The holidays offer a great time for grandparents to bond with their grandchildren, or with their children, for that matter. Here are some places and performances where families can enjoy the holidays together.

Five special holiday light displays

What says it’s the holidays better than displays of brightly colored lights that drive away the darkness as the days grow short? Here are five places in and around metro Atlanta that promise spectacular shows of holiday lights.

Atlanta Botanical Garden

The garden’s eighth annual “Garden Lights, Holiday Nights” exhibition returns with new features, including a Skylights Lounge. The garden promises larger-than-life plant giants, a Tunnel of Light, model trains and other displays.

When: Through Jan. 6, 2019; 5 to 11 p.m.

Where: 1345 Piedmont Avenue NE, Atlanta 30309

Cost: Ticket prices vary depending on the night and on the ticket package. Discounts are offered for advance purchase. Prices range from $19.95 to $39.95 for adults and from $16.95 to $36.95 for children. General admission tickets are available after 9 p.m. for $14.95.

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Atlanta History Center candlelight nightsAtlanta History Center

The history center offers scenes of Christmases past with a candlelit stroll through decorated gardens and through historic houses decorated to show holiday traditions from pioneer days, the Civil War and the 1930s. Musicians, actors and storytellers perform, and visitors will have a chance to check in with Santa Claus.

When: Dec. 14 and Dec. 21, 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Where: 130 W. Paces Ferry Road NW, Atlanta 30305

Cost: $20 for adults, $10 for children,

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Callaway Gardens

Ride through millions of lights, an illuminated forest and visit a Christmas village as part of Callaway Garden’s annual “Fantasy in Lights.” The garden calls its annual lightshow the most spectacular one in the South and says it has been named one of National Geographic Traveler’s Top 10 displays.

When: Through Jan. 5, 2019, shows start at 6 p.m.; Christmas Village opens at 4 p.m.

Where: 17800 U.S. 27, Pine Mountain 31822

Cost: Prices vary based on package. Individual tickets listed on the website vary from $21 to $30 for adults and $10.50 to $15 for children.

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Lake Lanier

Lanier Islands staged its first light show in 1993. This year, Lanier Islands promises holiday displays spread through a meandering course seven miles long, carnival rides and s’mores around the campfire.

When: Through Jan. 6, 2019, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Where: 7650 Lanier Islands Parkway, Buford 30518

Cost: Annual pass to Lanier Islands or $49 per car that seats one to 10 passengers, $105 for vans seating 11 to 20 passengers or $260 for buses seating 21 or more. Ticket prices increase to $59 for cars, $115 for vans and $270 for buses between Dec. 14 and Dec. 26. Discounts offered for tickets purchase online.

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Stone Mountain Snow AngelStone Mountain Park

Stone Mountain Park’s annual holiday event offers millions of lights, a nightly tree-lighting and parade, carolers, family-friendly holiday-themed live shows and a chance to meet Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Angelina the Snow Angel and Santa Claus.

When: Through Jan. 6, 2019

Where: U.S. 78 East, Exit 8, Stone Mountain 30083

Cost: At the gate, $34.95 for adults, $29.95 for children aged 3 through 11; online, $31.95 for adults, $29.95 for children aged 3 through 11.

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Four special holiday shows

Special performances by local arts groups also mark the holidays. Some are staged every year and watching “The Nutcracker” or “A Christmas Carol” onstage becomes a holiday tradition for some Atlanta families. Here are four classic holiday shows being staged this year by long-established Atlanta arts groups.

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s holiday concerts

The orchestra plans a series of holiday concerts. They range from family shows to a performance of Handel’s “Messiah.”

Christmas with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

  • Dec. 8 and 9, 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.
  • Atlanta Symphony Hall, Memorial Arts Building, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta 30309
  • Tickets: $20 to $79

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Holiday Concert at North Avenue Presbyterian Church

  • Dec. 13, 11:45 a.m.
  • North Avenue Presbyterian Church, 607 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta
  • Admission: free

Messiah with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Chorus

  • Dec. 13 and 14, 8 p.m.
  • Atlanta Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta 30309
  • Tickets: $20 to $69

A Festive Family Holiday

  • Dec. 16, 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
  • Atlanta Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta 30309
  • Tickets: $15 to $20

A Very Merry Holiday

  • Dec. 20 and 21, 8 p.m.
  • Atlanta Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta 30309
  • Tickets: $20 to $69

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Nutcracker logoAtlanta Ballet’s “Nutcracker”

The Atlanta Ballet, founded in 1929, is offering its first new production of the classic Christmas ballet in 20 years. The show keeps the classic Tchaikovsky score, but features new choreography and elaborate sets, lighting and costumes. The ballet company calls this version a “‘Nutcracker’ for the Next Generation.”

When: Dec. 8 through 24

Where: Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree Street, Atlanta 30308

Cost: $31.25 to $136.25 for adults; $31.25 to $108.25 for students

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Alliance Theatre’s “A Christmas Carol”

The Alliance presents its 29thannual staging of the holiday show based on Charles Dickens’ tale of a haunted miser who learns it’s never too late to change his ways. This year, the show is again being staged at Cobb’s performing arts center, as the Alliance performs its shows at various locations around the metro area while its home theater in Midtown is being renovated.

When: Dec. 12 through Dec. 24

Where: Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta 30339

Cost: Tickets cost $20 to $80 adults, $14 to $56 for younger than 17; parking costs $10.

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Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer puppetsCenter for Puppetry Arts’ “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”

Rudolph flies back to the puppetry arts center’s Mainstage Theatre for the annual retelling of the story of how a reindeer’s glowing nose saved Christmas celebrations. The center recreates the 1964 animated television production of the story, complete with Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster and narrator Sam the Snowman.

When: Most days through Dec. 30, except Mondays and Christmas Day. Performance times vary daily, so check the website for specific shows.

Where: Center for Puppetry Arts, 1404 Spring Street NW, Atlanta 30309

Cost: Ticket prices vary but start at $12.50 for members and $25 for nonmembers. Ticket price includes admission to the museum and to the center’s Create-A-Puppet Workshop.

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Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.