It feels like everyone has been whispering about the holiday season for a few weeks now. As soon as the first cold snap hit Charlotte, we started hearing murmurings about giving gifts, drinking hot chocolate and all sorts of other merry activities.
Many of us have been fighting off the holiday cheer, indignant that it’s not yet time for people to be so freakin’ jolly. But we can’t fight it anymore, y’all. Thanksgiving is this week. The holidays are officially upon us, and it’s time give in to the general merriment of the season.
If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, right? Here are 10 fun ways that you can celebrate the start of the holiday season in Charlotte this week.
Season begins Friday Nov. 17 at 5 p.m. and runs through December. $14. NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza, 400 E. MLK Jr. Blvd.
For the 14th year, Holiday on Ice is back in Charlotte. Head Uptown to the NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza to experience this outdoor ice skating rink for yourself. Admission is just $10 if you bring your own skates or $14 including skate rental. More details here.
Tuesday Nov. 21, 6 – 9 p.m. Free. NoDa Company Store, 3221 Yadkin Ave.
Since it opened, NoDa Company Store has always acted as NoDa’s gathering place – a front porch for the neighborhood, if you will. Owners Joey and Scotty are bringing the community together again with their second annual Friendsgiving. They’re making turkey and ham, then the rest of the meal will be potluck-style. Bring a side dish or a dessert, and get ready for some good eatin’ with friends and neighbors. Find out more here.
Wednesday Nov. 22, 6 – 7:30 p.m. $25. 7th St. Public Market, 224 E. 7th St.
Whether you’re a sommelier, a cheesemonger, or just someone who seriously appreciates a good wine and cheese pairing, this is the event for you. Join Assorted Table Wine Shoppe and Orrman’s Cheese Shop every other Wednesday to taste five pairings – then impress your family by bringing your favorite wine and cheese home with you for Thanksgiving. Get more information (and your tickets) here.
Wednesday Nov. 22, 7 – 9 p.m. Free. Thirsty Nomad Brewing, 4402 Stuart Andrew Blvd.
Aside from vague memories of wearing buckles or feathers in turkey-themed plays back in elementary school, what do you really know about the history of Thanksgiving? Show off what you know about this annual harvest festival at TNB Trivia: Thanksgiving History edition for the chance to win prizes each round. More details here.
Season begins Friday Nov. 17 at 5 p.m. and runs through December. $12.95 in advance, $14.95 at the door. Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, 6500 S. New Hope Rd., Belmont.
There’s something so magical about wandering through the twinkling trees and sparkling fountains at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden this time of year. The Holidays at the Garden 2017 season kicked off on Friday and runs through Dec. 31 – but in our opinion, a stop here is a great way to get into the spirit as we kick off the holiday season. You can find more information here.
Thursday Nov. 23, 8:30 – 11:30 a.m. $35 for 1 Mile Fun Run, $40 for 5K Run/Walk, $43 for 8K Run. 1412 E. Blvd, Suite G.
The South Park Turkey Trot is back for its 29th year! Kick off your Thanksgiving day by participating in a one-mile “fun run” or walk, a 5K run or walk, or an 8K run. Trust us, it’s the best way to avoid that post-turkey – and pumpkin pie – guilt later in the day. Get more information (and your tickets) here.
Season begins Thursday Nov. 23 at 11 a.m. and runs through December. Free. Romare Bearden Park, 300 S. Church St.
From Thanksgiving Day through Christmas Eve, Romare Bearden Park will be transformed into “Christkindlmarkt,” also known as Charlotte Christmas Village. This European-inspired, open-air holiday market will feature live performances, dozens of local vendors and specialty foods (including Austrian strudels, Bratwurst with Sauerkraut, and glazed German Roasted Nuts – we’re drooling). Those 21 and over can also enjoy beer, wine, cider or traditional Glühwein, a mulled spiced wine served warm in many European countries, as they wander around the market. More details here.
Saturdays at 10 a.m. $5. Lenny Boy Brewing Co., 3000 S. Tryon St.
After the stress of holiday entertaining (or of fending off awkward conversations with relatives over Thanksgiving dinner), it’s time to re-center yourself. Start your weekend off with yoga at Lenny Boy Brewing Co. on Saturday at 10 a.m. Class is $5, which includes a 6 oz. pour of kombucha – a healthy drink that’s great for helping you digest those Thanksgiving leftovers. Learn more here.
Saturday Nov. 25, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Free. South End.
After Black Friday comes Small Business Saturday, a day to support local vendors as you shop holiday gifts for everyone on your list. South End has three festival hubs for you to choose from: the Jingle Jangle Holiday Market at Camden Rd. and East-West Blvd., Dudeapalooza at 2525 Distribution St. and the Lincoln St. Market between Church St. and Mint St. Find out more here.
Friday Nov. 24, 12 p.m. – 10 p.m. Free. NoDa Brewing Company, 2921 N. Tryon St.
Whether you’ve been naughty or nice so far this year, it’s time to celebrate the season with NoDa Brewing’s Hoppy Holidays IPA. With notes of citrus and spruce, this 6.5% ABV brew smells just like a Christmas tree – what better way is there to get into the yuletide spirit? More details here.