Atlanta History Center’s Candlelight Nights Tradition Returns

Enjoy Candlelit Strolls Through Trails and Tour Historic Homes Decorated for the Season

ATLANTA, GA –Step back in time and experience Christmas past with a candle-lit stroll through a crisp wooded trail that transports you to the warm glow of the holidays. Visit the Smith Family Farm, Swan House, and Wood Family Cabin to experience how Southerners celebrated Christmas during the pioneer days, the Civil War era, and the 1930s. Experience holiday traditions of years past with interpreters and special activities. Enjoy food for purchase and visit one of several cash bars for your favorite libation.

WHAT: Candlelight Nights, Atlanta History Center’s annual holiday tradition

WHEN: December 4, 2014, 6 pm – 10 pm; December 18, 2014, 6 pm – 10 pm

WHERE: Atlanta History Center; 130 West Paces Ferry Road; Atlanta, GA

INFORMATION: 404.814.4000;

ADMISSION: This special holiday program is $10 for members; $15 for nonmembers; $8 for children. Purchase admission tickets at

SUPPORT: This program is sponsored by Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty; Fulton County Board of Commissioners under the guidance of the Fulton County Arts Council. Additional support by Big John’s Christmas Trees; and Alliance Theater.



Ongoing Activities:

  • Journey to Holidays Past – Encounter characters from 1864 holiday past as they demonstrate traditional crafts and skills. You can also get an earful of what’s going on around town and with the other farmworkers.
  • Cookie Cutting and Salt Dough Ornament Activities
  • Candle-dipping
  • Blacksmithing
  • Open-hearth Cooking

Timed Activities:

1864 Christmas Tree Performance

6:15 pm, 7:30 pm, 9:15 pm 

See how families decorated Christmas trees in 1864. You might be surprised by the similarities and differences to your own at home today.


7:00 pm, 8:00 pm, 8:45 pm

Hear hearthside stories of Christmases long ago, told by Betty Ann Wiley. 

Nicey, Meet the Past Museum Theatre Performance

6:45 pm, 7:45 pm, 8:30 pm

Join Nicey as she reflects on changing holiday traditions for enslaved farmworkers in the South during the 1860s.


Ongoing Activities:

  • Children’s Holiday Craft Activity – Children create a 1930s holiday ornament and help decorate Sam and Mimi Inman’s Christmas tree.
  • Journey to Holidays Past – Encounter characters from the 1930s.
  • Edward Inman – Chat with Mr. Inman about his 1928 donation to the Empty Stocking Fund and how the charity is helping those in need in Atlanta today.
  • Lucille Arnold – Visit the kitchen and have a sip of the hot chocolate Lucille has prepared for the family.
  • Grant Carter – Meet the chauffeur and have your picture made at the 1929 Hudson Super Six Sedan.

Timed Activities:

The Night Before Christmas

6:20 pm, 7:20 pm, 8:20 pm

Hear a reading of the famous holiday poem by Clement Clarke Moore.

Piano Christmas Sing Along with Ruby Ross Wood

6:45 pm, 7:45 pm, 8:45 pm

Join Ruby Ross Wood, the Inman’s personal interior decorator, as she leads you through singing everyone’s favorite, traditional Christmas songs.

Carolers on the Steps

6:00 pm, 7:00 pm, 8:00 pm

Carolers may not come door to door anymore, but at Swan House you’ll be able to hear them on the front steps.


Shape Note Singers

6:30 pm, 8:00 pm, 9:00 pm 

Listen to the two hundred year-old tradition of shape note singing set to Christmas music.



6:15 pm, 7:30 pm, 9:15 pm

Atlanta’s favorite female a cappella singing group performs holiday favorites.


Visit with Santa

December 4th, 6:00 – 10:00 pm

December 18th, 7:00 – 10:00 pm

Little ones are sure to enjoy a visit with Santa. Be sure to bring your own camera to capture the memories.

Members-Only Lounge:

December 18thonly, 6:00 – 8:30 pm

Atlanta History Center members can stop by the special Members-Only Lounge in McElreath Hall. Activities including cookie decorating, ornament making, and a special appearance by Santa Claus from 6:00 to 7:00 pm.

Food and Drink:

Food Truck: Mac the Cheese

Cash Bars: Stationed throughout the campus with adult and non-alcoholic beverages available for purchase. Each bar has a special holiday-themed drink.


About Us

The Atlanta History Center is an all-inclusive destination featuring the Atlanta History Museum; two historic houses, 1928 Swan House and 1860 Smith Family Farm; the Centennial Olympic Games Museum; Kenan Research Center; Grand Overlook event space; Chick-Fil-A at the Coca-Cola Café, a museum shop, and the Goizueta Gardens, featuring 22 acres of gardens, walkways, paths and trails. In addition, the History Center operates the Margaret Mitchell House located in Midtown Atlanta.