2017 Holiday Activities for the Whole Family in Huntsville and North Alabama

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.

For more holiday fun including all the places to hear music, catch Santa, watch holiday plays, cavort with holiday cheerfulness and just plain get in the holiday spirit, visit the main page of our comprehensive 2017 Holiday Happenings Guide sponsored by the Galaxy of Lights at Huntsville Botanical Garden. 

ON THE GO? Keep all of our Holiday Guides and our full Event Calendar at your fingertips with our free Explore Huntsville app. It’s available on iTunes & Google Play and will help make your spirit bright!


Blue Pants Bonfire

Join us in celebrating fall with a fun Blue Pants Bonfire experience. There will be fun festive fall brews, hot cider, hot cocoa; then of course house liquours to add to your cider or hot chocolate for the adults. Beast Mode will be serving dinner. Come for a relaxing fun Friday night of bonfires, food, booze, and chill music. Picture this: hay bails, cozy blankets, warm fire, warm cocktails or festive beer, amazing food, marshmallow roasting/s’mores, and good old fashion conversation with your friends and family.
Dates/Times: Nov. 10 | 4PM-Midnight
Location: Blue Pants Brewery (map)
Cost: FREE to attend; food and drink for purchase
More InfoFacebook

Mommy & Me Nutcracker Tea

Put on your FANCIEST clothes and join Alabama Youth Ballet Theatre for a “High Tea” with the Sugar Plum Fairy, Nutcracker, and many more as we welcome in the 2017 Holiday Season! Reservations are mandatory, as this event has limited seating; please make sure you choose your seat when you reserve online.
Dates/Times: Nov. 11th | 10AM
Location: 1405 Weatherly Plaza (map)
Cost: $10 each
More Infowww.alabamayouthballet.org

Galaxy of LightsGalaxy of Lights Cover

Galaxy of Lights is a holiday light extravaganza featuring larger-than-life animated light displays. See Santa soaring over a delightful winter village. Nursery rhyme characters dance and frolic among traditional scenes of the season. And, best of all, experience the magic of the twinkling icicle forest. Galaxy of Lights is the perfect holiday treat for the young and young-at-heart. There are some BIG changes coming this year, including an additional Walking Night (November 16) and closure for Thanksgiving (November 23) to give volunteers and staff a day to spend with their families and friends before we begin the 39 driving nights. With the entire route being paved and new sidewalks and bridges around the new Guest Center, walking this year will be easier. There will also be a special inaugural “Bike the Lights” event, when the course welcomes riders to decorate their bike and wind through the 1.8 mile paved Galaxy of Lights trail. The traditional Hot Chocolate and Spirited Coffee tents will still be available for visitors. Come and enjoy the sights and sounds of the holiday season with Galaxy’s nearly 200 displays!  Donations of coats, gloves, blankets and canned goods are accepted and will allow $1 off the driving night gate price.
Walking Nights: Nov. 10-13, Nov. 16-21. Dog Walking Nights: Nov. 13 & 20
Bike Night: Nov. 14
Driving Nights: Nov. 24 – Dec. 31 (closed Nov. 27 & 28 for Galaxy Runs)
Location: Huntsville Botanical Gardens (map)
Cost: Adults $6 members/$7 nonmembers, Children $3 members/$4 nonmembers; Dogs $1; Bike night $15 kids 12 and under/$20 adults; Driving nights $25/vehicle (some nights are discounted to $20)
More Info: www.hsvbg.org
RCM Review Walking Nights | RCM Review Driving Nights

Skating in the Park

skatingintheparkICE 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 17 through January 7, and experience a magical winter land right in downtown Huntsville.
Dates/Times: Nov. 17 – Jan. 7
Skating Hours:
Monday – Thursday: 4PM – 9PM
Friday: 4PM – Midnight
Saturday: 10AM – Midnight
Sunday: 12PM – 8PM
Location: Big Spring Park / Huntsville Museum of Art (map)
Cost: $10 (ages 10+), $5 (ages 9 and under), $5 skate rental
More Info: www.hsvmuseum.org | 256-529-7995

WinterFest 2017

Lindsay Lane Christian Academy will be hosting their annual WinterFest Holiday Marketplace and Carnival on November 17th from 4-8PM at Lindsay Lane Baptist Church. During this event, we will honor community heroes and have a live and silent auction, vendors for convenient holiday shopping, bouncers, carnival rides & games, horse rides, face painting, karaoke, hotdogs & hamburgers, smores, Kona Ice and a fabulous bake sale! We’ll also be making encouraging cards for all the military branches.
Dates/Times: Nov. 17th from 4-8PM
Location: 1300 Lindsay Lane, Athens (map)
Cost: FREE
More Info: www.lindsaylanechristianacademy.org

