8 Wonderfully Whacky Atlanta Holiday Traditions To Enjoy This Season


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Atlanta: capital of the New South, shining bastion of progress, and trend-setter among Southern cities. But don’t let our sophisticated hometown fool you. Atlanta has a quirky flag and flies it proudly during the holidays. Read on to share in a collective “atta-boy “ for our city that refuses to take itself too seriously.


The Pink Pig
We wait in line for hours, braving the cold (sometimes the hot), the rain, and the insanity of trying to keep our kids corralled at the mall just so we can squeeze into an ancient metal pig and go around and around in a festively decorated tent. In a parking lot. It’s a pig, in a parking lot, and we love it.

baby braithwaite

Santa Scheduling
We start getting nervous at the end of September. Plagued by thoughts of “Am I on Baby Braithwaite’s list this year?” and “I hope I get moved up in the rolling registration for Phipps. I mean, we’ve been booking since I found out I was pregnant with our first,” we chew our nails until we get the email announcing that visits with Santa are now being booked. And, no matter what we are in the middle of, we drop it like a hot potato to make the call or submit our registration. Your kids might still be at the pool, but your thoughts are on The Big Guy.


Neighborhood Light Hysteria
Who says white lights are classy? In Atlanta, the brightest, busiest, and most crowded-with-inflatables lawn displays take home the prize. Georgia Power’s favorite time of the year—holiday light displays in Atlanta put the Griswald’s feeble attempt to shine, to shame.


Drivin’ n Cryin’ New Year’s Eve Show
Sure, some people get dressed up and hit swanky hotspots around town to ring in the New Year. Others, however, get back in touch with their 1990s-era selves and sing along to “Straight to Hell” as though their lives depended on it at the Drivin’ n Cryin’ annual show at the Variety Playhouse. Consistently sold out, this show is the city’s collective exhale from the pomp and circumstance of the holidays.


Professional Cookie Cheaters
In Atlanta, we’re all busy. But we’re also all Southern (or at least peer-pressured by our Southern friends), so we do things like host cookie exchanges and holiday open houses. We polish the silver, vacuum the drapes, and sneak off to Henri’s or Alon’s right before they close to buy out their Christmas cookie inventory.


Snow Mountain at Stone Mountain
Who cares if it’s 60 degrees and sunny the week before Christmas? Stone Mountain delivers what we all want—snow. We’re not sure what’s stranger: the giant monolith itself or the mountain of snow that looms every year (even during the drought) from Thanksgiving to the New Year.


The Queen of England might corner the market on formal teas during the rest of the year, but during the holidays, Atlanta reigns supreme. Take your pick: teddy bear teas, Mr. and Mrs. Claus teas, high teas, story time teas, and even Chick-fil-A catered teas. Atlanta’s got them all. Click here for our guide to tea time.


Smocking Insanity
Sure, we’re pretty smocking-heavy throughout the year, but the holidays escalate our addiction to intervention levels. Kids are smocked from sunrise to sunset, at the playgroup and at the park. Pets even get in on the hot smocking action with holiday collars and needlepoint leashes. Nothing says “merry” like a smocked gown paired with monogrammed bloomers, tights, and a bow bigger than our kid’s precious little head.

Did we miss a wonderfully whacky Atlanta holiday tradition? Tell us below!

—Shelley Massey

Photos courtesy of Baby Braithwaite via FacebookFlickr via Creative Commons, Rags Land via Facebook, Callanwolde Fine Arts Center, and the author.

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