Celebrate Historic Holidays in Winston-Salem
Experience more than 250 years of history when you spend your holiday season in Winston-Salem. Historic holidays in Winston-Salem are filled with the spirit of nostalgia, the warmth of hearth Moravian cooking, the twilight of candlelight tours and excitement of holiday celebrations for the entire family. Delight in the sights and sounds that come along with the holidays while touring historic homes adorned in period decorations. Below we've organized our holiday offerings by experience. Tour historic homes by candlelight, enjoy captivating performing arts, and find the perfect holiday finds at special shopping events.
A Look at Christmas Past in Winston-Salem's Historic Homes
An alphabetical listing of Winston-Salem's Historic Home Holiday Tours.
November 24 - January 6, 2018
Located just 15 minutes from downtown Winston-Salem, Körner’s Folly has been an enchanted holiday excursion for more than a century. Named "the Strangest Home in America," this 1880's Victorian home features 22 peculiar rooms lavishly decorated with floor-to-ceiling garlands, glowing lights and beautifully decorated Christmas trees in every room. More than a dozen trees in one house are spread out over three floors and seven levels. One-hour holiday tours are offered until one hour prior to closing. While visiting Körner’s Folly, have a laugh at their family-friendly Christmas Puppet Shows in the children's theater. A gift shop is open in "Aunt Dealy's Cottage" located behind the Folly -- where you'll also purchase your admission tickets.
For a family-fun special event, choose from three performances of Christmas Puppet Show: The Night Before Christmas at Körner’s Folly, Körner’s spin on the classic 1820's poem by Clement Clarke Moore, fun for children of all ages and the young at heart. The Puppet Show is followed by a visit from Santa so bring the camera along for a great photo opportunity. Tickets are $5 per person.
Christmas Puppet Show Schedule
Friday, Dec. 1 at 6 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 2 at 10 a.m.*
Friday, Dec. 8 at 6 p.m.
*Tours will be available after the showing with regular paid admission.
Meander through all 22 whimsical rooms by candlelight during their annual Christmas by Candlelight Tours. Enjoy self-guided tours of the house beautifully decorated in the evening hours. Hear live Christmas caroling, storytelling, and share your own holiday stories with costumed guides stationed throughout the house.
Tickets: Adults $12, children (6-18) $8, Under 6 free
Christmas by Candlelight Tour Schedule*
Friday, Dec. 15; 5 - 9 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 16; 5 - 9 p.m.
Last tour starts at 8:30 p.m.
Special Extended Hours – Traditional 12 Days of Christmas
The weeks of Christmas and New Year’s, Körner’s Folly is open Tuesday, Dec. 26 – Saturday, Dec. 30 (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.), and Tuesday, Jan. 2 – Saturday, Jan. 6 (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.) in celebration of the Traditional 12 Days of Christmas.
Visit Körner’s Folly:
413 S. Main Street, Kernersville, NC 27284
Admission: $10/adults, $6/children ages 6-18. Children under 6 free
Hours*: Wed – Sat. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday 1 – 5 p.m., Closed Monday and Tuesday**
*Visitors should arrive no later than 4 p.m.
**Open on Tuesdays during special extended hours of 12 Days of Christmas (see above.)
Celebrate the sights, sounds and aromas of the holidays as the Moravians did in the 18th and 19th centuries. As you stroll the cobblestone sidewalks of Old Salem, a historic district founded by Moravians in 1766, you are greeted by the friendly faces of costumed interpreters inviting you to tour and explore historic buildings. Learn about Moravian livelihood while on an evening stroll by candlelight when you RSVP for the wildly popular Candlelight Tours at Old Salem. Try your hand at a hearthside cooking class or craft your very own holiday wreath as the Moravians would have done centuries ago at one of their seasonal workshops. See the chronological listing of holiday events below for more information about holiday happenings in Old Salem.
