Holiday_Happenings_Guide_2013_cover

SANTA SIGHTINGS

If you’re trying to catch a glimpse of the jolly white headed man in the red suit, rumor has it he and his friends will be at these events.

Check This List If You’re Trying To Spot This Jolly Old Soul

“Host of Christmas Past” in Fayetteville

Every year during the second weekend of November the small town of Fayetteville comes alive with its traditional “Host of Christmas Past.” This friendly small town offers free parking, great food, carriage rides, homemade snow, high tea, and nonstop entertainment. Of course, Santa will be present!

Date/Time: November 8-10
Location: Downtown Fayetteville, TN (map)
Cost: FREE
More Info: www.hostofchristmaspast.com

Santa at the Malls

Both Parkway Place and Madison Square Malls will have their Santas in place on November 9th and they’ve got all kinds of special events planned. Check their websites for all the info, but here’s a preview of all the Santa opportunities available!

Pajama Party with Santa: November 9th at 9:00am at Parkway Place, free party with milk & cookies!
Pet Photos with Santa: November 19th & December 3rd at both Parkway Place & Madison Square
Roll Tide Santa: December 5th 6-9pm at Parkway Place, November 21st 6-9pm at Madison Square
War Eagle Santa: November 21st 6-9pm at Parkway Place, December 5th 6-9pm at Madison Square
Sensitive Santa: Parkway Place will offer special sessions with Santa, by appointment only, for children with special needs who would benefit from softer lights and sounds at the photo set. Our Sensitive Santa will be much more soft spoken and we are happy to be able to offer all families a chance to enjoy the Magic of the Holiday Season through this program. To set up a special appointment before or after mall hours please e-mail Jana_Kuner@cblproperties.com.

Date/Time: November 10 – Christmas Eve
Location: Parkway Place Mall (map), Madison Square Mall (map)
Cost: Photo packages vary
More Info: www.parkwayplacemall.com / www.madisonsquaremall.com

Bridge Street Christmas Tree Lighting

The holiday season kicks-off at Bridge Street with the lighting of the 45-foot-tall Christmas tree. The tree features more than 30,000 white lights and festive-colored ornaments. The event will also feature music performed by school choirs and local musicians plus a visit by Santa and his elves. Throughout the season, Santa will be roaming the promenade dressed in Victorian garb, greeting shoppers and posing for photographs. Visitors are invited to bring their own cameras – professional photography is not available. Get Santa’s schedule HERE.

Dates/Times: Thursday, November 14th at 6:00PM
Location: Bridge Street Town Centre (map)
Cost: FREE
More Info: www.bridgestreethuntsville.com

Galaxy of Lights

Don’t miss North Alabama’s favorite holiday tradition! Galaxy of Lights is a holiday light spectacle featuring larger-than-life animated light displays. Galaxy of Lights is the perfect holiday treat for the young and young-at-heart. The entrance for Galaxy of Lights will be through their newly renovated front gate. This will be the entrance for both walking and driving nights. Santa will be visiting on each Walking Night at the Galaxy of Lights.

Dates/Times: Walking Nights: November 15-18, November 22-26. Dog Walking Nights: November 18 & 25
Location: Huntsville Botanical Gardens (map)
Cost: $6 Adult, $3.00 Child (3+), $1 Dog (dog-walking nights only)
More Info: www.hsvbg.org
Read our review of this event.

Mr. and Mrs. Clause at Kidventure

Get your child’s picture taken with Santa and let them run around like maniacs and come home tired and worn out. It’s a win/win! Kidventure will be hosting Santa and Mrs. Clause on Sunday, November 17 from 1-5PM. Admission will be half-price and photos are only $10. This is a professional Santa who brings his own beautiful backdrop, your photo is emailed to you and you can print as many copies as you wish! No reservations needed.

Dates/Times: Sunday, November 17th from 1-5PM
Location: 500 Lanier Road, Suite D, Madison (map)
Cost: $4.75 plus tax (children 2 and under FREE); $10 photos
More Info: www.kidventure.biz

Jingle Jump & Jam

Join Kidventure for breakfast with Santa to benefit Family Services Center. A very limited number of tickets will be available at the door. Santa will be on hand for photos. You may take your own photos or order them from the photographer at the event. Food provided by Atlanta Bread Company.

Dates/Times: Saturday, November 23 from 7:30AM – 9:30Am
Location: 500 Lanier Road, Suite D, Madison (map)
Cost: $12 each, includes breakfast & admission to Kidventure
More Info: Tickets MUST be purchased in advance at www.fsc-hsv.org. Call (256) 270-9990 for more info.

Santa’s Village

Another staple holiday event put on by Earlyworks, this one in conjunction with Constitution Village. If you buy a ticket to the Earlyworks Society’s Suppers with Santa, you get admission to Santa’s Village for free but you can also just buy tickets for this delightful event on its own. Young and old will delight in visiting the Claus’ house, Santa’s reindeer, the North Pole elves and chatting with Santa! Nightly snow shows, craft projects in the Toymaker’s Workshop, musical entertainment on the Tinsel Tunes Stage and shopping at the new Arts Marketplace, all add to the enchantment at the Village Santa calls home. NEW THIS YEAR: In Santa’s Magic Garden there’s a show you won’t want to miss! This magical garden will come to life right before your eyes – Christmas trees will talk and sing, while holiday lights magically keep up the beat!

