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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
Historic Moravian Holidays at Old Salem Museums & Gardens
Visit Old Salem:
900 Old Salem Road, Winston-Salem 27101
336.721.7350 or 888.653.7253
Holiday Pricing (Nov. 13 - Jan. 1, 2019)
All-in-One $35/adults; $16/children and students ages 4 - 18
Sunday admission $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.
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. See the chronological listing of events below for more information about holiday happenings in Old Salem.
Candlelight Tours: "A Baking We Go!"
Nov. 16 - Dec. 21; Dates and times vary
Grab a lantern, an apron and join Old Salem Museums & Gardens for an interactive holiday experience. Practice hands-on baking of some of Salem's most beloved holiday treats including Moravian Lovefeast buns in Winkler Bakery, and Moravian gingerbread at the Miksch House. Mix, knead and roll your way through Salem's historic holiday traditions. While you prepare the treats, learn the history of each item and how those foods became a traditional part of Moravian Christmas. From there, join the potter to help with Christmas preparations and lend a hand by glazing your own earthenware chocolate cup which you get to take home as a gift. As a reward for all of your hard handiwork, relax around the fireplace in the Single Brothers Workshop kitchen to enjoy all of the goodies you just baked, decorate a traditional Putz and pyramid tree, and toast Christmas with a special chocolate drink in your own handmade earthenware chocolate cup.
Content is suitable for all ages.
Cost: $50 per person
Tour Location: Tours will 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
Saturdays beginning November 17; 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Salem Saturdays at Christmas are great fun for the kids (and adults)! During the hectic holiday season, slow down for a stroll along Main Street, visit the decorated buildings, and sit and chat 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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Salem Night: Softly the Night is Sleeping
Saturday, Dec. 22; 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 Christmas 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 look forward to at Salem Night:
- Horse & Buggy rides
- Help make holiday cookies inside Winkler Bakery and see the beehive oven in action.
- Stop in Miksch House and see how the earliest houses in Salem celebrated Christmas. Find out what’s cooking and help prepare the gingerbread.
- Sit by the fireplace in the Vogler House and in the candlelight, listen to Christmas stories and try your hand at a Christmas craft and help decorate the tree.
- See how the Christmas pyramid is constructed in the Joiner’s Woodworking Shop and try your hand at the lathe or the hand-plane.
- Get a little messy in the pottery workshop while you join Salem's master craftspeople in creating Christmas chocolate cups and Handcrafted Salem pottery.
- Experience the new tavern barn yard and join for a special Saturday hearthside cooking and Christmas preparations.
- Spend some quiet time in the “Hidden Town” Room of Meditation and Reflection - dedicated to those who were enslaved in Salem (above the historic tavern kitchen).
- Learn about the African-American legacy that grew out of the Moravian town of Salem at the St. Philips African Heritage Center. Discover how the congregation celebrated the season with a Lovefeast.
Included with an All-In-One admission ticket.
Visit Reynolda House:
2250 Reynolda Road, Winston-Salem 27106
336.758.5150 or 888.663.1149
Admission: $18/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.
This holiday season, step back in time to 1917 with a visit to Reynolda Estate, 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 14 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 would've experienced it. Historic holiday celebrations include guided house tours, caroling Fridays shopping days, special performances, overnight packages and many hands-on family DIY activities. Learn more about select events below.
Reynolda Village Holiday Stroll
Saturday, Nov. 17, 5-8 p.m.
The boutiques and streets of the Village come alive for the holidays during this evening event featuring carriage rides, hot beverages and cookies. Enjoy the music of the Carolers of Christmas Past and plan a special visit with Santa Claus while you shop for the season.
DIY Wreath Workshop
Nov. 27 at 12:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.; and Dec. 4 at 6 p.m.
Take it from the professionals this holiday season as the staff of Reynolda Gardens lends 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.
Cost: $40/person. Price includes supplied materials.
Registration and payment are required by Saturday, Dec. 1. Please call the Education Office at 336.758.3485 to register.
How Greeting Cards Went to War (Lecture)
Saturday, Dec. 1; 2 p.m.
For the last 100 years, when America has gone to war, so have greeting cards. This lecture by scholar Anne O’Donnell explores how cards’ verses and images, and papers and inks combined to paint a vivid picture of wartime life as experienced at Reynolda, across the United States and by troops overseas.
Cost: $20/person; includes museum admission.
Family First: Holiday Tour and Cardmaking Workshop
Sunday, Dec. 2; 2 - 4 p.m.
This annual workshop for elementary school-aged children and their families offers an opportunity to learn about holiday stories at Reynolda while making one-of-a-kind cards on the printing press with the museum’s hand-carved stamps.
Cost: $15 and includes materials.
Advance purchase is required and space is limited. Register online here.
Christmas 1917 Tours
December 4 - 18; dates and times vary. Afternoon and evening tours available.
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 symetry, natural greenery, and simple, yet classic, design. Day tours are scheduled for Tuesday afternoons, Dec. 4, 11, and 18, between 2 and 3:30 p.m. Evening tours, when the lights are dimmed and the house is aglow, are scheduled for two nights only: Dec. 7 and 8, between 5 and 8 p.m.
Tours depart every fifteen minutes. Admission is $25 per person; children under the age of five are admitted free. (Tour lasts approximately 1 hour.)
Advance purchase is required. Register online here.
