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Celebrate Historic Holidays in Winston-Salem
Delight in the sights and sounds of more than 260 years of historic holiday traditions in Winston-Salem. Our holiday season is 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. 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
Historic Moravian Holidays at Old Salem Museums & Gardens
(November 16 - December 28)
Visit Old Salem:
900 Old Salem Road, Winston-Salem 27101
336.721.7350 or 888.653.7253
Tickets available online.
Hours: Tues. – Sat. 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Sunday 1 – 4:30 p.m.; Closed Mondays.
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 reserve your spot for the wildly popular Candlelight Tours at Old Salem. See the chronological listing of events below for more information about holiday happenings in Old Salem.
Candlelight Christmas Tours: "Crafting Christmas"
November 15 - December 20; Dates and times vary
Grab a lantern and apron and get ready to join Old Salem Museums & Gardens for an interactive holiday experience. This year's Candlelight Christmas Tours reflect on a cherished tradition of the 18th-century town of Salem. Every year at Christmas, the residents of Salem built small replica villages, houses, and landscapes called a “putz.” Often, they would build miniature versions of the their own & neighbors’ houses and outbuildings. This year, stroll through historic Main Street visiting the 18th and 19th-century homes, then gather as a group to make wood versions of the town of Salem.
Afterwards, participants gather around the fireplace in the Single Brothers Workshop kitchen to create a small scale putz, enjoy Moravian baked goodies, and decorate a pyramid tree. Each participant takes home their hand-painted Miksch or Vogler house as a gift. Content is suitable for all ages.
Cost: $65 per person
Tour Location: Tours leave promptly at tour times from the Boys School, (3 Academy Street). Please plan to arrive 15 minutes prior to your selected tour start time. Tours last approximately 90 minutes.
Reserve your tickets here. Candlelight tours often sell out so book early!
*Tickets are non-refundable.
Salem Saturdays at Christmas
November 16 - December 28; 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Salem Saturdays at Christmas are great fun for the entire family. Stroll along Main Street, visit the decorated historic buildings, and sit and chat by the fire with the costumed interpreters. A Moravian Christmas in Winston-Salem has a distinctive southern quality. A slight nip in the air, an abundance of pine and magnolia leaves, the smell of beeswax candles, decorated pyramid trees, and baked goods from the dome bake ovens at Winkler Bakery.
For a complete list of Saturday Christmas activities including baking in Winkler Bakery, constructing a wooden pyramid tree in the joiner shop, and so much more, click here.
For more information, please call (336) 721-7300 or email email@example.com.
Salem Night: Softly the Night is Sleeping
Saturday, Dec. 21; 1 - 7 p.m.
Salem Night at Old Salem encourages visitors to slow down and reflect on family and friends. Enjoy this once-a-season special candlelight evening of open, warm, and inviting Moravian holiday experiences. From singing in the Single Brothers House, to piano forte concerts in the Boy’s School, and baking in the beehive ovens in the Miksch House and Winkler Bakery, the historic district is alive with a renewed presence of the holiday. Old Salem's retail stores are open for any last-minute gifts you may need (or pick up something for yourself).
Here's more of what you can experience at Salem Night:
- Mule & Wagon rides. (Private carriage tours available for additional fee)
- Visit with St. Nick at the Butner Hat Shop.
- Miksch House & Gardens: Find out what’s cooking and help prepare the gingerbread.
- Vogler House: Sit by the fireplace and listen to Christmas stories, then try your hand at a Christmas craft and help decorate the Christmas pyramid.
- The Joiner’s Woodworking Shop: See how the Christmas pyramid is constructed and try your hand at the lathe or the hand-plane.
- Pottery Shop: Join master craftspeople in creating special Christmas chocolate cups and handcrafted Salem pottery.
- Historic Tavern Kitchen & Barn: Experience the new Tavern barn yard and join for a special Saturday hearthside cooking and Christmas preparations.
