The first weekend in December is full of festive fun — from a Chinese lantern festival lighting up the night to a train-themed holiday block party. Gather the family and turn up the Christmas music as you head to one of these local events sure to ring in the season.
Holly Jolly Day at Town Center Park
Holly Jolly Day kicks off the holiday season with performances by local schools, a tree lighting, and photos with Santa. There will also be free crafts, s’mores, and hot chocolate while supplies last. Nov. 30, 6:30-10 p.m. Suwanee Town Center Park.
November Block Party
Flowery Branch celebrates the Christmas season with a Polar Express-themed block party featuring train rides, Santa and holiday goodies. Visit the historic train depot for a Polar Express adventure, then get your (free!) photo taken with Santa. There will be food trucks, bonfires, hot drinks and a marketplace perfect for Christmas shopping. Fri., Nov. 30, 5:30-8:30 p.m. Downtown Flowery Branch, 5302 Railroad Ave.
Head over to Sugarloaf Mills for a brand-new holiday event all the way from China. Become immersed in a world of wonder and light as you wander through a maze of illuminated sculptures scaling nearly 30 feet tall. Explore the Forbidden City and meet the Terracotta Warriors before passing through the belly of the whale for a glistening look at life Under the Sea. Prepare to be awed by dazzling acrobats, but don’t forget to leave time to visit Christmas Village! Through Jan. 1, 5-10 p.m. Sugarloaf Mills. www.illuminategeorgia.com.
Deck the Hall
Downtown Duluth rings in the holidays with live music, decorations, kids’ activities such as inflatables, face painting, games, ornament making, a snow playground, snow slide and more are on Duluth Town Green. Sat., Dec. 1, 2-7 p.m.