Asheville, NC definitely gets in the holiday spirit! Every year, Christmas and Hanukkah celebrations light up the social calendar, bringing extra cheer. There is a wide variety of holiday activities in Asheville and you are sure to find something to suit the entire family.

Christmas at the Biltmore

Every year, visitors and locals alike flock to admire the 35 foot Christmas tree and extensive decorations at the Biltmore house. Over 1,000 poinsettias and copious decorations transform the estate into a festive holiday experience. In total, 70 Christmas trees are strung with lights and ornaments, making the Biltmore a holiday favorite year after year. Your ticket to Christmas at the Biltmore includes access to the home, the gardens, and Antler Village. From November to January, the estate restaurants and the Winery feature special edition holiday wines for your enjoyment as well.

National Gingerbread Competition

Each year, The Omni Grove Park Inn celebrates Christmas by hosting a National Gingerbread Competition. The tradition started in 1992, when a group of community members created the first gingerbread competition in an effort to boost holiday spirit. The tradition has grown since then into a nationally recognized event with celebrity guest judges and expert pastry entrants. Individuals of all ages are delighted by the gingerbread house display and this is one of the most popular events in Asheville during the holiday season. Plan to make an afternoon or evening out of it and enjoy a hot chocolate overlooking the Sunset Terrace.

A Christmas Carol at Flat Rock Playhouse

Each year, the Charles Dickens’ classic tale returns to the Mainstage at the Flat Rock Playhouse. The play, as adapted by Richard Hellesen and David De Berry, is a holiday classic and a must see for theater enthusiasts. The Flat Rock Playhouse is officially designated The State Theatre of North Carolina. From Asheville, you travel 30 miles south to the village of Flat Rock. The theater is next door to another historic attraction, the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site. Since 1940, the theater has put on a season that now includes Broadway musicals, comedy, drama, and theatre for young audiences.

Winter Lights at the North Carolina Arboretum

The elaborate Winter Lights show put on by the North Carolina Arboretum each year is a spectacle to behold. Over 500,000 lights make up the dazzling display that will delight everyone in your family. The event features an outdoor s’mores station, landscape enhancing displays, synchronized lights, holiday music, and souvenirs. Sip on cocoa, cider, or beer while you wander through the bright lights. To top it off, the proceeds from the Winter Lights help the Arboretum continue to expand its educational programs, exhibits and facilities.

Montford Home Tour

Each year, Asheville’s historic Montford neighborhood showcases some of their most beautiful and eclectic homes for the holidays. Enjoy carefully restored architecture and homes built to complement Montford’s heritage. Each home opens with holiday warmth and hospitality, giving you the true Montford experience. The neighborhood donates their time and talents to create a festive environment, complete with holiday treats. Your ticket includes a map for the tour with details about each home. All proceeds support the Montford Neighborhood Association for neighborhood improvement projects and programs for youth at the Montford Recreation Center.

Lake Lure Polar Plunge

One of the final holiday events for the 2016-2017 season is the annual New Year’s Polar Plunge at the Beach at Lake Lure. Daring locals and visitors take the plunge into the icy water to support local charities. The community supports the event with merriment and encouragement! This is fun and silly event that will surely help you ring in the New Year.

There are many more holiday events that happen annually in and around Asheville, but I hope this gives you a small taste of what you can expect! The mountains are a wonderful place to celebrate the holidays and sometime even provide a white Christmas.