The Ultimate Auburn/Opelika Holiday Events Guide 2023


Deck the halls with boughs of holly, ’tis the season to be jolly! We’ve gathered a list of events happening in the Auburn/Opelika area starting around Thanksgiving through the end of the year. From parades, Christmas markets, outdoor activities, and train rides, to live music and theatre productions, we’re sure you’ll find something for your whole family to enjoy! If we’ve missed an event or your organization would like your event to be included in this list, please contact us. We don’t want our AO Moms readers to miss out on anything! This list includes both free and ticketed events, so be sure to click the link in the title of the event for more information.

November 17th – January 13, 2024, 12 pm – 8 pm: Hey Day Holiday Grand Opening & Ice Skating

It’s time to gather your loved ones, bundle up, and immerse yourselves in all things merry and bright! Join on the Greenspace outside of Hey Day Market for a fun and festive winter season every day from 12:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. from November 17th to January 13th. They are bringing the most magical of holiday festivities to Auburn with a 24 ft Christmas Tree and an ice skating rink on our expansive Greenspace. This event will be fun and festive and open for all to enjoy during the winter season!

November 26th, 12 – 4 pm: Winter Wonderland Holiday Market

Rape Counselors of East Alabama’s 12th annual Winter Wonderland’s holiday fundraiser kicks off with just about anything one might find on Santa’s list. The market is open from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and features a silent auction. This year’s lineup features locally made artwork, crafts, pottery, jewelry, baby gifts, ornaments, children’s appliqué clothing and more. Santa will be there from 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Food trucks will also be parked on site, so you can eat lunch while you shop.

November 26th, 4 – 6 pm: Auburn University Holiday Lighting Ceremony

Join us for the annual Holiday Lighting Ceremony; where we will light the Christmas Tree and Menorah to celebrate the start of the holiday season. Family holiday activities will be from 4-5 PM. From 5-6 PM there will be performances by local choirs and student performers; where we will wrap up the hour with the countdown to the lighting of the Christmas Tree and Menorah. After the tree and Menorah are lit, families are welcome to take pictures, eat some snacks and have a merry time!

November 26th, 4 – 6 pm: O Town’s Ice Cream with Santa Claus

Santa & Mrs. Claus are coming to O Town on Thanksgiving weekend! The shop will be decorated like a Magical Sweet Shop just in time Nick of Time! Kick off the Christmas season with us! Bring your cameras!

December 1st, 5 – 8 pm: Downtown Auburn Holiday Open House

Join the Auburn Downtown Merchants for a festive, holiday evening filled with extended shopping hours, Santa, tree decorating, train rides, live music, Christmas cocktails, children’s activities and more! Entertainment district event. This event is free and open to the public!

December 1st, 6 – 8 pm: Donuts with Deputies

Join your Lee County Deputies for a festive and fun holiday drop-in!
Sweet treats, coloring activities, and more. And don’t forget to brainstorm what you’d like to say to Santa. We’ll have a special mailbox to send off your letters to Santa! Don’t worry parents, we’ll have coffee for you.

December 2nd, 6:30 am: Jingle Jog 5K and Santa Stroll Fun Run

The Jingle Jog 5k and Santa Stroll Fun Run are here again – so pull out those Santa hats and ugly sweaters! Join Active Auburn on Saturday, December 2nd at 6:30 a.m. as we ring in the holiday season in style! The Santa Stroll Fun Run (1 mile) will begin at 6:30 a.m. at Toomer’s Corner and the Jingle Jog 5k will begin at 7:00 a.m. at Toomer’s Corner.

December 2nd, 8 am – 12 pm: Auburn Opelika Habitat for Humanity Annual Cookie Walk Fundraiser

The annual Cookie Walk Fundraiser is back for the 28th time! The Cookie Walk is a fundraiser sponsored by the WeHelp Coalition of Churches to benefit the mission of Auburn Opelika Habitat for Humanity.

December 2nd, 8 am – 4 pm: Auburn Drive Thru Toy Drive

Every year, Auburn Public Safety hosts a toy drive campaign benefiting disadvantaged families who need a “hand up” in the Auburn area over the holiday season. To meet the needs of our growing community, Auburn Public Safety is trying something new this year.
The 2023 Auburn Toy Drive is turning into a weekend drive-thru donation event! Help us bless disadvantaged children in Auburn by delivering newly purchased unwrapped toys on Dec. 2 from 8 am to 4 pm drive-thru style!

December 2nd, 8:30 am – 2 pm: AUMC’s Annual Christmas Market

Join us for our community-wide Christmas Market on Saturday, December 2, from 8:30am to 2pm! Get all of your holiday shopping done with arts, crafts, foods, decorations, and more available for purchase. All proceeds go to support local missions through the Auburn UMC United Women of Faith.