Date/Time: November 29 – December 23, 5-9PM Nightly
Location: Constitution Village (map)
Cost: $20 per family (up to 5 people) or $5 per person. Children under 1 year free.
More Info: www.earlyworks.com
Read our review of this event.

Kris Kringle’s Candlelight Christmas

At this annual event the star-lit mountain will be mirrored by more than 600 candles, adding to the nostalgic feel of the holidays. Music will be heard throughout the mansion and the park; cider, cookies and tasty figgie pudding will keep us warm. Children can enjoy stringing cranberries and popcorn, making paper punch ornaments, creating handmade cards and icing cookies. The evening wouldn’t be complete without a visit with Kris Kringle. See Burritt on the Mountain transformed into a twinkling, winter wonderland!

Date/Time: December 6th and 7th, 4:30-9:00 PM
Location: Burritt On the Mountain (map)
Cost: $10 (adults); $9 (seniors and military); $8 (3-18); children two and under are FREE
More Info: Burritt’s Website
Read our review of this event.

Santa in the Park in Arab

Arab City Park is a must-see during the holiday season. Featuring more than 2 million lights, the park is ablaze with the magic and beauty of Christmas. Visitors can stroll along the sidewalks and pathways within the park. This event kicks off with a formal lighting ceremony at 6:00 PM on the Friday after Thanksgiving at the park gazebo. Santa Claus and his elves will make a special visit to Arab Historic Village. His toy shop will open Fridays and Saturdays for four weekends beginning November 29, 2013. Have your picture taken with Santa, make reindeer food, watch the work, enjoy cookies and juice in the Boyd House and listen to live music.

Dates/Times: Santa appears Friday, Decmber 6th from 6:00 – 9:00PM
Location: Arab Historic Village (map)
Cost: The park is free & open to the public, Santa visits are $5 each, Children 2 and under are free.
More Info: www.arab-chamber.org

“Christmas Now & Then”

This annual show at Calvary Assembly Church in Decatur not only features Santa, but dancing characters like Frosty the Snowman, The Grinch, Angels, Elves, Spiderman, VeggieTales, Disney characters, and a host of other children’s favorites in the elaborate production. It’s a character smorgasbord!

Date/Time: December 6-8 and December 13-15
Location: Calvary Assembly Church (map)
Cost: Tickets are general admission and can be purchased online in advance for $4 each
More Info: Christmas Now & then Website
Read our review of this event.

Pictures with Santa

The North Alabama Educators Credit Union is hosting a “Pictures with Santa” day at their main office location. RSVP via email at loanclerk@naecu.org or by telephone at 256-534-2423 to schedule your appointment time. You can feel good about this photo shoot – all proceeds benefit Crisis Services of North Alabama! www.naecu.org/pictureswithsanta.html

Date/Time: Saturday, December 7th from 9AM-1PM
Location: North Alabama Educators Credit Union (map)
Cost: Photo packages vary
More Info: www.naecu.org

Santa Train

“Santa Claus is coming to town!” And he’s riding our train! Join an annual tradition at the North Alabama Railroad Museum as we bring Santa aboard our excursion train! Every child aboard will have the opportunity to visit with Santa and tell him everything on their wish list. Parents and children alike share smiles and laughs with Jolly St. Nick as the train clickety-clacks along the track. After the ride, each child will receive a special treat. The Gift Shop will be detached from the train, so come early or stay late and get all your gifts & stocking stuffers for Christmas! These excursions are very popular, so make your reservations early to ensure you and your children have a seat on our train! These train rides last 40 minutes and run at 10, 11, 1, 2 and 3 PM. Due to limited seating, reservations are recommended and may be made by calling the museum at (256) 851-6276 or buy yours online.

Date/Time: December 7th,8th, and 14th
Location: North Alabama Railroad Museum (map)
Cost: First-class seats are $25 each (offers a drink, cookies for children and has a dedicated Santa Claus), Coach seats are $15
More Info: www.northalabamarailroadmuseum.com
Read our review of this event.

Suppers with Santa

This popular Huntsville fundraiser sponsored by the Earlyworks Society includes a child-friendly meal and a seat at each table reserved for Santa to drop by and wish you a hearty Ho Ho Ho! When Santa’s not at your table, one of his many friends will drop by to say hello. After dinner, head over to Santa’s Village to visit with the reindeer, hear a story from Mrs. Claus, and enjoy the snowfall while listening to our entertainers performing holiday classics (and you can visit with Santa there, too!). Tickets go on sale NOVEMBER 1st online only – they go FAST!

Date/Time: December 2nd-5th, seatings at 4:30PM and 6:00PM each night
Location: Earlyworks Children’s Museum Grand Hall (map)
Cost: Tickets are $12 each and are required for anyone above the age of one year. INcludes admission to Santa’s Village.
More Info: Earlyworks Website
Read our review of this event.

