What I LOVE About Christmas in the Triangle

Two weeks ago, the holiday season officially kicked off here in our neck of the country with the annual Raleigh Christmas Parade.  In the six years I’ve been here, I had never gone until this year and I’m so glad that I did.  The weather was perfect, the smiles on the faces of the little ones near me were priceless, and the marching bands were fantastic.  I love a parade!

The Broughton HS Band, 2010. 2012 Rose Parade participants too.

As a matter of fact, this is my favorite time of year.  Why? It’s so festive!  There isn’t any holiday where a whole season is dedicated to it in such a manner as Christmas is.  Granted, Hanukkah has also begun and then of course, there’s Kwanzaa after Christmas but let’s face it THIS is the Christmas season.  And in the Triangle (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill and surrounding areas) it’s celebrated in a BIG way!

In all of the locales I have ever lived in (Orlando, San Antonio, Houston, Boston), none of them can hold a candle to what the celebrations in the Triangle community hold.  Sure, each locale has its own magic (Orlando. Hello?) but what this community does as a whole to make it THE most festive season of the year is pretty darn wonderful.

There is nearly a parade or tree lighting in every town or city that surrounds RDU and each festive occasion is different in and of themselves.  My favorite holiday parade is actually the Wake Forest Parade.  I don’t quite know why.  Maybe it’s because the community reminds me of my roots in New England or the number of Girl and Boy Scouts that get to walk the route.  I don’t know.

Santa at the Wake Forest Christmas Parade

Let me tell you about the tree lightings too.

Most towns around here don’t have a “town common” per se.  Rather, for many areas, there’s a wide green grassy area near a senior center, by the courthouse, on the edge of main street.  No matter which area you choose, you can find a tree lighting at it complete with the singing of Christmas carols, a local band playing, perhaps the reading of “Twas the Night Before Christmas”, and sometimes a local dignitary who flicks the switch to turn the tree on officially for the remainder of the Season.

My favorite Christmas tree lighting experience is in Clayton, North Carolina where they also have a Christmas Village and they include a store window decorating contest, a LIVE nativity, and my favorite part – a doggie costume & parade, along with the annual Tree Lighting.  It’s always such a FUN local event!

I gotta give props to the folks at The Triangle Explorer who took the time to list many of the major holiday happenings in the area.

One of my favorites that they missed though, is a unique event that takes place in Johnston County called The Festival of Trees.  Over 35 real trees are uniquely decorated by the businesses and organizations that sponsor them.  It is SUCH a sight to see!  The organizers have gotten even more web-savvy with a Facebook Page and Picassa photo albums.  Check ’em out!

There are also several holiday light shows in the area – Lights on the Neuse in Clayton and the Meadow Lights in Meadow (just east of Benson and I-95) which are both very nice but I have to give a plug to the NEW and affordable attraction in South Raleigh – Santa’s Hayride.  Located at 401 Par Golf, I had a chance to visit it on opening weekend, partaking in a magical 20 minute hayride along a lit course with a cup of hot cocoa in hand and a round of Holiday mini-golf too.  I even created a video of the experience:

Disclaimer: My husband is a golf instructor there and thus, I offered to help them promote it.

There are so many wonderful events starting tonight in the Triangle and surrounding areas.  I encourage you to take in as many of them as you can…without stressing yourself out, of course.

If you’re feeling under the weather, there’s always the myriad of holiday programs on television.  Thanks to TV Guide for compiling the calendar of what’s showing when for traditional favorites and to ABC Family for their 25 Days of Christmas too!

There’s nothing like this time of year.  It’s so festive; meant to be enjoyed by all.  Take some time to take it all in.  You’ll smile more if you do.

It’s the MOST wonderful time of the year!




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