Helen Ga Christmas: 13 Reasons You Should Visit This Holiday Season (2023)

Everyone must experience a Helen, GA Christmas at least once!

This beautiful German-inspired Georgia town is a great backdrop for a picture-perfect holiday adventure in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Find one-of-a-kind Christmas gifts, eat delicious food, take in the beauty, get out in nature, and raise a pint to the most wonderful time of the year.

Ready for the best German Christmas in the South? Here are 13 Christmas events and adventures that make a Helen GA Christmas the perfect holiday treat!

Helen Ga Christmas: 13 Reasons You Should Visit This Holiday Season (2023)
Courtesy: Alpine Helen/White County Convention & Visitors Bureau

COOLEST PLACES TO STAY IN HELEN

  • When It’s Just Adults: Valhalla Resort Hotel is the city’s newest hotel. The spa and golf course are big draws for those seeking an upscale stay in the region. Bringing the kids? I’d opt for a cabin instead.
  • Cozy For Couples Rental: How amazing is this secluded getaway? Private property, full kitchen, screened porch and hot tub!
  • Walk To The Wineries: This newly built cottage vacation rental offers a spacious kitchen as well as a living area and fireplace, and it’s only a 3 minute walk to Serenity Cellars.
  • Best Location In TownBlack Forest Bed and Breakfast is right in the middle of Downtown, sitting on Main Street. Since it’s up on the hill, though, covered in trees you will not hear the hustle and bustle below. Breakfast is always included.
  • Best Hotel For Families In Town: One of the newest hotels in the area, Holiday Inn Express & Suites Helen is a great family option. It’s right off Main Street and comes with multiple room configuration options.
  • Awesome Family Rental: There is plenty of space on the wrap around porch of this cabin for relaxing or enjoying breakfast. Bring s’mores for the fire pit, your swim suit for the hot tub, and bring Fido if you’d like – dogs welcome.
  • Family Reunion or a Wedding: Lantern Lodge offers extraordinary views of the sun setting over the mountains. Cozy and inviting, the lodge offers 7 bedrooms, each with direct access to the one of 6 baths; plus 2 additional attic dormers, offering 3 bunkbeds each PLUS a guest house. Whew!

A HELEN GA CHRISTMAS

Although Helen, GA is fun any time of year, it’s especially amazing to visit during the holidays. Located about 1.5 hours north of Atlanta in the Northeast Georgia mountains, Alpine Helen knows how to do Christmas right.

The town’s Alpine architecture and holiday scenery are so delightful that Lifetime Christmas movies were filmed here, and the town is consistently noted as a top holiday destination for lights, festivities and fun.

With plenty of fun shops, galleries, restaurants, and more — a visit to Helen GA is a great way to celebrate the season.

Read More: Helen GA: 37+ Best Things To Do for Alpine Fun

LIGHTING OF THE VILLAGE

WHEN: Friday, November 24, 2023, 5-7 p.m.

Start the holidays off right with the annual Lighting of the Village in Edelweiss River Park. This fun event kicks off the holiday season in Helen!

Decorated with 8,000 lights and 800+ ornaments, the 20-foot-tall tree and the entire town will be dressed up and illuminated.

On Friday, November 24, Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive at Riverside Park as the village is lighted to begin the holiday season. Musical performances by local groups will precede his arrival and children are invited to meet with Santa from 5 – 7 p.m.

The actual lighting of the village will take place at 6 p.m. Gather up family and friends and watch as the colorful Bavarian village of Helen lights up for a magical holiday season at this fun, FREE event.

LIFETIME MOVIE MAGIC

December in Helen is a magical place — which is why quite a few Christmas movies are filmed here!  If you want to feel like you stepped right into a Christmas movie, a visit to Helen is a must-do.

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 another Helen-filmed treat, called A Taste of Christmas, debuted in 2020. Look for a few familiar faces when you watch that one (yes – us!!).

We love this article from We3Travel about other great Christmas destinations on the East Coast. Of course it incudes Helen!

DELICIOUS EATS IN HELEN

Nacoochee Village Tavern is the perfect family eatery for lunch or dinner, with craft style pizza using corn mill from Nora’s across the street. This pizza is dynamite! The boys just wanted cheese, but Dan and I settled on the Carnivore…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. 

Read More: 15 Restaurants in Helen, GA: The Best Places to Nosh

CHRISTKINDLMARKT TRADITIONAL GERMAN MARKET

WHEN: November 25-26, 2023 and December 2-3, 2023

No need to visit Frankfurt or Heidelberg for an authentic shopping experience. The 15th annual Christkindlmarkt will be taking place on the Marktplatz in Helen (downtown) over the course of two weekends.

One of the most unique Christmas markets in the North Georgia area, this shopping opportunity takes place 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. November 25-26 and December 2-3 at the Helen Marketplatz in the center of town.

This traditional German event offers everything from unique gifts and decorations to an assortment of savory and sweet foods, drinks and candied treats. The event is sponsored by The Helen Chamber of Commerce, and admission is free.