Santa Brunch

Huntsville families are invited to join Santa for a Holiday Brunch at the Garden! Clementine’s will cater the event and children will get a chance to sit on Santa’s lap for a picture so be sure to bring your camera! There will also be a holiday craft and face painting for little ones to enjoy. Reservations are required, call (256) 830-4447 ext 232 or book online.

Date/Time: Saturday, December 14th at 9:30AM and 11:30AM
Location: Huntsville Botanical Gardens (map)
Cost: For members, the cost is $15 per person. For non-members, the cost is $15 per person plus Garden admission. Children 2 and under are free but please add them to your reservation so HBG can have an accurate count.
More Info: Huntsville Botanical Gardens Website

Christmas Magic in Downtown Madison

After the annual city parade at 5:30 PM, a lighted Christmas tree village will surround the downtown Madison gazebo this holiday season as part of effort to boost holiday activities around Main Street. The Madison Rotary Club will serve cookies & hot chocolate, and Mr. & Mrs. Clause will make an appearance for photos and visits with the children. More information about the parade and the Christmas Tree Village HERE.

Dates/Times: Saturday, December 14th from 5:30 – 9:00PM
Location: Downtown Madison (map)
Cost: Free to attend & observe

Narnia: A Christmas Ballet

Father Christmas himself will make an appearance in this contemporary ballet production and take professional photos by Olive Photography in the lobby before the performance. Steps of Faith Performing Arts Center invites you to come enjoy this newly created ballet with some of this holiday’s most loved characters. Join Lucy, Peter, Edmund, and Susan as they journey through the wardrobe into the adventurous Narnia, and fight the White Witch and her minions! Purchase tickets online at www.mystepsoffaith.com.

Date/Time: Saturday, December 14th, 2:00PM and 7:00PM
Location: Lee High School Auditorium (map)
Cost: $10 for all seats
More Info: www.mystepsoffaith.com

“A Seussified Christmas Carol”

A whimsical reinvention of Dickens’ most beloved Christmas story in wacky rhymed couplets. With zoot-fruited juices and binka bird geese, from Bed-Headed Fred to Timmy Loo Hoo, this tale of glorious holiday cheer is similar to something Dr. Seuss might have come up with – if he ever had his way with the story! Performed by the students of All Things Theatrical, Inc.

Date/Time: Friday, December 20 at 2:00 PM and 6:00 PM
Location: Von Braun Center Playhouse
Cost: General Admission Tickets are $8 for all ages above 2
More Info: Tickets may be purchased ONLINE at www.allthingstheatricalinc.com or by calling 256.683.8179

WATCH

Here you’ll find parades, pageants, plays, tree lightings and the like. Some of these events are free and some require tickets, but they are all sure to put you in the Holiday mood.

Galaxy of Lights (photo via huntsvillepr.com)

Bridge Street Christmas Tree Lighting

The holiday season kicks-off at Bridge Street with the lighting of the 45-foot-tall Christmas tree. The tree features more than 30,000 white lights and festive-colored ornaments. The event will also feature music performed by school choirs and local musicians plus a visit by Santa and his elves. More details will be announced soon.

Dates/Times: Thursday, November 14th at 6:00PM
Location: Bridge Street Town Centre (map)
Cost: FREE
More Info: www.bridgestreethuntsville.com

Galaxy of Lights

Don’t miss North Alabama’s favorite holiday tradition! Galaxy of Lights is a holiday light spectacle featuring larger-than-life animated light displays. Galaxy of Lights is the perfect holiday treat for the young and young-at-heart. The entrance for Galaxy of Lights will be through their newly renovated front gate. This will be the entrance for both walking and driving nights. Santa will be visiting on each Walking Night at the Galaxy of Lights.

Dates/Times: Walking Nights: November 15-18, November 22-26. Dog Walking Nights: November 18 & 25
Location: Huntsville Botanical Gardens (map)
Cost: $6 Adult, $3.00 Child (3+), $1 Dog (dog-walking nights only)
More Info: www.hsvbg.org
Read our review of this event.

Tinsel Trail in Downtown Huntsville

The 3rd annual Downtown 47 Tinsel Trail is a display of live Christmas trees in downtown Huntsville for one month, kicking off with a tree lighting at dusk on November 29, 2013 from 6:00-8:00PM. Over 200 live trees will decorate the center of Big Spring Park East for the holiday season! Intended to attract visitors to the downtown area, each tree will be sponsored by a local corporation, group or family, and decorated by its sponsor. RETURNING THIS YEAR: Ice Skating at Huntsville’s own “Rocket-fella Center”, right in the middle of the Tinsel Trail!

Dates/Times: November 29 – January 1
Location: Big Spring Park, Huntsville (map)
Cost: Free to stroll
More Info: www.tinseltrail.wordpress.com
Read our review of this event here.

Lighting of the Menorah

This annual Jewish ceremony will be conducted by Rabbi Laibel Berkowitz of the Chabad Jewish Center of North Alabama. The event features: Hot latkes and cider, Sufganiyot (doughnuts), children’s activities, Pavement Performers, Dreidels and Gelt, a Raffle, and lots of Music and entertainment.

