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 4 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 9, 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 Santa Train & Tree Lighting. Join us on November 26 to see Santa light up the park with twinkling lights and enjoy a night of family fun. Spend the afternoon at Depot Park as you visit with Santa, enjoy treats and holiday performances and then a special countdown with the Mayor and Santa as they light the park for the holiday season. All the festivities are sure to spark your holiday spirit!


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

Ring in the holiday season with the Lee County Community Orchestra’s Enchantments: A Holiday Celebration. This annual holiday event includes two performances on December 2 at 3:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. (Admission is free.) And Christmas comes early this year with a special performance from multi-platinum songwriter, Taylor Phillips, on December 10 at 5:00 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 21 at 7:30 p.m. Treat the theatre lover on your list to some holiday cheer with A Christmas Story, on stage November 30 – December 17. In this timeless holiday comedy, Ralphie Parker in on a quest to get a genuine Red Ryder BB gun under the tree for Christmas. Ralphie pleads his case and gets a consistent response: “You’ll shoot your eye out!” An infamous leg lamp, outrageous pink bunny pajamas, a maniacal department store Santa, and a triple-dog-dare to lick a freezing flagpole are just a few of the distractions that stand between Ralphie and his Christmas wish. See the beloved motion picture come to life on the Temple stage!

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 “O blessed Season!”. On Saturday, December 2, 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 $8 per person, this 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 The Flame Steakhouse and Davison’s Steaks, for mouthwatering flavors that will delight your tastebuds. 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.