10 must-see Atlanta holiday traditions

From the Pink Pig to Garden Lights, Holiday Nights, check these events off your list
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Illustration by Marco Goran Ramono
Illustration by Marco Goran Ramono

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker—and it’s also the final season for the show’s choreographer, retiring artistic director John McFall. Here’s where the Tchaikovsky classic fits in with the city’s other long-standing holiday traditions.

1953
The Pink Pig
Through 1/3
Priscilla made her debut in the toy department at Rich’s downtown. Today you can take a ride at the Lenox Square Macy’s.

1967
Christmas with the ASO
12/12–13
Created by legendary former music director Robert Shaw, the concerts feature local choruses.

1981
Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus Annual Holiday Concert
12/4–5
Hear the group, now in its 35th year, at the stunning Cathedral of St. Philip.

1981
Children’s Christmas Parade
12/5
The largest holiday parade in the Southeast marches through Midtown, complete with local marching bands, giant balloons, and floats.

1990
A Christmas Carol
Through 12/24
Atlanta theater vet Chris Kayser played Scrooge for 16 years. Now catch him as Jacob Marley in this Alliance favorite.

1995
Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker
12/11–27
Celebrate two decades of this holiday production at the Fox.

1999
The Santaland Diaries
Through 12/31
Actor Harold Leaver stars in this sly Yuletide comedy, based on David Sedaris’s story about his time as a Macy’s elf.

2010
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Through 12/27
Take in a live version of the 1964 Rankin/Bass stop-motion special at the Center for Puppetry Arts. 2010

2010
Winter Wonderland
Through 1/10
More than 30 trees, each trimmed to honor a different country’s holiday traditions, decorate Fernbank.

2011
Garden Lights, Holiday Nights
Through 1/9
The Atlanta Botanical Garden twinkles with more than 2 million lights.

This article originally appeared in our December 2015 issue under the headline “A very ATL Xmas.”

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