13 Reasons You Should Not Miss the Helen Ga Christmas Spectacular [VIDEO]

December in Helen is a time of grandeur, with German Christmas flare in the Blue Ridge Mountains that every family must experience at least once. Here are 13 Christmas events that make THIS your year to visit!!

Find one-of-a-kind Christmas gifts with German flair, sample pastries and raise a pint to the most wonderful time of the year all while making your holidays brighter with a weekend or week-long getaway. The fun begins with the night-time Annual Lighting of the Village in Edelweiss River Park, 5-7 p.m., Friday, November 27, 2020. It’s free, and the city will be following the CDC guidelines throughout the event. 


Lifetime Movie Magic

Christmas Love Letter, a Lifetime Films movie was filmed in Alpine Helen and released in 2019. You can take in the sights from the movie while you’re in town, including a carriage ride through Downtown Helen Georgia. And debuting this year is another Helen-filmed treat called A Taste of Christmas. It begins Nov 20, 2020 – and look for a few familiar faces when you watch (yes – us!!)

Click on the movie photo from Sunshine Films to see trailer for Christmas Love Letter.


Fun fact: Parts of this movie and another Helen-shot Holiday Film coming out in 2020 were filmed at Cimmi’s Courtyard Cafe. You MUST make a point of coming here during the holiday season for breakfast all day long. The staff is so sweet, and the food y’all. OMG! 

The boys has choco chip pancakes, Dan had a Philly cheesesteak, which he devoured (the roll was perfect, he said) and I had the country-fried steak with their homemade biscuits. Gah – ya’ll so good!

Hofer’s is our other go-to place when we visit, and if you come during the holidays then you’ll want to get the kids a hot apple cider and yourself a Glühwein, a traditional German beverage offered during the Christmas holidays. It is made from red wine, heated and spiced with cinnamon sticks, cloves, star aniseed, citrus, sugar and vanilla pods. 

Festival of Trees 

2020 Update: Dates still TBD. Visit Unicoi State Park and Adventure Lodge in Helen, Ga  for the Festival of Trees. You’ll see a number of festive Christmas trees and wreaths, all of which are available for bidding. All proceeds are awarded to the United Way of White County.

If your timing is right, you can visit Santa while taking in the trees. About mid-month you and the kids will want to enjoy Breakfast with Santa. Your all-you-can-eat buffet includes pancakes, French toast, waffles, frittata, fruit, bacon, sausage and so much more. The kids will love the decorating station, where you can top your pancake or waffle with chocolate chips, gummy bears, and all the fun things that Buddy the Elf eats at every meal!

Afterward, grab a photo with Santa, enjoy holiday crafts, and head outside to roast marshmallows! You can pay at the door, but the line is long, so be sure to register beforehand to make your morning easier. Check out the Unicoi events page for dates and times.

Christkindlmarkt Traditional German Market

One of the most unique Christmas markets in the North Georgia area, this shopping opportunity takes place Nov 28-29, 2020  and again Dec 5-6, 2020 at the Helen Market Platz in the center of town. It’s the ideal place for stocking up on stocking stuffers, with specialty gift items, decorations, assorted savory food, drinks and candied treats.

Alpine Golf Games

If you’ve ever been to Helen, you know you have to play some Alpine Golf, right? During Christmas, I highly recommend heading there just before sunset. As dusk is approaching, thousands and thousands of holiday lights turn on within the mini gold course and it is DAZZLING! I’ve never seen anything like it. Don’t miss this chance to get an all-new mini golf experience.

Victorian Christmas at Harman Farm

Visit Helen to see Georgia’s newest park – Hardman Farm State Historic Site – to see the house decorated in period holiday cheer. Learn about Victorian holiday traditions at the open house from 4-7 p.m. on Fridays in December, highlighted by twinkling candlelight and live music. (Dec 4, 2020 until Dec 19, 2020) 

You’ll purchase tickets in the Visitor Center, then tour the gift shop inside.

Outside, purchase hot cider or hot chocolate, and then warm up by the fire. The Boy Scouts offer free s’mores making packets that the kids will love.

After that, hop aboard a horse-drawn wagon that takes you to the Victorian home of Captain James Nichols, father of Anna Ruby (for whom Anna Ruby Falls is named.) Tour the home with Christmas trees in every room, live music in the parlor, and “members of the family” in period dress sharing what is was like during an 1870’s Christmas.

After your self-guided tour (including a photo op with Santa) then take the horses back to the main building, or walk the trail through old-fashioned lantern light. 

Christmas in the Mountains Lighted Parade

Make your way to Downtown Cleveland on Dec 7th at 7pm for the annual Christmas parade. Visit and get your photo with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and shop at the Holiday Market on the Cleveland Courthouse Square. Make your way over to Freedom Park for a luminaria lighting, food, musical performances and activities for the kids, as well as the lighting of the community tree.

