crumpet, who recounts the true-life tale of an out-of-work writer’s stint as a Macy’s Department Store elf. This is a night out for the adults, so leave the kids with the babysitter. 1083 Austin Ave. (404) 584-7450 or

Mayor’s Masked Ball
This formal affair is UNCF’s signature fundraising gala and premier social event of the holiday season. Hosted by Mayor Kasim Reed, the ball will be held on Dec. 17 at 6:30 p.m. at the Marriott Marquis in Downtown. Entertainment will be provided by musician and singer Sheila E, who will perform a tribute to the late music icon Prince. Comedian and actor J. Anthony Brown will serve as master of ceremonies. For tickets, visit

Family Fun Day at MJCCA
All are invited to the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta on Dec. 25 for a day of family entertainment and fun. The JCC fitness center, indoor pool and Marcus gym will be open and available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. At 11 a.m., Family Fun Day begins with several family-friendly movies in the Morris & Rae Frank Theatre. Children can also enjoy inflatables, ride-on toys, the Sophie Hirsh Srochi Discovery Center, basketball, indoor pool, and The Weinstein School Playground. Food is available for purchase at a Healthy Touch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. 5342 Tilly Mill Road. (678) 812-4000 or

Downtown Countdown
The annual New Year’s Eve party returns to the Hyatt Regency Atlanta on Dec. 31 featuring bands, DJs, open bar, food and more. Doors open at 8 p.m. and the party keeps going until 2 a.m. General admission tickets start at $119. Visit for tickets and more information.

Roaring Rooftop Bash
Ponce City Market’s rooftop is putting on the ritz this New Year’s Eve! Skyline Park, Nine Mile Station and Tower Terrace will host a black tie “Roaring Rooftop Bash” on Saturday, Dec. 31, from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. Guests are invited to toast the new year with unlimited bubbly, delicious bites, sweeping unobstructed views of Atlanta’s skylines, open games, turn-of-the-century themed entertainment and more. Guests are encouraged to dress up in their black tie best or Gatsby-themed attire for the rooftop’s swanky affair. Tickets are $200 per person or $350 for VIP. Visit this link for tickets.

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.