Candlelight Tours: "Putzing Through Salem"
Nov. 17 - Dec. 23; Dates and times vary
By candle lantern, follow guides through the decorated streets of Old Salem as your group traces the history of a tiny lamb made out of clay. Why the lamb? In the Spring of 2017, Old Salem archaeologists found a handcrafted lamb, small enough to fit snugly in a child's hand, while investigating the old pottery kiln site on Main Street. Join Old Salem in a new holiday exploration and discover the historic uses of the lamb. Along the way visit the wood joiners workshop as they make Christmas decorations, get your hands dirty from clay in the pottery, visit the 1767 Miksch House, and end up warm and cozy by the fire with some freshly baked Moravian treats.
Candlelight tours are limited to 15 guests per gathering. Tours sell out quickly and comfortable walking shoes are encouraged. Tour check-in is at the Salem Tavern Museum building (812 South Main Street). Please plan to arrive 15 minutes prior to your selected tour start time. Tours last approximately 90 minutes.
Buy Candlelight Tour Tickets: $50 per person (includes a take-home replica of Old Salem’s baby lamb made by Salem's own potters)
To order by phone, please call 1-800-441-5305.
*Tickets are non-refundable. Tours will be cancelled 7 days prior if a minimum number is not met. If this is the case then a full refund will be issued.
Click Here to learn more.
Salem Christmas Saturday
Saturday, Dec. 9; 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
A holiday tradition perfect for the entire family, Old Salem's annual Salem Christmas celebrates 18th and 19th century Moravian traditions. Throughout the day enjoy historic trade demonstrations, period music, learn about historic Christmas decorations, hearth cooking demonstrations, hands-on activities, and wagon rides for the entire family. Historic buildings will open at 10 a.m. and close at 5 p.m. Visitors are also invited to gather at 5:15 p.m. in the James A. Gray, Jr. Auditorium in the Old Salem Visitor Center for carol singing and the lighting of the Christmas Pyramid - a traditionally styled wooden pyramid for period Christmas decorating. All activities are included with the purchase of an All-In-One ticket.
For more information, please call (336) 721-7300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit Old Salem:
900 Old Salem Road, Winston-Salem 27101
336.721.7350 or 888.653.7253
Holiday Season Admission: All-in-One $35/adults; $16/children and students ages 4 - 18
All-in-One Ticket on Sunday, $28/adults, $14/children ages 4 - 18
Other ticketing options available online.
Hours: Tues. – Sat. 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Sunday 1 – 4:30 p.m.; Closed Mondays.
St. Nicholas in Salem
December 9, 11*, and 16; See full schedule below
An event for the entire family, join Old Salm in their Visitor Center to meet the “Jolly Old Elf” himself and take home a souvenir photo taken by a professional photographer (two included with ticket purchase). Warm up with a special holiday beverage and treat from Winkler Bakery, America's oldest continuously operating bakery, built in 1800 in Salem. Stick around for a reading of Twas the Night Before Christmas and join in singing Christmas carols along to the Tannenburg organ.
Readings for Twas the Night Before Christmas are scheduled for 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon, 2 p.m., 3 p.m., and 4 p.m.
Christmas Caroling is at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., and 3:30 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 9 – Morning (9:30 a.m. - noon) - Buy Ticket
Saturday, Dec. 9 – Afternoon (1:30 - 4:30 p.m.) - Buy Ticket
Saturday, Dec. 16 – Morning (9:30 a.m. - noon) - Buy Ticket
Saturday, Dec. 16 – Afternoon (1:30 - 4:30 p.m.) - Buy Ticket
*Note: A Special Day with St. Nicholas is being held Monday, Dec. 11 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for families of children with diverse abilities or special needs. All of the same activities are included. Please keep in mind the historic buildings are closed on Mondays.
Buy A Ticket for "A Special Day with St. Nicholas"
The 2017 Christmas season marks 100 years since R.J. and Katharine Reynolds and their four children moved from their downtown Victorian home to their country bungalow, Reynolda on the outskirts of Winston-Salem. Escape to Reynolda for a Centennial Christmas, a season of nostalgia, music, friends, and family. Explore the historic home and enjoy the home decorated just as Katharine Smith Reynolds would have done. Sing along to Christmas carols played on the Aeolian organ during Caroling Fridays. Free with Museum admission. No advance reservation needed.
