Twinkling lights, Christmas trees, Santa...the holiday season is officially ON! There are so many fun events all over north Alabama to celebrate Christmas and the holidays, so check out these events and add them to your must-do list this holiday season!
Galaxy of Lights
The Galaxy of Lights at the Huntsville Botanical Garden is such a magical holiday event! Here are some important dates:
Walking Nights: November 17- 26, 29, 30 (Closed Thanksgiving Day) & December 1 – 3, 16 – 24
Dog Walking Nights: Every Monday and Tuesday during Walking Nights (November 20 & 21 and December 18 & 19)
Driving Nights: December 4 – 15 & 26 – 31
Rocket City Trash Pandas Winter Wonderland
The Rocket City Trash Pandas have created a Winter Wonderland at Toyota Field this holiday season! There's more than a mile of Christmas lights that you can drive through. After you drive through the lights, you can walk around the different stations in the stadium and get some hot cocoa, make s'mores, and create crafts. November 17 - December 31 from 5-9pm. (photo by Rocket City Trash Pandas)
Skating in the Park
Skating in the Park at the Huntsville Museum of Art is a fun way to get some exercise, have fun, and be outdoors! Skating in the Park is from November 17 through January 7, 2023.
Wonderland Under Warrior
Rickwood Caverns State Park transforms the cave into Wonderland Under Warrior with thousands of beautiful Christmas lights throughout the cave! Wonderland Under Warrior is a whimsical journey underground, transforming the already magnificent cave into a special holiday experience. Visitors come to see over 100,000 twinkling lights and to walk the lighted path among the stalactite, stalagmites and other unique geological formations.
Hours for Wonderland Under Warrior are 2-8pm on the following dates:
Nov. 18-22, Nov. 24-26, Nov. 29-Dec. 3, Dec. 6-10, Dec. 13-23, Dec. 26-30 and Jan. 1, 2024.
Santa hours are 2-8pm Nov. 24-26, Nov. 29-Dec. 3, Dec. 6-10 and Dec. 13-23.
General admission for Wonderland Under Warrior is $12 per person for ages 5 and up.
Forest of Lights
Take a stroll through the Christmas lights in the forest and around the farm at GoFAR USA Park on their walking nights or take a relaxing hayride and see the live nativity on Sunday nights. Hang out around the campfires, make some s'mores, climb the rock wall, shoot some paintballs, and enjoy either a Christmas movie or some live music. Decorate cookies with Mrs. Clause or visit Santa's workshop to make a Christmas Craft. November 24 through December 31, 2024 from 5-9pm.
Christmas in the Country
The annual Christmas in the Country will be held Friday and Saturday, November 17-18 at the LaGrange College Site Park. The park will be open from 9am - 4pm for the festivities.
Take a walk back in time and experience Christmas of yesteryear. Be sure to stop by the Welcome Center upon arrival. There you will find delicious baked goods for purchase at the annual bake sale. Proceeds go towards the upkeep and maintenance of the park.
Afterward, take a self-guided tour of the pioneer log cabin village. Each cabin is beautifully decorated, both inside and out. There is a period kitchen, barbershop, and chapel as well. These make great backdrops for holiday pictures of your own.
Santa will make an appearance for kids of all ages and be available for photos. There will be various vendors, arts and crafts, and concessions, as well as hayrides to the top of the mountain and the historic LaGrange Cemetery.
No admission is charged for this event, but donations are welcomed and go towards the upkeep and maintenance of the facilities at the park. For more information: contact Louise Lenz at 256-446-9324 or email@example.com.
Location: LaGrange College Site Park, 1491 LaGrange College Road, Leighton.
Christmas at the Falls
Noccalula Falls Park is all lit up for Christmas at the Falls! Stroll through and see the park like you've never seen it before. November 24 - January 1, 2024 from 5-9pm. You must purchase tickets prior to going. Closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Christmas in the Park
In celebration of the holiday season, Arab invites visitors to Christmas in the Park for a stroll through a magical wonderland filled with family photo opportunities at every turn. The event kicks off on November 24 at 6:00 p.m. with a lighting ceremony. Musical entertainment will be provided by Arab High School Jazz Band who will be playing everyone’s favorite Christmas carols and medleys.
