Garden Lights, Holiday Nights is on at Atlanta Botanical Garden.

The holiday celebrations are back in full force, and everyone is ready to get out and get together for a good time. Here are some of the area events, shows, concerts, and parties that will get your holiday spirit burning bright.

Family Fun and Shopping

Buckhead Village

The Veranda Jewel Box welcomes guests into an immersive jewel box with stained-glass wrappings, satin ribbons, and jewel-toned structures. Fire Pits will be in place next to the Veranda, and s’mores will be served there during the Holiday Shop & Strolls every Saturday, 12-6 p.m. Other Shop & Stroll experiences include ornament and cookie decorating, and holiday performances and appearances from Stylish Santa, the Tinseltone Carolers and ballerinas. Now through Saturday, Dec. 24, the German Christkindl Market is open daily, 12-8 p.m., at the corner of East Paces Ferry and Peachtree Road. It features more than 50 vendors offering German food — schnitzel and brats — and beverages — mulled wine and cider — as well as German handcrafts, ornaments, and other items. Details and more events are found at buckheadvillagedistrict.com/happenings.

Callanwolde Fine Arts Center

The Winter House at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center will be open Dec. 1-4 and Dec. 8-10. Daily activities include live music and dance, board games, workshops and visits from Santa. The gallery will transform into an Artist Market with paintings, pottery and jewelry available for purchase. Admission is free and ticketed workshops start at $15. Find all the details at callanwolde.org/winterhouse2022.

Piedmont Church

The 2022 Christmas at Piedmont Church Arts & Craft Show brings unique arts and craft exhibitors to Marietta on Dec. 9, 5-9 p.m., and Dec. 10, 10-5 p.m. Admission, parking and activities are free. There’ll be festival food and local entertainment throughout the weekend. Guests can ride on the 50-foot Snow Tube, presented by C&S Paving, Friday, 6-9 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The Petting Zoo is open Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. And photos with Santa will be available Friday, 6-9 p.m. and Saturday, 12-3 p.m. For further info, call 770-423-1330 or visit piedmontchurch.tv.

Ponce City Market

Ponce City Market

The Roof at Ponce City Market has become a winter wonderland. Now through Jan. 8, visitors can purchase tickets to get on the 3,500-square-foot ice rink and Skate the Sky. Reservations include 50 minutes of skating, skate rentals and unlimited gameplay at Skyline Park. Private, heated Sky Igloos are located alongside the skating rink and at 9 Mile Station. They can be reserved for all-age and 21+ parties of one to six, based on time and day. For skating and igloo prices, details and reservations, click on poncecityroof.com. Other notable Ponce City holiday features in December include Fireside Roasting and Toasting Pods on the Yard, Holiday Tree Market in the Courtyard and Misfit DIY Wrapping events. Check out poncecitymarket.com/events for dates, times, and more info.

Atlantic Station

Enjoy metro Atlanta’s largest ice rink at Atlantic Station. Skate the Station is open now through Jan. 16. It’s ready for action, weather permitting, on weekdays, 4-10 p.m.; Saturdays, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; and Sundays, 12-8 p.m. The free Celebration at the Station is a light and snow show that’s happening now through Jan. 3, every hour from 5 to 9 p.m. Go to the Events page at atlanticstation.com to find more.

Atlanta Children’s Shelter

The 2022 Holiday House supports the Atlanta Children’s Shelter in its efforts to help homeless, formerly homeless and low-income parents provide holiday cheer for their families. It’ll be open Dec. 12-16 in the auditorium North Avenue Presbyterian Church in Atlanta. Volunteers, organizations and donations are encouraged to help out. Get info at acsatl.org.

