These 8 Small Georgia Towns Do Christmas Right
There is just something special about celebrating a Southern Christmas in a charming little town – something that makes it distinctive and memorable. Georgia is full of enchanting small towns, and these locations take pride in knowing how to create holiday celebrations your entire family will remember for years to come.
Fröhliche Weihnachten!! That's German for Merry Christmas, if you’re not familiar. Partake in festive Alpine cheer as you head to Helen for the annual Christkindlmarkt – a tradition that lines the center of town with gifts, decorations, candied treats and more. It's open the last weekend in November and the first weekend in December, but you'll also want to bring the family when Santa arrives on his Bavarian sleigh as part of the Helen Christmas Parade on Dec. 10, 2022.
Not too far from Helen is Cleveland, which offers several unique holiday experiences. Get outside for a brisk hike at Yonah Preserve Trails, and visit The Cottage Vineyard & Winery to relax with a glass of wine while enjoying the view of the North Georgia mountains. Visit on Dec. 3, 2022, for the Christmas in the Mountains Celebration & Lighted Parade. Explore Babyland General Hospital, and shop for special gifts for children and the Cabbage Patch fans in your life.
Step back in time during Thomasville's Victorian Christmas Dec. 8-9, 2022, when the downtown comes alive with performers, carolers and musicians dressed in historic attire. Enjoy live reindeer carriage rides, a live nativity, marshmallow toasting, chestnut roasting, plein air artists and much more. Thomasville is an award-winning "small-town," and its Christmas cheer exemplifies why it's a well-deserved award!
Home to the Callaway family, you can enjoy the 1916 Hills & Dales Estate (Fuller and Ida Callaway's home,) decked in decadent holiday decor, or dazzle the kids with a nearby stop in Pine Mountain at Callaway Resort & Gardens’ Fantasy In Lights. Did you know National Geographic dubbed it one of the world's best places for Christmas sparkle? Want to dive a little deeper into the first Christmas experience? Make a stop at the Biblical History Center for a historical experience of the season.
Christmas trees, mistletoe and thousands of twinkling lights adorn historic Dahlonega from Thanksgiving until year-end, creating an old-timey holiday experience during Dahlonega's Old Fashioned Christmas. A home-town parade welcomes the Jolly Old Elf on Dec. 10, 2022, followed by carolers, live music, wine tastings, horse-drawn carriage rides and more. Don't miss a visit with Santa in the Public Square, where you can take a picture with Santa in front of the Christmas tree every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Named "One of The South's Best Small Towns" by Southern Living in 2018, Madison is home to the largest collection of 19th-century architecture in Georgia with a mix of Greek revival, late Victorian and Romanesque-style buildings. See them decorated for the season, and stroll through the festively decorated downtown sampling holiday treats at the many restaurants and sweet shops. In November, visit for Shop, Sip & Stroll Saturdays to enjoy retail promotions, light refreshments and holiday music. And, don't miss the Holiday Tour of Homes Dec. 2-3, 2022, featuring cottages and historic homes all dressed up for the holidays.
Ahhh, the Blue Ridge Express at Christmas … what a way to kick off the season. Listen to a Christmas story, sing carols and meet with the big guy, St. Nick. There are also daytime and nighttime pavilion rides, which are longer tours and a chance to meet with Santa on the pavilion.
If you can’t make the train ride, then see Santa and Mrs. Claus before and during Light Up Blue Ridge on Nov. 26, 2022, the official lighting of the Christmas tree in Blue Ridge.
Jekyll Island is home to more than a million lights during the Holly Jolly Jekyll season. The Great Tree alone has more than 35,000, which is more per square foot than the NYC Rockefeller Center Christmas tree! Purchase tickets online for the guided tram tours that take place on select nights. Trolley riders will enjoy festive holiday beverages, music, and a one-of-a-kind tour souvenir!
Don't miss the light parade, holiday fireworks, and special drive-in movie presentations. Check the Jekyll Island events calendar for a full lineup of holiday fun that starts Nov. 25, 2022!