If you’ve ever imagined a quaint mountain town as the backdrop of your Christmas celebration, Helen, Georgia, is your place. Nestled in the Blue Ridge mountains, Alpine Helen is a German-inspired small town that comes alive during the holiday season. In fact, it is consistently rated one of the best Christmas towns in the USA due to its picturesque scenery and countless Christmas events for the whole family to enjoy.
While you could visit our Blue Creek Cabins year-round and never run out of adventures, there is something extra special about a December getaway to the town of Helen.
We’ve put together this visitor’s guide to help you celebrate Christmas time in Helen, Georgia.
Getting to Helen, Georgia
Located in North Georgia, visitors can easily get to Helen from many destinations in the South. Our beautiful mountain town is located approximately 2 hours from the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, where guests can then rent a car and take the scenic drive from Atlanta through the Blue Ridge Mountains to arrive in Helen.
Helen is centrally located near Greenville, SC (2 hours), Chattanooga, TN (2.5 hours), and Charlotte, NC (3.5 hours) - making it an easy drive from all four states.
December in Helen
Photo Credit: Vadim Fedotov
December is a quieter time in Helen following the fall season known for its popular Oktoberfest festivities. However, the city comes alive again quickly after Christmas with celebrations that last all month long. This magical month is full of Christmas lighting events and activities for people of all ages to enjoy.
Helen has mild weather in December, with average highs in the mid-50s and lows in the mid-20s. Snow is very rare in Helen during this time, but not impossible! It’s more likely to snow during the later part of December and into January. If you are hoping for a white Christmas, don’t fret. Plenty of Christmas events in Helen include fake snow, so you get a winter wonderland without the frigid temps.
Christmas Events in Helen
Photo Credit: elvisvaughn
Annual Lighting of the Village
2023 Date: November 24
The Annual Lighting of the Village marks the beginning of the Christmas season in this cozy Bavarian town. All are invited to partake in the annual event from 5-7 pm, where Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive at Riverside Park to officially usher in Christmas.
A 20-foot Christmas tree stands tall in the middle of Downtown, decorated with thousands of twinkling Christmas lights to illuminate Main Street below. Live music from local groups follows the joyous lighting of the tree.
It’s the ultimate Christmas kick-off event, including carols, holiday decor, and even a visit from Santa!
2023 Dates: November 25-26 and December 2-3
The Annual Christkindlmarkt is a crowd favorite in Helen, Georgia. Inspired by German Christmas markets, this traditional German event is the perfect opportunity to browse unique Christmas gifts and enjoy local treats along the way.
To find Christkindlmarkt, head to Downtown’s Marktplaz where you’ll discover stalls selling everything from homemade goods, savory and sweet foods, warm drinks, and even a souvenir or two for you! The Helen Christmas market is one you don’t want to miss.
Christmas in the Mountains Celebration & Lighted Parade
2023 Date: December 2
Christmas in the Mountains Celebration & Lighted Parade is an annual event in the neighboring town of Cleveland, Georgia. A quick 15-minute drive from Helen, it’s easy to enjoy this festive weekend if you’re staying at one of our Blue Creek Cabins.
Everything you love about the holiday season is jam-packed in this weekend festival. During the day, enjoy shopping at the holiday market in Cleveland’s Downtown square while sipping on hot cocoa. There are tons of Christmas activities scattered throughout the day, including Christmas carols, food booths, and even a visit from Santa.
The Lighted Parade begins at 7 pm and features an array of floats with everything from marching groups to live music to Christmas characters.
Helen Christmas Parade
2023 Date: December 9
Helen’s Annual Christmas Parade is a lively event that takes place on the second Saturday of December every year.
Families gather in Downtown Helen to watch the parade go by, complete with an array of colorful floats, German Christmas characters, live music, German dancing, and even Santa Claus himself!
