Whether you consider yourself Santa’s little helper or Ebenezer Scrooge, Atlanta has a way for you to enjoy this December with your own celebration. Families will love the annual light displays at the botanical garden and Centennial Olympic Park, while adults can enjoy shows by John Waters and 7 Stages. Check out our selections and see if your holiday favorites made the list. 

Garden Lights, Holiday Nights
Atlanta Botanical Garden
1345 Piedmont Ave. N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30309
(404) 876-5859

Date: Through Jan. 4, 2013 from 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. 

Every year, the Atlanta Botanical Garden outdoes itself by putting on a more spectacular light display than the previous holiday season. It will be difficult to top 2012’s holiday lights display, but the Garden promises a great show. Admission on peak nights (Thursday – Sunday) is $20 for adults ($17 for members), $14 for children ages three to 12 ($11 for members) and free for children under three. If you are planning to go during the busiest holiday weeks, you will want to make early reservations. 

Holiday in Lights
Centennial Olympic Park
265 Park Ave. N.W.
Atlanta, GA 30313
(404) 222-7275

Date: Daily through the first week in Jan. from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

If you’re interested in a free light show for the whole family, check out the annual Holiday in Lights in Centennial Olympic Park. Thousands of lights will be twinkling throughout the park. There is also the option of doing a twirl on Atlanta’s only outdoor ice skating rink in the middle of the Great Lawn. Of course, there are plenty of restaurants and shopping opportunities nearby, so it is a great part of your holiday season. 

Christmas at Callenwolde
Callanwolde Fine Arts Center
980 Briarcliff Road N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30306
(404) 872-5338


Date: Dec. 6 – 17, 2013

Callanwolde is one of Atlanta’s oldest fine arts centers, and the annual holiday event is one most locals make a point to attend. The general admission ticket includes a tour of the historic mansion, shopping at the charming Callanwolde Arts Studio and an Aeolian pipe organ performance. On Wednesday, December 11th from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., there will be cocoa and caroling in the amphitheater. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and $12 for children four to 12 years old (free for those three and under). Check out the website for additional special concerts and events.

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A John Waters Christmas
Variety Playhouse
1099 Euclid Ave. N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30307
(404) 524-7354

Date: Dec. 12, 2013 at 8:00 p.m.

If you’re looking for a great night out with your adult friends, hire a sitter and get your tickets for “A John Waters Christmas” at Variety Playhouse. This event will likely sell out, so get your tickets early. The offbeat director himself takes the stage to perform his one-man show, back by popular demand. He promises to put “the X in Xmas” in an adult-appropriate take on the season.

A Krampus Christmas
7 Stages Theatre
1105 Euclid Ave. N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30307
(404) 523-7647

Date: Dec. 19 – 21, 2013 at 8:00 p.m.

If you’ve never heard of Krampus, don’t feel out of the loop. Children of Europe, particularly Germany, grow up with Krampus as the dark counterpoint to a Disney-fied American Santa. Whereas Santa’s job is to reward good little boys and girls with presents at Christmas, Krampus has the task of punishing the bad children by caning them and carrying them away in his sack. This musical show is for more mature audiences with a definite dark sense of humor. 

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Head to CBS Atlanta’s Best Of page for more local tips on family fun, shopping, nightlife, food, culture and more!

Keely Herrick is a freelance writer. Her work can be found on Examiner.com. “