As soon as the turkey and mashed potatoes are gone, Elmore County will eagerly shuffle in the spirit of Christmas. This year, local communities have really amped up the fun and anticipation for the holidays.

Wetumpka, Eclectic, Tallassee and Millbrook all celebrate the season with traditional parades and activities; however, this year, there are a few new surprises along the way. Mark the calendars now for these festive occasions.

Wetumpka

The Wetumpka Area Chamber of Commerce is planning a classic celebration of Christmas. On Dec. 6 and 7, downtown Wetumpka will resemble a historic Victorian village for A Downtown Dickens Christmas. In collaboration with Main Street Wetumpka and the City of Wetumpka, this two-night community event from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. each day will transport residents back to scenes from A Christmas Carol with period carolers. Father Christmas will be on site for photos, along with authentic vendors, decorated businesses, snow in the alley and a Christmas tree walk around the whimsical downtown district. The Christmas Tree Lighting will be held Friday evening.

In association with the Dickens Christmas, The Kelly Fitzpatrick Memorial Gallery will host its Second Annual Artists Market at the old Austin’s Flowers. A choice selection of artwork and handmade items will be on display for sale, and 20 percent of proceeds will go to The Kelly. The shop will be open Friday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, contact Kathy Atchison at 334-567-1013 or email Libby Christensen at libbychr@yahoo.com.

On Dec. 12, residents and local businesses will be judged for their festive ornamentations during a decorations contest.

Main Street Wetumpka will host a month-long storybook walk that will invite visitors to stroll through downtown while reading each page of The Legend of the Christmas Tree displayed at businesses and paired perfectly with decorated trees.

While out shopping and admiring the holiday décor, stop in the Elmore County Museum at 112 S. Main St. and check out its vintage nativity exhibit. Nativity scenes from around the world and through the ages will be displayed during the month of December. The museum is open Tuesdays and also Thursdays through Saturdays.

Christmas on the Coosa this year will be held Dec. 14 and will reflect Christmas years of the past. There will be arts and crafts, along with food vendors, in Gold Star Park from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The morning will start off with a character breakfast, followed by a car show. The annual Christmas parade will begin at 2 p.m., and the highly anticipated wakeboarding Santa will make his appearance at 4 p.m., followed by fireworks.

Throughout the month, Christmas Years of the Past T-shirts will be on sale at the Wetumpka Administration Building, 408 S. Main St. For more information, call 334-567-5147.

The Wetumpka Depot Players will present two holiday shows in December. A Little House Christmas will take the stage Dec. 12, 13, 19 and 20 at 7:30 p.m. and on Dec. 15 at 2 p.m. One Christmas Carol will be performed on Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 7 at 4 p.m. and at 7 p.m. For additional information or to purchase tickets, visit wetumpkadepot.com.

It’s the 30th anniversary of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, and the family at 707 River Oaks Ct. in Wetumpka is helping to celebrate in style. A Griswold Christmas started as a fun family tradition and morphed into a community-wide event. The fully decorated house and yard display will feature scenes from the well-known comedy and the family in character. Come visit the Griswolds Nov. 30, Dec. 6-7, Dec. 12-14 or Dec. 20-21 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. 

Tallassee

Christmas in Tallassee revolves mostly around Veteran’s Park with its Christmas tree lighting, holiday market and Christmas parade. This year, the city will light up the tree on Dec. 6 during its annual Holiday Market. Pick up some handmade goodies to cross names off the shopping list.

 The 52nd annual Christmas parade will take place Dec. 7 at 10 a.m. Registration is available on the Tallassee Chamber of Commerce website, and non-chamber members must pay $10 to enter. The parade begins at the Tallassee Library entering Freeman Avenue.

Holiday music fills the air with distinctive style throughout December. This year, the McCraney-Cottle Arts Council and Tallassee High School will present The Sounds of the Season at Tallassee High School Auditorium at 7 p.m. on Dec. 5. The program will feature the McCraney-Cottle singers, soloists, brass quintet and a children’s choir singing many holiday favorites. The event also will be enhanced with a lighting display. Tickets are $15.

Millbrook

Millbrook kicks off the Christmas season at its annual Christmas Tree Lighting on Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. at Village Park Green. Bring chairs and blankets to enjoy caroling, a live nativity and refreshments.