Colony Square

The Grove Terrace has transformed into the North Pole at Colony Square, a winter wonderland set inside a festive igloo. The holiday speakeasy, for guests 21+ only, is open Wednesdays to Saturdays, 5-11 p.m., now through Dec. 23. A free two-day celebration that benefits Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is Dec. 2, 5-7 p.m. with live music, Santa and the Lighting of the Christmas Tree. On Dec. 3, the Children’s Holly Jolly Celebration will be held 10 a.m.-12 p.m. between 14th and 15th streets with performances and roaming characters. Festivities on the Square will continue the fun in the Front Loop and the Plaza from 12-3 p.m. Also on Dec. 3, the Smiles for the Season Breakfast is planned 8-10 a.m. at 5Church Midtown. The breakfast buffet will be attended by favorite characters and there’ll be a special visit from Santa. Get additional info on all these events at colonysquare.com.

Sparkle Sandy Springs

City of Sandy Springs

On Dec. 4, Sparkle Sandy Springs kicks off the holiday in Sandy Springs, starting 4 p.m. at City Springs, with a traditional menorah and tree lighting, food trucks, a festive concert featuring the Rupert’s Orchestra, the Sparkle Holiday Gift Market and a parade that starts at 6 p.m. The month-long display of six-foot-tall decorated and lit houses, Sparkle Village, will also begin Dec. 4 on the City Green. A Snow Day Matinee celebrates the start of winter on Dec. 7 at 5:30 p.m. The afternoon pajama party and movie matinee for children features “Frozen 2” and includes a chance to meet the characters, enjoy hot chocolate and take home a goody bag. While the event is free, registration is required for all family members who wish to participate. Get details and register and purchase tickets at sandyspringsga.gov/events.

Vinings Jubilee

The annual Christmas Tree Lighting, with featured guest Santa Claus, will be held Thursday, Dec. 1, 6-8 p.m. at Tower Place, transforming it into a holiday wonderland for the entire family. The evening includes Christmas carols performed by singing elves, the Whitefield Academy Jazz band, and the Campbell Middle School Chorus. Get more info at facebook.com/ViningsJubilee.

Menorah Lighting at Ponce City Market hosted by Chabad Intown.

Menorah Lightings

Chabad Intown

The synagogue has scheduled free events featuring Menorah Lightings at North Highland Park in Virginia Highland on Dec. 18 at 4 p.m. and Atlantic Station on Dec. 20 at 6 p.m. If you miss those, don’t worry. There’s another at Decatur Square on Dec. 22 at 6 p.m. Find more events at chabadintown.org

Ponce City Market

Chabad Intown joins with Ponce City Market to present a traditional Menorah Lighting ceremony to celebrate the Festival of Lights. It will take place on Dec. 21 at 6 p.m. at The Yard, and there will be music, live entertainment and refreshments. Get details at poncecitymarket.com.

Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta

Everyone in the community is invited to celebrate Hanukkah at Light Up the JCC on Dec. 20, 5-5:30 p.m., in the courtyard at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta in Dunwoody. There’ll be a menorah lighting, Hanukkah songs, performances and free hot chocolate and doughnuts. Go to atlantajcc.org for more info and events.

Lights and Decorations

Atlanta Botanical Garden

The much-loved Garden Lights, Holiday Nights brings back favorite features and adds a few new twists to the light show at Atlanta Botanical Garden, now through Jan. 14. Don’t wait to visit the website and get tickets, as most dates sell out quickly. On select Saturdays and Sundays in December and January, the Holiday Ride-on Train makes a trip around the Great Lawn. Tickets are $3 for member and $5 for non-members. A delightful display of Holiday Model Trains is on the Alston Overlook now through Jan. 14. Holiday songs will fill the air with Carols in the Garden when the Tinseltones visit on Dec. 3, 10 and 17, 10:45 and 11:45 a.m. Keep up with all the events at atlantabg.org.

The Wren’s Nest

The historic home of author Joel Chandler Harris in Atlanta’s West End will host special Home for the Holidays tours on Dec. 3 and Dec. 17, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Wren’s Nest’s iconic front porch and interior rooms will be festooned with period-inspired decorations for perfect photo opportunities. Tickets run $14 to $18 and can be purchased through wrensnest.org.