December 2nd, 9 am – 3 pm: Downtown Auburn Holiday Market

Save the date and join us for our Loveliest Village Holiday Market, a curated market featuring local artists, homemade gifts, baked goods, and more.

December 2nd, 9 am – 3 pm: Glynn Smith Chevrolet GMC’s Merry Market

Come Join us for Our First Annual Glynn Smith Chevrolet “Merry Market.” We will have 80+ Vendors, Come meet Santa, Food Trucks, Live Singing from Abby Perper, and all the FUN you can imagine!

December 2nd, 10 am – 12:30 pm: Ho Ho Ho Hike and Holiday Celebration

If you loved the The Jan Dempsey Community Arts Center’s (JDCAC) annual Polar Express, you will LOVE the Ho Ho Ho Hike and Holiday Celebration. Kreher and Jan Dempsey will partner to turn the Preserve into a Winter Wonderland, full of nature-themed crafts, performances, cookies, hot chocolate, and a visit from Mrs. Claus.

December 2nd, 10 am – 3 pm: Holiday Art Market at The Opelika Art Haus

We will feature local arts and crafts makers as well as artisan foods, soaps, candles, pottery and many other beautiful items. Local food trucks will be there for guests and vendors to purchase lunch and snacks!

December 2nd & 8th, 8 – 11 pm: A Martha’s Trouble Christmas

Join Martha’s Trouble for two nights in December (Saturday Dec 2 & Friday December 8, 2023) as we celebrate the season with our renditions of your favorite Christmas tunes.

December 2nd & 3rd: Santa on the Corner

All the way from the North Pole to Toomer’s Corner, Santa Claus himself will be here on December 2nd and 3rd for Santa on the Corner. Join the Auburn Downtown Merchants Association for this holiday tradition benefiting United Way of Lee County. Saturday 10 am – 2 pm and Sunday 11 am – 1:30 pm.

December 2nd, 9th, & 16th, 10 am & 12 pm: Marriott National Gingerbread Decorating Contest

Join us for our annual Gingerbread House Contest. Dates are December 2nd, 9th & 16th, with times available at 10am or 12pm. Time limit is 1 hour & 30 minutes to build your masterpiece to take home. The winner will be selected by our very own Chef.

*RESCHEDULED* December 3rd, 5:30 pm: Snopelika Parade & Tree Lighting

This is an annual community event held to kick off the Christmas season in Opelika. Enjoy a winter wonderland as artificial snow falls all throughout courthouse square ending with a magical tree lighting ceremony! Opelika’s annual Christmas Parade will take place right before Snopelika at 5:30pm! Note: This event was rescheduled from its original date of Dec. 1st due to the threat of severe weather.


December 3rd, 2 – 3 pm: Auburn Christmas Parade

Join us for your favorite holiday tradition, The Auburn Christmas Parade. The parade will be held in Downtown Auburn on Sunday, Dec. 3rd at 2 pm. All businesses and organizations are invited to participate in the parade.

December 3rd, 3 pm: Auburn Gingerbread Village Unveiling

The region’s largest Gingerbread Village display debuts Sunday, December 3rd, at 3pm inside The Tony & Libba Rane Culinary Science Center just after the Auburn, AL, Christmas Parade concludes. This event is free to the general public and will remain open through New Year’s Day!

December 6th, 6 – 8 pm: OHS/OMS Holiday Choral Concert

Opelika Center for Performing Arts

December 7th, 6 – 8 pm: Covington Recreation Center’s Christmas Drop-In

A special occasion drop-in featuring food, fun and games. 3rd-5th graders.

December 8th, 6 – 9 pm: Christmas in a Railroad Town

Whether you’re a young child or simply a child at heart, there will be activities for everyone at this great night out in historic downtown Opelika. Enjoy festivities including a children’s train, pony rides, live animal petting zoo, wagon rides, trolley rides photo booth, hot chocolate, face painting, gingerbread house contest, make-your-own Reindeer Food, and more! Guests can also be transported back in time with a wagon ride through the Victorian Front Porch Christmas Tour. Enclosed trolley rides will also be available at the Museum of East Alabama.

December 8th-12th: Victorian Front Porch Tour – 30th Anniversary

Opelika is celebrating Christmas like it’s 1899! From December 8-12, 2023, historic homes in Opelika’s northside historic district are transformed into a colorful, nostalgic reminder of Christmas from a simpler era. The event is a self-driving tour except for Saturday night when the streets are closed for visitors to stroll through the neighborhood.

December 8th-10th: East Alabama Community Ballet presents The Nutcracker

A holiday tradition since 1995, East Alabama Community Ballet is excited to present The Nutcracker. Join Clara and the Nutcracker as they battle the Mouse Queen and journey through the Land of the Sweets!

