When the weather gets cold children get restless. Listed here are seasonal events that let you stretch your legs and shake the sillies out. There are so many fun ways your family can make memories together this holiday season – Christmas in Huntsville is full of special events.
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 2020 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!
Events Starting in November
27th Annual Turkey Trot
Galaxy of Lights
Celebrate the 25-year tradition that is Galaxy of Lights. Explore 2.5 miles of magnificent light displays weaving together holiday themes, classic characters, and scenes from our natural world. Galaxy of Lights’ 25th Anniversary Season will look just a little bit different this year as we commit to our community’s health and safety. But you can expect to be dazzled, just as you always have. We will once again offer both walk-through and drive-through experiences. New this year: Tickets for Walking Nights must be pre-purchased for a designated date and entry time.
Walking Nights: Nov. 13-25 | Dog Walking Nights on Nov. 16, 17, & 23 | 5:15-8:30PM (last admission)
Driving Nights: Nov. 27 – Jan. 2 | 5:30-9PM (last admission)
Location: Huntsville Botanical Gardens (map)
Walking Nights Cost: Adults $10-$15 members/$12-$17 non-members | Children ages 3-15 $5-10 members/$6-$11 nonmembers | Dogs $3
Driving Nights Cost: Per car: $18-$30 members/$23-$30 non-members/$20-$25 military
More Info: General Info
RCM Review Walking Nights | RCM Review Driving Nights
Skating in the Park
Skating in the Park returns for its ninth season! Get ready to lace up your skates at Huntsville’s first outdoor ice skating rink — our very own version of “Rocket-fella” Center. Masks required for patrons and employees on and off the ice unless enjoying concessions. Social distancing will be practiced when possible, with all surfaces will be disinfected every 90 minutes and all skates and scooters disinfected when returned. Don’t miss the grand opening festivities on November 20th!
Dates/Times: Nov. 20 – Jan. 10; Hours vary (see website for details)
Location: Big Spring Park / Huntsville Museum of Art (map)
Cost: $15 (ages 10+), $10 (ages 9 and under), $5 skate or skooter rental
More Info: Website | Facebook | 256-529-7995
The Rocket City Christmas Spectacular at Toyota Field
Hundreds of thousands of lights will be on display for all to safely enjoy this holiday season. Guests can drive through the magical “Santa’s Mountain” themed light show, where visitors will be able to simply tune into their vehicle’s radio and experience a spectacular synchronization of music and lights. Tickets can be purchased online in advance at reserve.imclutch.com/trash-pandas, or on the day of the event – credit cards and mobile pay are encouraged. Guests can also park their car after driving through the lights and enter the winter wonderland within the stadium at no additional cost. Inside the ballpark will feature numerous holiday activities for all ages, including hot chocolate stations, cookie decorating, s’mores making, character visits, shopping, and more! CDC and Madison County health guidelines will be followed at the Rocket City Christmas Spectacular.
Christmas Movies at the Princess Theatre
Visit the historic Princess Theatre in downtown Decatur to grab a box of popcorn and take in a classic holiday film with the family!
Nov. 22 at 2PM & 7PM – Christmas in Connecticut
Nov. 25 at 7PM – Home for the Holidays
Dec. 7 at 7PM – The Perfect Holiday
Dec. 9 at 7PM – A Christmas Story
Dec. 13 at 7PM – Die Hard
Dec. 14 at 7PM – Nothing Like the Holidays
Dec. 15 at 7PM – It’s a Wonderful Life
Dec. 16 at 7PM – Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas
Dec. 17 at 7PM – Christmas Vacation
Dec. 20 at 2PM & 7PM – Elf
Dec. 21 at 7PM – White Christmas
Dec. 22 at 7PM – This Christmas
Dec. 23 at 7PM – Scrooged
Location: Princess Theatre, Decatur (map)
Cost: $7 adult, $5 Students/Seniors
More Info: Website
Christmas in the Park – Arab
Arab City Park is a must-see during the holiday season. Featuring more than 1 million lights, the park will be ablaze with the magic and beauty of Christmas. The 26th Annual Christmas in the Park “Lighting Ceremony” begins at exactly 6 pm on November 27th, and there aren’t enough words to describe it. It’s one of the best things you’ll do all year. AHS Band Director Ty Parker and the AHS Jazz Band bring the holiday feels with jazzy renditions of everyone’s holiday faves, and carolers wander along the paths adding unexpected moments of bliss with their acapella harmonies.