Dates/Times: Sunday, December 1st at 4:30 PM
Location: Bridge Street Town Center, South Stage (near the Apple store) (map)
Cost: Free to attend
More Info: Bridge Street Website

Decatur Christmas Parade

The parade starts at 6PM in downtown Decatur, with this year’s theme being “A Christmas Story”. We are sure to see many leg lamps, pink bunnies, and of course, Ralphie’s beloved Red Ryder b.b. gun. We can’t wait to see the floats this year! At 7PM (immediately following the parade) there will be a free showing of Holiday Inn at the Princess Theater.

Dates/Times: Monday, December 2nd, 6:00PM, movie at 7:00PM
Location: Downtown Decatur (map)
Cost: Free
More Info: www.princesstheatre.org

Holiday Trains & Open House

A Huntsville tradition for kids of all ages, Southerland Station has a spectacular holiday display by the Lego Train Club & Plastic Modelers Club in addition to antique trains & erector sets. This Open House includes activities for children to make & take, a magic show, door prizes, drinks, popcorn & a visit from Hello Kitty.

Dates/Times: December 7th from 9am to 5pm, December 8th 1pm to 5pm
Location: Southerland Station (map)
Cost: Free to attend
More Info: www.southerlandstation.com

“Snow Day” (Dance Your Dreams and Project Up!)

Jack Frost has been working overtime and is filling the Merrimack Hall stage with the magical, childlike wonder that can only come from a snow day! And those northern winds are also blowing in a very special cast and crew to help us get ready for the season. A celebration of the spirit of the holidays, this show is a snowstorm of talent from the remarkable students in Dance Your Dreams! and Project UP.

Dates/Times: Thursday, December 5th at 7:00PM, Friday, December 6th at 7:00PM
Location: Merrimack Hall (map)
Cost: All tickets $20
More Info: www.merrimackhall.com/snowday

Mr. Grumpy’s Toy Shoppe

Just in time for the holidays, the Academy Children’s Theatre presents a fun, festive, musical extravaganza highlighting the spirit of the season with a heartwarming story of love and joy. This exciting production is brought to life by AAA students every four years, and features a massive cast of over 300 performers. The colorful costumes and set will fill the theatre and create a holiday memory your family will not soon forget!

Dates/Times: Friday, December 6th at 7PM; Sunday, December 8th at 2PM; Monday, December 9th at 6PM
Location: Academy for Academics and Arts Theater (map)
Cost: $6 per student, $10 per adult
More Info: Call (256)457-3291 or visit www.aaamagnet.org

The Nutcracker: A Yuletide Ballet by the Alabama Youth Ballet

Alabama Youth Ballet Theatre, under the artistic direction of David Herriott and Keren Gibb Hilliard, presents The Nutcracker, A Yuletide Ballet, in the holiday tradition that Huntsville has loved for over 40 years. From the moment the lights dim, you will be transported to a magical holiday wonderland filled with adorable children, dancing dolls, marching toy soldiers, mischievous mice, sparkling snowflakes, and the delicious Land of Sweets. Tickets can be purchased online at www.huntsvillenutcracker.com.

Dates/Times: Friday, December 6th at 7:30PM; Saturday, December 7th at 2PM and 7:30PM; and Sunday, September 8th at 2:00PM
Location: Lee High School Auditorium (map)
Cost: Adults $16, Students/Seniors/Military $12, Groups Of 20 Or More $14/$10
More Info: www.huntsvillenutcracker.com

Fantasy Playhouse’s A Christmas Carol

In this musical retelling of Charles Dickens’ classic novel, you will travel with Scrooge as he visits his past, present, and future on Christmas Eve. This production has become a family tradition for many in the Tennessee Valley. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling 256-539-6829.

Dates/Times: December 6-8 and December 12-15
Location: VBC Playhouse (map)
Cost: $14.00 – $20.00
More Info: www.letthemagicbegin.org 256-539-6829
Read our review of the show here.

Huntsville Christmas Parade

Always the first Saturday in December, Huntsville celebrates the beginning of Christmas with a huge downtown parade that features the arrival of Santa Claus. The parade is sponsored by Channel 31 WAAY-TV and is televised. The theme this year is “A Charlie Brown Christmas”.

Dates/Times: Saturday, December 7th at Noon
Location: Downtown Huntsville (map)
Cost: Free to attend
More Info: www.waaytv.com

Scottsboro Christmas Parade

This annual spectacle is scheduled to move through downtown Scottsboro. Line-up will start at 4:30 PM in front of Collins Elementary School on Legion Drive, off South Broad Street.

Dates/Times: Monday, December 7th at 5:00PM
Location: From Broad Street to downtown Scottsboro (map)
Cost: FREE
More Info: Phone 256-259-5500 or E-mail tourjackson@scottsboro.org

“Best Christmas Pageant Ever” by Grissom High School Theatre

The Herdmans are the worst kids in the history of the world. They lie, steal, smoke cigars, swear, and hit little kids. So no one is prepared when this outlaw family invades church one Sunday and decides to take over the annual Christmas pageant. None of the Herdmans has ever heard the Christmas story before. Their interpretation of the tale — the Wise Men are a bunch of dirty spies and Herod needs a good beating — has a lot of people up in arms. But it will make this year’s pageant the most unusual anyone has seen and, just possibly, the best one ever.

