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November 8, 2023 17 minute READ

Holiday Happenings 2023

tags Adventure | Local Flavor | Travel
locations All
Santa is just one of the holiday happenings

The Holiday Season brings people together through shared traditions. We watch children’s faces light up with joy and wonder as they wait in line with Mom and Dad to share their wish lists with Santa Claus. We gather with our neighbors along city sidewalks for festive parades and in town squares for Christmas tree lightings. We attend services, plays, pageants, concerts, choir performances, and countless other holiday-themed events, too, all to keep the spirit of the season alive in our hearts and in our communities from year to year.

Make Mast General Store a holiday destination for your family this season as we host a Yule-full of events to spread Christmas cheer. In addition to the celebrations we have planned, you might also be able to check a few boxes off your Christmas shopping list for others or even find a few things to put on your own wish list. Join us at the Mast Store for Santa visits at several of our locations or to watch our town’s holiday parade from underneath the front awning. We hope this special time of togetherness lifts up you and yours and brings happiness to your hometown this Christmas!

Santa Visits 2023

Santa is considering his listOriginal Mast Store
•    Friday, December 8th, 3 - 6 p.m.
•    Friday, December 15th, 3 - 6 p.m.
•    Friday, December 22nd, 3 - 6 p.m.

Mast Store Annex
•    Sunday, December 3rd, Noon - 3 p.m.
•    Sunday, December 10th, Noon - 3 p.m.
•    Sunday, December 17th, Noon - 3 p.m.

•    Friday, December 1st, 5 - 8 p.m.
•    Saturday, December 2nd, Noon - 3 p.m.
•    Saturday, December 9th, Noon - 3 p.m.
•    Saturday, December 16th, Noon - 3 p.m.
•    Saturday, December 23rd, Noon - 3 p.m.

•    Sunday, December 3rd, 1 - 4 p.m.
•    Sunday, December 10th, 1 - 4 p.m.

•    Saturday, December 9th, 2 - 5 p.m.
•    Sunday, December 10th, 2 - 5 p.m.
•    Saturday, December 16th, 2 - 5 p.m.
•    Sunday, December 17th, 2 - 5 p.m.

•    Saturday, December 2nd, Noon - 3 p.m. 
•    Thursday, December 7th, 5 - 8 p.m. 

•    Saturday, December 9th, 1 - 4 p.m.
•    Sunday, December 10th, 1 - 4 p.m.

•    Sunday, December 3rd, 3 - 6 p.m.
•    Sunday, December 10th, 3 – 6 p.m.
•    Sunday, December 17th, 3 – 6 p.m.

Gift Wrapping

Gift WrappingVolunteers from community partners will wrap your gifts to save you time getting them under the tree. Your donation will help their causes give back in our communities year-round.

H.A.L.T. Gift Wrapping in Knoxville – December 15 (Noon - 6 p.m.), December 16 (10 a.m. - 8 p.m.), and December 17 (Noon - 6 p.m.) H.A.L.T., Humans and Animals Learning Together, helps “save” dogs from local animal shelters and at-risk teens through a series of dog obedience classes. The dogs learn basic obedience commands and socialization skills while the teens gain confidence, build self-esteem, and garner important life skills.

Gift Wrapping by Safe Harbor in Greenville – November 25 – December 23 (Saturdays, Noon – 7 p.m.; Sundays, Noon – 5 p.m.; and Monday – Friday, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.) With Christmas and Hanukkah are right around corner you can save yourself some time AND help Safe Harbor continue to provide an important service in the Greenville area. Safe Harbor provides a safe haven – including shelter, counseling, case management, and group support - for victims of domestic violence and their families to take their next steps.

Share the Warmth

For the 18th year, Mast General Store teams up with Columbia Sportwear on Share the Warmth. If you or a family member comes across an older coat or jacket that may have dropped out of the regular winter wardrobe rotation, consider donating it to this campaign which works with community partners to distribute apparel to our neighbors who need them the most during this cold-weather season. Kids’ and larger adult sizes (XL and above) are in especially high demand. Please make sure any outerwear is gently-used and freshly-cleaned before donating it to any Mast Store location. The Share the Warmth coat drive ends November 30. Make the Holidays a time for giving and compassion for those in our communities who need a little extra warmth this winter.

Book Signings

If you’re seeking inspiration to serve a down-home spread of classy comfort food, planning to host a swanky holiday soiree, or simply needing a recipe with “wow-factor” for a dish to take to a family Christmas get-together, check out Chef Jason Smith’s new cookbook Lord Honey: Traditional Southern Recipes with a Country Bling Twist.

Chef Jason Smith - Lord Honey Traditional Southern Recipes with a Country Bling TwistIn this collection, Chef Jason, who’s appeared on, won, and judged a number of popular, nationally-televised cooking shows, shares recipes inspired by his grandmother’s Kentucky kitchen. Each dish is served with joy, love, and the pride of carrying on a family’s legacy through food.