31st Annual Athens Christmas Open Housechristmas athens skating

The Greater Limestone County Chamber of Commerce and Athens Main Street is proud to announce the 31st Annual Christmas Open House event in Downtown Athens, whose 2017 theme is “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”. Enjoy ice skating on the square, which includes Christmas tunes plus real snow at the top of every hour. Enjoy live performances from Tom McClung, the Jimmy Henderson Trio, and the Athens High School Chorus – plus shop the Merry Market (and get complimentary gift wrapping) at the Athens State University Center for Lifelong Learning. There will even be a few visits from Santa on Saturday and Sunday from 2-4PM! Don’t miss the Christmas Light Show on Saturday night at 8PM.
Dates/Times: Nov. 17, 4-8PM; Nov. 18, 11AM-8PM; Nov. 19, 1-4PM
Location: Downtown Athens (map)
Cost: FREE to attend; $5 to ice skate
More Info: www.visitathensal.com

A Family Friendly History of the Winter Solstice Yule Tree

For a fun and festive Sunday afternoon project, help us decorate a tree to feed birds and squirrels at Huntsville Botanical Garden! This hands-on Do It Yourself class will include the history of Yule trees, tips for getting birds to use the tree and lots of decorating ideas to take home to your backyard!
Dates/Times: Nov. 19 from 1-3PM
Location: Huntsville Botanical Garden Carriage House (map)
Cost: $5 each or $20/family
More Info: Website

Land Trust’s 24th Annual Thanksgiving Day Hikethanksgiving day hike land trust

Take part in a favorite Huntsville tradition…appreciating the beauty of Monte Sano Nature Preserve with family and friends on Thanksgiving morning! Be prepared for your Thanksgiving feast by starting the morning off with a Monte Sano hike lead by Land Trust Board and Staff. We’ll start out at Bankhead and work our way down to Three Caves on the Alms Trail.  Those who don’t want to make the walk back up will be shuttled to their cars.
Date/Time: Nov. 23 at 9AM
Location: Take Pratt Avenue through Five Points to Bankhead Parkway on Monte Sano. Drive up the mountain past Tollgate Road. The Land Trust’s hiker parking lot- the Bankhead Trailhead – is ½ mile further on right. (map)
Cost: FREE (donations accepted)
More Info: www.landtrustnal.org

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24th Annual Turkey Trot

The Turkey Trot is a family fun run. Walkers and strollers are welcome, but please leave your pets at home. If you just can’t resist dressing like a Pilgrim or a turkey, don’t be shy! You won’t be alone! The Turkey Trot is a perfect way to start Thanksgiving Day! We offer the “Tiny Tot Turkey Trot” for children age five and under. They will race for the length of the Spragins Hall Parking lot. The race starts at 9:00 a.m. No registration fee is required for the Tiny Tot Turkey Trot, but if you’d like, you can bring a can of food for HOPE Place. Donations are always welcome! Unfortunately, we don’t offer shirts for tiny tot runners, but each participant will receive a ribbon for participating and the winner will receive a trophy. The Turkey Trot supports the programs and services of Crisis Services of North Alabama.
Date/Time: Nov. 23 at 9AM
Location: Spragins Hall, UAH (map)
Cost: FREE for children 5 and under (monetary and canned food donations accepted)
More Info: Facebook

Tinsel Trail in Downtown Huntsville484180_304182069681674_1396943768_n

The Tinsel Trail is a display of live Christmas trees in Downtown Huntsville’s Big Spring Park. An anticipated 300 trees will decorate the park for the holiday season. Intended to promote community, each tree is sponsored by a local corporation, group, or family, and can be decorated by its sponsor or another organization designated by the sponsor. Trees are lit from dusk until midnight each night. This year brings the addition of the Tinsel Trail Trot on November 26th, a 1-mile race and fun run experience for the whole family! Register to run the 1-mile race for $10, or join the free fun run at 7PM.
Dates/Times: Nov. 24 through Jan. 3 | Dusk through midnight
Location: Big Spring Park, Huntsville (map)
Cost: FREE
More Info: www.tinseltrail.com
Read our review of this event here.