Cabbage Patch Christmas

While you’re in Cleveland, don’t miss the chance to see Santa (select dates) at Babyland General Hospital. The photos are very affordable, and you’ll have the chance to see the Babyland Hospital decorated with Christmas light-ed trees and festive decor!

Helen Christmas Parade

If you miss the Lighted Parade (or even if you don’t!) then follow up the next weekend in Downtown Helen for another Christmas celebration. This parade takes place Dec 12, 2020 at 2pm. Expect big things…and yes, the Big Man – Santa himself – will be there. Rain or shine!

This is such a fun small-town parade with fire trucks, horses, dirt-buggies, unique floats, and TONS of candy! The best place to be is across the street from the Downtown Gazebo!

Hike Anna Ruby Falls

Ok – is this officially a Christmas event in Helen? No…BUT you still need to do it. Why? Because during winter, the Smith Creek and two falling rivers that make Anna Ruby Falls shine in all their glory! With the trees bare, you are able to see the full majesty of this area.

It’s a different experience than you will ever have in summer or spring. Plus, you want to be sure to brush up on your Anna Ruby experience before visiting Hardman Farm for the Victorian celebration.

See the Lights on the Georgia Mountain Coaster

We recommend taking a ride (or 2 or 3) on the Georgia Mountain Coaster at night!! Yes, you’ll want your gloves and hat for this adventure, for sure. But, as one of the tallest points in Downtown Helen, you get a spectacular view of the city lighted up for holidays. It’s just pure WOW!

Pro tip: Your second ride on the coaster is 1/2 price!! That’s a no-brainer, right!!

Make it a Merry Weekend

The very best way to enjoy a Christmas weekend in Helen is to make it a long weekend, complete with a fire, hot cocoa, and lots of snuggles.

This year we stayed at Peace in the Woods from Georgia Mountain Rentals, and we HIGHLY recommend it! We didn’t want to leave!

This 2-bedroom, 2-bath includes a hot tub, fireplace (a must in winter!) and two porches. It’s secluded, but still close to town, and the kitchen has everything you need.

If this one is taken, look at THESE other cabins from Georgia Mountain Rentals, or check out our list of awesome Helen Cabin Rentals and make your reservation soon!

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Disclosure: Thanks to Helen for having us to facilitate this post. Opinions here are always our own.

16 Comments on "13 Reasons You Should Not Miss the Helen Ga Christmas Spectacular [VIDEO]"

  1. Gail Simon | 12/19/2019 at 7:21 pm | Reply

    How long do the Christmas festivities last in Helen do they go thru the end of december

    • Lesli Peterson | 12/21/2019 at 9:28 am | Reply

      Sorry for the delay Gail – we were checking with Helen! The decor will be up into January. There is an Edelweiss New Year’s Eve Event, but that is on the 31st. Have breakfast at Cimmi’s…lunch at Hofers…take a walk to Anna Ruby Falls…try out the Georgia Mountain Coaster…and just take in the fun atmosphere. It’s wonderful while it’s all decorated. And don’t forget Christmas Love Letters which should air today…it was set in Helen.

  2. Cindy Shortt | 10/15/2020 at 3:58 pm | Reply


  3. Lisa Lanza | 10/17/2020 at 10:14 am | Reply

    Are the roads scary from Atlanta to Helen the second week of December. P

  4. Marianne Babiez | 10/17/2020 at 7:33 pm | Reply

    What events or resturants are open Christmas eve, Christmas day and Saturday in Helen, GA?

  5. Julie Klecka | 10/18/2020 at 8:43 pm | Reply

    We are trying to plan a trip to Helen. I was wondering what’s open Christmas Eve & Christmas Day week? Also, we have been to Helen for the Holidays before & everything closed for several weeks. I wanted to know the dates they close. Not sure if it’s better to come visit over Christmas or New Years week?

  6. Julie Klecka | 10/18/2020 at 8:45 pm | Reply

    We are trying to plan a trip to Helen. I was wondering what’s open Christmas week? Also, we have been to Helen for the Holidays before & everything closed for several weeks. I wanted to know the dates they close. Not sure if it’s better to come visit over Christmas or New Years week?

    • Lesli Peterson | 10/18/2020 at 8:47 pm | Reply

      About 2 hours ago I just reached out to them to find out that very thing…many people are asking. We’ll update here as soon as I hear back, which I hope will be this week <3

  7. When do the Christmas decorations go up in Helen and are the lights on before Thanksgiving?

    • Lesli Peterson | 10/20/2020 at 10:01 am | Reply

      Since the Lighting of the Village is Nov 27 this year, I’m going to guess that is the official kick-off date for all the lights and decorations.

  8. Nancy Ohaugherty | 10/25/2020 at 11:33 pm | Reply

    What restaurants will be open on Thanksgiving day in Helen?

  9. Sophie Sherman | 10/26/2020 at 8:34 pm | Reply

    Hi- A friend and I are looking at visiting Helen for a long weekend. We are looking at December 3rd – 6th. Due to the Pandemic will things be open?

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