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Savannah Unveils its 2015 Holiday Event Line-Up



A visit to Savannah is always fun, but - as is the case in many other cities - there's something special in the air during the Christmas season, when holiday lights, mistletoe and all around good cheer permeate the city.

A fun way to view the city this time of year is the Holly Jolly Holiday Tour, or the Annual Holiday Tour of Homes which allows you to explore historic homes decked out in holiday finery. The annual Boat Parade of Lights allows you to view a fleet of more than 40 brightly decorated boats competing for awards. Christmas on the River features unique handmade gifts and stocking stuffers from River Street vendors, as well as music, food and entertainment.

For an all round "feel good" performance, A Christmas Tradition brings the magic of Christmas and all the glitz and glitter to you in a two-hour performance in a venue transformed into a winter wonderland.

Step back in time and view how former Savannah residents celebrated the holidays. The Davenport House, Owens-Thomas House and Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace are just some of the mansions being featured and the historic Cathedral of St. John the Baptist is especially beautiful this time of year. 


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Historic District
Davenport House Museum
Photo courtesy of VisitSavannah.com

Holiday Evening Tours by Candlelight invites guests to step back in time December 26 - 30 - to experience a genuine 19th century end-of-year celebrations inside of Savannah's historic Davenport Mansion. Glistening candlelight will set the stage for the tour through the Federal-style home, where participants will be allowed to peek in on the Davenport household, who lived in the fine brick home on Columbia Square. Skilled historical interpreters will guide visitors through the home and light refreshments and music will be among the highlights of the presentation. Guests need to be able to walk up and down stairs and maneuver in the candlelit rooms. Tours are from 6 - 8:30 p.m. Tickets are: $10 for adults, with advance purchase, $12 at the door; $6 children in advance, $8 at the door


Westin Savannah Harbor Golf & Spa Resort
Photo courtesy of VisitSavannah.com

The Savannah River is gleaming during the holiday season as the annual Boat Parade of Lights showcases some 40 beautifully decorated glowing vessels decked out for the season. The event takes place on November 28, 5 - 10 p.m. with boats leaving from the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf & Spa Resort's dock. The holiday line-up includes a festive tree lighting, Savannah Pipe and Drum Band performances, photos with Santa and fireworks. In addition there will be a Gingerbread Village and colorful Christmas Market. Sponsored by the Savannah Harbor Foundation, funds benefit the Greenbriar Children's Center. Hot cocoa, cider, s'mores and other treats will be offered. Cost is $10 per person (parking additional). All food and beverage is available a la carte.


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Historic District
Savannah Theatre
Photo courtesy of VisitSavannah.com


The Savannah Theatre has been wowing audiences since it first opened its doors in 1818. Over the years notables such as Sarah Bernhardt, Tyrone Powers, W.C. Fields, Oscar Wilde and many others performed on this stage. Today, the restored 1940s art deco theater showcases live performances throughout the year - the most spectacular of which is A Christmas Tradition. The theatre is transformed into a winter wonderland with Santa, Frosty and dancing reindeer leading the pack in celebrating holiday glitz and glitter in a two-hour performance, November 26 - December 26. Tickets are $18 (17 and under), $37 for adults. Audience participation is encouraged.


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Savannah Riverboat Cruises
Photo courtesy of Visit Savannah.com

Relive a bygone era on board a replica of a paddle wheeler boats which once cruised America's rivers. As you cruise the scenic Savannah River, you'll be treated to the captain's tales, lore and historic fact about Savannah's past while viewing sights such as the "Waving Girl," and other landmarks. The Christmas season heralds several special cruise events, one of the most popular of which, is the "Sailing with Santa Charity Cruise." While on board the one-hour cruise, children can sit on Santa's lap and tell him what's on their "wish list." Children who bring a new unwrapped toy, get to cruise for free. Sailings are November 27 and 28 and December 5 and 12.


