Planning to head to the NC Smokies this holiday season? If not, you may want to reconsider. Whether it’s a quick weekend getaway from the holiday craziness of the city or a chance to spend a cozy Christmas vacation with the family in the mountains, there are plenty of ways to celebrate the season. Some you may already have on your radar and others you may have never thought of. But either way, we invite you come check out our Twelve Faves of Christmas right here in Haywood County.
1.) Choose N’ Cut the Perfect Christmas Tree – With five locally owned and operated farms to choose from, you’re sure to find an amazing NC grown Fraser Fir tree to make your home (or vacation rental) merry and bright. To learn more read our blog about finding the perfect tree.
2.) Christmas Parades – Our parades are one of the signature events of the holiday season and a timeless small town tradition. Bring a thermos of hot chocolate, a few chairs and line up along the historic downtown Main Street districts to enjoy an evening of festive fun. You’ll find two to enjoy:
- The Canton Christmas Parade – December 1st @ 6:00 PM – Main Street in Canton
- The Waynesville Christmas Parade – December 5th @ 6:00 PM – Main Street in Waynesville
3.) Balsam Range Art of Music Festival – December 2 -3 – Haywood County’s favorite boys of bluegrass, Balsam Range, are giving you the gift of music this holiday season. Their first annual Art of Music Festival will take place at Lake Junaluska December 2 – 3. It’s an opportunity to take a break from the holiday hustle and tap your toe to incredible music by some of the best bluegrass talent in the industry.
Photo below – The Mountaineer
4.) Christmas Worship in a Stable – December 3rd @ 5:30 PM in Canton – It doesn’t more authentic than enjoying the Christmas story from inside an historical barn with Mary, Joseph, the donkey and Shepherds present. Sit on hay bales and sing carols, hear Christmas scripture and a related story while enjoying festive music. Great for the entire family!
5.) Appalachian Christmas at Lake Junaluska – December 9 – 11 at Lake Junaluska – Let the nostalgic charm of Appalachian hospitality warm you this Christmas holiday season. Awaken the spirit of Christmas through festive live music, hearty meals and local artistry.
6.) A Night Before Christmas – December 10 – Downtown Waynesville – 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM – An annual holiday tradition held downtown on the second Saturday evening of December. Amidst the backdrop of hundreds of luminaries lining the sidewalks, you will enjoy carolers, live music, visiting Santa, storytelling, and old fashioned wagon rides. Stroll through Bethlehem as First Baptist Church re-creates a live nativity and bustling first century marketplace.
7.) The Best Christmas Pageant Ever – December 10, 11, 17, and 18 – HART Theater – In this hilarious Christmas classic, a couple struggling to put on a church Christmas pageant is faced with casting the Herdman kids–probably the most inventively awful kids in history. You won’t believe the mayhem – and the fun – when the Herdmans collide with the Christmas story head on!
8.) Ski or Snowboard at Cataloochee Ski Area – No holiday trip to Haywood County would be complete without a trip to Cataloochee Ski Area. Whether you’re honing in on your expert downhill skills or trying it for the very first time, Cataloochee has plenty of slopes (and lessons) to enjoy a an awesome day on the mountains. Warm up in their cozy lodge with a hot beverage or frosty brew you can also check out Tube World for a fun slip n’ sliding experience.
9.) Shop Local For One of Kind Holiday Gifts – We can’t even begin to tell you how many amazing locally owned and operated retail businesses call Haywood County home. It doesn’t matter how picky your loved ones may be, we guarantee you’ll find them the perfect one of kind gift.
10.) Pour Yourself a Winter Warmer – With four craft microbreweries in Haywood County, there is no better way to relax after a long day on the slopes or holiday shopping than with a couple local craft brews. Check out their latest winter seasonals and literally enjoy a cup of cheer! If craft beer isn’t your thing, check out our local wine shops for a wide selection of vinos from local to worldly.
11.) Winter Hiking – After all those craft beers and big holiday meals, a brisk walk in the woods may be just the ticket. Haywood County has plenty of great hiking trails that can be accessed all year long, like Purchase Knob, Sam’s Summit Loop Trail, or any of the trails in Cataloochee Valley (weather permitting). Grab your boots, backpack, some warm clothes and get out there to enjoy the amazing long range views and serene settings that can only be found in the winter.
12.) Enjoy a Night on the Town – By day, our small towns are bustling with great shopping, fun activities, and tasty restaurants. But by night they are full of exciting happenings! Whether it’s live music, movies, or just socializing with the locals, Haywood County is home to plenty hot spots to warm up at on cold winter night.
Now all you need is a place to stay! You’ll find a wide range of accommodations like hotels and motels in the heart of the action, charming B&Bs, cozy cabins, scenic vacation homes perched high on a mountain, and much more. Check out all the Haywood County lodging here. We look forward to welcoming you to the beautiful NC Smoky Mountains this holiday season!