Lord Honey Chef Jason Smith will appear at several Mast Store locations this Holiday Season to sign copies of his book:

Knoxville – Tuesday, Nov. 28th, 3 – 6 p.m.

Asheville – Wednesday, Nov. 29th, 3 – 6 p.m.

Winston-Salem – Thursday, Nov. 30th, 3 – 6 p.m.

Greenville – Wednesday, Dec. 6th, 4 – 7 p.m.

Columbia – Thursday, Dec. 7th, 5 – 7 p.m.

Stop in to meet Chef Jason and pick up a copy of Lord Honey: Traditional Southern Recipes with a Country Bling Twist to reference as you begin preparing this Holiday Season’s meals. The book also makes a terrific gift for foodie friends and relatives as well as anyone you know who enjoys entertaining with Southern flair and hospitality.

Tom Poland booksAuthor Tom Poland showcases off-the-beaten-path attractions of yesteryear, as well as majestic natural landmarks, throughout South Carolina and its neighboring states.

Featuring historic points of local interest, nature’s uniquely beautiful phenomena at our backdoor steps, and nostalgic, kitschy roadside ephemera, Poland guides curious travelers to destinations full of fleeting charms and often-forgotten splendor that allow us to rediscover – or experience for the first time – the wonders of home. 

Tom will be signing his books, including Classic Carolina Road Trips from Columbia, The Last Sunday Drive, South Carolina Country Roads, and Carolina Bays at the Mast Store in Columbia on Saturday, December 9, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Any or all of these selections would make a great gift for a history buff or regional wanderluster.

Holiday Parades

Greenville's Poinsettia Parade 77th Annual Asheville Holiday Parade, presented by Bojangles – Saturday, November 18th, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. – Welcome the holidays with marching bands, floats, and the arrival of the season’s special guests from the North Pole, Santa and Mrs. Claus, who will also be available for photos following the parade at the Restoration Hotel until 4 p.m. The festivities kick off early with a Onesie One Miler, hosted by Kick It Events, beginning at 10:30 a.m. viewing positions can be found along Biltmore and Patton Avenues. 

Knoxville’s WIVK Christmas Parade – Friday, December 1st, 7 p.m. – Lighted floats, bands, festively festooned characters, and a certain red-clad visitor from the most northern point on the globe bring the holiday spirit to Downtown Knoxville. The parade route starts at Gay and Main and ends on Magnolia Avenue.

Carolina Carillon Holiday Parade, Columbia – Saturday, December 2nd, 9:45 a.m. – Entries from across the Palmetto State, including drill teams, cheer squads, marching bands, and more, usher in the holidays with flair for the 70th Carolina Carillon. This is the official holiday parade of South Carolina, and you can catch it beginning at the corner of Sumter and Laurel as it proceeds toward the University of South Carolina Horseshoe before ending on Senate Street.

Winston-Salem Ambassadors Holiday Parade – Saturday, December 2nd, 5 p.m. – The Winston-Salem Ambassadors proudly pick up the mantle of their city’s holiday parade, which was previously hosted by the Jaycees. The parade begins at the intersection of Fourth and Poplar and continues to Liberty Street. From Liberty, it leads to Corpening Plaza, where immediately following the parade, the City of Winston-Salem co-hosts the city’s Annual Tree Lighting ceremony.

Greenville Poinsettia Christmas Parade – Saturday, December 2nd, 6 p.m. – This long-running event has brought holiday cheer to Greenville for more than 75 years with performances, floats, dancing groups, marching bands, and more, who compete for the parade’s annual top honors. Its primary route follows Main Street in Greenville’s gorgeous downtown district. Photo above right is the Poinsettia Parade, courtesy of the City of Greenville, SC. 

Hendersonville Christmas Parade – Saturday, December 2nd, 6 p.m. – The Hendersonville Merchants and Business Association hosts the annual Christmas Parade, which culminates with the arrival of Santa Claus! Watch floats and marching bands proceed along Main Street under the glow of Christmas lights in this picturesque mountain town.

Waynesville Christmas Parade – Monday, December 4th, 6 p.m. – Gather along Main Street to enjoy more than 120 illuminated entries, including dance teams, costumed characters, high school marching bands, and Jolly Old Saint Nick himself, as they bring the Christmas season to the Smoky Mountains. The parade begins at First Presbyterian Church and concludes at Bogart’s Restaurant.

City of Roanoke Christmas Parade – Friday, December 8th, 6 p.m. – Part of the Delta Dental Dickens of a Christmas series, the parade starts at Jefferson Street at Elm Avenue, turns onto Campbell Avenue where it passes Market Square, and ends at Williamson Avenue. If you simply can’t wait for the floats and bands to ring in the holidays, Dickens of a Christmas officially kicks off the season the Friday prior to the parade, December 1, with the city’s Christmas Tree Lighting, which takes place on Salem Avenue behind the Market building at 5:30 p.m. This ceremony features live stage performances the entire family will love.