Dates/Times: December 9th and 10th, 7:00PM
Location: Grissom High School (map)
Cost: Tickets $5 each
More Info: www.grissomtheatre.org

The Nutcracker by the Huntsville Ballet Company

This annual parade featuring music, floats, and lots of holiday spirit has an “O Christmas Tree” theme this year. Call 256.772.9300 for more information.

Dates/Times: Friday December 13, 7:30PM; Saturday December 14, 2:00PM and 7:30PM; Sunday, December 15, 1:00PM
Location: VBC’s Mark C. Smith Concert Hall (map)
Cost: Tickets $23-$30
More Info: (256) 539-0961 www.huntsvilleballetcompany.org
Read our review of this show here.

Narnia: A Christmas Ballet

Father Christmas himself will make an appearance in this contemporary ballet production and take professional photos by Olive Photography in the lobby before the performance. Steps of Faith Performing Arts Center invites you to come enjoy this newly created ballet with some of this holiday’s most loved characters. Join Lucy, Peter, Edmund, and Susan as they journey through the wardrobe into the adventurous Narnia, and fight the White Witch and her minions! Purchase tickets online at www.mystepsoffaith.com.

Date/Time: Saturday, December 14th, 2:00PM and 7:00PM
Location: Lee High School Auditorium (map)
Cost: $10 for all seats
More Info: www.mystepsoffaith.com
Read our review of this show.

Nutcracker on Ice

This is the sixth year for this wonderful adaptation of The Nutcracker. The show is performed by local skaters from the Huntsville Skating School and Training Academy and the Skating Club of Huntsville and includes skaters ranging in age from 5 to 55.

Dates/Times: Saturday, December 14 at 5:30PM
Location: Municipal Ice Complex (map)
Cost: $10 Seniors/Child, $15 Adults
More Info: www.iceskate.org or call 256-883-3774
Read our review of this event.

Spirit of Christmas Past Homes Tour

Luminary bags glow along the streets in the historic Twickenham neighborhood and guests are invited inside homes included in the Spirit of Christmas Past Homes Tour. Enjoy music, entertainment, and each home beautifully decorated with traditional holiday decor. Advance Home Tour tickets & maps are available at Marie’s Hallmark on Pratt Avenue, Railroad Station Antiques on Jefferson Street, Hartlex Antiques & Interiors on Hughes Road, The Weeden House Museum on Gates Avenue, The Greenery on U.S. 431 South & at each home during the tour.

Dates/Times: Saturday, December 14th from 5:00 – 9:00PM
Location: Twickenham Historic District (map)
Cost: TBD

Christmas Magic in Downtown Madison

After the annual city parade at 5:30 PM, a lighted Christmas tree village will surround the downtown Madison gazebo this holiday season as part of effort to boost holiday activities around Main Street. The Madison Rotary Club will serve cookies & hot chocolate, and Mr. & Mrs. Clause will make an appearance for photos and visits with the children. More information about the parade and the Christmas Tree Village HERE.

Dates/Times: Saturday, December 14th from 5:30 – 9:00PM
Location: Downtown Madison (map)
Cost: Free to attend & observe

“Sanders Family Christmas”

The Sanders Family is back in Sanders Family Christmas. Players from Renaissance Theatre return to Mount Pleasant, North Carolina, on Christmas Eve of 1941. Reverend Oglethorpe has invited the Sanders to the Baptist Church to sing and witness, thereby getting the congregation into the down-home holiday spirit before the boys, including one of the Sanders’ own, ship off to World War II. The Congregation will hear more than two-dozen Christmas carols, many of them vintage hymns, and hilarious yuletide stories from the more or less devout Sanders family members. The play is set in a church which makes the Old Country Church perfect as the venue!

Dates/Times: December 18-22 at 7:00PM; December 21 & 22 at 2:30PM
Location: Burritt on the Mountain’s Old Country Church (map)
Cost: $20 per seat
More Info: www.burrittonthemountain.com or call 256-536-2882

“A Seussified Christmas Carol”

All Things Theatrical, Inc. invites you to the debut of their new Christmas show, “A Seussified Christmas Carol” by Peter Bloedel, directed by Diann Dowdy. Please come out a see a fantastic group of talented kids put on a very funny show! This show is a whimsical reinvention of Dickens’ most beloved Christmas story in wacky rhymed couplets. With zoot fruited juices and binka bird geese, from Bed-Headed Fred to Timmy Loo Hoo, this tale of glorious holiday cheer is similar to something Dr. Seuss might have come up with – if he ever had his way with the story. A perfect holiday outing for the whole family!

Dates/Times: December 20th at 2:00 PM & 6:00 PM
Location: VBC Playhouse (map)
Cost: $8 per seat
More Info: www.allthingstheatricalinc.com or call 256-683-8179.

LISTEN

Christmas and Holiday concerts, caroling, sing-a-longs and such are listed here. Many of these events are free and open to the public but if you plan to go and want a good seat, get there early. Many of these events are Huntsville traditions and there WILL be a crowd.

