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Santa Claus applauds as the Christmas tree is lit in Downtown Calhoun.

Winter is here and there is no shortage of holiday fun to be found, whether you head over to the Harris Arts Center to take part in the annual Festival of Trees, spend an afternoon with Santa, donate time spreading cheer to local seniors, or take a ride to see the festive lights in nearby neighborhoods.

As you’re planning your holiday hijinks, be sure to consult this round up of places to catch festive lights and cheer.

Photos with Santa at RAK

Families and children are invited to take photos with Santa at RAK Outfitters in Calhoun, located at 455 Belwood Road, on Sunday, Dec. 1. Photos are free in exchange for a nonperishable food item. All food will be used to feed the hungry in Gordon County. Doors open at 10 a.m.

Belmont Baptist Handbell Choir Christmas Concert

For the ninth year in a row, the Belmont Baptist Handbell Choir will present its Christmas concert at the GEM Theatre in downtown Calhoun on Monday, Dec. 2, at 7:00 p.m. To gain admission into the show, patrons will need to donate a bag of groceries to be distributed to those in need through the Blewer Food Center.

Festival of Trees

The Harris Arts Center will continue its 15th annual Festival of Trees and silent auction from now until Dec. 8. The fundraiser is the center’s most successful each year, and more than 300 guests are expected to visit to take a look at the trees and other items on display before it ends this year. Included are more than 80 entries for the silent auction are table-top Christmas trees, wreaths, table centerpieces, specialty gift baskets and holiday creations. The Festival of Trees is open during HAC hours. Admission is free.

Christmas party and ornament exchange

Meadowdale Baptist Church, located at 1811 Rome Road S.W. in Calhoun, will host its annual Christmas party and ornament exchange on Monday, Dec. 2. The event will be held in the church’s Christian Center and will feature a pot luck supper. All ornaments brought for the exchange must be $10 and under. A prize will be awarded to the guest wearing the “Ugliest Christmas Sweater.” The party will begin at 6 p.m. and wrap up at around 8 p.m.

Wreath Making Workshop

The Gordon County Young Farmers and Red Bud Middle School Future Farmers of America are hosting a wreath making workshop on Thursday, Dec. 5, starting at 6 p.m. Cost is $25 which includes all supplies and a sandwich supper. All wreaths will be 12” evergreen wreaths. The class will be taught using pine, ribbon, and pine cones. Participants are welcome to take home their wreaths. The workshop will be held in the Red Bud Middle Agriculture Room, located at 821 Hunts Gin Road in Calhoun.

Adopt-a-Senior

Those looking to brighten up the holidays for the elderly in Calhoun-Gordon County have until Friday, Dec. 6 to sign up to be part of the first-ever Adopt-a-Senior program. Those who sign up will be asked to purchase a gift for their assigned senior. Community members interested in participating in the program can register to do so in person at the Calhoun Recreation Department.

Christmas Thrills on the Hill Weather permitting, Calhoun’s Paradise Dragstrip will host a car show, swap meet, and drag racing on Saturday, Dec. 7. Admission will be discounted for those who bring a toy to donate to children in Gordon County. The event is open for all vehicles of any year and make. Vendors will start setting up on the day of the event at 7 a.m. The celebrations will continue until 4 p.m. Cost is $25 for those competing the a drag race, car show, or swap meet. Spectator admission is $10. Kids aged 10 and younger get in free. Paradise Dragstrip is located at 500 Chatsworth Hwy 225 N.E. in Calhoun.

Snowball Dance

We Belong Inc., a non-profit that specializes in sponsoring, advocating for, organizing and running events for the local special needs community, will host its second annual Snowball dance on Saturday, Dec. 7 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Organizers ask that those who intend on attending the event RSVP on Facebook using the “interested” or “going” buttons on the event page.

Pets R Us Christmas Open HousePets R Us will host its Christmas Open House celebration on Saturday, Dec. 7. Festivities will begin at 10 a.m. with a visit from the Grinch. Santa will swing by from 2:00 to 4 p.m. Customer appreciation hours will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Guests will be invited to eat, enjoy face painting, shop special offers, and visit with animal rescue groups. Pets are permitted to take Christmas photos.

Flags for Christ

A seven-on-seven flag football tournament will be held on Saturday, Dec. 7 at the Calhoun Recreation Department. Hosted by S.S.A. Training of Calhoun, the event will raise money for Toys for Tots of Gordon County. Players and teams are invited to come out and compete for a cause. More information can be found on the S.S.A. Training of Calhoun Facebook page.

Hot Chocolate and Cookies Fellowship

Echota Baptist Church invites the community to come out for a time of fellowship and sweets on Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 6 p.m. Guests are asked the bring some cookies or desserts to share. A performance of Christmas carols will follow the meal. Echota Baptist Church is located at 35 College Circle in Calhoun.

2019 Calhoun Christmas Parade of Lights

The 2019 Calhoun Christmas Parade of Lights will be held on Thursday, Dec. 12, at 7 p.m. North Wall Street will be closed to local traffic for the lineup of the parade from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Onlookers can view the parade along Wall Street, from Line Street south to Oak Street. Those hoping to participate can do so by contacting the Gordon County Chamber of Commerce at (706) 625-3200.

Gifts for Grands donation drive

The Gifts for Grands donation drive will be accepting donated gift items for seniors until Friday, Dec. 13. Some specifically requested items include blankets, moisturizers, slippers, socks, manicure kits and sheets. Donations from individuals in Calhoun can be picked up by organizers. Donations directed to Chatsworth Health Care can be dropped off at Murray 911 or at Hair addictions, located at 21 New Hope Church Road. To schedule a pick up or request more information, call 706-537-3596.

CHRISTmas Cares

On Saturday, Dec. 14, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Christian Community Outreach will host its free CHRISTmas Cares festival in the community room at the Calhoun Recreation Department. The day will feature arts and crafts, games, food, music and more for the whole family. All children who attend the event will receive a gift. Reflections of Grace will be performing. For more information, call 678-767-0071.

‘A Christmas to Believe In’ playThe student congregation of Echota Baptist Church will perform their Christmas play, “A Christmas to Believe In” on Dec. 15 at 6 p.m. The 45-minute long play tells the story of belief, disbelief and faith.

Christmas Back Home concert Christmas Back Home is a family friendly holiday concert featuring classic Christmas hits with a twist. Scott Thompson and Brent McDonald lead an all-star band through genres spanning from blues and funk to jazz. The concert, which is currently touring, will make a stop at downtown Calhoun’s GEM Theatre on Friday, Dec. 20 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets begin at $23 and can be purchased online at christmasbackhome.com.

Gifts for Grands gift delivery

The Gifts for Grands donation drive will deliver gifts to seniors at Gordon County Health and Rehabilitation and Chatsworth Health Care on Saturday, Dec. 21. Gifts will be delivered to Calhoun Health Care on Dec. 22. All law enforcement and public service families are invited to participate, as are any members of the community who want to help deliver gifts. To sign up, contact Missy Barnhart Bingiel at 706-537-3596.

Did we miss any upcoming events? Email calhountimes@calhountimes.com and we will update the online version of this story.

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