Celebrate the Holidays in Sanford, NC

From holiday shopping to party hopping, this time of year is a busy one! Let Sanford take entertaining friends and family off your plate this holiday season. Check out our list of Sanford’s festive events and cheerful places that will delight holiday visitors, young and old!

Lee County on Parade

An annual tradition for over 60 years, the Sanford Christmas Parade is a seasonal celebration you’ll not want to miss! Come out on December 2 to enjoy the sights and sounds of the season with holiday music, lights, marching bands, festive floats and, of course, the man of the hour – Santa Claus! Insider Tip: Station yourself along the route for the best view before the parade begins at 7 p.m. Starting at Carthage and Wicker Streets, the parade will head toward Steele Street and make a full circle.

On December 14, make sure you’re Broadway bound to catch another seasonal favorite, the Broadway Christmas Parade. The fun starts at 2 p.m., so grab your spot early for a chance to see Santa as he makes another guest appearance alongside decked-out floats, fire trucks, marching bands, holiday festivities and more!


A Tradition of Family Fun

Christmas in Sanford wouldn’t be complete without the wildly popular annual Tree and Train Lighting at Depot Park. Join us on December 6 to see Santa light up the park with twinkling lights and enjoy a night of family fun. Explore the Christmas market for the perfect gift, warm up with some tasty hot cocoa and fill your belly with delicious treats from your favorite food truck. Performances by Temple Teens, WB Wicker Elementary School Choir, Karla’s Kids, and Tuesday Night Music Club will have you singing along to your favorite holiday carols. All the sledding, face painting and other festivities are sure to spark your holiday spirit!


Light Up the Holidays

‘Tis the season for grand holiday light displays, and Broken Plow Farm Lights of Christmas is a Lee County must see. Bundle up for a hayride around the farm to view beautiful holiday displays and enjoy a one-of-a-kind light show. Food trucks are on site each night, as well as a special visitor from the North Pole who is available for visits and photos. Check the 2019 Lights of Christmas Schedule for dates and pricing to plan your evening of holiday fun!


Ready, Set, Shop!

Forget Black Friday crowds and Cyber Monday hassles! Enjoy Sanford’s host of holiday shopping options served up with southern hospitality in a delightful downtown setting. Browse our wide array of galleries, boutiques and specialty shops for everything from unique gifts and festive fashions to fine chocolates – something to please everyone on your list.  Insider Tip: November 30 – December 24, support our small businesses and have a chance to win big with Sanford’s popular Holiday Punch Card. Receive a stamp for every $10 spent with participating businesses and be entered in a drawing with wonderful holiday prizes once your card is filled. Check the Downtown Sanford, Inc. Facebook page for a list of participating businesses.


Holiday Curtain Call

Catch the holiday spirit by taking in a show at the Mann Center of North Carolina. The curtain rises on November 22-24 for the 20th anniversary of the Sanford School of Classical Ballet’s production of a Christmas classic – The Nutcracker. Or ring in the holiday season with the Lee County Community Orchestra’s Mingled Merriment – Nostalgic Melodies & Holiday Tunes. This annual holiday event includes two performances on December 7 at 3:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. (Admission is free.) And Christmas comes early this year with a special performance from The Voice runner-up and Sanford local, Britton Buchanan, and multi-platinum songwriter, Taylor Phillips, on December 20 at 7:00 p.m.

Down the road at Temple Theatre, you’ll want to be sure to catch Christmas with the Embers, featuring Craig Woolard, on November 26 at 7:30 p.m. Treat the theatre lover on your list to some holiday cheer with Away in the Basement, on stage December 5-22. This delightful production follows women in 1959 in the midst of holiday preparations on the day of the Sunday School Christmas Program. Viewers will be amused by their hilarious antics and subtle charm throughout the show. Or come out on December 10 at 7:30 p.m. for A Rock ‘n Roll Christmas with Rob’s Rockabilly Revival, a festive performance that is sure to have you rockin’ around the Christmas tree!

For other upcoming performances or additional information, check out the Mann Center and Temple Theatre calendars of events.


Step Back into a Colonial Christmas

Looking for an old-fashioned holiday experience? Join us on December 7 at Sanford’s House-in-the-Horseshoe and journey back to the 18th century for a Colonial Christmas. Beginning at 5 p.m., delightful guides in period attire will lead groups on a tour through the candlelit historic Alston House. You’ll end your journey into the past by sipping warm cider while singing along to your favorite traditional carols. With tickets priced at $2 per person, this colonial candlelight tour is an unforgettable and budget-friendly experience.


Eat, Drink and Be Merry!

Whether you’re planning a special event, having dinner with friends or simply grabbing a bite as you go on your merry way, Sanford offers a range of places to enjoy the tastes of the holidays with food, fellowship and fun. Savor a meal at one of our local restaurants, such as Cooper’s Restaurant & Wine Room, offering locally sourced ingredients and a regularly changing menu. Enjoy seasonal, southern fare with a flare at Cafe 121. Or opt for a more casual bite with a charcuterie plate at Smoke and Barrel or a holiday lunch at Mrs. Lacy’s Magnolia House; you’ll want to try everything on the menu!

Don’t forget to take a break from the hustle and bustle and toast the season at one of the many local drinkeries offering special holiday brews, wines, cocktails and festivities throughout the season. Cozy up in the lounge area of Libations 139 and enjoy a holiday vintage or cocktail after shopping. Stop by Hugger Mugger Brewing Company to sample a few of the 20+ beers on tap as well as craft ciders. Or tap into Camelback Brewing Company’s barrel brewhouse and rotating taps — a treat for visitors and locals alike.