Dates/Times: Tree lighting ceremony is Nov. 27th at 6PM | Park is open dusk through 9 p.m. through Dec. 31
Location: Arab Historic Village (map)
Cost: $5 per person | Under 2 are FREE
More Info: Website | Facebook
1st Annual Huntsville Turkey Pardon
Star of Bethlehem at the INTUITIVE® Planetarium
Experience the wonders of the season as we explore the Star of Bethlehem in an astronomical context. Balancing both science and religion, we’ll investigate theories on what celestial phenomenon may have led the Magi to the Nativity more than 2,000 years ago.
Letters to Santa at Bridge Street
Looking for a direct connection to the North Pole? Drop your holiday wish list in Santa’s Mailbox in front of the Bridge Street management office, near Red Robin. Santa’s helpers will collect these letters and ensure a personalized letter from Santa himself! No postage required, just remember to include a return address.
Magical Holiday Snow Globe at Bridge Street
New this holiday season, Bridge Street is bringing holiday characters to visit with you and your family through a magical holiday snow globe. Come socially distance in our open air environment and safely view and interact with characters like Ice Princesses, Elves and more through a life size snow globe.
Events Starting in December
Journey to the Manger
Go on a Journey to the Manger, experiencing Bethlehem on the night Jesus was born! You’ll encounter tax collectors, census takers, shepherds, angels, and more. The journey is great for the entire family and is handicap accessible. The walk through will last roughly 30 minutes. Reserve your tour time for up to 10 people. All guests over age 2 will be asked to wear masks and remain an appropriate distance away from others not in your group. There will be 10 minutes between the start of each group to allow for cleaning and proper distancing.
One of Burritt’s favorite traditional holiday events is prepped and ready for the 2020 version! We will again be selling car passes and will have all COVID-19 protocols in place as we enjoy the Magic of the Mountain socially distanced. Kris Kringle is working from home right now, staying healthy for the big night, but you can still share your Christmas wishes with him! Join us for Burritt on the Mountain’s Candlelight Christmas and mail your list in our exclusive Santa’s Super Special mailbox! We will have the music you love in four of our largest venues for safety. Activities for the kids and goodies for all will be spread throughout the site to ensure plenty of space for social distancing. Tickets are limited and all tickets will be sold in advance.
2nd Annual Christmas at the Grotto
Christmas lights return to the Grotto! Come and experience the beauty of Br. Joseph’s work at night surrounded by lights and music! We have expanded this unique holiday experience throughout the grounds and have added several dates. Coffee and cookies will be available each night. On December 19th, we will have a Christmas Crafts Fair in our parking lot plus have live musical performances throughout the park!
Jingle Bell Square
Join us for Jingle Bell Square in Downtown Scottsboro! The activities will begin at 9:00 a.m. with our arts & crafts vendor fair. We will also have kid’s activities and food vendors, horse and buggy rides and more!
Green Pea Press Winter Block Party
Print a unique gift or greeting cards with original, one-of-a-kind Green Pea Press blocks! We will have blank t-shirts, greeting cards, and tote bags available to purchase for printing. Pick any blocks you like from our winter selection, and watch us print your item on the spot. All blocks will be printed in black ink. This is a drop-in workshop, so pre-registration is not required.
Sleigh Bell Run
Guntersville’s Night Before Christmas
Visit Downtown Lake Guntersville to ring in the holiday season! This family-friendly event features carriage and train rides, cookie decorating and ice skating. Enjoy face painting and music, plus a visit from Santa!
35th Annual Drive Thru Living Nativity
It is an amazing story that has been told over 2000 years: On that first Christmas night, God sent his own son to earth in the form of a baby, to offer us the gift of eternal life and a relationship with Him. With live animals, people, and music, we will recreate a Living Nativity, in a drive thru event, all seen through the safety of your own vehicle!
Randolph’s Under the Christmas Tree Drive-In Movies
Although we won’t be holding our annual UTCT market this year, we will be offering safe activities to celebrate the holidays! Come join us for one or both of our drive-in movies on December 5th, Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas for the little ones and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation for the older set at 1505 The Boardwalk in Huntsville. There’s no charge for admission. To make the drive-in movie events enjoyable and impactful, help us spread goodwill this holiday season by considering a charitable donation of $20 or more to support the Randolph Tailored Tuition program!
Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes Christmas Open House
Each December, we have our annual Christmas Open House events at our ABCH campuses. This year, our annual Christmas Open House events will look a little different! In the interest of the health and safety of our homes and guests, our Open House events will be hosted via Facebook Live. In addition to the Live events on Facebook, staff will be present at each location during the event, and you’ll be able to drop by and participate in a drive-thru donation drop-off.
