Holiday celebrations and events make for a grand season. Photo Credit: Holiday at the Gardens (Daniel Stowe) by Brandon Dierker via

It’s that time of the year! Decorations have gone up everywhere for those celebrating Christmas, plans are being made for making latkes for Chanukah and festivities are slated for Kwanza.

To help fill our readers’ date books, we assembled a plethora of options to satisfy even the most discerning palette. If we missed your Christmas service or LGBTQ-focused event and you wanted to be included, email

So, sit back and start planning…

Religious Observances

Dec. 18
Children’s Christmas Play
(held during morning worship service)
10 a.m.
Imani MCC
3602 C-View St., Durham, N.C.

Dec. 21
Blue Christmas Service
6 p.m.
MCC Sacred Journey
1735 5th Ave. W., Hendersonville, N.C.

Dec. 24
Christmas Eve Worship Service
6 p.m.
St. Jude’s MCC
19 N. 26th St., Wilmington, N.C.

Dec. 24
Christmas Eve Service
10 a.m.
Imani MCC
3602 C-View St., Durham, N.C.

Dec. 25
Christmas Day Worship
10 a.m.
St. John’s MCC
622 Maywood Ave., Raleigh N.C.


Dec. 22
Tree Trimming & Dirty Santa
7 p.m.
Deck the halls and bring an unusual gift to swap with other attendees.
North Star LGBTQ Community Center
930 Burke St., Winston-Salem, N.C.

Dec. 25
Winter Holiday Open House
12-5 p.m.
Everyone welcome to enjoy community with “family.” Donations of homemade sweets and family favorites are highly encouraged to create a feeling of home, and can be dropped off at the center all week long prior to the event. A light meal will be served throughout the afternoon for people who want to drop by to celebrate with friends, to stop in between other festivities for a bit of respite, and to simply know that all are welcome here. This event is hosted by the center’s Affirming Faith Forum through Rainbow Community Cares.
LGBT Center of Raleigh
324 S. Harrington St., Raleigh, N.C.

Illustration Credit:
Tatsiana Tsyhanova
via Adobe Stock


Dec. 24
Lake Norman Jewish Community Christmas Eve Dinner
5 p.m.
Fulfill the Jewish custom of eating Chinese food on Christmas Eve.
Sabi Asian Bistro
130 Harbour Place Dr., Suite 120, Davidson, N.C.

Dec. 24
Chanukah Party & Menorah Lighting
5 p.m.
Gather for menorah lighting and latkes, games and more.
Havurat Tikvah
Strawberry Hill Clubhouse
5010 Strawberry Hill Dr., Charlotte, N.C.
RSVP by Dec. 18 to

Dec. 24
Chinese Food and a Movie
5:15 p.m.
Enjoy Chinese food, pizza and a movie, “The Producers.” Bring along menorahs and candles to light. Movie snacks and popcorn provided, as well as traditional jelly donuts.
Register by Dec. 21 at
Temple Beth El
5101 Providence Rd., Charlotte, N.C.

Dec. 28
Community Wide Chanukah Event
4 p.m.
Live music, latke bar and menorah lighting. RSVP by Dec. 16 to
Charlotte Jewish Community Center
5007 Providence Rd., Charlotte, N.C.

Dec. 29
Hanukkah, Hoops, and Hornets
3rd Annual Jewish Community Night
6:15 p.m.
Bring your family menorah and candles and enjoy a Chinese-inspired dinner, a DJ, dancing and dessert. $18/person. Registration online by Dec. 16 at
Temple Israel
4901 Providence Rd., Charlotte, N.C.


Dec. 16-31
Holidays at the Reynolda
Times vary. See website for details.
Take a step back in time to an early 20th-century holiday season at Reynolda. The historic 1917 home of R.J. and Katharine Reynolds is decorated with magnolia leaves, nandina berries, and other greenery inspired by the decorations that Katharine Reynolds used for the holidays. Holiday greeting cards from the Museum Archives will be on display and carols will be played on the original Aeolian organ every day at approximately 2:45 p.m. A Christmas Memory, Dec. 18, 4 p.m. Reynolda House Tours: A 1917 Christmas, Dec. 20, 2-3:30 p.m. Holiday Pops with Carolina Brass, Dec. 20, 7 p.m. Tickets available online or at the door.
Reynolda House
2250 Reynolda Rd., Winston-Salem, N.C.

Dec. 16-24
Charlotte Christmas Village
German-inspired tradition of Christmas markets. Vendors on hand selling handmade crafts, gifts and specialty foods from wooden huts. Strudels, bratwurst, German beer and mulled wine.
Romare Bearden Park
300 S. Church St., Charlotte, N.C.

Dec. 16-24
“A Christmas Carol”
Times vary. See website for details.
The Charles Dickens’ classic story is presented onstage. Tickets available online.
Triad Stage
Hanesbrand Theatre
209 N. Spruce St., Winston-Salem, N.C.