The Living Christmas Tree (Photo via First Baptist Church Huntsville)

Rocket City Tuba Christmas

More than 40 tuba, sousaphone, baritone & euphonium players from across North Alabama will perform traditional Christmas carols & songs of the season at this 16th annual concert. Free and open to the public, but this is a popular and much anticipated event and seating is limited! Doors open at 2:30PM.

Dates/Times: Sunday, December 1st, from 3:00 – 4:00PM
Location: Front steps of the Huntsville Museum of Art (map)
Cost: Free, but arrive early for a seat
More Info: www.tubachristmas.com

Heritage Ringers Annual Christmas Concert

The Heritage Ringers of Huntsville, a non-profit community concert handbell choir, will present its annual Christmas concert which includes Christmas favorites & original works for handbells.

Dates/Times: Monday, December 2nd from 7:00 – 8:00PM
Location: Trinity United Methodist Church (map)
Cost: Free and open to the public, with donations put toward the purchase of music and equipment.
More Info: www.heritageringers.org

Madison Community Band Christmas Concert

The Madison Community Band presents its annual Christmas Concert where you’ll hear medleys, carols, and songs of the season. Kids will love to sing along!

Dates/Times: Tuesday, December 3rd at 7:00PM
Location: Grace United Methodist Church (map)
Cost: Free & open to the public
More Info: Madison Community Band Website

The Forgotten Carols Christmas Musical

The Forgotten Carols is the story of a non-believer nurse who is sent to care for an old man at Christmas. He tells her he’s been around since the time of Jesus and sings “forgotten carols” from people he has known. At first she thinks he’s crazy but over time she confronts her past and begins to find the forgotten carol in her heart!

Dates/Times: Thursday, December 5th from 7:00 – 9:00PM
Location: Asbury Methodist Church, Madison (map)
Cost: $15 adults, $10 seniors and children, $13 groups of 10 or more
More Info: www.asburyumcmadison.com

“A Celtic Christmas” with Huntsville Community Chorus

Once again HCC present a lively program of Celtic music, featuring Huntsville’s own Slip Jig whose music comes from the traditions of Ireland, Scotland, and other Celtic lands, and spans a range of styles from high-energy jigs and reels to ancient air and ballads. In addition to Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on Christmas Carols, TheChorus lends its 175 voices to join in Celtic song for a stirring holiday program for the whole family.

Dates/Times: December 6th at 7:30PM
Location: First Baptist Church Sanctuary (map)
Cost: $18 each
More Info: www.thechorus.org or call (256)533-6606

Kris Kringle’s Candlelight Christmas

At this annual event the star-lit mountain will be mirrored by more than 600 candles, adding to the nostalgic feel of the holidays. Music will be heard throughout the mansion and the park; cider, cookies and tasty figgie pudding will keep us warm. Children can enjoy stringing cranberries and popcorn, making paper punch ornaments, creating handmade cards and icing cookies. The evening wouldn’t be complete without a visit with Kris Kringle. See Burritt on the Mountain transformed into a twinkling, winter wonderland!

Date/Time: December 6th, 4:30-9:00 PM
Location: Burritt On the Mountain (map)
Cost: $2 (Burritt members); $9 (adults); $8 (seniors and military); $6 (13-17); $5 (3-12); children two and under are FREE
More Info: Burritt’s Website
Read our review of this event.

Christmas Concert In the Library

U.S. Army Four Star Jazz Orchestra & The Rocket City Jazz Orchestra play Christmas favorites

Dates/Times: Saturday, December 7, 7:00 – 9:00PM
Location: Huntsville Public Library (map)
Cost: Free & open to the public
More Info: www.hmcpl.org

“The Living Christmas Tree” with special guests, Committed

Voted Best Holiday Event by readers of the Huntsville Times in 2009, this Huntsville tradition is now in its 29th year. Tickets will be available online beginning November 28 and will be available by calling the church at (256) 428-9422. Tickets are free of charge but a ticket is required for admittance and will be honored up until 15 minutes before the presentation.

Dates/Times: December 19-22 Times listed here.
Location: First Baptist Church, Huntsville (map)
Cost: Free
More Info: (256) 428-9422 www.fbchsv.org/lct/
Read our review of this event.

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PLAY

When the weather gets cold children get restless. Listed here are seasonal events that let you stretch your legs and shake the sillies out. Run! Jump! Laugh! and Play this holiday season.

Ice-Skate in Big Spring Park

ICE is coming back to Huntsville! Get ready to lace up your skates at Huntsville’s first outdoor ice skating rink — our very own version of “Rocket-fella” Center. Bring your family and friends beginning November 21 through January 5, and experience a magical winter land right in downtown Huntsville.

Dates/Times: November 21, 2013 – January 5, 2014
Skating Hours:
Monday – Thursday: 2:00 – 10:00PM
Friday: 2:00PM – Midnight
Saturday: 10AM – Midnight
Sunday: Noon – 8:00PM
Location: Big Spring Park / Huntsville Museum of Art (map)
Cost: $10 per person skating; $3 per person skate rental; 10 or more people $8 per person
More Info: www.hsvmuseum.org or call 256-535-4350, ext. 208
Read our review of this event.

