Holidays In NC
Holiday Traditions In NC
Many of North Carolina’s seasonal events date back decades and even centuries. Find your yuletide cheer by adding one of these traditions to your family’s holiday memories this year. For a full list of seasonal activities, visit our events calendar.
The Polar Express™
Nov. 9 – Dec. 30, 2012
All aboard the Polar Express! The children’s story comes to life on this Great Smoky Mountains Railroad round-trip excursion from Bryson City. Journey through the quiet wilderness for a special stop at the North Pole and enjoy music from the motion picture as well as hot cocoa and caroling along the way.
Christmas at Biltmore
Nov. 3, 2012 – Jan. 1, 2013
See America's largest home in all its beauty. Enjoy breathtaking holiday décor, including dozens of Christmas trees, hundreds of wreaths and poinsettias and the thousands of twinkling lights of Candlelight Christmas Evenings. Visitors also can partake in seasonal seminars, food, wine, shopping, music and celebration, and Christmas tales.
Holiday Season in Old Salem
Nov. 3 – Dec. 27, 2012
A visit to Old Salem during the holiday season is a step back to a time when the holidays were simpler, less stressful and more focused on faith and family. Activities include Christmas candlelight tours, candle tea, musical performances and Salem Christmas, an annual celebration of Moravian traditions.
National Gingerbread House Competition™ & Display
Nov. 17, 2012 – Jan. 2, 2013
Contestants from across the country bring their culinary masterpieces to The Grove Park Inn, where visitors delight in the imagination shown in these sugar-and-spice creations. Community viewing days are Sunday through Thursday.
Choose-and-Cut Christmas Tree Season
November – December
Western North Carolina
The holiday season brings families from all over the Southeast to the mountains of North Carolina in search of the perfect Christmas tree. The state boasts more than 70 choose-and-cut Christmas tree farms, making it the second-leading producer of Christmas trees in the United States. In fact, the North Carolina Fraser Fir has been selected as the White House Christmas tree a record-breaking 11 times.
North Carolina Holiday Flotilla
Nov. 23 – 24, 2012
The 2012 North Carolina Holiday Flotilla will feature a tree lighting ceremony with Santa; launch party held at the Blockade Runner; Festival in the Park; and of course, the 29th annual spectacular lighted boat parade and fireworks.
Splendors from Afar at Tryon Palace
Nov. 23, 2012 – Jan. 5, 2013
In addition to daily tours accented by timeless holiday decorations, Tryon Palace hosts a number of holiday activities. Enjoy musical and theatrical performances; hands-on crafts for children and adults; and an 18th century candlelit Christmas celebration that includes a tour through the Palace; a grand masked ball with outdoor entertainment; and a grand illumination over the South Lawn.
Nov. 23 – Dec. 23, 2012
Amid a wealth of innovative “Nutcrackers” and “Christmas Carols,” the Barn Dinner Theatre sticks with the most familiar Christmas story of all, told through spirituals and gospel-style carols. Written by Langston Hughes, “Black Nativity” debuted on Broadway 50 years ago and continues to fill audiences with the holiday spirit. The Barn, once part of a franchise that opened the same year as Hughes’ musical, is the country’s oldest dinner theater in continuous operation.
12 Birds of Christmas
Dec. 1, 2012 - Jan. 3, 2013
Get ready for a fresh take on the holidays' most parodied song with a trip to Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park. Instead of parroting lyrics, you can scan the 18-acre park for swans a-swimming, geese a-laying and other birds chosen for a holiday scavenger hunt. Sylvan Heights is home to 170 species of waterfowl, many of them rare and endangered, from six continents, and the sight of a Scarlet Ibis alone turns a visit into a festive occasion.
Santa on the Chimney
Dec. 8 and 15, 2012
Chimney Rock State Park
How could Santa resist a 315-foot granite monolith shaped like a chimney? For the 20th year, the man in red will warm up for his Christmas Eve chimney-thon by rappelling down this geological landmark. Meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, enjoy live holiday music, complimentary hot cocoa, cookies and kids’ activities.
Candlelight Christmas in Historic Murfreesboro
Dec. 6 – 7, 2012
Each year, hundreds of visitors make the pilgrimage to this eastern North Carolina town to enjoy the spirit of Christmas past and present. Guests stroll along the Historic District’s candlelit streets, experience the beauty of old homes and buildings, dine on a complete sit-down meal and enjoy horse-drawn carriage and tram rides. The theme of the 27th annual Candlelight Christmas is “The Magic of Christmas.”
Edenton Christmas Candlelight Tour
Dec. 7 – 8, 2012
Make the holidays extra special by stepping inside some of the most beautifully decorated homes during this self-guided tour of Historic Edenton. Gracious residents invite visitors into their festive homes for this memorable 31st annual event.
added: November 10, 2009
updated: November 12, 2012