Fernbank

Winter Wonderland: Celebrations & Traditions Around the World is back at Fernbank for its 13th year as a special exhibit, now through Jan. 6. It spans two floors of the museum and showcases different decorated trees and displays that recognize various celebrations, events and cultural traditions from around the world. “Winter Wonderland” is included with general admission at Fernbank and with CityPASS. Learn more at FernbankMuseum.org.

World of Illumination

This year, World of Illumination brings Reindeer Road, a larger-than-life holiday light event, to the parking area of Six Flags White Water. The spectacular drive-through light forest is complete with reindeer, snowmen and toys. The light show runs now through Jan. 1, nightly from 6 to 10 p.m. Pricing starts at $39.99 per vehicle. For details and tickets, visit worldofillumination.com.

Virginia Highland Winterfest

Virginia Highland

A neighborhood Tour of Lights kicks off the Virginia Highland Winterfest on Dec. 9. The next day, Dec. 10, starts with a race, the Jingle Jog, followed by a Holiday Parade. The fun continues with an in-town holiday market and live music. Find all you need to know at virginiahighlanddistrict.com/winterfest.

More Santa Sightings

Rhodes Hall

The 25th Annual Santa at Rhodes Hall will be held on the weekends, now through Dec. 11 at Rhodes Hall. This annual fundraiser for the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation offers personal appointments and photos with Santa at Atlanta’s “Castle on Peachtree.” The $50 family admission includes a 5×7 photo. Guests may bring their own camera or video recorder for an additional $20. For available times and to reserve an appointment, visit GeorgiaTrust.org or call 404-885-7812. Reservations are required; spaces are limited and usually sell out.

Ponce City Market

The Yard at Ponce City Market is the place to go on Saturdays, Dec. 3 to 17. Santa will be there ready to pose with guests during Selfie Saturdays with Santa, 12-4 p.m. Guests are invited to bring their own cameras to snap photos and participate in yard games. If the weather is frightful, Santa will be on the second floor of Central Food Hall. Find out more at poncecitymarket.com.

Cookies with Santa at Zoo Atlanta

ZooAtlanta

Santa’s annual stop at Zoo Atlanta gives families the opportunity to enjoy Cookies with Santa on Dec. 3 and Dec. 4. Tickets, $25 for zoo member and $30 for non-members, include a personal visit, professional photo and take-home To Go Kit with hot cocoa fixings, cookies and more. Advance reservations are required and can be made at zooatlanta.org/event/cookies-with-santa

The St. Regis Atlanta

Reservations are open for select days now through Dec. 24 for Tea with Santa at The St. Regis Atlanta. The afternoon treat includes sweets and a visit with Santa, Mrs. Claus and a mischievous elf. Polar Express at the Best Address is a Christmas Day brunch with live music, entertainment, delectable food and an open bar. Prepaid reservations are available for parties of 1 to 15. Visit exploretock.com/stregisatl for info and to make reservations for both events.

Bellyard Hotel 

The holidays are celebrated at Bellyard Hotel with a variety of special events. On Dec. 1, local vendors will be on hand at the Sip & Shop Holiday Market, 6-8 p.m. Santa Claus will be at the Drawbar on Dec. 4, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. for Photos with Santa. The sitting fee is $15, and proceeds benefit Give Kids the World Village. Watch for more holiday plans coming soon at event.marriott.com/atltm-bellyard-hotel/events.

Traditional and New Shows

Georgia Ballet

The Georgia Ballet presents The Nutcracker at the Jennie T. Anderson Theatre in Marietta, Dec. 1-4. This beloved Victorian-era holiday ballet features Clara, the Nutcracker Prince and the Sugar Plum Fairy. Tickets start at $25. Go to georgiaballet.org/season for tickets and additional info.

