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The Planning of Christmas at Callanwolde 2013

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By: Judy Aleman, Chair of Christmas at Callanwolde

Celebrating the holidays is a time-honored tradition that creates lasting memories. As a child, I remember with anticipation and glee, seeing our home magically transform with holiday decorations, sparkling lights and the distinctive smell of evergreen trees.

That sense of excitement and wonder stayed with me over the years as I volunteered at Callanwolde and even helped with Christmas at Callanwolde.  Last year I agreed to co-chair the event.  That was my first glimpse of all that goes into creating this beloved 12-day Atlanta tradition.  As chair this year, my job is to make sure that we bring you the best event possible.

We began the year by conducting surveys to better understand what you want and expect from Christmas at Callanwolde.  Based on this, we’ve added some new “decorations” to our event to make it even brighter and more memorable.  Themed classes will be offered so you can create your own special holiday memento.  To help you find that special gift, we’re adding vendors to our holiday shopping area and we’ll have a weekend event featuring Atlanta Etsy sellers. We are also delighted to add a fun-filled Cocoa and Caroling evening in our outdoor amphitheater, which is sure to become an annual favorite.

Preparation for our 12-day event is a big undertaking.  In fact it takes a year of planning.  Our team of volunteers and staff are dedicated to creating a truly memorable event for you.  Our stately home is transformed by some of Atlanta’s most talented interior and floral designers as they decorate the mansion in holiday splendor. Our always-popular children’s events, Breakfast with Santa and the Teddy Bear Tea are returning by popular demand. Also back this year is Charming ARTifacts, featuring impressive works done on site by Callanwolde’s instructors and students.

We kick off the holidays with a VIP Preview Party on December 5th. Featuring a delicious array of food stations and entertainment by Von Grey. If you saw them on Letterman or Conan, you’ll want to see this talented and versatile group in person.

Winter Musical Nights, our two Friday Concerts, will feature celebrated musicians Ted Howe, with vocalist Francine Reed, and the award winning Joey Sommerville.


While the main building on the Callanwolde estate is often called the mansion, it’s important to remember that this was a vibrant and inviting family home for many years.  It was built by the accomplished businessman and philanthropist, Charles Howard Candler, eldest son of the founder of the Coca-Cola Company.  The Candler family lived, entertained and, of course, celebrated the holidays there for generations. Following the sale of the property and its transition to our non-profit arts center, we strive to maintain the legacy of this grand home as we celebrate Christmas at Callanwolde.

As chair this year, I feel phenomenally blessed to lead such a dedicated and talented team to bring you Christmas at Callanwolde.  Our goal is to keep the time-honored traditions of the past that have made this event such a treasured part of Atlanta’s holiday season and also infuse it with more of what you want.

Make sure you come back to visit our site often.  You can buy tickets, book a tour and meet the designers and sponsors who make this all possible. We’ll post new information and details of special events that are sure to please every age and bring out the child-like wonder and delight that is a part of this magical time of the year!


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