Town of Boone Holiday Parade – Saturday, December 9th, 2 p.m. – Catch the yuletide spirit and a glimpse of Santa Claus when he makes his long-awaited arrival in Boone. Stop in the Jones House Community Center, located along the parade route on King Street right beside the Mast Store, for hot chocolate and holiday treats after Santa wraps up the festivities.

Downtown Holiday Events

Elf on the Shelf Adventure in Downtown Roanoke – Wednesday, November 22nd – Friday, December 15th – Pick up a passport from one of the Scout Elf locations in Downtown Roanoke and start your hunt. Once you’ve found all 16 Scout Elves and collected all their stamps in your passport, drop it off at an official Elf Adoption Center – the Mast Store on Jefferson Street has a drop box. You could win $1,000. Here are the DETAILS.  

Peppermint Bear Scavenger Hunt in Downtown Hendersonville – Friday, November 24th - Saturday, December 23rd – Peppermint Bear’s cubs got lost on their recent shopping trip to Downtown Hendersonville. Can you help her locate them? Pick up a Scavenger Hunt brochure at Visitor Center (201 South Main Street) and head out. Once you find at least 12 of the 26 cubs at participating businesses, you can complete the entry form and be eligible for prizes. Here's where you can find MORE INFO

A Night Before Christmas in Downtown WaynesvilleElf on the Shelf Adventure in Downtown Knoxville – Friday, November 24th – Sunday, January 7th, 2024 – Stop by the Mast Store on Gay Street to pick up your North Pole Pass to guide you through the adventure, then look for Cooper, the Mast Store’s Elf. There are at least 20 more elves located throughout Downtown Knoxville. See if you can find all of them and register to win prizes. You can download the pass and get more information HERE.  

Festive First Friday – Friday, December 1st, 5 p.m.-8 p.m., Downtown Boone – Downtown is filled with the holiday spirit. Enjoy caroling on the front porch of the Jones House, take a wagon ride down King Street, warm up your arm at a snowball fight on Howard Street, marvel at the Solar Tree Lighting, and visit with Santa… and the Grinch. Learn more DETAILS.  

Dickens of a Christmas – Fridays, December 1st, 8th, and 15th, Downtown Roanoke – Delta Dental’s Dickens of a Christmas is the Roanoke Valley’s largest holiday celebration. This merry multi-week event showcases the City of Roanoke’s Christmas Tree Lighting (Dec. 1), Christmas Parade (Dec. 8), and the Roanoke Valley SPCA Pet Costume Contest (Dec. 15). Visit the event website for specific times and locations of activities HERE.  

Old-Fashioned Christmas – Friday, December 1st, 5 p.m. - 8 p.m., Downtown Hendersonville – It’s an old-fashioned holiday open house in Downtown Hendersonville. Sample holiday treats, wrap up your holiday shopping (or get started), enjoy a meal with the family, and meet up with friends and neighbors. Here's MORE.  

Kringle Holiday Village – Friday, December 8th - Sunday, December 10th, Fluor Field, Downtown Greenville – The Greenville Drive’s home field transforms into a European Holiday Market that’s filled with a broad selection of handcrafted gifts made by local artisans, live music performed by Upstate musicians, and a Kids’ area of Kringle-approved fun. It’s a fundraising event put together by the Rotary Club of Greenville.  Learn more and get your tickets HERE

Tour de Lights – Saturday, December 9th, 5:30 p.m., Downtown Knoxville – This rolling human-powered parade is sponsored by Bike Walk Knoxville and is fun for the whole family! Decorate your bike, find a fun holiday-themed costume, and head over to Suttree Park at 5:30 p.m. to join in. The ride winds along a route in Downtown Knoxville and ends at Market Square.  

A Night Before Christmas – Saturday, December 9th, 6 p.m.-9 p.m., Downtown Waynesville – The magic of Christmas is a real thing in Downtown Waynesville during this event. Hundreds of luminarias line Main Street, carolers stroll from threshold to threshold, and you may hear “A Visit from St. Nicholas” spontaneously recited during your stay. Stop in for a visit at the Bethlehem Marketplace where you’ll need to “register” with the Roman centurion at the gate.  

Additional Seasonal Events

Wild Lights at Riverbanks Zoo Christmas at Biltmore –  Friday, November 3rd – Sunday, January 7th, 2024, Asheville – The largest private residence in the United States welcomes the public to one of the nation’s largest (and most elegant) Christmas parties. Choose a daytime or nighttime experience as you peruse the Christmas décor in this grand manor. Learn more HERE.  