Dec. 16-26
McAdenville Christmas Town USA
Monday-Friday, 5:30-9:30 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday, 5:30-11 p.m.
Take a jaunt down I-85 to magical McAdenville for a free tour of homes decked out in Christmas lights and more.

Dec. 16-31
Speedway Christmas
6 p.m.
Ride through the 3.75-mile course and see the Christmas Light Show showcasing three million lights. Thursday-Sunday (and all Christmas week) the show also includes a Christmas village with a petting zoo, Bethlehem village, horse-drawn wagon rides, photos with Santa, and more. Thursday-Sunday nights, see two movie showings of Christmas classics (“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” “Frosty’s Winter Wonderland,” “The Grinch,” “Mickey’s Christmas Carol,” “Frozen”) during “FOX 46 Movie Nights” on the Speedway’s 16,000-square-foot TV. Check website for dates.
Charlotte Motor Speedway
5555 Concord Pkwy. S., Concord, N.C.

Dec. 16-Jan. 1
Holidays at the Garden
6-9 p.m.
Display of more than 500,000 lights, as well as a model train display and horse-drawn carriage rides. Tickets available online.
Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens
6500 S. New Hope Rd., Belmont, N.C.

Dec. 16-Jan. 2
The More the Merrier
See website for times.
Associated Artists’ annual holiday art exhibit. Pieces available for sale.
Associated Artists
251 N. Spruce St., Winston-Salem, N.C.

Dec. 16-Jan. 3
19th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas
8 a.m.-10 p.m.
Event features festive meals, breakfast and brunch with Santa, horse-drawn carriage rides, holiday teas, skating, display of wonderful gingerbread houses and more.
The Carolina Inn
211 Pittsboro St., Chapel Hill, N.C.

Dec. 16-Jan. 7
Candlelight Christmas Evenings
Enjoy candlelight and firelight reminiscent of the first Vanderbilt family Christmas in 1895. Decorative appointments fill the historical home as visitors enjoy a nostalgic tour.

Dec. 16-Jan. 8
Christmas Daytime Celebration
Be inspired by grand spaces enhanced by lavishly decorated trees, fireplaces adorned with greenery, ribbons, and flowers and creative Christmas finery across the estate.
Tickets available online
Biltmore House
1 Lodge St., Asheville, N.C.

Dec. 16-Jan. 8
Outdoor Skating at Holiday on Ice
Times vary. See website for details.
Strap on those blades and venture out to Uptown Charlotte’s only outdoor ice skating rink.
NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza
400 E. Martin Luther King Blvd., Charlotte, N.C.

Illustration Credit:
via Adobe Stock

Dec. 26-Jan. 1
Kwanzaa 2016 — A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture
7-9 p.m.
50th Anniversary of the founding of Kwanzaa. Programs will be conducted throughout the Charlotte community. Sign language interpretation by Fluent Language Solutions will be available for designated programs and upon request. An African Marketplace will take place on selected evenings, and will open at 6 p.m.
Dec. 17, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., family workshop, Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts+Culture, 551 S. Tryon St., Charlotte, N.C. Each day families and individuals are reminded to incorporate the values expressed in the Nguza Saba into their life.
Dec. 26, Umoja (Unity)
Greenville Memorial AME Zion Church, 6116 Montieth Dr., Charlotte, N.C.
Dec. 27, 2016, Kujichagulia (Self Determination)
Little Rock AME Zion Church Family Life Center, 401 N. McDowell St., Charlotte, N.C.
Dec. 28, Ujima (Collective Work & Responsibility)
Our Lady of Consolation Catholic Church Family Life Center, 1235 Badger Ct., Charlotte, N.C.
Dec. 29, Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)
Our Lady of Consolation Catholic Church Family Life Center, 1235 Badger Ct., Charlotte, N.C.
Dec. 30, Nia (Purpose)
Wallace Pruitt Recreation Center, 440 Wesley Heights Way, , Charlotte, N.C.
Dec. 31, Kuumba (Creativity)
Kamitic Life Center, 2715 Tuckaseegee Rd., Charlotte, N.C.
Jan. 1, Imani (Faith)
Greenville Memorial AME Zion Church, 6116 Montieth Dr., Charlotte, N.C.
All events are free and open to the public.
Kwanzaa Charlotte


Dec. 18
Charlotte Pride Band Winter Concert
3 p.m.
Settle in for this free event featuring brass and woodwind ensembles. The band will be collecting toy items for Sterling Elementary. Bring one of the following items to support the drive: jump ropes, frisbees, nerf balls, sidewalk chalk, crayons, coloring books, yo yos, card games, games, hacky sacks and water toys.
Temple Beth El
5101 Providence Rd., Charlotte, N.C.

Dec. 21
A Carolina Christmas
8 p.m.
This holiday-inspired evening features Jaggermouth, Numbo and The Business People. $10/advance and $12/at the door, or $8/with blanket or coat (donated to Crisis Assistance Ministry)
Visualite Theatre
1615 Elizabeth Ave., Charlotte, N.C.

Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen was formerly QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director from 2001-2019 when she retired.