CHRISTMAS IN ATHENS: 7 WAYS TO ‘SLEIGH’ THE HOLIDAY

The most wonderful time of the year is approaching fast. Families are sorting through sparkling lights in the attic, sipping on hot cocoa and beginning to prepare for everything that the holiday season has in store. Christmas in Athens, Georgia includes several ways to keep the kids (and kinds-at-heart) entertained.

CATCH SANTA AT THE DOWNTOWN PARADE OF LIGHTS

CHRISTMAS IN ATHENS: 7 WAYS TO 'SLEIGH' THE HOLIDAY

The Downtown Parade of Lights begins at 7 p.m. in Downtown Athens on Dec 1, 2022. It’s the perfect kick-start to start the holiday season. Spectators line the streets and watch homemade floats drive by. These uniquely creative floats will be competing for various awards while following this year’s theme, “An Out of this World Holiday.” The parade ends with a traditional tree lighting at City Hall hosted by Santa Clause himself!

LACE UP YOUR SKATES AND HIT THE ICE

CHRISTMAS IN ATHENS: 7 WAYS TO 'SLEIGH' THE HOLIDAY

From now until Jan 8, 2023 you can enjoy time ice skating inside The Classic Center. Their NHL-sized indoor rink in the Akins Ford Arena is larger than other community rinks, so it has lots of space for kids to show off their skills or safely learn how to skate.

Skate rental is available (don’t forget your socks!) and for the younger crowd there are “helpers.” See that blue seal behind Cooper? Kids can grab ahold and push themselves around the rink.

Please note there are not concessions here, but you’re close to all of Athens’ great restaurants so just plan to make a stop before or afterward to grab some grub.

Read More: ICE SKATING ATLANTA: THE BEST RINKS FOR KIDS, TEENS & ADULTS

SANTA, RUDOLPH AND BEARS! OH MY!

CHRISTMAS IN ATHENS: 7 WAYS TO 'SLEIGH' THE HOLIDAY
Courtesy of Bear Hollow Zoo

We love Bear Hollow Zoo in Spring and Summer… but you don’t want to skip it in Winter either. Select days before Christmas their Deck the Hollow event features larger-than-life Christmas inflatables, animal interactions and visits with Santa.

The event is 5:30pm – 7:30pm, December 2-4 and 9-11. Tickets are $5 at the gate.

STROLL THE WINTER WONDERLIGHTS

CHRISTMAS IN ATHENS: 7 WAYS TO 'SLEIGH' THE HOLIDAY

The State Botanical Garden of Georgia has transformed into an array of twinkling lights and light displays for the second annual Winter WonderLights.

The half-mile fully accessible trail allows all kids to adventure down Candy Cane Lane, through a tunnel of lights and in between a tree forest, and at the end of the trail there is a holiday market! At specific locations along the trail, visitors can purchase hot coffee, cocoa and even marshmallows for roasting.

Select evenings Nov. 23, 2022 through Jan. 8, 2023, 5:30pm – 9:00pm. $15 per person and VIP options available.

Read More: 33+ SPARKLING CHRISTMAS LIGHT DISPLAYS (+ RESIDENTIAL LIGHTS SHOWS!)

SHOP TIL YOU DROP AT ONE OF THESE ATHENS HOLIDAY MARKETS

CHRISTMAS IN ATHENS: 7 WAYS TO 'SLEIGH' THE HOLIDAY
Courtesy of Visit Athens

The holiday markets in Athens, Georgia are a favorite for locals and visitors every year. Each unique one hosts multiple vendors’ and artists’ works, creating the perfect opportunity for everyone, including kids, to find a special gift for everyone on their list. At each market, visitors can participate in the spirit of giving and enjoy the festive atmosphere all while supporting the local community.

SATISFY YOUR SWEET TOOTH AT CONDOR CHOCOLATES

CHRISTMAS IN ATHENS: 7 WAYS TO 'SLEIGH' THE HOLIDAY
Courtesy of Condor Chocolates

Sipping a hot cup of Condor’s hot chocolate is a must-try experience and perfect for a chilly day. At Condor, Athens born-and-raised brothers Nick and Peter Dale produce bean-to-bar chocolate bars, truffles and a variety of other confections to pay homage to their mother’s Ecuadorian roots.

After you are warm and toasty, don’t forget to grab a few items for your holiday dessert table… or gifts for the most special people on your list.

BE AN ANGEL THIS CHRISTMAS IN ATHENS

CHRISTMAS IN ATHENS: 7 WAYS TO 'SLEIGH' THE HOLIDAY

Our final recommendation doesn’t require a trip into Athens, but it’s the opportunity to make Christmas special for a child in Athens. Before moving West, we did this every year.. encouraged by our oldest daughter who worked with these special families for a long, long time.

The Clarke/Oconee DFCS Angel Project Sponsorship project allows you to sponsor a child (or children!) by making a magical gifting experience for them. Here is the form for the 2022 registration.

After you register, you’ll be paired with a child. The DFCS will send you a wish list and further instructions. It’s such a fantastic way to really get into the spirit of the Season.

MORE HOLIDAY FUN:

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