As the sun goes down, stick around to participate in the yearly Lantern Parade, where children are invited to decorate lanterns and release them into the sky. The fun’s not over there, head to Downtown Festhalle next for s’mores and hot cocoa to end the night.
Victorian Christmas at Hardman Farm
2023 Dates: Fridays and Saturdays from December 1-16
Just south of Downtown Helen sits Hardman Farm Historic Site, a 173-acre farm known for its extensive Native American history.
Each December, Hardman Farm goes back in time to Christmas in 1877, paying tribute to the West End home’s first owners. Decked out in traditional Christmas decorations, the mansion transforms into a Victorian-Era Christmas wonderland.
This three-hour event includes horse-drawn wagon rides, live music, and freshly baked ginger cookies made with homemade sorghum from the farm!
Ticket prices vary and can be found here.
Must-Do Christmas Activities in Helen
Photo Credit: exploregeorgia.org
Enjoy Shopping at The Christmas Shoppe
The Christmas Shoppe is Helen's premier destination to get all your Christmas items in one place. Located in a quaint cottage on Main Street, this locally-owned shop sells artisan goods, Christmas ornaments, nativities and figurines, and plenty of holiday decor.
After shopping at the Christmas Shoppe, we recommend strolling down Main Street with coffee in hand as you explore the locally-owned stores along the way. You are sure to find unique, handmade items everywhere you go.
Take a Carriage Ride through Downtown Helen
Is there anything more idyllic than a horse-drawn carriage ride through a picturesque Christmas town? We didn’t think so.
If you’ve ever dreamed of starring in your own Hallmark movie, this is your chance. Alpine Carriage Company offers carriage rides through Downtown Helen year-round, including the Christmas season. Carriages range in size and can accommodate large groups if needed.
Whether you’re hoping for a romantic date night or fun for the whole family, it’s the perfect way to take in the magic of Downtown Helen at Christmastime. Bundle up with some hot cocoa and warm blankets and enjoy your horse-drawn carriage ride.
Visit Santa’s Sleigh at Riverside Park
If you’re looking for the perfect Christmas photo op in Helen, there’s no better backdrop than Santa’s sleigh!
After Santa arrives at the annual Lighting of the Village, his sleigh stays parked in Riverside Park for the remainder of the Christmas season. Attached to five wooden reindeer, the sleigh has a ladder leading up to its large seat, perfect for accommodating groups to hop in and take a picture. Nothing screams Christmas quite like a family sleigh picture!
Indulge in Delicious German Cuisine
We firmly believe that German food and cold weather go hand-in-hand. And there is no shortage of delicious German cuisine in Helen, Georgia.
Start your day with a traditional German breakfast at Hofer’s Bakery and Cafe, where you’ll find everything from Alpine French toast to biscuits with bratwurst gravy. Head to Hofbrauhaus next for a warm cup of Goulash soup for lunch. And you can’t end your winter day without a delicious Apfel Strudel from The Heidelberg.
Ride Georgia Mountain Coaster at Night
One of Helen’s most beloved family activities is riding the Georgia Mountain Coaster. Located on Main Street, this alpine coaster is perfect for adventure enthusiasts who want a bird’s eye view of the town.
The coaster takes you on a one-mile ride through Downtown Helen, passing all of the picturesque Christmas lights and decor along the way. It will feel like you’re riding Santa’s sleigh straight over a Christmas wonderland! Bundle up and enjoy the magical view of Helen at Christmastime.
Enjoy Your Christmas Getaway to Helen, Georgia
It’s no wonder Helen is one of America's most popular Christmas towns. Decked out with Christmas lights and a 20-foot Christmas tree, this charming Alpine village will transport you to Germany and the North Pole all at once.
During the month of December, you’ll find everything from festive Christmas events to German Christmas markets. And with the year-round German restaurants and entertainment in Downtown Helen, there is no shortage of activities for the whole family to enjoy.
Book now and enjoy your Christmas getaway to Blue Creek Cabins!