During Christmas in the Park, the holiday lights are on from dusk until 9:30 p.m., weather-permitting, November 24 through December 31. Admission is free.
Santa in the Village adds to the holiday excitement when the Arab Historic Village, adjacent to the Arab City Park, is transformed into Santa’s village. As festivalgoers make their way around, a variety of activities will keep everyone entertained. Stop by the gristmill and pick up food for the reindeer, watch as the blacksmith makes reindeer shoes at his shop, head over to the 1890’s Farmhouse to visit with the Grinch and be sure to visit with Santa Claus before leaving. All historic buildings will be open and adorned with festive Christmas decorations. Plenty of photo opportunities will be available to capture the holiday spirit. Hours for Santa in the Village are 6 to 9 p.m. (weather-permitting) beginning November 24-25, and continuing December 1-2, December 8-9, December 15-16 and December 22-23. Admission for Santa in the Park is $6 per person. Children under 2 are admitted free.
Arab City Park is located at 844 Shoal Creek Trail. For more information, visit https://www.arabcity.org/events-festivals/ or call (256) 586-6793. (photo by North Alabama Ambassador Robert Posey)
Founded by German immigrants in the 1870s, the city of Cullman draws on its heritage and celebrates the holiday season with a unique holiday shopping and cultural experience. The Cullman Christkindlmarkt takes place in the heart of downtown and draws inspiration from Germany's historic Christmas markets. The festive event is held from November 24 to December 24, 2023, every Thursday through Sunday in Depot Park.
Where German tradition meets southern charm, the Cullman Christkindlmarkt is an old-fashioned, German-style, pop-up Christmas street market with artists, craftspersons and other makers of gift-type goods on hand to sell their wares to holiday shoppers. The market boasts an extraordinary collection of authentic German handcrafted treasures. Among the illuminated wooden huts, discover ornate ornaments, intricate textiles, German smokers and an array of nutcrackers and pyramids. Additional activities include sipping on hot chocolate, ice skating, carousel rides, pictures with Santa, visits with Christkind and savoring seasonal delights. Flammekueche, raclette cheese, sweet chimney cakes, traditional German schnitzel dishes, Liège waffles, freshly roasted German nuts and sizzling bratwurst are just a few of the culinary specialties to experience.
The Christkindlmarkt will take place from November 24 to December 24, 2023, every Thursday through Sunday at the newly renovated Depot Park located at 304 1st Ave NE in downtown Cullman. Hours are as follows: Thursday 4:00 - 9:00 p.m., Friday 11:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m., Saturday 11:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m., Sunday 1:00 - 8:00 p.m. and Christmas Eve 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Admission is free.
For more information on the Cullman Christkindlmarkt, visit https://www.christmasincullman.com/ or call 256.734.9157.
Christmas in Cullman
The city of Cullman offers a different twist on the holiday season and invites local and visitors to join in paying homage to the city’s German heritage beginning next month. Christmas in Cullman features an assortment of German-themed events and attractions including the tallest Weihnachtspyramide on display, Christkindlmarkt, German food and popular holiday traditions such as ice skating, the downtown Christmas parade and ceremonial lighting of a massive tree at the conclusion plus so much more.
The must-see attraction during Christmas in Cullman is the towering Christmas pyramid. At 30 feet tall, the Cullman Christmas pyramid is the tallest structure of its kind in the United States. Located next to the Cullman County Museum, the carousel-like pyramid will be lit the day after Thanksgiving, Nov. 24, 2023, at 6 p.m., and will stay lit until after the new year. Known in German as Weihnachtspyramide, it is a traditional German decoration of wooden figures that represent different symbols and seasonal elements. The Christmas pyramid in Cullman has six tiers, each one featuring a different scene including one that will pay tribute to the local law enforcement, first responders, as well as everyday citizens.