Tinsel Trail in Downtown Huntsville

The 3rd annual Downtown 47 Tinsel Trail is a display of live Christmas trees in downtown Huntsville for one month, kicking off with a tree lighting at dusk on November 29, 2013. Over 200 live trees will decorate the center of Big Spring Park East for the holiday season! Intended to attract visitors to the downtown area, each tree will be sponsored by a local corporation, group or family, and decorated by its sponsor. RETURNING THIS YEAR: Ice Skating at Huntsville’s own “Rocket-fella Center”, right in the middle of the Tinsel Trail!

Dates/Times: November 29 – January 1
Location: Big Spring Park, Huntsville (map)
Cost: Free to stroll
More Info: www.tinseltrail.wordpress.com
Read our review of this event here.

Galaxy of Lights

Don’t miss North Alabama’s favorite holiday tradition! Galaxy of Lights is a holiday light spectacle featuring larger-than-life animated light displays. Galaxy of Lights is the perfect holiday treat for the young and young-at-heart. The entrance for Galaxy of Lights will be through their newly renovated front gate. This will be the entrance for both walking and driving nights. Santa will be visiting on each Walking Night at the Galaxy of Lights.

Dates/Times: Walking Nights: November 15-18, November 22-26. Dog Walking Nights: November 18 & 25
Location: Huntsville Botanical Gardens (map)
Cost: $6 Adult, $3.00 Child (3+), $1 Dog (dog-walking nights only)
More Info: www.hsvbg.org
Read our review of this event.

Santa’s Village

Another staple holiday event put on by Earlyworks, this one in conjunction with Constitution Village. If you buy a ticket to the Earlyworks Society’s Suppers with Santa, you get admission to Santa’s Village for free but you can also just buy tickets for this delightful event on its own. Young and old will delight in visiting the Claus’ house, Santa’s reindeer, the North Pole elves and chatting with Santa! Nightly snow shows, craft projects in the Toymaker’s Workshop, musical entertainment on the Tinsel Tunes Stage and shopping at the new Arts Marketplace, all add to the enchantment at the Village Santa calls home. NEW THIS YEAR: In Santa’s Magic Garden there’s a show you won’t want to miss! This magical garden will come to life right before your eyes – Christmas trees will talk and sing, while holiday lights magically keep up the beat!

Date/Time: November 29 – December 23, 5-9PM Nightly
Location: Constitution Village (map)
Cost: $20 per family (up to 5 people) or $5 per person. Children under 1 year free.
More Info: www.earlyworks.com
Read our review of this event.

Kris Kringle’s Candlelight Christmas

At this annual event the star-lit mountain will be mirrored by more than 600 candles, adding to the nostalgic feel of the holidays. Music will be heard throughout the mansion and the park; cider, cookies and tasty figgie pudding will keep us warm. Children can enjoy stringing cranberries and popcorn, making paper punch ornaments, creating handmade cards and icing cookies. The evening wouldn’t be complete without a visit with Kris Kringle. See Burritt on the Mountain transformed into a twinkling, winter wonderland!

Date/Time: December 6th, 4:30-9:00 PM
Location: Burritt On the Mountain (map)
Cost: $2 (Burritt members); $9 (adults); $8 (seniors and military); $6 (13-17); $5 (3-12); children two and under are FREE
More Info: Burritt’s Website
Read our review of this event.

Santa in the Park in Arab

Arab City Park is a must-see during the holiday season. Featuring more than 2 million lights, the park is ablaze with the magic and beauty of Christmas. Visitors can stroll along the sidewalks and pathways within the park. This event kicks off with a formal lighting ceremony at 6:00 PM on the Friday after Thanksgiving at the park gazebo. Santa Claus and his elves will make a special visit to Arab Historic Village. His toy shop will open Fridays and Saturdays for four weekends beginning November 29, 2013. Have your picture taken with Santa, make reindeer food, watch the work, enjoy cookies and juice in the Boyd House and listen to live music.

Dates/Times: Santa appears Friday, Decmber 6th from 6:00 – 9:00PM
Location: Arab Historic Village (map)
Cost: The park is free & open to the public, Santa visits are $5 each, Children 2 and under are free.
More Info: www.arab-chamber.org

Kid’s Gingerbread Workshop

Bring the kids for a little holiday fun! Children age 5 and up will be able to make their very own hand-decorated Gingerbread House. Each child is asked to bring an adult along to share in the fun. You are also welcome to bring any specialty candies you like. Seating is limited in the workshop and slots are sure to fill up fast. Reserve your spot online soon! Sorry no refunds or cancellations less than 72 hours prior to the event.

Dates/Times: Saturday, December 7, 2013, 9:30 – 11:30am
Location: Huntsville Botanical Gardens (map)
Cost: $20 members, $25 Non-members
More Info: www.hsvbg.org or call 256-837-4104 to make reservations

GIVE

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” ― Charles Dickens

caregiver

Christmas Charities Year Round

Christmas Charities Year Round (CCYR) is a non-profit, charitable organization that has served Madison County, AL since 1949, providing basic necessities year round, plus toys and food during the Christmas season, at no cost to clients.

