What’s that sound? Bells? Jingle bells!? Oh wait—it’s the weekend before Thanksgiving, which means the holiday season is officially here in Atlanta. Better enjoy the last of that Halloween candy, because with tree lightings galore, outdoor ice rinks opening up, and holiday festivals on the calendar, you’re going to be whisking your happy elves around town from now until 2019. Keep reading for everything you need to know about easing on in to the holiday season.

Photo: Casey Fleser via Flickr

Atlantic Station

Light the Station
Kick off the holidays with Light the Station on Winter Wonder Lane—just off Market Street and adjacent to Dillards—with a kids’ activity village, a visit with Santa’s reindeer, live music, a parade, tree lighting, and fireworks. Sat. Event details.

Santa’s Cottage Grand Opening
St. Nick is here and visiting you in his cozy cottage through Christmas Eve! Create magical memories and take photos with Santa Claus at Atlantic Station this holiday season. Sat. Event details.

Skate the Station
Skate the Station returns to Atlantic Station, just in time for the holiday season! Skate beneath the stars at the largest outdoor ice rink in the Southeast. Tickets will be available at the ice rink ticket window and online. Sun. Event details.


Macy’s Great Tree Lighting
Don’t miss Macy’s 71st Annual Great Tree Lighting ceremony with special performances and a visit from Santa! Ring in the holiday season with hosts Jovita Moore & Zach Klein, plus live music to light the Great Tree in style. If you can’t make it to the show, tune in to the live telecast on WSB-TV Channel 2 at 7 p.m. Sun. Event details.


The Lighting of Avalon
Don’t miss this celebration for the season, complete with festive music and free activities—including face painting, balloon art, photo booths, ice skating performances and the opening of the ice rink for the season, entertainment, and a lighting countdown. Sun. Event details.


Light Up Dunwoody Holiday Festival
An annual community event to welcome the holiday season, Light up Dunwoody Holiday Village opens at 3:00 pm and concludes with the lighting of the tree and menorah at 5:45 pm. Vendors and sponsors will offer wonderful holiday treasures and refreshments, Santa will be on the lawn of the Spruill Farm House with his sleigh, and live reindeer will be available for photo opportunities. Bring your own camera! SunEvent details.


Garden Lights, Holiday Nights
Garden Lights, Holiday Nights returns with new features and crowd favorites – including new music and motion for last year’s buzz-worthy spectacle, Nature’s Wonders. This year brings the debut of the Skylights Lounge in the Skyline Garden. Plus, several larger-than-life plant giants from Imaginary Worlds: Once Upon a Time will be awash in holiday glow. See the Ice Goddess and Tunnel of Light along with the Orchestral Orbs, Radiant Rainforest, Model Trains and other favorites that continue to make the exhibition a must-see holiday tradition. Fri. Event details.

Druid Hills

Artful Stories at Michael C. Carlos Museum
Carved onto clay tablets in Mesopotamia over 5000 years ago, the story of the cruel King Gilgamesh and the beast-man Enkidu still captivates listeners today. Children will hear Ludmila Zeman’s beautifully illustrated version of this ancient tale of friendship in the newly reinstalled galleries and then create their own story in clay. Sat. Event details


Free Family Movie Night at Battery Atlanta
Movie Series on Friday nights is free to attend, and guests are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs and/or blankets. Parking is free for the first four hours (non-event days) in the Red, Purple and Green decks at The Battery Atlanta. This week’s flick is The Secret Life of Pets (PG, 2016). Fri. Event details.


Peach State Chili Cookoff
The Peach State Chili Cook-off to Benefit the Gift of Adoption Fund is the International Chili Society (ICS) Georgia State Championship, and you’ll find 50 different chilis, live music, a kids area, and food and craft vendors. Sun. Event details.


—Shelley Massey