- St. Phillips African American Heritage Center. Learn about the African American legacy that grew out of the Moravian town of Salem and see how this congregation celebrated the season.
- “Hidden Town” Room of Meditation & Reflection. Spend some quiet time in our room dedicated to those who were enslaved in Salem (above the historic tavern kitchen).
- Visit the new Salem Stitches workshop space, in the lower level of Moravian a book and Gift. View the Quilts made by local quilt designers, schedule time to sew a holiday gift, or buy a gift for your favorite sewist. Join the local quilters and help make a square for the next Vogler House quilt.
Included with an All-In-One admission ticket.
Holidays at Reynolda
(November 18 - December 29)
Visit Reynolda House:
2250 Reynolda Road, Winston-Salem 27106
336.758.5150 or 888.663.1149
Hours: Tues. – Sat. 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and Sunday 1:30 – 4:30 p.m., Closed Mondays and for the month of January.
This holiday season, step back in time to 1917 with a visit to Reynolda, located only 10 minutes from downtown Winston-Salem. The gardens, village, and house that comprise the historic estate of R.J. and Katharine Reynolds are decorated for the season beginning November 18 and offer a variety of experiences for the entire family. Experience Christmas as the Reynolds family did with era-inspired decorations, performances, and activities.
Admire the multiple wreathes and ornamented Christmas trees, swags of fresh garlands, and hand-stamped Christmas cards, all researched from the family archives to reflect a true 1917 Christmas, just as the family experienced it. Historic holiday celebrations include guided house tours, caroling Fridays, special shopping days, holiday performances, overnight packages, and many hands-on family DIY activities. Learn more about select events below:
Reynolda's Estate-Wide Holiday Stroll
Saturday, Nov. 23, 2 - 8 p.m.
Free with museum admission; admission to Gardens and Village is free.
Stroll the sidewalks, galleries, and gardens of Reynolda surrounded by beautiful decorations, carolers, and merriment at this annual kickoff to the holiday season. Take a carriage ride through the Village, see the 1917 bungalow after-hours, and escape to the greenhouses in Reynolda Gardens to see the orchid display. Plus, look for photo spots throughout Reynolda to capture the perfect shot for your own holiday cards.
- 2 - 6 p.m.: Hot chocolate and Christmas card-making at Reynolda House Museum of American Art
- 3 - 5 p.m.: Caroling at the top of the hour in the museum's Reception Hall.
- 5 - 8 p.m.: Visits with Santa Claus and carriage rides through Reynolda Village. Enjoy the strolling carolers as you explore the charming shops and restaurants, which are open for extended hours.
Family First: Holiday Tour and Card-making Workshop
Sunday, Dec. 1; 2 p.m.
Cost: $15/per person; includes materials. Advance purchase required. Limited spots are available.
Learn about holiday stories at Reynolda while making one-of-a-kind cards on the printing press and with the museum's hand-carved stamps. Suited for children in grades 1 - 6 (with an accompanying adult), this is a great hands-on holiday event for families.
DIY Wreath Workshop at Reynolda Gardens
Tuesday, Dec. 3 at 12:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 5 at 12:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Cost: $40/person. Price includes supplied materials. Registration and payment are required by Saturday, Dec. 1.
Register online here or call Reynolda Gardens at 336.758.3485.
The staff of Reynolda Gardens lend a helping hand to create beautiful holiday wreaths. Each participant receives a large, natural wreath along with an assortment of decorations. Pruners and gloves are encouraged.
Through the Years: Christmas at Reynolda
December 3, 10 and 17; 2 p.m.
Cost: $25/per person. Advance purchase required online.
Enjoy a specialized tour of the historic 1917 home of R.J. and Katharine Reynolds with an emphasis on the holiday traditions of the Reynolds and Babcock families that lived here through archival photographs and stories. Celebrate the season with a festive glimpse of Reynolda's Christmases past. Visitors end their tour learning about the holiday themes in the current exhibition, “Leyendecker and the Golden Age of American Illustration.”