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. All ages will delight in visiting the Claus’ house, meeting Santa’s reindeer, the North Pole elves, and Santa! Snow shows, craft projects and musical entertainment all add to the fun at the Village Santa Calls Home! In Santa’s Magic Garden, the magical garden will come to life right before your eyes. Christmas trees will talk and sing, while holiday lights magically keep up the beat. There’s lots to see and do in this magical village.
Date/Time: Nov. 24 – Dec. 23 | 5-9PM
Location: Constitution Village (map)
Cost: $5 per person. Children under 1 year free.
More Info: www.earlyworks.com
Read our review of this event.

Christmas in the Park – ArabArab Christmas in the Park

Arab City Park is a must-see during the holiday season. Featuring more than 1 million lights and new displays, the park will be ablaze with the magic and beauty of Christmas. Kick things off with the formal tree lighting ceremony on Friday, November 24th at 6PM! Visitors can then stroll along the sidewalks and pathways within the park. Arab Historic Village transforms into a winter wonderland complete with Santa’s Toy Shop and his elves and Santa himself! Children can sit in Santa’s lap and have their photo taken, decorate a cookie or write a letter to Santa. Children can also take home Reindeer food, made in the old Grist Mill, and there is live music at the Rice Church, located in the village.
Dates/Times: Dusk through 9 p.m. from Nov. 24th through Christmas | Santa in the Park is open on Fridays & Saturdays through Dec. 23rd, 6-9PM
Location: Arab Historic Village (map)
Cost: The park is free & open to the public, Santa visits are $5 each, $20 for families of 4 or more. Children 2 and under are free.
More Info: www.arab-chamber.org


North Pole Stroll

Celebrating its third year, the North Pole Stroll is a display of live Christmas trees at the Duck Pond (Big Spring Park) in downtown Athens during December. Trees are sponsored and decorated by local businesses, groups, and organizations, and can be enjoyed by the public daily during December. Bring your hot cocoa and take a stroll through Athens’s very own North Pole!
Dates/Times: Dec. 1 – Dec. 30 | Daily until midnight
Location: Duck Pond (Big Spring Park), Athens (map)
Cost: FREE
More InfoWebsite | Facebook

Christmas Card Lanechristmas card lane

Christmas Card Lane is an outdoor, life-size card exhibit located in the heart of Madison, AL. You’ll find whimsical, traditional, and religious themes amongst the more than thirty designs on display. Visitors are invited to drive along Church and Front Street, in our historic downtown neighborhood, to enjoy this visual holiday delight! The cards will be illuminated until 9PM each night in the month of December. During the day, you may park on Main Street and stroll the sidewalks to admire the details of each design. Afterwards, cast a vote for your favorite card by clicking here.
Dates/Times: December 1-31
Location: Downtown Madison (map)
Cost: FREE
More Infowww.artsmadison.org

Kris Kringle’s Candlelight Christmas

No Holiday Event is Complete Without This Guy

We are decking the halls, the walls and the stalls! Burritt on the Mountain invites everyone to Kris Kringle’s Candlelight Christmas December 1st and 2nd from 5-9 p.m. The kids will love to see Kris Kringle in the Burritt Mansion from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. He has to get the reindeer to bed early as he has a busy month coming up! 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 figgy pudding will keep us warm. Children will enjoy stringing cranberries and popcorn, making paper punch ornaments, creating handmade cards and icing cookies. Many who have come to Candlelight Christmas have felt there was no better way to start the holiday season in a festive non-commercial setting.
Date/Time: Dec. 1 & 2  | 5:00-9:00 PM
Location: Burritt On the Mountain (map)
Cost: General admission for non-members ($10 adults, $9 seniors and military, $8 children 3-18); $2 for museum members; FREE for children 2 and under
More Info: www.burrittonthemountain.com
Read our review of this event.

Christmas Fest

Come join us at the First Christian Church for our come-and-go Christmas Fest! You and your kids will enjoy hands-on Christmas crafts, free pictures with Santa, free finger food, a live reading of the Christmas Story, and Christmas Carols. Come prepared to take part in the festive fun with your kids!
Date/Time: December 2 | 11AM-1PM
Location: First Christian Church (map)
Cost: FREE
More Info: Facebook

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Christmas Village at Sharon Johnston Park

Join us as we turn our Pioneer Village into a Christmas Village!  Take photos with Santa, make an ornament, decorate sugar cookies and go on a carriage ride.  Dec. 2, 9, and 16 from 12:00 – 5:00 pm.  $5 per person with children 3 and under FREE.  Proceeds benefit the Friends of Sharon Johnston Park, Inc. (a 501c3 non-profit).
Dates/Times: Dec. 2, 9 & 16 | 12-5PM
Location: Sharon Johnston Park, New Market (map)
Cost: $5; 3 and under are FREE
More Info: Facebook