Tours: A 1917 Christmas
A century after the first Reynolda Christmas, Reynolda invites you to the Reynolds' home, decorated according to Katharine Reynolds's instructions - simple, yet sophisticated. Period decorations such as nandina berries and mistletoe help bring to life Christmas in 1917 in the Reynolds home. Hear festive family stories told by a costumed butler, nurse, party-goer, and a school teacher. Members/students $15, non-members $20.
Day Tour Options: December 5, 12, and 19. Tours depart every fifteen minutes between 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
Evening Tours Options (Two Nights Only): Friday, Dec. 8 and Saturday, Dec. 9. Tours depart every fifteen minutes between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Click here to learn more.
Visit Reynolda House:
2250 Reynolda Road, Winston-Salem 27106
336.758.5150 or 888.663.1149
Admission: $14/adults, Children ages 18 and under, free.
Hours: Tues. – Sat. 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Sunday 1:30 – 4:30 p.m., Closed Mondays and for the months of January and February.
Prance Your Way Through Lively Holiday Performances
Plan for exciting performing arts this holiday season! Learn more below with holiday performances listed in chronological order.
A Christmas Carol presented by: Triad Stage
November 24 - December 24; Hanesbrands Theatre
Dates and times vary. Click here to view calendar
Ebenezer Scrooge’s last chance is one night and three spirits. For Scrooge, it’s a life-changing ride through past, present and future as he learns what it means to be human. Triad Stage brings Charles Dickens’ classic Christmas story to life in a dazzling production brimming with bold acting, daring design and spine-tingling special effects. Returning for the fifth year to Hanesbrands Theatre in the heart of downtown Winston-Salem, A Christmas Carol is a heart-warming, though rather ghostly, tale of Yuletide cheer, gracious redemption and hope for the whole family.
Director Sarah Hankins shares her take on A Christmas Carol and why Triad Stage's production stands apart from the crowd. Watch below.
See full performance calendar and showtimes here.
Buy A Christmas Carol Tickets
A Carolina Christmas presented by Winston-Salem Symphony and NC Black Repertory Company
Saturday, Nov. 24; 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 25; 2 p.m.
Located at R.J. Reynolds Memorial Auditorium
Celebrate the sounds of the season with heartwarming stories, carols, holiday magic, and more. Join the Winston-Salem Symphony and Chorale for their annual kickoff to the holiday season, quickly becoming a popular local tradition. Enjoy excerpts from the North Carolina Black Repertory Company's annual holiday tradition, Black Nativity (learn more below).
Buy Carolina Christmas Tickets.
Black Nativity presented by: North Carolina Black Repertory Company
December 1 - 10, 2017; Arts Council Theatre
Dates and times vary; see performance schedule below
North Carolina Black Repertory Company's (NCBRC) production of Langston Hughes' Black Nativity is a soul-stirring rendition of the Christmas Story that ignites audiences with thrilling voices, exciting dance and glorious gospel music. Hughes' retelling of the Nativity story from an African-American perspective was originally written in 1961. This one act version of the production takes the audience from a traditional black church to an Africanized Jerusalem through dance, spirituals and anthems, and toe-tapping gospel numbers. A staple each holiday season in Winston-Salem, NCBRC's Black Nativity appeals to all walks of life and all are invited to share this magnifying performance.
Performance Schedule (Attendees should anticipate a two-hour performance):
Friday, Dec. 1; 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 2; 3 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 2; 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 3; 3 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 8; 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 9; 3 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 9; 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 10; 3 p.m.
Buy Black Nativity Tickets: $25/adults; $21/seniors and students; $15/Children ages 15 and under
The Nutcracker presented by: The University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA)
December 8 - 17, 2017; Stevens Center
Dates and times vary; see performance schedule below
Head to Winston-Salem for UNCSA's heralded production of Tchaikovsky's masterpiece, The Nutcracker. This UNCSA student-run production features world-class guest artists Yuan Yuan Tan and Jaime Garcia Castilla*, a full symphony orchestra (largest in the Triad), and of course, the school's highly acknowledged dance department. Experience the lush score, vivid sets and costumes, and extraordinary performances that have made UNCSA’s “The Nutcracker” a cherished holiday tradition. The stage is set in Winston-Salem's historic downtown Stevens Center. The 1929 former silent movie theater seats 1,380 attendees. Hailed as “nothing short of perfection” by Classical Voice of North Carolina, the production is “a feast for the eyes and ears from start to finish,” lauds the Winston-Salem Journal.
