Story by Amanda Wells
When Christmas rolls around, most of us find ourselves longing for the comforts of home. Whether you call the Hospitality State yours or are just here for a visit, comfort and hospitality Mississippi offers will make your holiday more than merry. From parades to food to a little quality time with Santa Claus himself, Mississippi is as warm and inviting as ever this season. So make yourself right at home for the holidays.
Deep in the Delta, Clarksdale’s culture is as rich as its fertile soil. On November 15, from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Downtown Clarksdale will host their annual Holiday Open House, where shops and restaurants will be gearing up for the holidays, ready to show you a good time.
Take a walk down Blues Alley, where you’ll find the Dutch Oven bakery and sandwich shop that features goods baked in the tradition of its Mennonite proprietors. The Dutch Oven is housed in a renovated and refurbished passenger train depot that sits in its original condition. Don’t forget to take home some scrumptious holiday treats! Down Blues Alley, you’ll also get a dose of Delta culture at the Delta Blues Museum and world-famous Ground Zero Blues Club.
Grab a seat at Oxbow Restaurant where Clarksdale natives Hayden and Erica Eason Hall pour their passion into locally sourced food. Located at 115 Third Street, Oxbow is an eclectic taste of Delta dining with menu items such as the Burger Stand Burger with Gruyere and balsamic shallot jam, and in the funky, artistic décor.
On December 2at 7 p.m., see Downtown Clarksdale in all of its holiday glory at their annual hometown Christmas Parade. For more information, log on to visitclarksdale.com.
Downtown Cleveland’s Holiday Open House will take place on November 8 and 9. Tried and true antique shops and new and fresh boutiques will unveil their holiday store windows and offer specials while the town lights up for the holidays.
While home for the holidays, take a peek into Cleveland’s historic Delta homes at the city’s Holiday Tour of Homes on December 5 through 7. For $15 per day or $30 for a weekend pass, you can see homes by candlelight on Friday night, downtown’s historic district on Saturday and homes in nearby Rosedale on Sunday. Call 662.843.2712 to purchase tickets.
Jolly Old St. Nick will be paying a visit to Cleveland every Saturday in December, where you can have your picture made and take a horse drawn carriage through downtown.
Warm up at downtown Wassail Fest in Columbus, on December 5, where downtown merchants make it their mission to get you into the holiday spirit, opening their doors and serving a warm cup of cheer (and wassail, of course). Knock out your Christmas list at the likes of Riverhill Home and Garden Furniture, The Purple Elephant and Deep South Pout.
Take part in a holiday tradition at the Columbus Holiday Farmer’s Market on Saturday, November 22 from 9 a.m. to noon. Stock up on holiday crafts from local artisans and divine baked goods to take home for the holidays.
Join Columbus native, Miss Mississippi Jasmine Murray, on Saturday, December 13, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. as she serves as Grand Marshall of the annual Columbus Christmas parade that strolls through the historic streets of downtown Columbus. For more information, head to visitcolumbusms.org.
The state’s capitol doesn’t shy away from a little holiday shindig, starting with Old Jackson by Candlelight, where you can tour the Governor’s Mansion, Old Capitol Museum, Manship House Museum and Eudora Welty House to view seasonal decorations and historical spots for free on December 5, from 4:30 – 8:30 p.m.
A longstanding tradition, “Carols by Candlelight,” presented by First Baptist Church of Jackson, has been sharing the Christmas story for more than 40 years. This year’s event will be presented December 12 – 14 at various showings. Visit firstbaptistjackson.org for more information and to purchase tickets.
Experience one of Mississippi’s – and the world’s – most captivating ballet companies at Ballet Magnificat’s production of “Most Incredible Christmas” at Thalia Mara Hall on December 20. Visit balletmagnificat.com for tickets.
In Ocean Springs, the sparkling water and breathtaking sunsets are only amplified by the twinkling lights of Christmas. On Thursday, December 4 from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m., take part in the community lighting of the Ocean Springs Christmas tree at Marshall Park.
Stroll the tree-lined streets of Ocean Springs as part of the city’s Holiday Open House, “Downtown, Uptown, All Around Town,” on December 5 and 6. Shops, restaurants and quirky art galleries spread holiday cheer with live Christmas music and holiday specials. You may even have a Santa Claus sighting, so keep your eyes peeled! Visit oceanspringschamber.com for more information.
Ridgeland is ready to help celebrate the season with their Sleigh and Stay Package. Plan your visit around Mistletoe Marketplace, Handworks Holiday Market, Chimneyville Craft Show, Wonderland of Lights and the Victorian Christmas Festival! Enjoy holiday extras with a merchant savings discount card, special hotel rates and bonus amenities! For package details go to visitridgeland.com/wrapit.
Tupelo doesn’t disappoint this season with events galore. Join Tupelo Community Theatre December 4 – 6 for Twas the Night Before Christmas, sure to be a hit with the whole family! This play, by playwright Ken Ludwig features Uncle Brierly reciting the poem to his family’s children when he’s interrupted by Amos, who has his own version of this poem and a grand Christmas adventure ensues. Call 662.844.1935 to purchase tickets to this must-see performance!
The 66th Annual Reed’s Tupelo Christmas Parade will take place on Monday, December 8 downtown with a theme of “Season of Hope,” beginning at 6:30 p.m. Visit downtown businesses, including Reed’s, and get a good dose of holiday cheer!
The history and heritage of Vicksburg lends itself to a remarkable holiday. The sights, sounds, and scents of the holidays will fill the streets of Downtown Vicksburg on November 30. From 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., experience an Old Fashioned Christmas Open House. Start your holiday shopping with Vicksburg’s merchants, including Lorelei Books and The Attic Gallery. Santa will be jolly at The Valley for pictures and visits from both the naughty and the nice.
On December 6, Downtown Vicksburg will sparkle at the Christmas Parade of Lights. The parade will begin at 5:00 p.m. along Washington Street between Belmont and Jackson streets.
Have breakfast with Santa Claus in the heart of Vicksburg! On December 13 at 8 a.m., Santa himself will be at the Vicksburg Convention Center (1600 Mulberry Street) to take part in reindeer games and share delicious treats from Mrs. Claus. $7 includes breakfast, photos with the old man and game prizes. Call 601.630.2929 for tickets.
Photos courtesy of Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce, Visit Clarksdale, Visit Cleveland, Visit Columbus, Visit Ridgeland, Tate Nations, and Visit Vicksburg