Christmas at Schoolcraft – Reading and a Craft

Come and visit us at Schoolcraft for another reading and a craft! We will be reading The Knights Before Christmas by Joan Holub, making Christmas ornaments, and play around with… a CATAPULT!?! Please let us know if you plan to come so we can make sure to have enough supplies.
Dates/Times: Dec. 2 from 10AM-11:30AM
Location: Schoolcraft (map)
Cost: FREE
More InfoFacebook

Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes Christmas Open House

Each December, we have our annual Christmas Open House events at our ABCH campuses, and this year we are looking forward to the privilege of hosting YOU in Decatur! Guests enjoy festive decorations, holiday foods, and guided tours from our children, who are always so excited to show off their homes.
Dates/Times: Dec. 3 from 2PM-5PM
Location: Alabama Baptist Children’s Home, Decatur (map)
Cost: FREE
More Info: Website

Holiday House Grand Opening

Join us for the grand opening of the WOW Parties Holiday House at Skating in the Park, with a meet and greet character experience featuring the Snow Sisters! The price is $5 per person for each Character Meet and Greet & Photo opportunity in the Holiday House.
Dates/Times: Dec. 8 from 5PM-8PM
Location: Skating in the Park near Huntsville Musem of Art (map)
Cost: $5
More Info: Facebook

Sippin’ Cider Festival

Visit Downtown Athens for the city’s annual Sippin’ Cider Festival! Voted a top 20 event in the Southeast in 2014, it’s a night of family-friendly holiday festivities. Sample and vote on your favorite cider, while shopping and enjoying store specials. The merchant with the most votes wins the coveted Cider Cup and bragging rights for the next year. Other activities include in-store children’s activities, train rides by the Athens Lions Club, live music, roasting marshmallows, and a visit from Santa.
Dates/Times: Dec. 9 from 5PM-8PM
Location: Downtown Athens (map)
Cost: FREE
More InfoFacebook

Jingle Bell Square

Jingle Bell Square will start off the day at 9AM with craft vendors and direct sales vendors; then, beginning at 4PM, the Annual Chrismas Parade will begin on Broad Street at Collins Elementary School and will end at The Square. Shortly after 5PM, Santa Claus will arrive at The Bandstand on The Square and will greet children until 9PM. Immediately following Santa visits, the Jingle Bell 5K and Fun Run will take place. All day, there will be food trucks, live music, children’s activities, hot apple cider, horse & buggy rides, and much more!
Dates/Times: Dec. 9 | 9AM-9PM
Location: Downtown Scottsboro (map)
Cost: FREE
More InfoFacebook

Saturday Scientist: Astronaut Thanksgiving

Many cosmic ingredients collide to make a comet, then build your own cosmic snowball and discover the history of comet discovery and biochemical science at this fun edition of the Saturday Scientist series, an educational series featuring activities recommended for ages 6-9. This monthly hands-on activity is included with museum membership or paid admission and emphasizes the STEAM topics. Reserve your seat at the main ticket desk upon your arrival; museum members may enter the Davidson Center for Space Exploration.
Dates/Times: Dec. 9 | 11:30AM-1PM
Location: U.S. Space & Rocket Center (map)
Cost: FREE for general admission or membership
More InfoFacebook

Historic Decatur Christmas Tourdecatur christmas tour

The Historic Decatur Christmas Tour is held the second Saturday in December each year: During this time many of the homes in Decatur’s historic districts open their doors for public tours.The annual Christmas Tour of Homes showcases homes from Old Decatur and Albany Historic Districts. These districts contain one of the finest and largest collections of Victorian and early 20th-century craftsman and bungalow homes in Alabama and many are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This year’s schedule includes a Holiday Market and bells choir concert at  Westminster Presbyterian Church in the Albany district and carriage rides (separate ticket) through Old Decatur. Don’t forget downtown merchants and restaurants will be open for your dining and holiday shopping needs before and during the tour. First United Methodist Church will serve as tour headquarters, with light refreshments available for tour ticket holders.
Dates/Times: Dec. 9 from 3PM-8PM
Location: Downtown Decatur (map)
Cost: $25
More Info: Website

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Spirit of Christmas Past Homes Tour

Take a nostalgic walk down luminary lit streets and avenues in Huntsville’s historic Twickenham District. Tour private residences, the Weeden House Museum and other historic buildings ornately decorated for the holidays. Musicians add to the festive holiday spirit! Proceeds benefit the Weeden House Museum and projects in the historic district.
Dates/Times: Dec. 9th from 5-9PM
Location: Twickenham Historic District (map)
Cost: $15 per person, $5 for children 12 and under
More Infowww.weedenhousemuseum.com | Facebook | 256-536-7718