The Cullman Christkindlmarkt takes place from Nov. 24 to Dec. 24, 2023, every Thursday through Sunday in Depot Park and features a host of local vendors set up German-style in small wooden tents. The market is a great opportunity to find German ornaments, unique gifts and other handcrafted goodies and treasures. Hours are as follows: Thursday 4:00 - 9:00 p.m., Friday 11:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m., Saturday 11:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m., Sunday 1:00 - 8:00 p.m. and Christmas eve 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Admission is free.
The downtown Christmas parade and the lighting of the city’s 42-foot tree are set to take place Dec. 1. The nighttime Christmas parade kicks off at 6:00 p.m. at the Busy Bee Café, traveling down 1st Avenue and ending at Depot Park. The tree-lighting ceremony will take place at Depot Park immediately following the parade and includes other festivities such as music, crafts for kids, pictures with Santa and more.
Adding to the festive fun is music by Good Bellows, specializing in traditional polkas and waltzes. They take the stage Dec. 1 at 12 p.m. with additional times to be announced. There will be three opportunities to hear Music City Strings, one of the top educational string-performance ensembles in the country. Performance times for the Music City Strings are set for Saturday, Dec. 16 at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 17 at 3 p.m.
For more information on Christmas in Cullman events, call (256) 734-9157 or visit www.christmasincullman.com. For up to date information, follow the event page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ChristmasinCullman.
Plaid Friday in Downtown Gadsden
The merchants of downtown Gadsden are getting in the holiday spirit and, as a more relaxing and enjoyable alternative to the big box store “Black Friday” chaos, shoppers are invited to Plaid Friday, a nationwide initiative that encourages shopping local on the biggest day for holiday sales, November 24, 2023.
Plaid Friday is a movement that offers an alternative to the fast pace of big box shopping while showing support for local merchants. It originated in Oakland, Calif. in 2009 and the name was chosen from the idea of weaving individual threads of small businesses together to create a strong fabric that celebrates independent businesses. Plaid Friday promotes the diversity and creativity of local and independent businesses and aims to transform holiday shopping for family and friends into a more connected, pleasurable activity than Black Friday.
Huntsville Tinsel Trail
The Tinsel Trail at Big Spring Park in Huntsville is going to be bigger than ever this year! It's expanding across Church Street into Big Spring Park West. There will be pop up versions of the Downtown Craft Coffee Trail and other food trucks. November 24 through January 1. (photo by North Alabama Ambassador Robert Posey)
Christmas at Ave Maria Grotto
Christmas lights return to the Christmas at the Grotto! Come and experience the beauty of Br. Joseph's work at night surrounded by lights and music! They have expanded this unique holiday experience by adding Christmas Train rides for kids every night of the event and and have added several dates. The weekend of December 15 and 16 will feature musical performances, food trucks, kids' rides and horse-drawn wagon rides around St. Bernard's campus. Plus, Santa Clause will be there. Refreshments will be available every night.
Nov 24,25,30 - 5pm-9pm (kids rides)
Dec 1,2 - 5pm-9pm (kids rides)
Dec 8,9,10 - 5pm-9pm (kids rides)
Dec 14 - 5pm-9pm (kids rides)
Dec 15,16 - 5pm-9pm (food trucks, kids rides, wagon rides, Santa Claus)
Dec 21,22,23 - 5pm-9pm (kids rides)
Dec 26, 27 - 5pm-9pm (kids rides)
Adults - $10
Seniors - $8
Military/Veterans/1st Responders - $7
Teens (13-17) - $8
Children (5-12) - $7
Children under 4 - free
Wagon rides on Dec 15,16 - $5
Kids' rides every night of event - $3
Winter Park at The Orion Amphitheater
Huntsville’s holiday season is set to be more festive than ever before with the addition of Winter Park at The Orion and Apollo South, opening November 30 and running through January 1, 2024. Hours: Thursdays 4-9pm; Fridays 4-10pm; Saturdays 12-9pm; and Sundays 12-9pm. Closed December 7 and 25. This winter wonderland attraction will feature:
Ice skating under the stars in the amphitheater bowl
Meet and greets with Santa Claus
Live music from your local favorites
Winter-inspired drinks & treats, and so much more!
