Bring on winter: December activities to welcome cooler temperatures

5 Facts About Holiday Light Displays Thomas Edison is credited with putting up the first Christmas lights display. Australian David Richards holds the Guinness World Record for the largest display of Christmas lights on an artificial tree. A 15-year-old named Albert Sadacca is said to have popularized Christmas tree lights. Lighting a Christmas tree could cost as much as $300 in 1900. That's $2000 in today's dollars. Each year, 20 million Christmas lights are recycled in Shijiao, China.

The final month of 2023 is upon us. This is always a busy time, but often it’s also an opportunity to get out and do so much. From holiday decorations and celebrations to things that keep the whole family smiling and having fun, these December activities have a little bit of everything — holiday magic included.

Enjoy the lights

Enchanted Safari

6 p.m.-10 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays, now-Sunday, Dec. 31. Also open Monday, Dec. 18 and Monday, Dec. 25. Tickets start at $39.99 per car load. Six Flags White Water, 250 Cobb Parkway N., Marietta. worldofillumination.com/marietta-georgia-six-flags-white-water

Dubbed the Enchanted Safari, this drive-thru light experience lets you discover the jungle without traveling too far from home. Exotic animals, including peacocks, reindeer, and even a T-Rex will pop up on your journey as you travel through the Tunnel of Tentacles and other illuminated stops. With over a million lights and an audio-visual component with your host Toukie Toucan, this 20-30-minute safari tour is an experience for the whole family.

Lights of Life

Now-Sunday, Dec. 31. Buses are $20 and cars and trucks are $10. Life University, 1269 Barclay Circle, Marietta. 770-426-2600. life.edu/lights-of-LIFE

The Lights of Life display is another opportunity to enjoy over 1 million holiday lights, but this event includes a few extras. Families can stop to enjoy a train ride, petting zoo, and concession stand. It’s all part of Life University’s enchanting wonderland. Billed as the “most affordable” holiday lights experience in the area, it provides a family-friendly option that isn’t too heavy on the wallet.

The Center for Puppetry Arts plans to continue “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

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Spread some holiday cheer

Decatur Bonfire + Marshmallow Roast

6 p.m. Thursday, Dec.14. Free admission. Decatur Square, 509 N. McDonough St., Decatur. https://www.decaturga.com/community/page/bonfiremarshmallow-roast

Gather together to kick off cooler temperatures with a giant bonfire. This roaring, holiday blaze is the ideal spot to roast a few marshmallows. A quintessential part of the holidays, creating this gooey treat over an open fire is something everyone should get to do each year. Whether you bring your own marshmallows or grab some at the event, you can check this must-do off your list right here.

“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”

Various times, with multiple shows Tuesday-Sunday. Now-Sunday, Dec. 31. VIP tickets start at $26 and regular tickets start at $21. Center for Puppetry Arts, 1404 Spring St. NW at 18th, Atlanta. 404-873-3391. puppet.org/programs/rudolph-the-red-nosed-reindeer

Based on the stop-motion animated special from 1964, this family-friendly puppet show follows Rudolph and his friends as they learn that it’s okay to be just the way they are. Perfect for younger children, ticket prices vary based on the date and your seating choice. VIP tickets put you upfront in the theater for an up-close view of the puppetry magic, but there’s no bad seat in the house.

Friends and family skate at the ice-skating rink at Avalon on Ice in Alpharetta on Saturday, January 8, 2022. The rink is open through Jan. 17. STEVE SCHAEFER FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

Credit: Steve Schaefer

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Credit: Steve Schaefer

Start a holiday tradition

Avalon on Ice

3 p.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and noon-7 p.m. Sunday. Now-Monday, Jan. 15. Special holiday hours 10 a.m.-10 p.m. from Tuesday, Dec. 19-Monday, Jan. 1. General tickets are $18, and children 9 and under are $14. Ticket prices include skate rental. The Plaza at Avalon, 400 Avalon Blvd., Alpharetta. experienceavalon.com/events/avalon-on-ice

Even though Atlanta isn’t always cold enough for actual ponds to freeze over, outdoor ice skating is possible. Create a special memory at Avalon on Ice with this Rockefeller Center-inspired ice skating rink. Fun for the whole family, spend some time skating, then take advantage of the various restaurants at Avalon for a family meal. You can do a little holiday shopping as well, or even see a movie.

“The Nutcracker Suite”

1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16 and Sunday, Dec. 17. $25 per ticket. Lakeside Pavilion at the Inn at Serenbe, 10950 Hutchesons Ferry Rd., Chattahoochee Hills. info@artfarmatserenbe.org. serenbe.com/event/the-nutcracker-suite-presented-by-terminus

You may have taken the grandkids to see “The Nutcracker” before, but heading to the Lakeside Pavilion at Serenbe is something different. This immersive holiday show puts you right into the action as Clara dances alongside snowflakes, holiday treats, and the Sugar Plum Fairy.

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