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10 Birmingham Holiday Traditions You Should Start This Year

There’s nothing better than being home for the holidays when Birmingham comes alive with festive concerts, shows, and more. We’ve rounded up some of our favorites that you should make a yearly tradition if you haven’t already.

1. Holiday Films at The Alabama Theatre
Dec. 9 through Dec. 23

Feel the magic of the season by watching classic holiday films in the historic Alabama Theatre. Each screening begins with a sing-along accompanied by the Mighty Wurlitzer Organ. Tickets for all movies are $8 each, with the exception of The Polar Express, a fundraiser for Kid One Transport that is charging $12 for admission. Children ages two and younger are free of charge. Check out the schedule below:

White Christmas, Dec. 9, 18, 20
The Polar Express, Dec. 10
It’s A Wonderful Life, Dec. 12, 17, 19
Miracle on 34th Street, Dec. 11
Christmas Vacation, Dec. 10, 14, 19, 22
Home Alone, Dec. 13, 18
Elf, Dec. 15, 21
A Christmas Story, Dec. 16, 21
Meet Me in St. Louis, Dec. 20
A Christmas Carol, Dec. 23

2. Samford Legacy League’s 6th Annual Christmas Home Tour
Dec. 8, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. and 4-8 p.m.

Samford Legacy League’s 6th Annual Christmas Home Tour includes a holiday gift market and seasonal fare at the Samford President’s home. Tickets are $25 through Dec. 6 or $30 at the door of featured homes during tour hours. Proceeds will provide scholarships for students with significant financial need.

The tour features the homes of:

Denise & Ronnie Alvarez, 2405 Chestnut Road, Vestavia Hills
Joy & Price Kloess, 2862 Stratford Road S, Birmingham
Allison Morgan, 3008 N. Woodridge Road, Mountain Brook
Carolyn & John Tate, 3248 E. Briarcliff Circle, Mountain Brook
Jeanna & Andy Westmoreland, Samford President’s Home, 1994 Shades Crest Road, Vestavia Hills

3. Alabama Ballet presents George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker
Dec. 9-11 & 16-18 Leslie S. Wright Fine Arts Center, Samford University

Alabama Ballet is one of only eight companies in the world licensed by The Balanchine Trust to perform this holiday masterpiece. Tchaikovsky’s beloved melodies transport the young and young at heart to a magical world where mischievous mice besiege a battalion of toy soldiers, and an onstage blizzard leads to an enchanted Land of Sweets. Tickets are $25-$55.

4. Birmingham Zoolight Safari
Every Weekend in December, 5-9 p.m. The Birmingham Zoo

More than one million lights, holiday music, and plenty of festive activities bring the Zoo to life for 18 nights of holiday-centric fun. Enjoy a ride on the Candy Cane Train, go for a spin on the Jingle Bell Carousel, experience the thrill of the 100-foot Yuletide Slide, and ride the Santa Rollers. Take in the beauty of a decorated tree reaching nearly 30 feet tall in Trails of Africa.

5. The Jingle Bell Run
Dec. 10, 8 a.m. Railroad Park

The Arthritis Foundation’s Jingle Bell Run is a fun way to get out, get moving, and raise funds and awareness to cure America’s No. 1 cause of disability. In communities nationwide, this annual event brings together people from all walks of life. Wear a holiday-themed costume. Tie jingle bells to your shoelaces. Show off your ugly Christmas sweater. Complete a 5-kilometer run or walk with your team members, spreading smiles and good cheer.

6. The Mutt-cracker Presented by Birmingham Ballet
Dec. 9, 7:30 p.m. BJCC Concert Hall

If you love dogs, you don’t want to miss The Mutt-cracker. Birmingham Ballet’s canine-filled version of this holiday favorite premiered in 2011 with tail-wagging reviews. The production includes dancing found in Birmingham Ballet’s traditional The Nutcracker along with something special brought to the stage by the dogs. The performance benefits the Greater Birmingham Humane Society.

7. Christmas at Arlington
Dec. 2,  3,  &  4 Arlington Antebellum Home and Gardens

Arlington Antebellum Home & Gardens is a former plantation house and 6 acres of landscaped gardens near downtown Birmingham. The two-story frame structure was built between 1845 and 1850 and features antebellum-era Greek Revival architecture. The house serves as a decorative arts museum, featuring a collection of 19th-century furniture, textiles, silver, and paintings. The garden features a restored garden room that is used for special events. The house was added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 2, 1970.

During the first few days of December, the house becomes alive with the holiday spirit. Tour the house museum, gardens, and old kitchen adorned in period seasonal decorations. Enjoy refreshments, live entertainment, children’s activities, and of course, photos and cookies with Santa.

8. Colonial Christmas at the American Village
Dec. 6 –  9 The American Village

Enjoy a catered lunch in Liberty Hall that is patterned after the East Room of The White House, visit the Colonial Chapel. tour the Oval Office, and attend a Christmas party as you might have experienced in Colonial Virginia. Lunch and tour packages are available for individuals or groups. The American Village is a nationally-pioneering classroom and American history and civics education center that engages 35,000-40,000 students annually from Alabama and Southeastern states in academic programs related to American history, civics and government.

9. BSC’s 80th Annual Service of Lessons and Carols
Dec. 2 at 4:30 p.m., Dec. 4 at 7:30 p.m. Canterbury United Methodist Church

This year will mark the 80th anniversary of one of Birmingham-Southern College’s oldest and most beloved traditions. The BSC Concert Choir, Southern Chorale, and Alumni choirs will offer music for the season, along with familiar carols for congregational singing. In commemoration of its 80th anniversary, the choirs will include music composed or arranged by BSC faculty and alumni.

10. Railroad Park Ice Skating Winter Wonderland
Friday, Nov. 25- Tuesday, Jan. 17 Railroad Park

Want to experience a winter wonderland in the Magic City? Railroad Park added an outdoor ice skating rink this winter. The ice rink is open seven days a week through mid-January where you can ice skate against the city skyline.

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