The holiday engine revs up in Savannah in December. So, make the most of the time left in 2017 by taking time out for your favorite events. And, why not take in some new ones too and start future traditions! Whatever you do, you’ll find abundant holiday cheer right here in The Hostess City.

1. December Nights & Holiday Lights

When: Select Evenings through December 24

Place: Georgia Botanical Gardens

Time: 6pm- 9pm (weather permitting)

Cost: $10 ages 13 and older, $5 ages 3 to 12

FREE for children under 3 years of age

Once again, Georgia Botanical Gardens will glimmer with light displays. Marvels like crepe myrtles glistening with multicolored LEDs, starbursts shining around animated angels and twinkling reindeer peeking from the bamboo groves. Live performances take place in the Great Hall and Santa and the Mrs. will make numerous visits. Check Facebook for night-by-night listings of food trucks.

2. Savannah Harbor Holiday Series

When: December 1-4, 7-10, 14-24

Place: The Westin Savannah Harbor grounds

Time: See website for schedule

Cost: Ticket costs vary

Even Santa’s enchanted world at the North Pole is hard-pressed to compete with the wonderland created on Hutchinson Island each year. It’s an extraordinary event with awe-inspiring holiday sights. This year features mesmerizing musical concerts, festive dining experiences like Breakfast with Santa, and the perpetually popular Gingerbread Village showcasing edible architectural masterpieces. Stop by and take a gander, and drop by the ICEBAR for yummy treats.

3. City Market Holiday Events

When: December 1 and 2

Place: City Market

Time: Open House 6pm-9pm; Kids Celebration 11am-2pm

Cost: Free

How about a visit with Father Christmas? Or a courtyard stroll amid 500+ heartwarming luminaria? Or a shopping trip where merchants hand out holiday treats? All three are to be had at City Market’s Holiday Open House. Kids have their very own celebration too where they do all sorts of fun stuff like make ornaments, decorate cookies and Get Grinched (hair and makeup).  

4. Christmas on the River

When: December 1 - 3

Place: Rousakis Riverfront Plaza and River Street

Time: Friday, 4pm-10pm; Saturday, 10am-10pm, Sunday, 10am-5pm

Cost: Free and open to the public

This annual celebration gets you into the holiday spirit, and it gives you the chance to check gifts off your list. Shop the regional arts and crafts vendors set up in Rousakis Plaza. Catch entertainment on Arbor Stage all weekend long. And get set to greet St. Nick at the Lighted Christmas Parade.

5. Enmarket Savannah Bridge Run

When: December 2

Place: Hutchinson Island for the 5K, Montgomery Street for 10K

Time: See schedule

Cost: Registration fees vary

Get ready, get set, go! Take one trip over the Talmadge Bridge in the 5K. Or do two trips in the 10K. Or be a daredevil and do the Double Pump in which you run both races; that’s three trips over the bridge and more. It’s all for charity. Proceeds benefit cancer treatment and research.

6. Holiday Hickory Golf Classic

When: December 7

Place: The Club at Savannah Harbor

Time: 11am-4pm

Cost: Registration fees vary

This event will take you back to the golden age of golf when players like Bobby Jones and Walter Hagen graced the course. And you are encouraged to dress the part as they did then. Knickers and a pullover sweater fit the bill. And, you’ll be golfing with antique hickory golf clubs and vintage replica golf balls. Proceeds support local scholarship funds through the Savannah Harbor Foundation.

7. Wright Square Merchants' Holiday Open House

When: December 8

Place: Wright Square

Time: 5pm-8pm

Cost: Free

Join the merchants around Wright Square for an evening of good cheer! The square is adorned with garland, lights, and bows and the streets are alive with the sounds of carolers serenading smiling shoppers who just might be inclined to sing along. Merchants offer special deals for the occasion and shoppers get even more joy from supporting local businesses.

8. SCPS Santa Chase

When: December 9

Place: Savannah Christian Preparatory School

Time: 9:30 am Start Time

Cost: $35; Kids Fun Run $20

Can you beat Santa across the finish line? If you are the first runner to do so, you’ll win $100. Plus, there’s the unbridled joy of dressing up in a holiday costume and running or walking trails on the beautiful campus of Savannah Preparatory Christian School. After the run/walk, stick around for food trucks and family-friendly activities. Proceeds benefit the school’s Parent Teacher Fellowship.

9. Christmas PJS/Lights Fun Run

When: December 12

Place: Fleet Feet Savannah

Time: 6 pm Start Time

Cost: Free

Glow sticks, tacky Christmas sweaters, holiday jammies – all are fair game for this fun run. Everyone is invited to participate in this family-friendly event. So, set your alarm for an early start, gather up your loved ones and go run! Want to be extra festive? Coordinate your family’s running attire.

10. Reindeer Run

When: December 16

Place: Savannah International Trade and Convention Center

Time: 9 am Start Time

Cost: $30 until Dec. 1, then $35

This is the eighth year for this annual 8K which benefits the Prevention Education Program of the Rape Crises Center of the Coastal Empire, which includes bullying prevention, personal safety education for kids, and more. Wear your reindeer antlers and plan to stay for post-run activities.

11. Savannah Philharmonic Holiday Pops

When: December 9

Place: Johnny Mercer Theater

Time: 7:30 pm, Family Matinee 3 pm

Cost: $15-$80, Family Matinee $50/4 tickets, $15/individual

It’s that time of year when the Savannah Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus will wow you with classic tunes and holiday favorites that ring in the season with joy. They will be joined by Julie Benko, the 2017 winner of the Gold Medal and the Johnny Mercer Award in the American Traditions Vocal Competition. Earlier in the afternoon, the angelic voices of Savannah Children’s Choir will fill the theater at the one-hour Family Matinee, a tradition for many Savannah families.

12. Holiday Magic

When: December 16 - 17

Place: River Street

Time: 11am-10pm Saturday, 11am-6pm Sunday

Cost: Free

For their last festival of the year, Unity in the Community will throw a holiday celebration. Both days feature fun and games for the youngsters, musical entertainment for all ages and diverse arts and crafts vendors where you can find handcrafted holiday gifts. Don’t be surprised to see Santa and don’t forget that a variety of food vendors will be there too.

13. Twelve Bars of Christmas Bar Crawl

When: December 16

Place: Starts at McDonough's

Time: 4pm-11pm

Cost: $15 until Dec. 15, $20 the day of

‘Tis the season to be jolly and how could you not be with a holiday-themed bar crawl to enjoy with your best buddies. As the name implies, there are 12 participating establishments. Visit them all and you will complete a 5K adventure, partaking of drink specials all along the way. As for attire, holiday apparel is mandatory. And do feel free to go all out – elves, snowmen, reindeer and the like.

14. Ugly Sweater Fun Run

When: December 23

Place: Fleet Feet Savannah

Time: Starts at 7 am

Cost: Free

What’s more of a tradition than donning that ugly holiday sweater? Well, here’s your chance to put on the most ghastly pullover or cardigan you can find – along with your running shoes – and join the merriment of lots of others who will do the same. Make sure you get a selfie!

Happy Holidays from all of us on the ERA Evergreen Live Love Savannah Team!

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