Quick and Easy Holiday Candy Making

December in the Garden we celebrate the Galaxy of Lights and the season of gift giving! Candy — especially when it’s homemade — is the perfect present for just about everyone on your list, so grab a friend and indulge in some luscious gift making! In this class Amanda and Soozi will demonstrate how to create 10 sweet treats, all for you to sample.   We’ll send you home with recipes and samples from the class. Our steadfast family traditions had us in the kitchen cooking when we could barely reach the counter and to this day we attribute our love of creating yummy foods to our mothers and grands too. This family-friendly class is open to adults and children 8 years and up, accompanied by an adult, in the hopes that you too will learn to love holiday candy making. The eating’s not bad either!
Dates/Times: Dec. 10 | 1PM-3PM
Location: Huntsville Botanical Garden (map)
Cost: Adults $24 members/$30 nonmembers; children 8+ $12/members, $15/nonmembers
More InfoWebsite

Cosmic Cocoa & Magic Showcosmic cocoa and magic show

What better way to enjoy the magical holiday season than with a holiday magic show! Join us from 1 – 4 p.m. in the National Geographic Theater at the Davidson Center for Space Exploration on Sunday, Dec. 10, for Cosmic Cocoa & Magic Show! Beginning at 1 p.m., grab a cup of hot cocoa, decorate out-of-this-world cookies and create festive holiday crafts. At 2 p.m., and again at 3 p.m., The Magical Mad Scientist, Dr. Osborn, will present “Search for Santa’s Secrets!” – a show full of funny, zany and full of holiday magic!
Dates/Times: Dec. 10 | 1PM-4PM
Location: U.S. Space & Rocket Center (map)
Cost: FREE for Museum members | $5 for non-members
More Infowww.rocketcenter.com

3rd Annual Christmas Caroling at the Library

Please join us for an evening of Christmas caroling, cocoa, and cookies; all ages are welcome! Refreshments begin at 6:00, with caroling from 6:30-7:30 followed by more food and fellowship until 8:00.
Dates/Times: Dec. 12 | 6PM-8PM
Location: Athens Limestone Public Library (map)
Cost: FREE
More InfoWebsite

Sugar Plum Trail

Sugar Plum Trail will delight you in the designated places in the complex before you make your way through the gates of Insanity. Bring your stocking and stuff it with candy from vendors! Christmas Music will play intermittently throughout the evening inside the park. Christmas trees will be decorated by local charities and you get to vote on your favorite. At 7:30, the Christmas Character Costume Contest will be held in the main building. Come dressed up as your favorite Christmas characters, and judges will decide on winners!
Dates/Times: Dec. 12 | 5PM-9PM
Location: Insanity Skate Complex (map)
Cost: FREE
More InfoFacebook

Family Holiday Open House at the Library

Come by for a little holiday cheer! Warm up with a cup of hot chocolate. Enjoy some merry music. Find out your ‘Elf Name’. Amuse yourselves with silly games. Create something festive to take home. Don your pajamas or your finest apparel. All ages welcome! Contact Ms. Lisa at lblackmon@hmcpl.org for more info.
Dates/Times: Dec. 14 | 6PM
Location: Madison Public Library (map)
Cost: FREE
More Info: Ms. Lisa – lblackmon@hmcpl.org

Polar Express Day at the Hardin Center

Join us as we celebrate our third annual Polar Express Day on Saturday, December 16, 2017! Play in Imagination Place, Let it Snow, join a guided tour of Festival of Trees, watch “The Polar Express” movie, create a special craft, and take one ride on our miniature “Polar Express” train in our rear parking lot. The train and the other activities will run until 2 pm. All members and those purchasing tickets may stay and enjoy Let it Snow, Festival of Trees, and Imagination Place until closing time at 5 pm.
Dates/Times: Dec. 16 | 10AM-2PM
Location: Hardin Center Imagination Place, Gadsden (map)
Cost: FREE for Hardin Center Members ($5 to ride the train); $12 for non-members
More Info: Website

New Years Eve at Huntsville Times Square
Celebrate New Years in beautiful Downtown Huntsville for this free, family-friendly street festival. We will have live bands, food trucks, a DJ, lighting shows, and a one-of-a-kind countdown at midnight! Be there or be SQUARE!
Dates/Times: Dec. 31 | 7PM-Midnight
Location: Corner of Greene Street & Holmes, Downtown Huntsville (map)
Cost: FREE
More InfoFacebook

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