So much of my Christmas spirit comes from seeing strings and strings of sparkling Christmas lights go up on houses, buildings, and all around Athens as the holidays draw near. Something about the colors and the twinkling of those decorative lights at nighttime really puts me in a happy, festive mood. I especially love the lighted reindeer, candy canes, and other holiday decorations that can be found in many yards.

If you understand this feeling, then you must make it out to the Athens Downtown Christmas Parade of Lights this year! Located in downtown Athens, this annual parade truly ushers in the holiday season with over 60 floats, bands, and other groups bringing the festivity through the downtown streets. The twinkling lights brightening up the downtown area at night will fill you, your friends, and your family with awe and wonder. The parade begins at 7 p.m. on the corner of Dougherty and Pulaski Streets and will end in front of City Hall. Be sure to stay for the whole time so you don't miss out on the traditional tree lighting ceremony hosted by the Christmas celebrities themselves: Santa and Mrs. Claus!

This is the perfect event to share with your family, and children and adults will be consumed by the magic and beauty of the lights. Another great reason to go and make a night of it is the Downtown Open House; if you head downtown prior to the parade, there will be awesome deals and extended hours offered by retailers!

With no admission charge and a night full of fun, this parade makes the list for one of the best holiday events out of the many that Athens has to offer. Mark it on your calendars, and prepare to be amazed and entertained!

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- Debbie