For a full schedule of events, visit theorionhuntsville.com/winterpark
Christmas in Oneonta
Beautifully decorated Christmas trees will be lit Thursday, Dec. 7 at the community Christmas tree lighting ceremony in the gazebo area. The ceremony takes place from 5 to 8 p.m. and includes horse-drawn carriage rides, visits with Santa Claus, holiday music, festive firetruck rides by the Oneonta fire department, snow and a live performance of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” by Art Alive Children’s Theatre. The lighting countdown will commence at 6 p.m. and trees will be illuminated 24 hours a day through Jan. 1, 2024. The gazebo is located at 1st Avenue East and 4th Street, in front of the angel wings mural.
Shoppers are encouraged to have their shopping lists prepared and make their way downtown Saturday, Dec. 9 for the City Christmas Market. Various vendors will be set up at the McDaniel Gym from 4 to 7 p.m. The third annual Christmas Creatures Parade will take place at 6 p.m. beginning at the library parking lot and down 1st Avenue East to the Gazebo. All proceeds are donated to the Blount County Animal Adoption Center & Crossing Paths Animal Rescue. Horse-drawn carriages will also be available for free rides through downtown Oneonta from 6 to 8 p.m.
The Blount County Christmas parade takes to the streets Tuesday, Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. The streets of Oneonta this night will be filled with marching bands from all over the county, creative floats and more.
More shopping opportunities are available Dec. 14 from 5 to 8 p.m. during the Christmas in Oneonta night at the gazebo area. Restaurants will be open and there will be free horse-drawn carriage rides, free live back to back performances of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” by Art Alive Children’s Theater (located at the angel wings mural), snow and Santa Claus will be available in the gazebo for photos. For more information including a complete schedule of holiday activities, visit https://www.oneontabusinessassociation.com/christmas.html or call 205-813-7194.
Historic Decatur Christmas Tour of Homes
The Albany and Old Decatur Historic Districts will present their annual Historic Decatur Christmas Tour of Homes on Saturday, December 9, inviting the public to a unique opportunity to step back in time and experience the enchanting beauty of beautifully decorated historic homes, each adorned with festive lights, ornaments and seasonal decorations. Fourteen tour sites consisting of homes, churches and historic places will be open for viewing as part of the self-guided tour from 3 to 8 p.m. Along with seeing some of Decatur’s most historic and architecturally significant dwellings, the festive event offers shopping, carriage rides and live holiday music.
This year’s tour features four homes in the Old Decatur Historic District and three homes in the Albany Historic District, each beautifully decorated with luminaries, fruit, greenery and thousands of lights, four historic churches, the Old State Bank Building, the Historic Decatur Union Train Depot and the Carnegie Visual Arts Center. Residences in the Albany and Old Decatur Historic Districts are not normally open for public viewing except when a select number of homes open their doors during the annual holiday tour.
A 150-year-old home will make its debut on the Christmas Tour of Homes this year. The home is located at 504 Line Street in the Old Decatur Historic District and has been given the name Shadowlawn due to the towering oak trees that surround the stately home.
Participating properties include:
Brueggeman House, 614 Sherman Street SE
Henkel-Naumann House, 632 Jackson Street SE
The Stone House, 619 Jackson Street SE
Old Decatur District
Shadowlawn, 504 Line Street NE
Hunt-Vaugh-Perrin House, 406 Canal Street NE
Lampkin-Guy-Conkle House, 601 Oak Street SE
L.R. Nash House, 415 Walnut Street NE
Westminster Presbyterian Church, 801 Jackson Street SE
Vintage Faith Church, 411 Sherman Street SE
First Baptist Church, 123 Church Street NE
Central United Methodist Church, 616 Jackson Street SE
Historic Depot and Railroad Museum, 701 Railroad Street NW
Old State Bank, 925 Bank Street (headquarters)
Carnegie Visual Arts Center, 207 Church Street (secondary headquarters)
Along with the self-guided tour, this year’s schedule includes a holiday market and bells choir at the Westminster Presbyterian Church from 2 to 8 p.m. and Decatur Methodist Church will host a live nativity, music, refreshments and the historic sanctuary will be open from 7 to 9 p.m. Entertainment at the Carnegie Visual Arts Center include an appearance by Santa Claus from 4 to 8 p.m. and carriage rides ($20 per person and weather permitting) from 4 to 8 p.m. Adding to the festive and enchanting experience, costumed Christmas carolers will be performing at the Old State Bank and various tour sites, food trucks will be available during the tour in front of the Old State Bank and downtown merchants and restaurants will be open for dining and holiday shopping before and during the tour.
