Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas

As the stockings are hung in our homes this month, the cities and towns in which we reside will be donned with their own holiday trimmings. Southport is renowned for its annual Christmas by the Sea Festival, which takes place in the first three weeks of December. In fact, Coastal Living magazine named the event’s holiday flotilla one of the top 10 boat parades in our nation. And why shouldn’t it be? The hometown feel of southeastern North Carolina during Christmas is like raising a toast with a glass of Champagne: festive, effervescent, and a little comforting, too.

Though not all are a part of the festival, we’ve compiled a list of holiday happenings in our area so that folks can enjoy this splendid season all month long.

Charles Dickens Christmas Festival
Fri., 11/30 – Sat., 12/1 • 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Historic Downtown Southport
The streets of Southport will be transformed into the Victorian world of Dickens, as the Brunswick Arts Council celebrates the author’s 200th birthday. School children will be involved in dramatic performances; out-of-town Dickens dramatists and educators will perform; there will be singing groups of all types; plays, artists and specialty craftsmen; a gingerbread house, Christmas tree, wreath and costume contests. Admission: $10/adult, $5/children 7-12, free/children 6 and under. Tickets can be purchased online at www.brunswickartscouncil.org. For info call Mary Anne Fagerquest: 382-0553 or 371-1024.

Oak Island Tree Lighting
Fri., 11/30 • 5:30 p.m.
Middleton Park, 4601 E. Oak Island Dr.
The Sea Notes Choral Society will kick off this year’s tree lighting at 5:30 p.m., and the bulbs will begin to glow at 6 p.m. Enjoy Santa, too. Contact: Oak Island Parks and Recreation, 278-5518. Free.

Secret Santa Workshop
Fri., 11/30 • 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Sat., 12/1 • 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Oak Island Teen Center, 4601 E. Oak Island Dr.
Fri., 12/7 • 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Oak Island Rec. Center, 3003 E. Oak Island Dr.
Come let your kids shop for mom and dad secretly. Gifts range from $1 to $5. Contact: 278-5518 or 248-6552.

Victorian Tea
Fri., 11/30 – Sat., 12/1 • 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Bell Clemmons, 313 E. Moore St.
Lois Jane’s Riverview Inn, 106 W. Bay St.
Robert Ruark Inn, 119 N. Lord St.
In honor of the first annual Dickens’ Festival, three of the city’s inns team up to offer a delightful tea, delicious pastries, holiday decorations, music and more. Limited seating, 363-4169. Admission: $10 fee at each of the inns.

Christmas by the Sea Parade
Sat., 12/1 • 2 p.m.; Oak Island
On Oak Island Drive from Oak Island Town Hall on 46th Street to McGlamery Street. Contact: Southport-Oak Island Chamber of Commerce, 457-6964.

Oak Island Christmas by the Sea House Tour
Sun., 12/2 • 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Tour begins at the Oak Island Rec. Center
3003 E. Oak Island Dr.
Six beautifully decorated private homes will be open to the public. Tour begins with refreshments and maps; is organized by and benefits the Oak Island Beautification Club. Advance tickets are available at: Blue Crab Blue, Grape and Ale, Seaside with Coffee, and Backyard Wild. The Oak Island Rec. Center, the Southport-Oak Island Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Southport Visitors’ Center. Day-of tickets will be available at the Oak Island Rec. Center only. Admission: $8/adv., $10/day of. Contact: Jane Henderson, 278-7782 or Amy Kleva, 620-3714.

Santa’s Fire Engine Ride
Tues., 12/4 • 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Southport Fire Dept., 1011 N. Howe St.
Leave from the Southport Fire Dept. and enjoy a ride through the city’s downtown, in conjunction with the lighting of the Christmas tree at Dosher Memorial Hospital. Return to the fire department to snack on treats and get a surprise gift from Santa.

Sea Notes Choral Society Holiday Concert
Follow this link.