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Historic District
Old Town Trolley Tours
Photo courtesy of VisitSavannah.com


Savannah's popular on-off tour company is a draw year round, but the Christmas season is special. The Holly Jolly Holiday Trolley Tour is offered November 27 - December 24 and includes two stops. Conductor "elves" entertain and amuse guests with favorite holiday lore, while transporting them past decorated historic homes and city squares - caroling all the way. Stops will be made at the historic Isaiah Davenport House, where guests will be transported to the 1820s with a peek at a typical 19th century Christmas. Later, tour the area's largest Gingerbread Village at the Westin Savannah Harbor Resort, where guests receive a special treat. Tickets are: $25.70 for adults; $14.95 for children 4 - 12. Reservations are required.


Christmas For Kids At City Market
Photo courtesy of VisitSavannah.com

Savannah's popular City Market comes alive with fun-filled activities for the whole family during Christmas holiday. Tucked into the country's largest Historic District, this four-block area has been a popular destination for entertainment, dining, art and retail since 1985. The annual Christmas for Kids celebration takes place Dec. 5, 2015, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. with cookie decorating, ornament- making, face painting, and Grinch hair and make-up as some of the activities. A petting zoo offers a chance to get up close and personal with small wildlife, while photos with Father Christmas sitting in Carriage Tours of Savannah's Cinderella carriage and a choir performance top off the festivities. Visitors are asked to take an unwrapped toy to drop off in the Holiday Hope collection box.


Savannah Holiday Tour of Homes
Photo courtesy of VisitSavannah.com

In 1974 Jim Williams - the Savannah Downtown Neighborhood Association's first president - opened his beautiful home on Monterey Square for Savannah's first "Christmas Tour." He was one of Savannah's most successful antique dealers and owner of the Mercer House. While it was the only house on the tour and tickets were $25, the success of that first venture kicked off a popular Savannah holiday tradition. The Downtown Neighborhood Association has expanded and continuously improved the tour for 40, adding historic homes of all types and other events, which draw local residents and visitors alike. The 2015 Holiday Tour of Homes will showcase eight private residences on the afternoon of December 12. The self-guided tour will take visitors on a stroll through some of the most picturesque parts of downtown Savannah, beginning at the Massie Heritage Center. Tickets are $50 and available online. Advance purchase is strongly suggested as the event does sell out.


Savannah Philharmonic Holiday Pops
Photo courtesy of VisitSavannah.com

A Savannah tradition since 2008, Savannah the Lucas Theatre for the Arts is once again the venue for the Philharmonic Orchestra's Holiday Pops, a perennial favorite. The magic, joy and warmth of Christmas will be celebrated with a full orchestra, chorus, soloists and special guests. Three Performances are scheduled: December 11, from 7:30 - 9 p.m.; December 12, from 3-4 p.m. (Children's Matinee) and December 12, 7:30 - 9 p.m. Performing soloists scheduled to perform are: Harry O'Donoghue, Irish Entertainer and Alexander Edgemon, countertenor (an American Traditions Competition gold medalist). Special guest: I. Contori. Tickets range between $16 - $75.


Savannah's Lighted Christmas Parade
Photo courtesy of VisitSavannah.com

This much heralded annual tradition is staged along the Savannah River each year and has become a favorite with visitors and locals alike. The colorful parade comprised of vehicles, car clubs, colorful floats and walking groups, kicks off the official arrival of St. Nick on December 5 at 5:30 p.m. Setting out from West River Street, it winds its way throughout the Historic Downtown, ending up in City Market. Preceding the parade, is the popular Christmas on the River, featuring local entertainment, music, seasonal treats and regional arts and crafts in what has become a true multi-cultural happening.


Christmas on the River
Photo courtesy of VisitSavannah.com

Historic River Street comes alive with an old time holiday celebration the weekend of Dec. 4 and 5, 2015. Rousakis Plaza will be brimming with regional arts and crafts exhibitors offering a host of holiday gifts and stocking stuffers for everyone on your Christmas list. Music and local entertainment will be staged on the Arbor Stage throughout the weekend leading up to Savannah's Lighted Christmas Parade. The festive weekend activities are set to begin on Friday from 4-10 p.m. with First Friday Fireworks presented by Wet Willie's at 9:30 p.m., and continue on Saturday 5 from 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. The parade - marking the official arrival of St. Nick - will kick off on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. starting on West River Street, traveling throughout downtown and ending in City Market.


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Meet Michelle da Silva Richmond

Michelle da Silva Richmond is an award-winning travel editor and member of the Society of American Travel Writers and other journalism organizations. 

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