Tickets for the Historic Decatur Christmas Tour are $30 each and can be purchased in advance online at https://decaturchristmastour.com/itinerary-tickets/. Admission is free for children under the age of 12 years old. Tickets also may be purchased in advance at 810 Antiques, Bank Street Antiques, Decatur Morgan County Tourism, Jimmy Smith Jewelers, Miss Muldrew’s, Tammy Eddy Antiques and Interiors, Carnegie Visual Arts Center and Hartlex Antique Gallery (Huntsville) and on the day of the tour at Carnegie Visual Arts Center and Old State Bank. Proceeds from the tour are used to preserve, protect and enhance the character and legacy of the historic neighborhoods.
Parade of Lights at Joe Wheeler State Park
Don't miss all the beautifully decorated boats at the marina at Joe Wheeler State Park! The parade will be begin at 6pm, so make plans to watch from Daniella's Restaurant, at the lodge, or on the balcony of your room at the lodge.
Christmas on the Square in Moulton
Beginning Dec. 7, 2023, locals and visitors are invited to join in on the spirit of the holiday season with the annual Christmas on the Square, a magical stroll among a beautiful display of live Christmas trees trimmed in festive decorations. Due to renovation work at the Lawrence County Courthouse, the month-long event will take place this year at the Lions Club located at 455 School Street in Moulton. Admission is free.
Christmas on the Square is a display of uniquely decorated Christmas trees, sponsored and decorated by individuals, groups and businesses from Lawrence County and the surrounding area. The trail also features various photo backdrops or selfie stations to document the magical Christmas experience.
Additional free activities to add to the festive fun are planned Friday, Dec. 8 and Friday, Dec. 15 at 6 p.m. and include carriage rides, a petting zoo, sipping on hot chocolate, Santa Claus, train rides, snacking on popcorn and cotton candy and face painting. Food trucks will be on hand for anyone arriving hungry and for a nominal fee, festival goers can participate in bingo.
The last night to view the beautifully decorated trees lit up is Dec. 31, 2023. Admission is free.
Athens Christmas Open House
Friday, November 17, 2023
- Merry Market Vendors on Marion Street: 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.
- Ice Skating Rink: 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.
- Merchants Alley Tree Lighting: 5 p.m.
- Christmas Photos at Fly Leaf Photography (No Santa): 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. ($25 per photo)
- Athens High School Choir Performance on Marion Street: 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, November 18, 2023
- Merry Market Vendors on Marion Street: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- Ice Skating Rink: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
- Drew Clemons Performance on Marion Street: 12 p.m.
- Santa Photos at Fly Leaf Photography: 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
- Matt Prader Performance on Marion Street: 2 p.m.
Sunday, November 19, 2023
- Merry Market Vendors on Marion Street: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
- Ice Skating Rink: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
- Athens State University Choir Performance on Marion Street: 12 p.m.
- Santa Photos at Fly Leaf Photography: 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
- Oasis Worship & Praise Performance on Marion Street: 1 p.m.
- Southern Splendor Chorus: 2:30 p.m.
Guntersville Museum Festival of Trees
The Guntersville Museum Festival of Trees is a delightful display of beautifully decorated trees. November 17 - January 1, 2024.
Christmas Lights at Palisades Park
See the beautiful Christmas Lights at Palisades Park in Oneonta December 1-31 (closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day).
Blow Your Own Ornament at Orbix Hot Glass
Blowing Your Own Ornament at Orbix Hot Glass is such a fun event! You can choose your favorite color for your ornament, and Cal Breed will help you blow your ornament! Check their website for classes on the weekends.
