Searching for Christmas FunBy: Jacqueline Thompson Graves
Fun amidst flurries at Snow Mountain
Rock City's "Enchanted Garden of Lights"
Kinsey Family Farm
Although there is much to be said for viewing a production of the Nutcracker at the Fox or seeing those Rockettes in person, most of us agree that oftentimes the simplest pleasures are still the best. Riding around looking at lights or caroling with friends can be more satisfying than a big ticket event.
I've rounded up some ideas for you this month, whether you have a car full of kiddos or just you and your sweetheart. Hope you find something special to do before you open gifts and gobble up the goodies!
This time of year we hit the jackpot for church productions, both indoor and outside events. First Redeemer Church presents their Christmas Spectacular, a Broadway style production, on December 4th and 5th. If you have ever been to a cantata or play at First Redeemer, you know their productions are fabulous.
Liberty Hill United Methodist Church in Canton hosts "A Night in Bethlehem", featuring a live nativity, refreshments, crafts, family photos and more on Friday and Saturday, December 3rd and 4th from 6pm to 8pm.
A very different, but interesting event taking place is the choir performance called "Children of the World" made up of participants from Nepal, Uganda and the Philippines. They sing to raise awareness of the need for clean drinking water in the developing world. The concert takes place on Thursday, December 9th at 7pm at North Lanier Baptist Church.
Lake Lanier's Magical Nights of Lights is a must-do tradition for many Forsyth residents with its seven mile driving tour of thousands of lights leading to Santa's workshop, pony rides or even the buffet at the Legacy Lodge. Favorite scenes beckon while they continue to add new items to delight kids of all ages.
Snow Mountain at Stone Mountain isn't a free event, but it's still cheaper than a ski trip up north. Beginning December 11th, snow comes and stays until March 6th offering everything for snowy fun from 20 slides, a tubing course to a snow fort with tunnels, targets for shooting snowballs and a huge igloo where you add your own touches. Little tykes appreciate a play area all their own and everyone can enjoy the bonfire and S'mores.
Dahlonega is good for a stroll anytime during the holiday season. Head up there on Sunday, December 12th, from 1pm to 6pm and enjoy their "Sleigh Bell Tour", a self-guided driving tour of some of the bed-and-breakfast inns. Each of the seven centrally located participants offers refreshments and music while you enjoy their unique theme and interpretation of the season.
If you want to go to the mountains, Rock City has created 25 holiday scenes in their gardens to make the "Enchanted Garden of Lights". Open every night until early January from 6pm to 9pm except Christmas Eve. Dinner with Santa is even available on December 15th and 16th.
I introduced you to Kinsey Family Farm at apple picking time. Go back for your Christmas tree and consider donating a "Tree for the Troops", a program where you can send a tree and personalized note to a soldier in the field or to the family left behind to celebrate alone. (See a video about the program on the Kinsey Farm website.) You can cut down your own tree at Kinsey's or pick one already cut, waiting in water.
The Cumming Playhouse has several Christmas-themed shows lined up for December including a play based on the classic "Miracle on 34th Street". Tickets sell out fast in the cozy theatre, so don't wait until the last minute to decide to go.
If all else fails, that old standard is still fun - throw everyone in the car and ride around looking at lights. Some love perfectly hung lights in one color. Others like a hodgepodge of colors and the more moving parts, the better. One of my neighbors said her family always heads over to Windemere off highway 20, especially to an area off Dave's Creek, where the neighborhood decorates with enthusiasm. "It is over the top!" she told me. Extreme Christmas decorators on Bryn Ridge Court (Cumming 30028) have created a spectacular light show and major charity event. With over 150,000 lights "dancing" to 12 songs, the decorators hope the show will directly help raise funding and awareness for Family Haven, which benefits domestic violence victims and their families.
Wherever you, whatever you do, remember the reason for the season: family, friends and the babe in the manger. No flashy gift can compete with receiving and giving real love.
Christmas Spectacular at First Redeemer Church here in Cumming, Saturday, 12-05-10 at 6pm and Sunday, 12-06-10 at 2pm and 6pm. Childcare available for infants through 4 year olds. Tickets required this year ($8.75). Call 678-513-9400 or go to www.firstredeemer.org for info and to purchase tickets.
Visit www.LibertyHillUMC.org for info about the Night in Bethlehem in Canton on 12-03-10 and 12-04-10. For more info, contact Heather Shelton, 678-493-8920.
For information about the Children of the World choir, call 770.781.5433 or go to www.northlanier.org
Magical Nights of Lights at Lake Lanier Islands: http://www.lakelanierislands.com/mnol.php or call 800-840-LAKE. 5pm -- 10pm from now until 12-30-10. Discount coupons available at area McDonald's, Publix, Chick-fil-A and QuikTrip locations or buy tickets online and save $7.
Go to www.SnowMountainPark.com to learn more about the "snow season" at Stone Mountain (or call 770-498-5690).
Find out about Rock City's Enchanted Garden of Lights at www.seerockcity.com or call 800-854-0675.
Kinsey Family Farm: www.kinseyfamilyfarm.com or 770-887-6028.
Go to www.playhousecumming.com to see their lineup of shows and purchase tickets or call 770-781-2010.
The light and music show on Bryn Ridge Court in the Haley Farms subdivision begins Thanksgiving at 5:30pm & runs every night through New Year's. 9:00pm Mon- Thurs and 'til 10:00pm Fri-Sun. Tune to 88.1 FM to enjoy the music. As a special treat, Judy Pancoast, the artist behind the song "The House on Christmas Street," will be performing live on Wednesday, December 22nd at 6:00pm. This song has been used by extreme decorators around the world, and is popular with children, teens and adults.
Click here for the Chasing a Dream article with more info on Judy Pancoast.
© 2010 Jacqueline Thompson Graves
We would love to know where you go to gawk at lights or about your church's cantata or Christmas event. Drop us a line at email@example.com. Check out our Online Exclusives at www.upincumming.com for your neighbors' recommendations as we receive them.