Website: www.christmascharitiesyearround.org

FOCAL Foster Children’s Alliance

FOCAL assists foster children and families with resources to provide the many needs of children that cannot be obtained other ways. FOCAL receives no United Way assistance, no budget from the city, county or state. Every dollar spent on foster children is raised privately and all the money raised is spent on the children. NOTE: Their greatest need at the holidays is for the sponsorship of teens.

Contact: FocalofMadison@gmail.com
Website: www.focalofmadison.com

Holiday Wishes Program

The United Way of Madison County and Alabama Media Group are once again partnering for the Holiday Wishes Program. Now in its 16th year, the program has a goal of assisting more Madison County residents this year than ever before. You can help by “adopting” a wish and bringing items to the United Way office at 701 Andrew Jackson Way in Huntsville. The United Way asks that only new items be donated.

Contact: (256) 536-0745
Website: www.madisoncountycares.org

Huntsville Assistance Program

The Huntsville Assistance Program is a group of Christian congregations who desire to provide a ministry of assistance and referrals to needy individuals and families of Madison County, Alabama. This ministry focuses on the non-homeless and strives to achieve its mission by the pooling of volunteers, information, and financial resources of its members.

Contact: 256-539-2320 or hapcentral@att.net
Website: www.huntsvilleassistanceprogram.org

Kids to Love

Each year Kids to Love provides Christmas presents to foster children who might otherwise not receive anything. You can help in a variety of ways including sponsoring a wish list, adopting an ornament, donating individual items, donating money, and/or volunteering at one of their gift wrapping stations.

Contact: 256-880-3455
Website: www.kidstolove.org

Lincoln Village Ministries

Lincoln Village Ministry’s focus is to give the gift of hope. There are numerous ways you can support the work in Lincoln Village. Visit their website for a list of opportunities or email their coordinator to discuss other options and or resources you might be able to offer.
Contact: (256) 701-4303 or info@lincolnvillageministry.com
Website: www.lincolnvillageministry.com

New Hope Children’s Clinic

New Hope Children’s Clinic is a school based health clinic created to increase the access to medical care for the underserved student population of South Eastern Madison County. The New Hope Children’s Clinic will break barriers, change lives, and give hope to children through local, low cost healthcare. Information about making tax-deductible donations or volunteering can be found on their website.
Contact: Debra Rowles, 256-723-4673
Website: www.newhopechildrensclinic.org

Manna House

Manna House is a 501(c)3 Public Charity that provides food assistance to those in need. They are supported by contributions from individuals, churches, civic groups, and businesses. While some food is donated and locally grown, most is purchased for our their programs. You can help serve meals & distribute clothes, toiletries, and other much-needed items three days a week. They always need baby items: diapers, wipes, pull-ups, baby food, and baby clothes. Find out how to volunteer with your family at Manna House here.
Contact: Fran Fluhler, Director; fran.mannahouse@gmail.com; 256-653-7883 or 256-503-4848
Website: www.therockfwc.org/mannahouse

Salvation Army Angel Tree

The Salvation Army begins to schedule holiday volunteers in September. People who enjoy helping others to have a bright holiday season like that experienced by their families should consider becoming a Salvation Army holiday volunteer. Families can adopt angels from the Angel Tree from November 8-December 10, 2013 in person or online. NOTE: One of the best opportunities to volunteer as a family is at the Angel Tree booths located at both Parkway Place and Madison Square Malls. Find out how to volunteer with your family at the Salvation Army here.
Website: www.salvationarmyhuntsville.org
Contact: Lydia Pennington, Volunteer Coordinator, 256.536.5576

Contact: Lydia Pennington at 256-536-5576 x 14.
Website: www.uss.salvationarmy.org

Toys for Tots

The mission of the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the community in which the campaign is conducted. All Publix and Walgreens stores along with Toys ‘ R Us serve as drop-off locations in Huntsville/Madison. More locations can be found on the website. NOTE: Each year there is a special need for toys for children ges 0-3 and 12-13 year olds.

Contact: Staff Sergeant Michael Williams at michael.b.williams3@usmc.mil or 256-425-4583
Website: www.huntsville-al.toysfortots.org

12 DAYS OF GIVEAWAYS

This year is our third annual “12 Days of Giveaways” and each year is bigger and better than the last. Check www.rocketcitymom.com each week to enter to win passes for your family to the best holiday events in town.

We’re celebrating the holidays in our favorite way – with FREE stuff!

Below are just a few of the events you and your family could win tickets to this holiday season. Each day of the 12 Days (marked on our calendar) we’ll be doing at least one giveaway and sometimes several! Stay tuned as we add more events and more tickets. Click here for current giveaways.

  • Suppers with Santa at Earlyworks
  • Dino Train by Broadway Theatre League
  • Disney on Ice by Feld Entertainment
  • Santa Train at North Alabama Railroad Museum
  • Galaxy of Lights at the Huntsville Botanical Gardens
  • “A Christmas Carol” by Fantasy Playhouse
  • Ice Skating in Big Spring Park with Dinner at Pane e Vino
  • Kris Kringle’s Candlelight Christmas at Burritt
  • Photo Packages with Santa at Parkway and Madison Square Mall
  • Narnia Christmas Ballet from Steps of Faith Performing Arts Center
  • AND MUCH MORE!!!

 

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