North Pole Stroll
The North Pole Stroll in Downtown Athens is a celebration of beautifully decorated trees all around Big Spring Park. This year there will be horse-drawn carriage rides around the historic downtown area. December 1-31.
Kris Kringle's Candlelight Christmas
Enjoy a touch of Christmas past at Burritt on the Mountain’s Kris Kringle’s Candlelight Christmas. There will be activities for the kids and music and more! You must purchase tickets in advance. December 1-2.
Sippin' Cider Festival
On Saturday, December 9, 2023, from 4 to 8 p.m., everyone is invited to sip and shop in downtown Athens in celebration of the holiday season. Now in its thirteenth year, the Sippin’ Cider Festival offers an evening of shopping, singing and other fun holiday activities while sipping on winter’s favorite drink.
During the Sippin’ Cider Festival, participating merchants prepare and offer complimentary sample tastings of their favorite hot cider recipe. Cider enthusiasts will vote by ballot for their favorite, and the cider receiving the most votes wins the coveted Cider Cup and bragging rights for the year.
While sipping on cider, guests can tackle their Christmas shopping and browse for unique holiday decorations. Merchants of downtown Athens will serve up plenty of gift ideas and special sales throughout the evening. Strolling carolers from Lindsay Lane Christian Academy Performing Arts Group and The Rocket City Chorus will provide entertainment as guests sip and shop.
Additional activities include the fantastic Athens High School Jazz Band beginning at 4 p.m. followed by Christmas carols led by Athens High School and Athens Middle School choirs on the courthouse steps, eating smores on the courthouse lawn, visits with Santa and free carriage rides.
Sippin’ Cider is a free event hosted by Athens Main Street. For more information, visit https://athensmainstreet.org/sippin-cider/ or contact Athens Main Street Executive Director Tere Richardson at 256-232-9040.
12 Nights of Santa
Nights of Santa is set to return to EarlyWorks Children’s Museum in December, bringing with it all the magic of the holiday season. From Tuesday, December 12 through Saturday, December 23, 2023, children are invited to visit with Santa Claus and enjoy an immersive holiday experience in downtown Huntsville.
During Nights of Santa, the jolly old elf himself will be on hand each night to listen to children as they share their wish lists. No visit with Santa would be complete without meeting his North Pole elves and helping them spread holiday cheer. Additional family-friendly activities adding to the whimsical fun include nightly snowfalls, making holiday crafts, a holiday themed experiment in the all-new Tinker Lab, mingling with costumed characters, decorating a fresh made gingerbread cookie, mailing letters to Santa and shopping in Santa’s gift shop. Kids will have plenty of room to play and enjoy the spirit of the season.
Nights of Santa will be held nightly beginning Tuesday, December 12 through Saturday, December 23 starting at 5 p.m. on weeknights, 3 p.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday at EarlyWorks Children’s Museum located at 404 Madison Street SE in downtown Huntsville. All tickets must be pre-purchased online at www.earlyworks.com. This is a timed entry event and tickets will sell out fast. Tickets for Nights of Santa are $12 per person for the general public and $10 per person for members of EarlyWorks Museums. Admission is free for children under one year old.
For more information and to reserve your tickets, visit www.earlyworks.com.
North Star Limited Train Ride
Take a North Star Limited Train Ride train ride with the North Alabama Railroad Museum this December! Santa will be on their viewing platform before and after each trip, and kids can get pics with Santa and give him their wish lists. Each child will receive a gift while on board. All riders will receive a drink and cookie, riders in coach 2006 will receive a hot drink, warm cookie, and souvenir mug. (photo courtesy of North Alabama Railroad Museum)
Winter Wonderland at Sportsman Lake Park
The 19th Annual Winter Wonderland Christmas Light Display at Sportsman Lake Park in Cullman is November 17 through December 30. Come and see over a million lights and experience this Winter Wonderland! Returning this year, the park will have its Christmas Train, Horse and Carriage Rides, Snow Machine, Photo Booth, Hot Chocolate, and Much More! New this year is our Winter Wonderland Christmas Shop. Park and rides open weather permitting. Admission is $10 cash per vehicle.