Mild winters make Georgia a popular destination during the winter holiday season. Several large cities in Georgia, including Atlanta and Macon, boast a cosmopolitan atmosphere, while the historic town of Savannah reminds visitors of the South’s heritage. You can find Georgia vacation rentals in numerous cities and small towns throughout the state. Choose a downtown loft in Atlanta or opt for a cabin tucked away in the mountains close to communities such as Helen and Elijay. Enjoy a historic tour of homes in Savannah, or indulge in upscale shopping at the malls in the Atlanta area. Here’s a quick look at the seven best Christmas getaways in Georgia.

1. Atlanta

Hotlanta glows with Christmas cheer throughout the holiday season with wreaths and lights on every lamp post. At Zoo Atlanta, the Jungle Bells celebration offers the chance to create s’mores by a fire pit while singing your favorite Christmas songs and end your day with a visit from Santa. The Atlanta Botanical Gardens come alive at night during the holiday seasons with thousands of Christmas lights. Families descend on Lenox Square Mall during December for the chance to ride the Pink Pig, a slow moving train-type ride on pink pig cars. This tradition dates back to 1953 when the Pink Pig delighted kids downtown by Rich’s department store. Stop by Phipps Plaza to pick up some last minute gifts from high-end stores including Tiffany, Sax Fifth Avenue, and Jimmy Choo.

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2. Savannah

Watch as Santa and his elves parade through the historic district during the Savannah’s Lighted Christmas Parade that ends at the riverfront in this idyllic vacation destination. One of the most anticipated events each year is the Savannah Christmas Tour of Homes. Winding its way through the city’s historic center, the tour provides access to stunning homes, some of them dating back to the time of the Civil War. Homeowners greet visitors with warm beverages or a cup of eggnog and holiday cheer. The Holly Jolly Holiday Trolley Tour makes it way through town to give you a look at the best light displays and stops at the Gingerbread Village at the Westin Savannah Harbor Resort.

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3. Helen

Tucked away in the North Georgia mountain sits this vacation destination with a German flair. The town’s buildings mimic a Bavarian-building style, and Christmas turns the town into a storybook with holiday lights, massive Christmas trees, and wreaths dangling from the light posts. Enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride through the downtown area, and stop by The Christkindlmarkt for some last minute gifts from one of the vendor stalls. Hansel and Gretel Candy Kitchen has all the stocking stuffers you need to keep the chocolate and candy lovers in your group happy.

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4. Pine Mountain

About an hour south of Atlanta, the small town of Pine Mountain is home to Callaway Gardens and one of the best light shows in the state. Fantasy in Lights made National Geographic Traveler’s list of “Top 10 Places to See Holiday Lights.” Choose between driving your own car through the light displays that wind their way around the lake or riding on one of the trams. The display includes more than 8 million lights creating festive scenes. After your tour of lights, enter Christmas Village to enjoy a cup of hot cider or a visit with Santa. The Christmas Market is your one-stop shop for everything you need to decorate the tree at your vacation rental.

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5. Macon

Macon, a midsize urban city south of Atlanta, lights up during the holiday season. Each year, the Christmas Parade marches down the main street of the downtown area with marching bands, winter wonderland floats, and of course, the man in red, Santa Claus. Hit the ice at the Macon Centreplex that offers public skating during the holidays. The Museum of Arts and Science hosts the Festival of Trees, in which local businesses decorate trees along a unique theme. Start the New Year off right at the Rigby’s Entertainment Complex’s Boots and Beads New Year’s Eve party, which chooses a new theme each year.

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6. Stone Mountain

On the outskirts of Atlanta, the small town of Stone Mountain is home to Stone Mountain Park, which takes celebrating Christmas to a new level. Every night, the park hosts a Christmas parade with floats, carolers, and Santa Claus. Take the kids to the Rudolph’s Merry Little Meet and Greet so they can meet their favorite reindeer in person. Around each corner are even more festive lights, decorated trees, and wreaths. The Singalong Train winds around the park while your group sings your favorite Christmas songs. Live music, shows, and dances occur throughout the park at almost any time of day.

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7. Santa Claus

Make it easy for the big guy to find you this year when you stay in Santa Claus, Georgia. Mail a letter home to your kids thanking them for the cookies from Santa and have it stamped by Santa Claus at the local post office. Choose a vacation rental on Rudolph Road or 25 December Drive. Stroll down the quaint streets on Christmas Eve to see the luminarias, candles burning inside white bags, lining the roads. At City Hall and throughout town, Christmas decorations are always on display.

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