On Dec. 7, the Spirit of Christmas Parade will begin at 2 p.m. at the Sports Complex behind Smokehouse BBQ and end at the intersection at City Hall. The theme for this year is A Musical Millbrook Christmas, and the Grand Marshals will be Stanhope Elmore High School choir and band directors and members.

The day starts off at 9 a.m. with entertainment on the stage including dancers, singers and more until 4 p.m. There also will be arts and crafts vendors, food vendors and photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus in the gazebo from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Chrietzberg Photography will be taking the free photos for children ages 12 and under.

Santa also will make an appearance at Alabama Nature Center for Christmas at Lanark Field Days from Dec. 5 to Dec. 19. Each day from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., children will enjoy fun-filled activities, including sleigh rides, campfire story time, festive crafts and photos with Santa. Only groups are permitted throughout the week, but individuals are welcome to join the festivities on Saturday, Dec. 7. For more information, visit alabamawildlife.org.

Another way to celebrate with the family is to head over to Millbroook Community Theater for performances of The Christmas Carol. Written by Brian Way and directed by John Collier, this version of a classic is extremely close to Charles Dickens’ original story. Show times will be at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5 to 7 and Dec. 12 to 14 and at 2 p.m. on Dec. 8 and Dec. 15. Tickets will be $12 in advance; $14 at the door; and $8 for children 12 years old and younger. For more information, visit millbrooktheater.com.

Eclectic

One of the most highly anticipated seasonal events is the all-volunteer walk-through re-enactment that is An Eclectic Christmas. Experience the story of the first Christmas on an outdoor trail that recalls the Roman Empire. Nighttime tours, each about 45 minutes long with 13 stops, will be available from Dec. 1 to Dec. 8. Walk-throughs are reserved in 15-minute increments. 

Added this year, a final scene of the tour will include the empty tomb, as Eclectic Christmas board members thought it would add to the story. There will be Roman soldiers on horses in full armor, the Hebrew House, an angel field, tour guides in period costume, a working village and more.

Also new, churches that participate will be assigned to certain sets each night for easier management of volunteers. The show requires nearly 150 volunteers in costume and the same number of crew members behind-the-scenes, not in costume.

Admission is free, but donations are accepted to help with expenses, which maintains the 501(c)(3)-sponsored community event. The venue is located at The Falk Farm, 1733 Claude Rd. in Eclectic.

The fun doesn’t stop there. On Dec. 14, Eclectic will host its holiday festival as a walk-through Candy Land downtown. There will be games, shopping, vendors, food and more from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Christmas parade will begin at 2 p.m. at Elmore County High School. For more information, call 334-201-0092 or 334-541-3581.

Prattville

Prattville is near enough to to Elmore County to stop in and enjoy the seasonal celebrations. The city will host its annual Christmas tree lighting on Dec. 5 at 5:30 p.m. with fun for all ages. The 30-foot tree will be the center of attention near the fountain at the corner of 3rd St. and South Court, as the Autauga Creek Spillway shines with an array of lights. There will be Christmas carols performed by the Prattville City Pops and Community Chorus, local dance troupes and children’s activities. Once the tree is lit at 7 p.m., Santa will arrive to visit with the kids.

The following day, Dec. 6, Prattville will host its annual Christmas parade at 7 p.m. at the Autauga County Courthouse. The route will follow Main Street; turn right on Northington; left on Doster Road and end at Stanley Jensen Stadium. Parade entrants must register by Nov. 27 and pay the $30 non-refundable entry fee. For more information, contact the special events office at 334-595-0854.

The Prattville Pops and Community Chorus will perform a second time during the season at their Christmas Concert at the Doster Center at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, but donations to the Autauga Interfaith Care Center food bank are encouraged.

Downtown Prattville will light up on Dec. 14 at 5:30 p.m. with horse-drawn carriage rides, caroling and children’s projects; shops and dining will remain open late.

For some last minute shopping, stroll by the Prattville Creative Arts Center and Gallery on Dec. 21 for its holiday artists market, sponsored by the Prattauga Art Guild. Pick up homemade gifts and original works by member artists from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.