Christmas Tree Challenge
Kick off the holidays with the 10th Annual American Tobacco Tower Lighting celebration.

Courtesy of Durham Magazine

The trick or treaters have passed by. The pumpkin patches have been visited. Even the political ads have thankfully stopped. The holiday season is here, and that means there’s all kinds of festive fun to be had right here in Durham and around the Triangle.

There are several can’t-miss events that occur on an ongoing basis throughout the holiday season. The famous Museum of Life and Science Santa Train runs on specified days through December 21; however, tickets sell out far in advance of those dates. You and your little ones get to ride the museum’s train out to the North Pole to meet Santa, then head back to participate in lots of great crafts and face painting, and sip hot chocolate. Also at the museum are holiday make and take and maker workshops where kids can make fun Christmas gifts. If you’re feeling a bit more active this holiday season, head down to The Ice Factory at American Tobacco Campus for outdoor ice skating! The rink is open November 20 to February 15.

Feeling a bit crafty? Bull City Craft has its annual ornament party this year at 2pm on December 22. Just register, then head on over to have your child paint and decorate several ornaments and enjoy some holiday treats. Your kids can also bake cookies with Durham Parks and Recreation on December 9 from 6-7pm at the Walltown Recreation Center. If you don’t feel like making the crafts but would like to see and purchase other folks’ handiwork, head to the Durham Art Walk Holiday Market November 22 and 23 where you can purchase goodies from some of the area’s best artists.

When the holidays roll around, I’m always thinking of holiday music and shows, and there’s plenty of that to go around, too. DPAC is a fabulous place to go and this year; for families with children ages 4 and older, they will be presenting both The Nutcracker and A Christmas Carol. If you’d like your kiddos to check out a ballet, the Barriskill Dance Studio does a great annual performance of The Nutcracker and tickets are open to the public. You can also find holiday music at American Tobacco Campus’ annual tower lighting on December 5 at 6pm, which you can pair with heading over to neighboring Diamond View Park to vote on the annual Triangle Christmas Tree Challenge. Or, for older children and adults, there’s always the beautiful Handel’s Messiah playing at Duke Chapel on Friday, December 5, at 7:30pm. You can also celebrate Kwanzaa at Holton Resource Center on December 30 from 6-8pm.

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