“A Christmas Memory”
Sunday, Dec. 16, 4 p.m.
The annual reading of Truman Capote’s classic short story, “A Christmas Memory,” has become a holiday tradition at Reynolda House and is always a sell-out event. Arrive early to see the museum decorated for Christmas.
Cost: $20; includes museum admission.
Advance purchased is encouraged. Book online here.
Click here to learn more about Holidays at Reynolda.
Christmas at Körner’s Folly
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 (4pm).
Closed: Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, January 6
November 23 - January 5, 2019
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 Home 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 open in "Aunt Dealy's Cottage," located behind the Folly.
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, Nov. 30 at 6 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 1 at 10 a.m.*
Friday, Dec. 7 at 6 p.m.
*Tours are available after the showing with regular paid admission.
A Kernersville Yuletide
Saturday, Dec. 8; 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 are teaming up to create an enchanting holiday destination for you to stroll down South Main Street, stop at the Kernersville Moravian Church to listen to music of the season, shop for some last minute Christmas gifts, and visit the traditional Moravian tavern. Continue on to Körner’s Folly to explore the 1880’s house museum adorned in Victorian Christmas décor, and then finish up at the Paul J. Ciener Botanical Gardens where you can find unique gifts and inspiration for holiday decorating.
(Regular tour admission applies at Körner’s Folly)
Kernersville Moravian Church: 504 S Main St, Kernersville, NC 27284
Körner’s Folly: 413 S. Main Street, Kernersville, NC 27284
Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden: 215 S Main St, Kernersville, NC 27284
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.
Tickets: Adults $12, children (6-18) $8, Under 6 free
Christmas by Candlelight Tour Schedule*
Friday, Dec. 14; 5 - 9 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 15; 5 - 9 p.m.
Last tour starts at 8:30 p.m.
West End Holiday Homes Tour
Sunday, Dec. 9; 1 - 5 p.m.
Tour begins at Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church (520 Summit Street, Winston-Salem, NC)
Discover Winston-Salem's historic West End neighborhood neighboring downtown and lined with an eclectic array of Victorian-style homes. Admire the historic architecture and modern interior designs of seven distinct homes in the district. One of which, is a new construction though historically sensitive architecture was implemented to more appropriately reflect the historic overlay of the district.
Historic Homes Along the Tour
Phillip T. Hay House; 1040 West End Boulevard, circa 1912
Dosdon-Wilson House; 633 Summit Street, circa 1911
Ray B. Diehl House; 701 Manly Street, circa 1926
Robert S. Galloway House; 817 West End Boulevard, circa 1918
HD Poindexer Cottage; 124 West End Boulevard, circa 1874
Glen-Angelo-Walker House; 800 West End Boulevard, circa 1913
New Construction at Glade View
Cost: $17/advance ticket; $20/day of event -- tickets can be purchased the day of the event at the starting point (Saint Paul's Episcopal Church)
Advance Ticket Purchase locations:
Colony Urban Farm – 492 West End Boulevard
Blissful Studios – 854 West Fourth Street
Wine Merchants – 205 South Stratford Road
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 30 - December 23; 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 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.
From the Artistic Director:
"Dicken’s story is perhaps my favorite book. Its promise of a second chance, a life re-discovered and its constant urging to take care of each other inspires us to be our better selves. All of us at Triad Stage approach each year’s production with childlike joy, eager to re-discover the magic and promise that lies just beyond the dark night of fear that Scrooge must survive."
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.
The Nutcracker presented by: The University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA)
December 7 - 16, 2018; 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.
- Friday, Dec. 7; 7:30 p.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 8; 2 p.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 8; 7:30 p.m.
- Sunday, Dec. 9; 2 p.m.
- Wednesday, Dec. 12; 7:30 p.m.
- Thursday, Dec. 13; 7:30 p.m.
- Friday, Dec. 14; 7:30 p.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 15; 2 p.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 15; 7:30 p.m.
- Sunday, Dec. 16; 2 p.m.
Carolina Brass Holiday Pops Concert
Tuesday, Dec. 18; 7 p.m.
Don't miss this fun-filled performance featuring seasonal favorites by the Carolina Brass. Their combination of virtuosity and humor is a fresh approach to great music of all types, engaging audiences in an energizing musical experience for the holidays.
Cost: $20. Advance purchase is encouraged.
Handel's Messiah presented by Winston-Salem Symphony
Tuesday, Dec. 18; 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!
Nov. 16 - Jan. 1, 2019
For the past 27 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. 16 and shining bright through New Year's Day 2019.
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
Piedmont Craftsmen Fair
Nov. 17 - 18; Benton Convention Center
Jump start holiday shopping at the two-day fine craft extravaganza known as the Piedmont Craftsmen Fair, held in downtown Winston-Salem November 17 - 18. More than 100 of the finest artisans from across the southeastern U.S fill the booths at Piedmont Craftsmen’s 55th Fair, presenting a sampling of the finest work available in artist-designed handmade home goods, wearables, jewelry, furniture and decorative items. For special hotel packages that include weekend passes to the Fair (and more!) click here.
Deck the Halls Fine Arts & Craft Sale
Nov. 30 - Dec. 22
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.
Wake Forest Lovefeast
Sunday, Dec. 2; Two services at 4:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.
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 tradtional 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 a sermon, the Christmas story is told.
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)