10 Holiday Events this Weekend

N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
Bennett Place in Durham is among historic sites offering visitors a glimpse of Christmases past.

This weekend, holiday events at historic sites in Durham invite visitors to step back in time to learn how Christmas was celebrated long ago. Take a tour by candlelight, make traditional crafts, listen to stories and enjoy cookies and hot apple cider. The streets of Cary, Chapel Hill and Carrboro come alive with parades. And if you’re looking for Santa or Mrs. Claus, they’re in town, too.

1. Step back in time to the 1870s in Durham at Duke Homestead’s “Christmas by Candlelight” Dec. 11, 7-9 p.m. Follow costumed interpreters on a candlelit tour through the historic area that will be festooned with period decorations. Enjoy storytelling, cookies, hot apple cider, live music and historic dancing. Join in the dance and sing along with carolers. Tickets are $6 for adults and $3 for ages 10 and younger. 

N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

2. Experience the Duke Homestead’s "Victorian Family Christmas" Dec. 13, 1-4 p.m. Make traditional crafts, listen to stories and meet Santa. Tickets are $2/person and free for ages 6 and younger. 919-477-5498.

N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

3. Visit the historic Bennett Place in Durham Saturday, Dec. 12, 10 a.m.-4 p.m,. to learn how Christmas was celebrated in the Carolinas during the Civil War. Re-enactors will decorate the farm in the modest fashion of the time, and you can savor hot apple cider and Christmas cookies. Take the kids for games, to see Old St. Nick and to enjoy cooking demonstrations.

4. Step into North Carolina's historic Executive Mansion in Raleigh for Holiday Open House festivities Dec. 10-13. Tour the home, and enjoy the decorations and live holiday music. The first floor will be decorated with North Carolina-grown Christmas trees, floral and mixed evergreen arrangements, and ornate mantle displays. Visit the site for opening hours. 

N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

5. Take your kids to the Cary Christmas Parade, which kicks off at 2 pm. Dec. 12 on Chatham Street, and features bands, mascots, local businesses, community groups and churches. 

6. Welcome Santa, themed floats and marching bands in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Holiday Parade Dec. 12. The parade begins at 10 a.m. on E. Franklin Street in downtown Chapel Hill and ends at noon on Main Street in Carrboro. 

7. Take in the spectacular sight of 20 intricate light displays at the Chinese Lantern Festival at Booth Amphitheatre in Cary. The festival runs through Jan. 3, from 6:30-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, and 6:30-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Chinese performers entertain on weekends. Tickets are $20 for adults and $12 for ages 3-17. 

Photo courtesy of North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival


8. The Town of Apex is featuring a Rockin’ Reindeer Hop for anyone age 14 and older Saturday, Dec. 12, 7-9:30 p.m. at the Apex Community Center. Dance the night away with music and enjoy refreshments. $5 pre-registration or $5 cash at the door. Call 919-249-3507 for more information. This event is sponsored by the Apex Youth Council.

9. Head to Holly Springs’ annual Main Street Christmas Dec. 11, 6-8 p.m., for hayrides, a live nativity and entertainment. Mrs. Claus reads stories at the Cultural Center and Santa visits with children at Town Hall until 7:30 p.m. Enjoy the town’s tree-lighting ceremony at 8 p.m. at the Cultural Center.

10. Holly Springs’ Happy Holly Days Parade on Main Street starts Dec. 12 at 11 a.m. featuring floats, bands, dancers, decorated vehicles, horses, marching groups. They will travel Main Street through downtown, starting at Holly Springs Road and ending at Ballentine Street. 

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