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Holiday Events Are Still Happening Despite the Pandemic

We’ve made it to the final stretch of what’s seemed like the longest year ever. December in Athens usually entails a plethora of gatherings and shopping opportunities, with the Downtown Parade of Lights as the crowning event for many. But alas, like most big local events those festivities have been canceled with the pandemic’s health and safety precautions in mind.

Fret not, Athens! There are still plenty of opportunities to get your yuletide fix. Flagpole has been doing our best to track this month’s events so that some holiday cheer can still be had and your family’s safety maintained. Below are a few local and regional events on our radar:

Athens on Ice (through January): Ice skating is back at the Classic Center’s Foundry Pavilion. There will be mobile tickets, limited capacity and extra sanitation measures. Space for each session is limited, so buying a ticket ahead of time is recommended.

Christmas with Leisure Services (Varying dates): Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services will be presenting a variety of holiday programs for families to enjoy, like the “Deck the Hollow” event at Memorial Park. Many of these events require registration and a small entry fee. For more information, visit the Leisure Services webpage at

Light Up Athens (Dec. 11–12, 18–19; 6–9 p.m.): Replacing the Parade of Lights, downtown storefronts will be adorned with decorations each night, while other event activities include a community Christmas tree, holiday character appearances, an official Santa mailbox for kiddies’ wish lists, holiday-themed music and s“elfie” spots for pictures.

Breakfast with Santa (Dec. 12, 8:30 a.m.): Join the Classic Center for a special breakfast event with St. Nick. Each family will have its own reserved table for social distancing. Little ones will drop their wish lists in the North Pole mailbox for Santa, and he will tell a special Christmas story. Buddy the Elf will visit, and a professional photographer will be available at holiday photo stations. Children are also invited to participate in various arts and crafts, including this year’s Christmas coloring contest, where the winner will receive a special surprise. $25/adults, $20/children under 10. (Children one year and under are free with the purchase of an adult ticket.)

Christmas at Wire Park (Dec. 12, 5:30 p.m.): A community concert in Watkinsville celebrating the holiday season features food trucks, a visit from Santa Claus, a fire pit for roasting marshmallows, and more. The Athens A-Train Band will take the stage at 6:30 p.m. to perform a collection of beloved holiday selections with a jazzy flair.

Christmas Songs and Stories with John Berry (Dec. 16, 7 p.m.): Grammy-winning country artist and former Athenian John Berry is back for the 24th year of this special holiday concert at the Classic Center. Safety measures include limited theater capacity, face coverings, hand-sanitizing stations, staggered entry and exit times, and touchless operations.

Doughnuts and Jazz (Dec. 17, 6 p.m.): Enjoy the Christmas and Hannukah season at Athentic Brewing Company with doughnuts from Nedza’s and a live jazz performance. 

Unsilent Night (Dec. 18, 7:30 p.m.): Back for its 10th year downtown, this event will be free, family-friendly and socially distanced. All that is needed to attend is a music source like a smartphone and a speaker to amplify the sound. Everyone will meet up and hit “play” at Little Kings Shuffle Club to begin a 45-minute processional of holiday sounds. Everyone is welcome, and no musical skill is necessary.

Movies by Moonlight Drive-In Movie Double Feature (Dec. 20): ACC Leisure Services will host a free drive-in screening of Elf (6 p.m.) and Christmas Vacation (8:30 p.m.) at Sandy Creek Park. The event is free, but registration is required. Tickets are limited to 100 vehicles and are available through Dec. 18.

This information was accurate at press time but may be subject to change. Check The Calendar for the latest. Submit your event at or email the information to Happy Holidays and stay safe, y’all!