- Tyler Estep The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Halloween is in the rearview mirror, Mother Nature has finally turned down the thermostat and Thanksgiving is right around the corner, all of which mean one thing: Christmas season is upon us.
With that in mind, here are 14 different places (and ways) to have a holly jolly good time in Gwinnett County (and nearby) in the coming weeks.
Stop by Gwinnett County's favorite shopping mall from 5 to 9 p.m. Nov. 19 for a free celebration that will include holiday-themed performances, a parade featuring Santa Claus and the lighting of a 50-foot Christmas tree.
"How the Grinch Stole Christmas" will also be played on a 35-foot screen.
The Mall of Georgia is at 3333 Buford Drive, Buford. Festivities will take place in the mall's Village Amphitheater area.
Yep, you can visit downtown Lawrenceville on Thanksgiving night to really launch the Christmas season.
Festivities will be held from 6 to 11 p.m. and include live music from the Class Act Band, food vendors and, of course, Santa Claus.
Attendance is free. The Gwinnett Historic Courthouse is at 185 W. Crogan St., Lawrenceville.
Venture on over to Peachtree Corners Baptist Church, where a Christmas Parade featuring bands, floats and Santa Claus will begin at 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 26. The parade will journey up Peachtree Corners Circle Road and into the Forum on Peachtree Parkway shopping center — where a Christmas tree lighting will take place around dusk.
This year is the first time the annual parade and tree lighting are on the same day.
Peachtree Corners Baptist Church is at 4480 Peachtree Corners Circle, Peachtree Corners. The Forum is at 5155 Peachtree Parkway, Peachtree Corners,
At 6 p.m. on Nov. 26, head on over to the Buford Community Center, where the city's Christmas tree will be lit. That will be followed by an outdoor screening of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," and festivities also include fire pits for roasting marshmallows and a "special visit" from Santa.
Admission is free. The Buford Community Center is at 2200 Buford Highway NE, Buford.
In Lilburn, festivities begin at 7 p.m. Nov. 29 at the Calvin Fitchett Municipal Complex. The tree lighting will follow a holiday musical performance and hot chocolate will be served.
Winners of the city's holiday coloring contest will also be announced.
The municipal complex is at 76 Main St., Lilburn.
Santa comes to Suwanee starting at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 2. Held at Town Center Park, the festivities include the lighting of the city's Christmas tree, performances by choruses from several local elementary schools and other groups.
Free hot chocolate, cookies, s'mores and "holiday crafts" will be available while supplies last — and photos with Santa are free (but you have to take them yourself).
Town Center Park is at 330 Town Center Ave., Suwanee.
Festivities begin in Norcross at 5:30 p.m., Dec. 2. Details provided on the city's website were scant, but local choir groups will perform, a Christmas tree will be lit and an unnamed movie will be played, too.
Complimentary photos with Santa will also be available.
Thrasher Park is at 93 Park Drive, Norcross.
The third-annual Christmas in Dacula event will run from noon to 7 p.m. Dec. 3. Hosted by Hebron Baptist Church, festivities will include musical entertainment, carriage rides, a live nativity — and food trucks.
A Christmas tree will be lit at the end of the evening.
Admission is free but it's $5 for all-day access to "Santa's Village," which hosts activities for children and teens. Festivalgoers are also encouraged to bring cash to donate to local nonprofits, which will benefit from the event.
Hebron Baptist Church is at 202 Hebron Church Road, Dacula.
Duluth's Christmas festivities will run from 3 to 6 p.m., Dec. 3. Offerings on the Duluth Town Green will include live music, beautiful decorations, kids' activities, face-painting, games, ornament making and "a snow playground."
Light refreshments will also be served during a City Hall Open House from 4 to 5 p.m.
The Duluth Town Green is at 3167 Main St., Duluth.
The city of Sugar Hill's holiday celebration and tree lighting starts at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 3. Festivities include free carriage rides and photos with Santa, caroling and a "holiday market."
The event will be held downtown at 5039 West Broad St., Sugar Hill.
Over in Grayson, locals will gather in Grayson Community Park starting at 2 p.m. on Dec. 4. Festivities will include bounce houses, pony rides, train rides and "lots of free activities for children." Photos with Santa will be available for "a small fee."
The tree lighting takes place at 6 p.m.
Grayson Community Park is at 1 Park Drive, Grayson.
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