Christmas 1917 Tours
December 6 and 7; Tours depart every half hour between 5 and 8 p.m.
Cost: $25 per person, children under the age of five admitted free. Advance purchase is required.
Enjoy a specialized tour focused on the Reynolds family Christmas in 1917. Costumed actors playing the role of a Reynolda butler, governess, schoolteacher and holiday partygoer guide visitors through all four floors of the 30,000-square-foot, 64-room historic home. See the home decorated according to Katharine Reynolds' instructions with the use of symmetry, natural greenery, and simple, yet classic, design. Listen to holiday tuned played on the original Aeolian organ playing.
Carolina Brass Holiday Pops Concert
Tuesday, Dec. 10; 7 p.m.
Cost: $20 per person. Purchase tickets online.
This fun-filled performance featuring seasonal favorites by the Carolina Brass presents a combination of virtuosity and humor, and is an energizing musical experience for the holidays.
“A Christmas Memory”
Sunday, Dec. 15, 4 p.m.
Cost: $25 per person, includes museum admission.
In her original adaptation of A Christmas Memory, Robin Voiers portrays Truman Capote’s older cousin Sook in this moving story of Capote’s own humble childhood holiday traditions. This long-standing Reynolda event is now in its 33rd consecutive year.
Christmas at Körner’s Folly
(November 29 - January 4)
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.
*Holiday tours last approximately 1 hour. Amateur photography is allowed. Visitors must arrive one hour prior to closing each day (4 p.m.).
Closed: Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, January 6
Located just 15 minutes from downtown Winston-Salem, Körner’s Folly has been an enchanted holiday excursion for more than a century. Commonly referenced as the "Strangest House in America," this 1880 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.
Catch one of the popular, family-friendly Christmas Puppet Shows in the children's theater and find holiday gift items in the gift shop located in "Aunt Dealy's Cottage," behind the Folly.
See more information about holiday happenings at the Folly below:
Christmas Puppet Show: The Night Before Christmas at Körner’s Folly
For a family-fun special event, choose from three performances of 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. 6 at 6 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 7 at 10 a.m.*
Friday, Dec. 13 at 6 p.m.
*Tours are available after the showing with regular paid admission.
Christmas by Candlelight Tours
Meander through all 22 whimsical rooms by candlelight during the Folly's 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. At the end of your tour, enjoy hot cider and Moravian cookies on the porch.
Tickets: $15/Adults, $8/children ages 6-18. Children under 6 admitted free.
Christmas by Candlelight Tour Schedule*
Saturday, Dec. 7; 5 - 9 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 21; 5 - 9 p.m.
Last tour starts at 8:30 p.m.
A Kernersville Yuletide
Saturday, Dec. 14; 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Create a new, festive holiday tradition at the Kernersville Yuletide celebration just 15 minutes from downtown Winston-Salem. Three Kernersville destinations unite to create one enchanting holiday destination. Begin at Paul J. Ciener Botanical Gardens where you can find unique gifts and inspiration for holiday decorating, then tour Körner’s Folly to explore the 1880’s house museum adorned in Victorian Christmas décor. To top it all off, head to the Kernersville Museum for a bit of local history before grabbing a pair of skates to take a lap around the outdoor ice skating rink.
- Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden: 215 S Main St, Kernersville, NC 27284 (Free admission)
- Körner’s Folly: 413 S. Main Street, Kernersville, NC 27284 ($10/adults and $6/children ages 6 - 18)
- The Kernersville Museum: 127 W. Mountain Street, Kernersville, NC 27284 ($7/person, includes 30 minutes of skate time with skate rental)
Prance Your Way Through Lively Holiday Performances
Learn about exciting holiday performances listed in chronological order below:
A Christmas Carol presented by: Triad Stage
November 29 - December 24; Hanesbrands Theatre
Dates and times vary. Click here to view calendar and showtimes.
