I blame Hallmark for my unreasonably high expectations of what celebrating the holidays should look like.
In my mind, the ideal holiday event would include a charming downtown streetscape decked to the nines, an overload of twinkly lights, a horse-drawn carriage ride, a thermos of hot chocolate and a sprinkle of snow (you know the scene).
So, if you’re like me, and have watched all of those Hallmark Christmas movies, these events are for you. They’re chock-full of small-town charm, holiday spirit and cozy traditions.
Carriage and Wagon Rides in Historic Lincolnton
Nov. 29-Dec. 22| Downtown Lincolnton | 6:30-9:30 p.m. | $5/$10 | Details
Why you should go: Downtown Lincolnton is a trek from Charlotte and the Lake Norman area, but checking out the city’s Christmas traditions is seriously worth the travel time. The downtown area is quaint and lined with shops fully decorated for the holidays. There’s a giant lit Christmas tree in front of the courthouse and a house where kids can visit with Santa. The main attraction is a horse-drawn carriage ride through the downtown area to see some of the light displays – it’s magical.
Coleman Christmas Light Show
Daily| Villages of Denver | After sunset | Free | Details
Why you should go: It started with one family at 7661 Natalie Commons Drive doing over-the-top Christmas decorations, but some of the neighbors have since caught on, and there’s a friendly competition to see who’s display shines the brightest. Each year gets bigger and bigger, and the one’s who started it all program the lights to music. Plus, the Coleman Lights website has a list of other decorated houses worth checking out so you can make a night of Christmas light viewing.
80th Annual Cannon Pharmacy Kannapolis Christmas Parade
Dec. 8 |Downtown Kannapolis | 6-9 p.m. | Free | Details
Why you should go: Every year this parade in cozy downtown Kannapolis draws thousands – and for good reason. The parade has tons of floats decked out in Christmas lights, performances and other things inspiring holiday cheer, growing more and more impressive over the last 79 years.
Lighting Up the Lake
Dec. 1,8,15 | Lake Norman | 5 p.m. | Free | Details
Why you should go: There are three different options and routes to watch parade of decorated boats light up Lake Norman. You can choose from Lake Norman Yacht Club, Peninsula Yacht Club or the final show which you can see from Blythe Landing, Ramsey Creek and the Duke Energy Explorium. If you happen to have a boat, you can register it for the show or you can grab a blanket, fill a thermos with hot chocolate and sit and enjoy from the sidelines.
Christmas in Davidson
Nov. 29-Dec. 1 | Downtown Davidson | 6 p.m. | Free | Details
Why you should go: Downtown Davidson already looks like a movie setting with its beautiful, well-maintained storefronts and the college campus. Add Christmas lights, live music, visits with Santa, a scenic horse-drawn carriage ride, and its what magical holiday dreams are made of.
Candlelight Christmas Tour
Dec. 1,8 | Historic Latta Plantation | 6 p.m. | $15 | Details
Why you should go: You get to tour the historic home by candlelight and have cookies and hot cider by the fire afterward. How cute and cozy does that sound?
Featured photo via The City of Lincolnton/Facebook