Festival of Trees – Friday, November 17th – Saturday, December 25th, Courtyard Marriott and Hyatt Regency, Greenville – The 38th annual event features stunningly decorated Christmas trees lining the entranceways of two of Downtown Greenville’s busiest hotels as it spreads cheer to locals and visitors alike. All proceeds benefit the Bon Secours St. Francis Cancer Center. Get the DETAILS.

Wild Lights at Riverbanks Zoo – Select Nights Friday, November 17th – Sunday, January 14th, 2024, 5 – 9 p.m., Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, Columbia – This all-new lights experience invites guests to stroll through South Carolina’s largest zoo and discover nearly 60 larger than life handcrafted, nature-inspired, glowing lanterns. Get your TICKETS in advance and save. Alligator photo courtesy of Riverbanks Zoo.

Tweetsie Christmas – Selected evenings Friday, November 24th - Saturday, December 30th, Blowing Rock, NC – Get your season on track with activities the entire family will love, including a majestic nighttime, Christmas-themed, open-air train journey along a three-mile route lined with one million lights, amusement rides, musical performances, and a Gingerbread House featuring live tin soldiers, elves, and, of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus. This event is very popular, so make sure to make RESERVATIONS. The photo below shows Tweetsie Railroad's Main Street during Tweetsie Christmas. It is provided courtesy of Tweetsie Railroad.

Holidays on Ice – Friday, November 24th – Tuesday, January 2nd, 2024, Market Square, Knoxville – Outdoor ice skating is a rarity in sunny Tennessee, so it’s best to take advantage of the fun while it lasts throughout the holiday season. Multiple themed nights keep the music going and the thrill at its peak as you glide across the ice with friends and family. Rental skates are available and a signed waiver is required. Find more information HERE

Tweetsie ChristmasNational Gingerbread House Competition – Monday, November 27th – Tuesday, January 2nd, 2024, Asheville – This deliciously festive event features the most amazing and creative edible structures anyone could fathom. Take in the wildly imaginative landscape as expert bakers compete for the nation’s best gingerbread house. The collection is on display and open to public viewing with some restrictions. For best viewing dates and times or for hotel or restaurant reservations, visit this WEBSITE.

Joy of Christmas Evening Tours at Old Salem – Fridays and Saturdays, December 1st – 16th, Winston-Salem – One of Old Salem’s most cherished events of the year, the Joy of Christmas Evening Tours allow visitors to experience the season in 19th-century fashion as they walk along cobblestone streets and wooden bridges with overhanging Moravian stars. Learn more about Holidays at Old Salem HERE.  

Lovefeast – Sunday, December 3rd, 7 p.m., Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem – The Lovefeast is a Moravian tradition based on the principle of welcoming the entire community to break bread together. Embracing the city’s Moravian roots, this service at Wake Forest University extends an open invitation to all people in Winston-Salem who desire to celebrate Christmas in harmony. 

Illuminights Winter Walk of Lights – Select Dates November – December 2024, Roanoke – Explore a whimsical world glittering with more than 650,000 lights that lead along a half-mile trail while taking in the sights and sounds of the season. Among the many family-oriented featured attractions on select nights are a Snowville Miniature Christmas Display, an artisan market, and a Santa experience. Food trucks, beverage carts, and marshmallow roasting are also available, so come ready for a seasonal snack. Purchase your tickets HERE.

New Year’s Eve Celebrations

New Year's Eve at the SunsphereHorton Hotel New Year’s Eve Ball Drop – Sunday, December 31st, 7 p.m., Downtown Boone – This swanky Boone local hosts a midnight ball drop from its rooftop bar. Count down the seconds to the New Year, sip a sophisticated libation, and celebrate. Or make plans to watch the rooftop ball drop from the lawn of the Jones House across the street. Either way, bundle up for a night of ringing in 2024. Here's MORE INFO

New Year’s Eve Apple Rise Family Celebration – Sunday, December 31st, 5 p.m., Historic Courthouse in Downtown Hendersonville – This family-friendly event to welcome the New Year early includes hot cocoa, a DJ dance party, and crafts. Join in the Apple Rise Countdown at 7 p.m.  

New Year’s Eve at the Sunsphere – Sunday, December 31st, 8 p.m., World’s Fair Park, Knoxville – Ring in 2024 with friends and family. You’ll find food trucks, live music, a silent disco, and other free activities. This event is family-friendly and includes a ball drop from the Sunsphere at midnight. Here's where you can LEARN MORE. Photo of New Year's Eve at the Sunsphere is courtesy of City of Knoxville Special Events.

No matter how you and your family celebrate this special season, we at the Mast Store hope you’re able to share its best and most joyful experiences with the ones you love. As we come together across many miles or just across town, remember to share the kindness, generosity, and peace of the holidays with your neighbors and friends. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours from the Mast Store!

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