Christmas Choir Cantata
Fri., 12/7 – Sat., 12/8 • 7:30 p.m.
Sun, 12/9 • 4:30 p.m.
Ocean View United Methodist Church
8400 E. Oak Island Dr., Oak Island
Revel in the sounds of the church’s Adult Chancel Choir as they present their sacred Christmas songs. Contact: Greg Walker, 278-5973.

Christmas at the Amuzu
Fri., 12/7 – Sat., 12/8 • 7:30 p.m.
Thurs., 12/13 – Sat., 12/15 • 7:30 p.m.
Sun., 12/16 • 3 p.m.
Historic Amuzu Theater
111 N. Howe St.
The theater will present a live show with music including old-time Christmas carols. Contact: Bill and Cathy Furpless, 523-2552. Admission: $15.

North Pole Adventure
Fri., 12/7 • 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
OI Rec. Center, 3003 E. Oak Island Dr.
Join the Oak Island Rec. Center as it is transformed into the North Pole. For children. Crafts, activities, a special visitor, and more. Contact: 278-5518.

Movies on the Coast and Children’s Tree Lighting
Fri., 12/7 • 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Fort Johnson Southport Museum and Visitor’s Center Garrison Lawn
113 W. Moore St.
Watch “Arthur Christmas” on the lawn as WWAY will be reporting the tree lighting live. Contact: 457-7945 or 279-3331.

North Carolina Christmas Parade and Festival
Sat., 12/8 • 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Downtown Leland behind BB&T
Food, entertainment, kids’ games and a parade. The parade will begin at 10 a.m. (roads close at 9 a.m.) Parade lineup starts at 7 a.m. on Village Road, Leland. Contact: 616-2671 or 371-9921.

Santa Claus with Paws
Sat., 12/8 • 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
OI Teen Center, 4601 E. Oak Island Dr.
Bring your dog to shop for you, and all gifts are only $1 to $5. Contact: 278-6552.

Santa’s Workshop
Sat., 12/8 • 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Southport City Gym, 211 N. Atlantic Ave.
Children’s crafts and activities. Contact: Southport Parks and Rec., 457-7945.

Brunswick High Schools Choirs and Theatre Troupes
Sat., 12/8 • 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Fort Johnson Southport Museum and Visitor’s Center Garrison Lawn
113 W. Moore St.
These young talents will present a Christmas tribute for free.

An 18th Century Christmas
Sat., 12/8 • 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson State Historic Site, 8884 St. Philips Road SE, Winnabow
Explore how American colonists celebrated Christmas. Costumed interpreters will give guided tours of St. Philips Anglican Church and historic Brunswick on the hour. Enjoy a period candlelight service in the ruins of St. Phillips Anglican Church. Activities and refreshments will be available. Contact: Jim McKee, 371-6613. Free

Christmas Tour of Homes
Follow this link.

Southport Christmas Flotilla 2011. Photo courtesy of Woody Wilson.

Southport Christmas Flotilla
Sat., 12/8 • 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Cape Fear River from the Southport Marina/Old Yacht Basin to Kingsley St.
Anywhere along the riverfront will afford a view. Boats of all sizes and shapes, power and sail, will illuminate the dark night. Once again, Southport Elementary School art students will judge the boats on the variety and creativity of their decorations. Contact: Woody Wilson, 454-4327.

Brunswick Concert Band Holiday Concert
Follow this link.

A Victorian Holiday
Sat., 12/15 • 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
NC Maritime Museum, Southport
204 E. Moore St.
Enjoy sugar cookies, ginger snaps and hot apple cider as the museum shares Victorian holiday customs. Visitors can make ornaments to take home and hear stories from the era. Suitable for all ages. Admission: free. Contact: 457-0003

Family Ornament Hunt
Sat., 12/15 • 8 p.m.
OI Teen Center, 4601 E. Oak Island Dr.
Cost is $5/family of four. Pre-register (required) by calling 278-6552.

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Southport Area's Culture & Events Magazine