‘Tis the Season…for holiday activities

Forget ten lords-a-leaping, they’ll startle the neighbors and scare the cat. No way you want seven swans-a-swimming unless you plan to spend a small fortune getting your pool cleaned. There are easier ways to enjoy fun, faith and family this holiday season. 

By Therra C. Gwyn

Santa Snail Mail>>The postal elves are out in force this season. If your child writes a letter to Santa, they will get a personalized letter back from the busy, jolly guy. Mail letters to Santa from December 1 through 17th at the North Pole Express mailbox located in the gazebo in Park at City Center on Arnold Mill Road,Woodstock.

Lights of Hope>>A community celebration one million LED lights strong. Visit Holiday Lights of Hope and while basking in the glow, stroll the Santa village, enjoy live music and more. December 10 through 22 from 6 p.m. nightly at Hobgood Park in Woodstock. $10 admission. Under 14-years old get in free. Benefits the Anna Crawford Children’s Center. Online: HolidayLightsOfHope.com

Santa Sighting>>Spend the day with St. Nick in downtown Kennesaw when Santa arrives at noon on Main Street as the guest of honor in a parade that includes floats and vintage cars. Afterwards: snow tubing, inflatables and a holiday market. The fun goes on until 6 p.m. Free activities. Kennesaw Parks and Recreation: 770.422.9714.

Holly Jolly Christmas>>The 11th annual Holly Springs Christmas parade begins at 1:30 p.m. on December 5 and marches down Holly Springs Parkway, ending at the historic Train Depot where Santa will settle in for visits and photos. There’s hot cocoa and treats for all and crafts for the kids to make.

Polar Power>>Family fun rules the day at the Falany Performing Arts Center, in Waleska. In addition to screening the film “Polar Express” there will be crafts for the kids and, of course, a chance to see Santa himself. Tickets are $5 to $10. Two showings: 3 and 6 p.m. Bring a Toys for Tots donation and receive a $10 gift certificate for a future show. 770.720.9167.

A Good Ol’ Neighborhood Christmas>>The Paradowski Family of Decatur has done it so you don’t have to: crafted the Christmas yard that is envied and enjoyed for miles around. Their self-created “Christmas In The Grove” has grown to feature over 115,000 lights (four miles of extension cords), over a dozen Christmas trees (one is 20 feet tall), 750 channels of computerized animation and a playlist that ranges from Trans Siberian Orchestra to Jose’ Feliciano and is simulcast on a local radio station you can tune to in your car. Display is up from Thanksgiving through New Year’s day. Directions and their story is at ChristmasInTheGrove.net

Live Nativity>>New Victoria Baptist and area churches are coming together in the spirit of the season to celebrate the reason. They are presenting Return 2 Bethlehem, a live nativity scene, from November 28 through December 6 at 6659 Bells Ferry Road in Woodstock. For more information see Return2Bethlehem.org or contact rkliggin@comcast.net. Free event.

Christmas at the Georgia Governor’s Mansion>>Georgia’s First Lady Sandra Deal calls it “The People’s House” and she’s often on hand greeting people who tour the 47-year old executive house. The holidays kick off December 6 when the Christmas tree is lighted. Tours run through the 18th. Free. The mansion is a Toys for Tots drop off site. Learn more at mansion.georgia.gov.

Celebrate Chanukah>>Eighth annual Chabad Chanukah celebration and menorah lighting will happen at the Outlet Shoppes of Atlanta, 915 Ridgeway Pkwy in Woodstock. The Jewish celebration and annual festival of lights begins December 6. Festivities start at 5 p.m. For more info: 678.460.7702

As Cool As “Frozen”>>Where did Disney’s uber-popular “Frozen” come from? From the story of the Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen. Adapted by Rachel Teagle, Serenbe Playhouse’s “The Snow Queen” sold out every show last year and likely will again. Runs December 3 through 23 in Palmetto. Appropriate for all ages, this outdoor performance takes place in the dark and requires some walking. 770.463.1110

A Victorian Christmas>>Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens’ historical home, Liberty Hall, will be decorated in the style of Christmas’ past. Experience Victorian era games, music, period actors and more on December 15 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at A.H. Stephens State Park in Crawfordville. Tickets are $1 – $5 and parking fee is $5. More: 706.456.2602

Stone Mountain Holidaze>>Big Christmas fun at Georgia’s big granite mountain. From November 7 through January 3 festivities include: “Ice Age-A Mammoth Christmas in 4-D” on film and live performances of “Holly Jolly Cabaret” and “Forever Christmas.”  Walk the Wonderland Walkway and Tunnel of Lights. Named by USA Today as “one of the best places to visit Santa Claus.” Fee for entrance and events. Family packages available. Check out StoneMountainPark.com

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