Dates/Times: Dec. 6 from 2PM-4PM
Location: Virtual Event via Facebook Live
More Info: Website
Journey of Hope
On December 11 and 12, Aldersgate United Methodist Church invites you to embark on a “Journey of Hope,” a live drive-through nativity experience for the whole family. Accompanied by a podcast narration for the journey, the drive-through experience will include five scenes that each tell a piece of the biblical nativity story, from Mary and Joseph’s trip to Bethlehem, to the visit of the Wisemen. At the end of the journey, each guest will receive a booklet that provides a deeper dive into scripture, illustrated with original artwork from Aldersgate artists.
Historic Decatur Christmas Tour
Presented yearly on the second Saturday in December, the Christmas Tour showcases a unique selection of historic homes curated by the Historic Decatur Association, a nonprofit devoted to the preservation of the homes within and character of the two districts that comprise Historic Decatur. In 2020, uncertainty reigns, but the Historic Decatur Christmas Tour will go on. In a nod to COVID-19 health concerns, the 2020 event will feature a virtual tour of homes, when outdoor sites in the districts will glow with lights and sparkle in Christmas finery for your strolling pleasure, and our grand historic houses will be a feast for the eyes in all their Christmastime glory.
Randolph’s Under the Christmas Tree Gingerbread House & Holiday Craft Kits
Randolph School is hosting Under the Christmas Tree: Pandemic Edition. Our traditional, three-day marketplace will return in 2021. In the meantime, we could all use something to look forward to this holiday season. As part of Randolph’s Under the Christmas Tree: Pandemic Edition, you can purchase an art project and gingerbread house kits, pick them up, and complete the decorating at home. Cheer up with these safe opportunities to celebrate the holiday season – from a distance or in the comfort of your home! Reserve your kit online, and then pick it up at one of the dates & locations offered on Dec. 4-6.
Dates/Times: Pickup on Dec. 4 from 4-6PM (Randolph), Dec. 5 from 10AM-1PM (Randolph & Progress Bank), and Dec. 6 from 12-2PM (Randolph & Modern Brides)
Location: Pickup locations at Randolph (map), Progress Bank (map), and Modern Brides (map)
Cost: $25 per kit
More Info: Website
Downtown Decatur Cookie Walk
Enchanted Forest of Decatur and Downtown Decatur Merchants invite everyone to take part in their first Downtown Decatur Cookie Walk. Set for December 12th, shoppers will receive one Christmas cookie from each of the participating locations while knocking out some Christmas shopping and supporting local businesses. Participants will receive a reusable shopping bag filled with a map of participating merchants, a Christmas card that the merchants will sign, a hand-crafted tea towel and a beautifully crafted commemorative Christmas ornament. Then enjoy walking the downtown, meeting business owners and gathering one cookie or Christmas candy per shopping bag, from each of approximately 25 participating merchants.
Starry Starry Night Event
Add a little celestial sparkle to your holiday season! Join the U.S. Space & Rocket Center Dec. 12, from 5 to 8 p.m. to learn about the stars above us. The evening includes star-themed activities in the original museum building along with a tour of the brightest stars visible in the winter night sky in the INTUITIVE® Planetarium. Goodies will be for sale at our concessions stand. Planetarium seating is limited. For tickets, visit rocketcenter.com.
Cars Under the Stars: A Christmas Drive-In Movie Event
Madison Parks & Recreation is excited to announce their first “Cars Under the Stars: A Christmas Movie Event” at the Madison City Stadium. This socially-distant event is an alternative holiday opportunity for families of the Madison community to still enjoy the holiday season during the pandemic. This drive-in style double feature will include two Christmas movie favorites – The Grinch at 5:00 PM, and National Lampoons Christmas Vacation at 7:00 PM. You can watch from your car using your radio! Gates open at 4:00 PM. Reserve your spot online in advance at https://www.madisonal.gov/. Selected food vendors will also be on-site.
Twickenham Historic District Luminary Tour
Thousands of candles in paper lanterns pave the sidewalks of Twickenham as you walk or drive through Huntsville’s oldest historic district. While homes will not be open for the annual Spirit of Christmas Past Homes Tour, the entire district will be decked out for the holidays and aglow with lights of the season.
Drive-In Movie: The Muppet Christmas Carol
The Athens-Limestone Public Library is holding a free showing of The Muppet Christmas Carol starting at 6:00 PM. Enjoy this song-filled Christmas classic from the comfort of your own car. Please note that the library building will be closed, so restrooms and other amenities won’t be available. The Muppet Christmas Carol is rated G.
New Year’s at Noon
Celebrate New Year’s at NOON! Enjoy hands-on New Year’s-themed activities in the Davidson Center for Space Exploration along with a special countdown at noon. This is perfect way for little ones to welcome in the New Year! This special event is included with admission or membership. For more information, visit rocketcenter.com.
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