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 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.
Winston-Salem Symphony presents "A Carolina Christmas: The Gathering
November 30 - December 1
R.J. Reynolds Memorial Auditorium
301 North Hawthorne Road, Winston-Salem, NC 27104
The Winston-Salem Symphony kicks off the holidays with a festive celebration blending Appalachian harmonies with the sounds of the Season. Join for a joyful concert featuring North Carolina’s Laurelyn Dossett (Polecat Creek), Joe Newberry (Big Medicine), Mike Compton (O Brother, Where Art Thou), and April Verch (April Verch Band). Listen for original songs including “String of Pearls” and “Redbird Lullaby,” as well as traditional Christmas tunes.
“A Carolina Christmas is a perfect start to the holiday season,” said Timothy Redmond, music director for Winston-Salem Symphony. “I am excited to be leading these concerts because they present the best of the holidays with their combination of upbeat carols and songs and moving spiritual music. I’m particularly excited to present “The Gathering.” I know all will enjoy this touching holiday story performed by true stars of the folk and bluegrass. And yes, there will be a visit from Santa Claus!”
Saturday, Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m. - Buy tickets
Sunday, Dec. 1 at 2 p.m. - Buy tickets
Tickets start at $24 for adults and $12 for children ages 2–12. You may purchase in advance online or call the Symphony Box Office at (336) 464-0145. Groups of 10 or more receive a 20 percent discount off the ticket price.
Click here to learn more.
University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) presents "The Nutcracker"
December 13 - 22; Historic Stevens Center
Dates and times vary; see performance schedule below
Address: 405 W. Fourth Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27101
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*, a full symphony orchestra (largest in the Triad), and of course, the school's highly-acclaimed 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 beloved holiday production of “The Nutcracker” showcases acclaimed principals from the New York City Ballet – Sara Mearns and Russell Janzen – as guest dancers this year. Mearns will become the Sugar Plum Fairy and Janzen the Cavalier Prince for two performances only: Wednesday, Dec. 18 and Thursday, Dec. 19; both at 7:30 p.m.
Celebrated guest conductor Karin Hendrickson will lead this year’s “Nutcracker” orchestra.
- Friday, Dec. 13; 7:30 p.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 14; Noon
- Saturday, Dec. 14; 5:30 p.m.
- Sunday, Dec. 15; 2 p.m.
- Wednesday, Dec. 18; 7:30 p.m.
- Thursday, Dec. 19; 7:30 p.m.
- Friday, Dec. 20; 7:30 p.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 21; 2 p.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 21; 7:30 p.m.
- Sunday, Dec. 22; 2 p.m.
Winston-Salem Symphony presents "Handel's Messiah"
Tuesday, Dec. 17; 7:30 p.m.
Centenary United Methodist Church
646 W. Fifth Street, Winston-Salem, NC
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
Winston-Salem Symphony presents "Fox 8 / Old Dominion Holiday Concert"
Friday, Dec. 20; 7:30 p.m.*
Lawrence Joel Veterans’ Memorial Coliseum
2825 University Parkway, Winston-Salem, NC 27105
Bring the family for a special yuletide concert featuring festive holiday favorites and a carol sing-along!
Parking and concert are free with a donation of canned or nonperishable food items for the Salvation Army Food Pantry.
*A pre-concert presented by the Youth Philharmonic will be performed at 6:30 p.m.
NC Black Repertory Company presents "Nativity According to the Gospels"
December 20 - 22, 2019
R.J. Reynolds Memorial Auditorium
301 Hawthorne Road NW, Winston-Salem, NC 27105
"Nativity According to the Gospels" tells the story of Christmas with an infusion of gospel music, dance and spoken word. Directed and choreographed by Broadway veteran Mabel P. Robinson with musical director, Tony Gillion.
Friday, Dec. 20 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 21 at 3 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 21 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 22 at 3 p.m.
Click here to purchase tickets online.
