Turn the lights down low

Dillsboro Festival of Lights and Luminaries.

The daylight hours are almost at their shortest, which means it’s prime time to make use of long evenings. Holiday-themed events around Western North Carolina do just that: Shops remain open late, historic homes receive visitors, carolers come out in droves and candles are burned at both ends. (Well, maybe just the one end.) Here’s how to learn about local lore and Scandinavian customs, and make a date with Ebenezer Scrooge and the Cratchit family. All events are free unless otherwise noted.

Holiday stroll in Woodfin — The shops and eateries of Woodfin (including Sanctuary of Stuff, The Karat Patch, Thyme in the Garden and almost a dozen others) have joined forces for the third consecutive year. The event aims to boost awareness of Woodfin’s businesses (including new establishments in Reynolds Mountain Village) and provide a fun experience for holiday shoppers. Thursday, Dec. 5, 5-8 p.m. thymeinthegardenasheville.com.

Christmas FUNraiser Gala Auction — Looking for a little luxury? The Chamber of Hickory Nut Gorge hosts its annual fundraiser at the Lake Lure Inn & Spa, a historic establishment first opened in 1927 and visited by the likes of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The gala includes a live DJ with dancing, hors d’oeuvres and a dessert bar, live and silent auctions (bid on art, concert tickets, rounds of golf and more) and a special grand raffle prize. Thursday, Dec. 5, 6:30-10 p.m. $35 advance/$45 at the door. hickorynutchamber.org.

Dickens in the Village — Biltmore Village travels back in time to create a Victorian feel with shopkeepers in period costumes and more than 300 performers including choral groups, singers and dancers roaming the streets. Friday-Sunday, Dec. 6-8. Full schedule at biltmorevillage.com.

Olde Fashioned Hendersonville Christmas — Merchants will stay open late and carolers will sing their tunes as historic downtown Hendersonville presents a night of Victorian cheer. Friday, Dec. 6, 5-8 p.m. downtownhendersonville.org.

Dillsboro Festival of Lights and Luminaries — Dillsboro will line the streets with more than 2,500 candles to honor the Scandinavian tradition of lighting the way for the Christ child. Cider, hot chocolate and baked goods will be set out for shoppers as stores extend their hours. Friday-Saturday, Dec. 6-7 and 13-14, 5-9 p.m. dillsboronc.info.

Tree of Lights — Four Seasons Compassion for Life, a hospice, palliative care and research center, hosts its 23rd annual Tree of Lights celebration. The community is invited to honor the lives of loved ones with hundreds of inscribed luminaries. Personalized luminaries can be purchased in advance. The event is held at 571 South Allen Road, Flat Rock, on Friday, Dec. 6, 5:30 p.m. fourseasonscfl.org.

Christmas candlelight tour at Vance Birthplace — Visitors can experience a night of living history, touring by candlelight to see what an early 19th-century Christmas looked like at the Weaverville historic homestead. Saturday, Dec. 7, 4-7 p.m. $3 adults/ $1 children. nchistoricsites.org/vance.

The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols — Brevard College’s Music Department presents a program of new and traditional carols, sung by the Chamber and Concert Choirs, and Christmas readings from the college’s students, faculty and staff. This is Brevard’s 16th year for the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. (The event was first held on Christmas Eve 1918 at King's College Chapel in Cambridge, England.) Saturday, Dec. 7, 7:30 p.m. brevard.edu.

Christmas in Appalachia — Just because the summery evenings of bluegrass and old-time music in Pack Square Park (aka Shindig on the Green) are behind us for the season, it doesn’t mean there’s not a musical fix in sight. Christmas in Appalachia, an annual fundraiser for the Shindig, takes place in the Upper Anderson Auditorium at Montreat Conference Center. Whitewater Bluegrass Company headlines. Bluegrass-gospel outfit The Griggs also perform, and Glenn Bannerman emcees. Saturday, Dec. 7, 7:30 p.m. $20 adults/$10 children 12 and younger. folkheritage.org.

Candlelight Christmas stroll in Weaverville — Downtown will glow with music and light as local choirs and bands perform on streets lined with luminaries. Horse-and-buggy rides, extended shopping hours and a visit with Santa will also be available. Friday, Dec. 13, 6-9 p.m. visitweaverville.com.

Montford home tour — Take a look inside historic Montford homes decorated for the holidays with a self-guided tour featuring baked goods, hot drinks and entertainment. Saturday, Dec. 14, 1-5 p.m. $20. montfordtour.com.

A night before Christmas along downtown Waynesville — Stores will remain open late as storytellers, poets, carolers and musicians take to the luminaries-lined streets for this annual holiday tradition. Saturday, Dec. 14, 6-9 p.m. downtownwaynesville.com.

A Victorian candlelight Christmas at Thomas Wolfe Memorial — Explore the roots of Christmas traditions with a tour of this historic home, which will be decorated in Victorian fashion. Live music and a visit from Santa add to the fun. $10 adults/ kids under 8 free. Saturday, Dec. 14, 4-7 p.m. wolfememorial.com.

Saluda Christmas celebration at Orchard Inn — It’s another chance to dress in your sparkly seasonal best: The Orchard Inn in Saluda hosts an elegant fete complete with decorations, hors d’oeuvres, drinks, a drawing, door prizes that include paintings from Bill Jameson and Ray Pague, and a performance by blues pianist Fred Whiskin. Sunday, Dec. 15, 5-8 p.m. $40. Tickets can be purchased from Terry Baisden at 749-3789 or terrybaisden@tds.net.

— Carrie Eideson can be reached at ceidson@mountainx.com.

About Carrie Eidson
Multimedia journalist and Green Scene editor at Mountain Xpress. Part-time Twitterer @mxenv but also reachable at ceidson@mountainx.com. Follow me @carrieeidson

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