Step back in time and experience Christmas past with a candle-lit stroll through a crisp wooded trail that transports you to the warm glow of the holidays. During Candlelight Nights visit each of the three historic houses to experience how Southerners celebrated Christmas during the pioneer days, the Civil War era, and the 1930s. Guests experience holiday traditions of years past with interpreters and special activities. Enjoy food for purchase and visit one of several cash bars for your favorite libation.
This special holiday program is $10 for members; $15 for nonmembers; $8 for children.
Support: Funding for this program is provided by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners under the guidance of Fulton County Arts Council and Big John's Christmas Trees.
Schedule of Activities:
Atlanta History Museum
5:30 - 9:30 PM
Not done with your holiday shopping yet? Purchase special one-of-a-kind gifts from local artists and craftsmen including:
Suds and Lather handmade soaps; Southern Botanics handcrafted botanic artworks; Jimella's Bakery; Fairywood Thicket Farm jams and jellies and hot caramel apples and apple cider; Lakeshore Pottery; JavaGenesis Coffee Roasting; Beautiful Briny Sea artisan sea salts; Adictos A La Salsa; Xocolatl Small Batch Chocolate; and more!
Alliance Theatre Carolers
6:45 PM, 7:45 PM
Get into the holiday spirit as the Alliance Theatre Carolers sing beloved Christmas carols during two special evening performances.
Visit with Santa Claus
December 18, 7:00 - 9:30 PM
Ho! Ho! Ho! Grab your camera and get ready to photograph the family while visiting with Old Saint Nick.
Smith Family Farm
Travel to Christmastime in 1861 and be welcomed into the holiday celebrations at the Smith Family Farm. Encounter characters from the first year of the Civil War as they share their personal stories of holidays during the war and revive traditions of the past as guests help residents of the farm decorate with traditional crafts-making and hands-on activities like popcorn and garland making, salt dough ornament activities, candle-dipping, blacksmithing, and open-hearth cooking. Enjoy a taste of winter vegetable soup provided by Souper Jenny.
Timed Smith Family Farm Activities:
1861 Christmas Tree Lighting
6:00 PM, 8:00 PM, 9:00 PM
The sounds of caroling greet you as you gather round to light the candles on the Christmas tree.
The Yule Log
6:15 PM, 7:15 PM, 8:15 PM, 9:15 PM
Listen to stories and songs sung by the fire as the enslaved community celebrates Christmas and hopes for the end of slavery. Afterward, visit with interpreters as they discuss resistance and the history of holidays for the enslaved.
A Christmas Feast
7:30 PM, 8:30 PM, 9:30 PM
Experience a special Christmas dinner as the Smiths sit down to a course of traditional Civil War-era delicacies and share family stories and traditions of the season.
Meet the Past Museum Theatre Performance: Stephen's Story
6:45 PM, 7:45 PM, 8:30 PM
Travel to the cabin and meet Stephen, an enslaved skilled woodworker who must face a crucial decision regarding his future during the holiday season. This decision will impact the lives of those closest to him, for better or worse.
Revel in the holiday season of 1930 as you are transported to a Jazz Age Christmas party at the lavishly decorated Swan House where the Inman family and Swan House staff celebrates Christmas. During guests' time travels to 1930, they encounter Grant Carter, preparing the 1929 Hudson Super Six sedan for holiday travel in the city; meet Edward Inman as he shares why he donated to the Empty Stocking Fund and how the charity is helping those in need in Atlanta today; and go behind-the-scenes in the kitchen with Lucille Arnold as she prepares holiday meals and shares her plans on celebrating the holidays with her own family once her Swan House shift is done. Create your own 1930s holiday postcard to send to your family and friends before enjoying a taste of dessert and listening to live music and singing Christmas carols in the Morning Room of Swan House.
Timed Swan House Activities:
Tray Dahl & The Jugtime Ragband
6:30 PM, 7:30 PM, 8:30 PM
Tray Dahl & The Jugtime Ragband is a New Orleans-style jazz band that specializes in 1920s and 1930s classics. Join the group as it performs Christmas songs of yesteryear, inspiring visitors to dance, smile and tap their feet.
Piano Christmas sing-along with Ruby Ross Wood
5:45 PM, 9:30 PM
Join Ruby Ross Wood, the Inman's interior decorator, as she leads guests in a sing-along of traditional Christmas songs.
Wood Family Cabin
Be transported to Christmastime 1821 and meet a pioneer family just settling into new lives on the Georgia frontier. Savor a taste of Brunswick stew provided by Souper Jenny while enjoying live music, hands-on-activities for a Make n' Take toy, encouraging guests to make their own early American toy for the perfect stocking stuffer, and enjoy the delightful smell of a holiday meal smoldering over the open-hearth.
Timed Wood Family Cabin Activities:
Atlanta Sacred Harp Singers
7:00 PM, 8:00 PM, 9:00 PM
The Atlanta Sacred Harp Singers perform historic a cappella shape-note hymns from The Sacred Harp, a collection first published in Georgia in 1844. Their performances entertain and inspire listeners through the active tradition of community sacred singing, which originated in early 19th century Georgia.
Mable Dorn Reeder Ampitheater
A Cappella Group Octave Performs Live
6:15 PM, 7:15 PM, 8:15 PM
Enjoy Atlanta's favorite female a cappella singing group performing holiday favorites. Founded in 1996, Octave has grown and changed with its evolving membership. Octave's members include teachers, writers, executives, pharmacists, athletes, dancers, grammar geeks, attorneys and moms -- brought together for great music, great friendships and great fun.
5:30 - 8:30 PM
Santa Clause will be dashing into the Members-Only Lounge in the West Lobby from 6:00 - 7:00 PM. Come for Santa and stay for joyous cookie decorating, ornament making and tree trimming until 8:30 PM.