More Holiday Happenings You Won't Want to Miss
Nov. 15 - Jan. 1, 2020
4061 Clemmons Road, Clemmons, NC 27012
Each holiday season for more than 25 years, Tanglewood Park's rolling countryside transforms into a shimmering Winter Wonderland with more than a million twinkling lights and 80 light displays. The Festival of Lights at Tanglewood Park is open nightly from 6 to 11 p.m. beginning Friday, Nov. 15 and shining bright through New Year's Day 2020.
Ride along to festive tunes on the interactive musical displays playing original compositions from the UNC School of the Arts Music Technology students. Be sure to visit S'moresville inside the Red Barn Gift Shop. Roasting sticks with marshmallows or s'mores kits are available for sale. While here, shop holiday crafts, wood workings and other fine gifts made by local artisans. Don't miss Mr. and Mrs. Claus, and all of their little helpers who will be in the gift shop Friday, Nov. 15 through Monday, Dec. 23! Visits with Santa are complimentary, though photo packages are available for purchase.
Find information on hours and pricing for photo packages here.
Cars, Vans, and Trucks: $15
Commercial (Passenger vans, limos, and minibuses): $30
Motorcoaches and buses: $100
For added charm and excitement, festival attendees can also 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.
November 22 - 24
Benton Convention Center
301 W 5th St., Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Hours: Saturday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Sunday Noon - 5 p.m.
Admission: Adults $8 | Students/Seniors (65+) $7 | Weekend Pass $12 (Children under 12 no charge)
Purchase tickets at the door or in advance here.
Jump start holiday shopping at the two-day fine craft extravaganza known as the Piedmont Craftsmen Fair, held in downtown Winston-Salem November 22 - 24. More than 100 of the finest artisans from across the southeastern U.S fill the booths at Piedmont Craftsmen’s 56th Fair, presenting a sampling of the finest work available in artist-designed handmade home goods, wearables, jewelry, furniture and decorative items. Fair attendees also get an up-close-and-personal look at the artists' process with artist demos scheduled throughout the Fair. For special hotel packages that include weekend passes to the Fair (and more!) click here.
Deck the Halls Fine Arts & Craft Sale
December 7 - December 22
Location: Sawtooth School for Visual Art
251 N. Spruce St. Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Beautifully displayed in the historic Sawtooth School's gallery and gift shop setting, Deck the Halls celebrates its 30th anniversary this year and features a 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 to larger handcrafted 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.
Sunday, Dec. 8; Two services at 4:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.
1834 Wake Forest Rd, Winston-Salem, NC 27109
The first Lovefeast in North Carolina was held on the evening of the arrival of the first Moravian colonists in the settlement of Bethabara on November 17, 1753. Begun by Moravian students in 1965, the first Wake Forest Lovefeast hosted less than 200 people. Now, with more than 4,000 in attendance each year, this simple service has become one of Wake Forest's oldest and grandest traditions - and is one of the largest Moravian Lovefeast services in the country.
The occasion includes a traditional lovefeast meal consisting of a sweetened bun and creamed coffee. More than 2,100 traditional Moravian buns and 90 gallons of Moravian coffee are served to participants by dieners, German for “servers.” During the meal, the Wake Forest Concert Choir, Handbell Choir, Flute Choir and the Messiah Moravian Church Band play music. Meanwhile, handmade beeswax candles, decorated with red paper frill, are distributed to each attendee and as the space is darkened, the candles are then lit one-by-one as the Chapel slowly brightens.
The 4:30 p.m. service is slightly abbreviated and lasts about an hour. Rather than the traditional Lovefeast program, a reading of the Christmas story is shared.
The traditional 8 p.m. service runs for approximately 90 minutes.
Both services are free and open to the public. Seating is first-come, first-served.
Recreate your own lovefeast meal at home with these recipes!
Click here to learn more.
(Photo by Ken Bennett / ©2016 Wake Forest University)