The holiday season is right around the corner and the area chambers of commerce kick start the season with holiday open houses to promote local businesses.

Earlier this month, Dadeville hosted its Annual Christmas Open House where merchants opened stores longer, offered specials and promotions and provided the opportunity to shop local for the holidays. Alexander City’s Annual Open House will be held Nov. 17 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

On Nov. 29, the day after Thanksgiving, Russell Lands On Lake Martin will host its annual Holiday Bazaar in conjunction with Christmas at Crossroads. Wasting no time to enjoy the Christmas fun, Russell Lands brings in local artisans from across the Southeast to display their original art and handmade works for sale. This is a wonderful opportunity to score some unique gift items from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the Town Green.

Santa will arrive by carriage at the Town Green Stage at 10 a.m. and will be available for photos until 2 p.m. There will be plenty of kids’ activities. For more information, visit russellcrossroads.com/events.

On Sunday, Dadeville’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will close out the weekend. The nonprofit Everything’s Art will host this ceremony in Courthouse Square from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Dec. 1. There will be Christmas music by local church choirs, candy from elves and hot chocolate. Kids will have the opportunity to write letters to Santa and take their pictures with Mrs. Claus.

The following evening, Alexander City Chamber of Commerce will host its annual Hometown Christmas Parade with floats, bands and decorated entries, all led by St. Nick. This year’s theme is 12 Days of Christmas and entry applications are due by Nov. 22. For details, visit alexcitychamber.com.

Always a classic for the season, A Christmas Carol performances will take the stage at Benjamin Russell High School Auditorium Dec. 5 to Dec. 8. Hosted by Alexander City Theatre II, John Jake’s version of this Christmas tale by Charles Dickens will begin at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $5 for students and $15 for adults. Purchase tickets at the door or in advance at brownpapertickets.com.

Head over to Dadeville on Dec. 8 for its 6th Annual Spirit of a Hometown Christmas Parade. The Lake Martin Dadeville Area Chamber will host this route of festive floats at 3 p.m., but come out earlier to enjoy children’s activities, craft booths, food and more, starting at 12 p.m. in Courthouse Square.

The fun doesn’t stop there as Main Street Alexander City teams up with Alexander City Parks and Recreation to host A Downtown Christmas on Dec. 14. This day will be jam packed with celebratory activities. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Holiday Market, also known as Santa’s Workshop, will be open on Calhoun Street. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., kids can write letters to Santa in the United Way Conference Room while enjoying hot chocolate; decorate cookies with Mrs. Claus at the Mary Jo Johnson Farmers Insurance Agency; and enter reindeer races hosted by the Boys and Girls Club of the Lake Martin Area.

From 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., there will be tubing on real snow in Strand Park, along with Frosty’s Frozen Playground for younger children; and pictures with Santa. The Polar Express Train will be at Broad Street Plaza, and sleigh rides will be offered from at 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Main and Calhoun streets.

Throughout the day, there will be carolers, Main Street’s Window Decorating Contest, food trucks in the alley and the Bicentennial Exhibit on display at City Hall.

If the crowds and excitement are too much for some children, the Autism Society of Alabama Tallapoosa-Coosa County Chapter will host Sensory Santa on the same day from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Lake Martin Innovation Center. Kids will be able to sit and talk with Santa in a sensory-friendly, calming environment. This event is open to the public and geared toward creating a special event for special needs kids. There will be snacks, hot chocolate, sensory toys and a professional photographer. Tickets are $10 and include a photo. For additional information, contact Melissa Mullins at Melissa.mullins.advocate4autism@gmail.com.