December 9th, 8 am: 2023 Toys for Tots 1 Mile, 5K, and 10K

This year’s Auburn Toys for Tots race will be held on Saturday, December 9th. Start the holiday season in a festive mood with a 10K, 5K, or 1-Mile! All participants are asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy to be distributed to children in need.

December 9th, 9 – 11 am: Breakfast with Santa at The Oak’s Farm

Join us for Breakfast with Santa & Rudolph! We had a great time last year with Santa & Rudolph so we’re excited to have them back again with us this year!! We’ll have small crafts for the kids to enjoy while they visit with Santa!

December 9th, 10 am & 12 pm: Marriott at Grand National’s Brunch with Santa

Be a special guest for the annual brunch with Santa event at The Marriott Resort & Spa! There will be a delicious brunch, children’s activities, train rides through the resort, pictures with Santa, and a holiday-themed movie.

December 11-15th: Where’s Theodore Elf Hunt 

The Opelika Park and Recreation has lost their Elf on the Shelf. He is running around Opelika getting into mischief please help us find him. During the week of Dec 11-15 if you can identity where Theodore is from the pictures on our Facebook and Instagram page and bring the Christmas ornament he has left behind to the SportsPlex you will be rewarded.

December 12th, 6:30 pm: OHS/OMS Christmas Band Concert

Opelika Center for Performing Arts

December 13th, 6 – 7:30 pm: First Baptist Church of Opelika’s Live Nativity

Fun for the whole family. Love animals. Crafts. Cookies. Hot chocolate and more.

December 13th, 3 – 4:30 pm: OPL’s Christmas Crafts for Adults

Get in the Christmas spirit by making some Christmas ornaments! Join us for some Adult crafting, where we will be reusing old things in new ways!

December 14th-16th, 5 – 8 pm: Rocky Brook Rocket Reindeer Express

Children will love riding the Rocky Brook Rocket around Municipal Park! This adorable miniature train has been a staple in Opelika since 1955, but during the Christmas season, the Rocket transforms into one of Santa’s Helpers and becomes the Rocky Brook Rocket Reindeer Express! Don’t miss this fun event featuring food, hot chocolate, and pictures with Santa.

December 15th, 5 – 9 pm: Collinwood Luminaries

Collinwood residents continue Opelika’s oldest neighborhood Christmas tradition, one Friday night only in December from 5 to 9 pm.  For over 55 years, the streets of Collinwood have been transformed into a miraculous Christmas journey commemorating the path of Christ’s birth. Over 1,300 candle filled bags line the way through live scenes (people and animals) of the Christmas story and concluding at the Nativity.

December 15th & 16th: A Holiday Walk in the Woods

In the spirit of unity and peace, Auburn Area Community Theatre and the Kreher Preserve are bringing back their special December event for our broader Auburn community to celebrate together. At three different performance events, there will be a series of staggered and timed walking small group tours with a guide on a well-lit and easy trail through the piney woods at the Kreher Preserve and Nature Center.

December 16th, 10 am: OPL’s Winter Wonder Workshop

Join the Opelika Public Library to discover the wonder of the holidays with activities and crafts for all ages! Stop in to make some special keepsake crafts, play fun games, enjoy some hot cocoa, and even meet the Big Man himself!

December 16th-18th: The Holiday Wrap Up

Auburn Parks and Recreation will offer its 3rd Annual gift-wrapping service just in time for the 2023 holidays. Drop off up to 20 pre-boxed gifts at the Harris Center and pick them up wrapped and ready to go the same day! You can choose from our selection of paper, or you can supply your own.

December 19th, 2 pm: OPL’s Family Movie & Crafternoon 

Join the Opelika Public Library for an afternoon of fun holiday crafts and a movie!

December 22, 10 am: OPL’s Christmas Movie Marathon

Grab your friends, family, cozy blankets, and bean bags, and settle in for a movie…or 6 with the Opelika Public Library’s Christmas Movie Marathon! The first movie will begin at 10 a.m. and a new movie will begin every 2 hours.

December 31st, 6 pm – 1 am: Auburn Marriott Opelika Resort’s Drop & Pop New Year’s Eve Party

Come join us for an unforgettable New Year’s Eve celebration at Auburn Marriott Opelika Resort & Spa at Grand National! Get ready to ring in the new year with style and excitement.

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Sarah Savage
Sarah Savage is originally from Crestview, Florida, but has called the Auburn/Opelika area home for the last 14 years. She graduated from Auburn in 2012 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a minor in Human Development and Family Studies. She and her husband, Jonathan, have a six year old daughter and a three year old son. Sarah works part time from home as a Communications Editor for Auburn University, but spends most of her time attempting to keep her kids from climbing—and subsequently falling off—furniture and providing an endless supply of snacks. She enjoys working out, reading, baking, listening to podcasts, and volunteering with local service organizations.