UNCSA's holiday production of “The Nutcracker” showcases guest dancers Yuan Yuan Tan as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Jaime Garcia Castilla as the Cavalier Prince for two performances only: 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 13 and Thursday, Dec. 14.
Friday, Dec. 8; 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 9; 2 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 9; 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 10; 2 p.m.
Wednesday, Dec. 13; 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 14; 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 15; 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 16; 2 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 16; 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 17; 2 p.m.
Buy Nutcracker Tickets
Handel's Messiah presented by Winston-Salem Symphony
Tuesday, Dec. 12; 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Dec. 13; 7:30 p.m.
An annual Christmastime tradition returns to Winston-Salem’s downtown Centenary United Methodist Church. Enjoy the beautiful sounds of Handel’s masterpiece with a stellar chorus and soloists in a peaceful, candlelit setting.
Buy Tickets Here
Switch Gears and Experience the Holidays...On Wheels
Below find unique and innovative ways to admire the lights, sights and sounds of holidays in Winston-Salem while on wheels!
Tanglewood Park's Festival of Lights
November 17 - January 1
For the past 26 years, Tanglewood Park's rolling countryside transforms every holiday season into a shimmering Winter Wonderland with more than a million twinkling lights aglow and 80 light displays. The Festival of Lights at Tanglewood Park is open nightly from 6-11 p.m. beginning Friday, Nov. 17 and shining bright through New Year's Day 2018.
Ride along to festive tunes on the interactive musical displays playing original compositions from the UNC School of the Arts Music Technology students. Stop in at the Holiday Gift Village, located halfway through the light show route for locally crafted gifts, tasty concessions, and visits from Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Photo opportunities with Santa and Mrs. Claus are available Mondays - Thursdays from 6 - 9:30 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays from 6 - close, and Sundays from 6 - 9:30 p.m.
For added charm and excitement, festival attendees can enjoy the light show on a tractor-pulled hayride or horse-drawn carriage. Reservations are required and can be placed by calling Tanglewood Stables at (336) 766-9540.
For more information on more FOL special events and rates, click here.
Check out our Festival of Lights Planning Tips here.
Holidays with Triad Eco Adventures
By appointment only.
Feeling adventurous this holiday season? Bundle up and "buckle up" for a unique holiday tour of Downtown Winston-Salem. Choose your route, and your ride (Segway or e-bike), and see the city aglow in a fresh and innovative way. Experienced tour guides with Triad Eco Adventures highlight the history, architecture and little known facts of Winston-Salem. Tour options include exploring downtown's Historic West End neighborhood lined with Victorian-style homes sure to be a dazzle this holiday season. Or, spend a Monday afternoon along the streets of historic Salem District when the historic buildings are closed but the greenery along the square and dimly lit windows give off a nostalgic aura of the 18th century neighborhood. Whatever your tour experience, a holiday guide on wheels is sure to give your families plenty of wonderful memories and maybe even a new tradition.
Learn more about rates and book online at triadecoadventures.com.
More Holiday Happenings You Won't Want to Miss
Deck the Halls Fine Arts & Craft Sale
December 1 - 20
Location: Sawtooth School for Visual Art (251 N. Spruce St. Winston-Salem, NC 27101)
Beautifully displayed in the Sawtooth School's gallery and gift shop setting, Deck the Halls features a unique variety of work from more than 80 local and regional artists and craftsmen. Shoppers find uniquely handcrafted gifts and home accent pieces among the array of pottery, jewelry, paintings, ornaments, photography, furniture, scarves, glass, quilts, soaps, cards and more. Designed to please any budget, items range from smaller items such as holiday ornaments and cards, larger pieces of furniture.
Gift certificates are also available in any denomination, and can be used during Deck the Halls or year-round in Sawtooth’s gift shop.
Deck the Halls Shop Hours:
Monday – Friday: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.