OnStage Atlanta

Three holiday shows are on the schedule at OnStage Atlanta this month — and two of them are versions of A Christmas Carol. One retelling of the classic Dickens tale is by Patrick Barlow, writer of the hit “The 39 Steps,” and runs Dec. 2-18 on the Webber Stage. The other Christmas Carol, set for Dec. 7-17, is a Special Event adapted by and starring Stuart W. Schleuse. A Queer Carol, Dec. 8-21, is also OnStage Special Event. Tickets are $20-26 for all three shows and are available through onstageatlanta.com.

Alliance Theatre

A Christmas Carol will be staged by the Alliance Theatre for the 34th time. It’s also the second year the Alliance production features its reimagined staging and set design as well as new costumes, live music and puppetry. The play runs through Dec. 24 on the theatre’s Coca-Cola Stage. Tickets, show times, cast list and more is available at alliancetheatre.org/christmas.

Fox Theatre

Two Nutcracker shows will grace the stage at Fox Theatre this December. Hip Hop Nutcracker, Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m., is a contemporary dance spectacle set to Tchaikovsky’s music. Tickets start at $49. The more traditional Nutcracker! Magical Christmas Ballet features puppets, acrobatics and stars of the Ukraine ballet. There’ll be two showings on Dec. 23, 3 and 7 p.m.; tickets start at $34. Visit foxtheatre.org for tickets and details.

Dad’s Garage

The cast at Dad’s Garage has rehearsed the traditional Scrooge play, but Invasion: Christmas Carol brings a surprise guest to disrupt everything. Past invaders include Young Frankenstein and The Harlem Globetrotters. The show runs Dec. 2-30. Go to dadsgarage.com/ixc for info and tickets.

Out Front Theatre

From Dec. 8-18, Out Front Theatre presents Christmas Dearest, a play that centers on Joan, a tyrannical actress desperate to revive her career in a musical adaptation of the Virgin Mary’s life. Joan needs a miracle, and she’s visited by three ghosts that show her the error of her ways. Tickets are $30 and are available through outfronttheatre.com.  

Variety Playhouse

There are three holiday shows at Variety Playhouse this season. A Very Countess Christmas, features actress, singer and author Countess Luann on Dec. 10, 8:30 p.m. The 11th Holiday Hootenanny, a benefit for Habitat for Humanity, is a barnstorming concert set for Dec. 18, 7 p.m. This year’s show features young acts in the world of bluegrass and jamgrass. On Dec. 19, the “Pope of Trash” visits Atlanta to present holiday jeers with his A John Waters Christmas. Get additional info and tickets at variety-playhouse.com.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer at Center for Puppetry Arts

Center for Puppetry Arts

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, based on the classic holiday TV show, is recreated at the Center for Puppetry Arts now through Dec. 31. Tickets include the show, admission to the Worlds of Puppetry Museum and a Create-a-Puppet workshop. Go to puppet.org to find out more.

Southwest Arts Center

A new musical, Mother of God, will make its debut on Dec. 7, with shows running through Dec. 23 at Southwest Arts Center in South Fulton. The show explores how Mary, an ordinary woman, rose to answer the call of a lifetime. It was previously performed at the Atlanta Musical Theatre Festival. Find out more and get tickets at motherofgodmusical.com.

Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse

The Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse transports its audience to Scrooge’s London counting house for Dicken’s classic A Christmas Carol, presented Dec. 3-23. Food and drink are available 75 minutes before every show. For info on special performances and to get tickets, click on shakespearetavern.com.

Holiday Concerts and Music

Atlanta Collective

Local bands reinterpret the 90s classic holiday album “Merry Christmas” by Mariah Carey. The Atlanta Collective show is set for Dec. 17, starting 9 p.m., at Aisle 5 in Atlanta. Local pop songstress Prisca will curate the lineup of music. Get more info and tickets through atlcollective.org.

Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus

The AGMC Annual Holiday Concert returns to the Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta as the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus takes the audience on a holiday journey through laughter, tears, goosebumps and nostalgia on Dec. 2, 8 p.m., and Dec. 3, 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. This year, the Chorus will be accompanied by a chamber orchestra and feature the cathedral organ. For tickets, info and more, click on voicesofnote.org/agmc/.

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

Spend Christmas with the ASO for a musical evening filled with holiday carols, hymns and more. It’ll be presented Dec. 15, 16 and 18. On Dec. 17 at 8 p.m., the voices of Celtic Woman: A Christmas Symphony will ring through Symphony Hall with arrangements from the Irish all-female group’s holiday album “The Magic of Christmas.”Check out aso.org for more holiday offerings.

Rialto Center for the Arts

A tradition in Atlanta for 25 years, the Annual Gala Holiday Concert will ring out at Rialto Center for the Arts with holiday cheer on Dec. 4 at 3 p.m. The evening brings together talented student and faculty performers from the Georgia State University School of music. Tickets start at $14.45. Go to rialto.gsu.edu to reserve your ticket.

Cathedral of St. Philip

A Holiday Concert will be performed with the Atlanta Symphony Brass members on Dec. 5, 7:30 p.m. at the Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta. The selection includes beloved standards from the symphonic orchestra repertoire and traditional holiday carols. Tickets range $10-$150. On Dec. 18 at 4 p.m., A Christmas Festival of Lessons and Carols will be presented. Modeled on the King’s College, Cambridge Christmas eve carol service, the choral service is the church’s most popular. Admission is free. Find out more at cathedralatl.org/worship/music/concerts.

State Farm Arena

Bobby Brown, XSCAPE, Dru Hill, 112, Silk and Shai will take the stage at State Farm Arena for the Atlanta R&B Music Experience: Holiday Edition on Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. Other holiday concerts at the venue are IHeartRadio Power 96.1’s Jingle Ball 2022, a star-studded musical event on Dec. 15 at 7:30 p.m., and the V-103 Winterfest 2022 on Dec. 16, 8 p.m., with Grammy-award winner Maxwell as headliner. Get details and tickets at statefarmarena.com.

New Year’s Celebrations

Ponce City Market

The annual Noon Year’s Eve Celebration on the Roof will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 31 at Ponce City Market. Skyline Park will host an all-ages, family-friendly celebration centered around a countdown to noon. All-access tickets of $25 include admission and gameplay; ages 3 and under are free. Ice-skating can be added day-of for an additional $10 and is based on availability. Go to poncecitymarket.com to pre-order tickets and learn more.

City of Sandy Springs

Ring in 2023 at the New Year’s Eve Swingin’ Party at the Byer’s Theatre in Sandy Springs on Dec. 31, starting at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $40 to enjoy the music of Georgia Music Hall of Famer Francine Reed and Sandy Springs native Joe Gransden and his 16-piece band. Keep the good times rolling after the concert at the Swing in the New Afterparty. Reed and Gransden will move to the Studio Theatre for dancing, light bites, desserts and a toast at midnight. Afterparty tickets are $55 and sold separately from the concert. Find out more and purchase tickets through sandyspringsga.gov/events.

Georgia Aquarium

On Dec. 31, Georgia Aquarium will host an adults-only New Year’s Celebration, starting at 8:30 p.m. Attendees enjoy after-hours access to the main galleries, cocktails and food, live entertainment and a midnight champagne toast. General admission tickets are $125; VIP tickets are $195. All proceeds benefit the aquarium’s research and conservation efforts. Visit georgiaaquarium.org for more info.

Peach Drop at Underground Atlanta

Peach Drop
The annual Peach Drop was slated to return to Underground Atlanta in Downtown to ring in 2023, but no details on entertainment weren’t available at press time. Visit undergroundatl.com for updates. 

Kathy Dean

Kathy Dean is a freelance writer and editor based in metro Atlanta.