MISTLETOE MARKET ARTS & FINE CRAFTS FESTIVAL

Dates: December 2-3, 2023, 10am – 5pm

The perfect place to find gifts and goodies for everyone on your list is at the Mistletoe Market Arts and Fine Crafts Festival at the Helen Arts & Heritage Center. This festive holiday market is filled with unique handcrafted art and fine crafts, all locally made. You’ll see artist demonstrations throughout the weekend, and be able to meet the artists and tour the gallery.

ALPINE MINI GOLF

If you’ve ever been to Helen, you know you have to play some Alpine Mini Golf, right?  During the holiday season, you can play mini golf surrounded by lights!

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 golf course and it is DAZZLING! I’ve never seen anything like it.

VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS AT HARDMAN FARM

When: Fridays and Saturdays, December 1-16, 2023

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 and Saturdays in December, highlighted by twinkling candlelight and live music. 

Pre-registration is required.

Come see the house in period holiday decor and learn about Victorian Christmas traditions from docents dressed in their finest 1870’s garb. This open house on Friday and Saturday nights in December is highlighted by twinkling candle lights and a walk down the Unicoi Road. 

At this fun event, you can purchase hot cider or hot chocolate and 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,) you’ll then take the horses back to the main building, or walk the trail through old-fashioned lantern light. (You can also bring a flashlight!)

VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS AT SAUTEE JUNCTION

WHEN: December 2 and 9, 2023

Escape the hectic pace of the big city and celebrate in the timeless valley as the Village of Sautee decorates for a Victorian Christmas. Within this vibrant contemporary arts community, arts and handcraft vendors will be set up and Santa and Mrs. Claus will be visiting. Bring the kids and have a fun afternoon of holiday shopping and taking in the scene.

CHRISTMAS IN THE MOUNTAINS LIGHTED PARADE

WHEN: December 2, 2023, 5-8 p.m.

While you’re spending time in Helen, make time to visit nearby Cleveland, GA to see their annual Christmas in the Mountains Lighted Parade!  

The Christmas in the Mountains and Lighted Parade in Cleveland will be held from 5-8 p.m., with the parade scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. The event features a holiday market in the Cleveland downtown square and Merry Merchants Open Houses. A community Christmas tree lighting is planned for 6 p.m. at Freedom Park.

HELEN CHRISTMAS PARADE

DATE: Dec. 9, 2023, 2 p.m.

If you miss the Lighted Parade in Cleveland (or even if you don’t!), then follow up the next weekend in Downtown Helen for another Christmas celebration. The Helen Christmas Parade takes place Dec 9, 2023 at 2 p.m. Expect big things…and yes, the Big Man – Santa himself – will be there. Rain or shine!

Downtown Helen lights up as the Annual Christmas Parade makes its way through the streets with hand-crafted and beautifully designed floats, German Christmas characters, music and dance. This don’t-miss family and friends event is a generational tradition. 

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, Smith Creek and the 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.

Read More: A First Timer’s Guide to Hiking Beautiful Anna Ruby Falls

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?!

BREAKFAST WITH SANTA

Note: 2023 dates have not yet been released.

Santa pays a visit to Unicoi State Park & Lodge for a very special Breakfast with Santa event. Only $14.99 for adults and $9.99 for kids.

Along with breakfast there will also be a Candy Cane Hunt, Pajama Parade, Ornament Craft and Photos with Santa. Reservations are required.

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.

HELEN RIVER RETREAT

Helen Ga Christmas: 13 Reasons You Should Visit This Holiday Season (2023)

Gaze out at the Chattahoochee River from just about every room. Open the windows and listen to the rippling flow of the water. Breathe the fresh air and enjoy the view from the deck in the hot tub. This creek cabin has fully-equipped kitchen and gas grill on the deck for meals cooked at home. Would you rather eat out? River Retreat is within walking distance to downtown Helen!

Details: 6 guests · 2 bedrooms · 2 baths · Check price and availability

ROMANTIC WOODLANDS RETREAT

Helen Ga Christmas: 13 Reasons You Should Visit This Holiday Season (2023)

Surrounded by peaceful woodlands, this Sautee Nacoochee cabin for two is just a quick drive away from the adorable town of Helen. Closer still is the spacious screened private deck, which lets you marvel at the beauty of the woods without having to worry about bugs. This cozy cabin has a charming rustic aesthetic, with lovely woodwork on the ceiling, floors, and walls, as well as some quaint knickknacks and decorations scattered throughout. The occasional glimpse of the woodlands surrounding you through the windows completes the tranquil atmosphere.

Details: 2 guests · 1 bedrooms · 1 beds · 1 baths · Check price and availability

Helen Ga Christmas: 13 Reasons You Should Visit This Holiday Season (2023)

THINGS TO DO IN HELEN (printable)

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Download this 1-page checklist of Things to Do in Helen to print at home or your local print shop. Perfect to keep in a binder, bring on your adventure or just put on the refrigerator!

(PS. A portion of this list is detailed in our article, The 39+ Best Things To Do in Helen Ga for Alpine Fun.)

Format: PDF, US Letter Size, Portrait (8.5”x11”)

You will receive one PDF file. File will be emailed and available for download up to three times upon payment. No physical item will be shipped.

MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR VISIT TO HELEN

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Helen Ga Christmas: 13 Reasons You Should Visit This Holiday Season (2023)