Now that Thanksgiving leftovers are all gobbled up, it’s time to kick off the 2012 holiday season in Atlanta. The north side of town offers some fantastic family-friendly events to kick-start the season and spark your holiday spirit. Below are some tree lightings, holiday workshops, Christmas parades and holiday events to celebrate the 2012 season.

Milton Tree Lighting
The 4th annual tree lighting ceremony will include performances by the Milton High School Chorus and dance troupe Off Broadway Expressions. Then, Milton’s Mayor and City Council members will count down to the big moment with Alpharetta High School student Hayden Moore, who has lit the tree for the last three years. After the tree is lit, good St. Nick will arrive by fire truck to the tune of “Here Comes Santa Claus.” Following the ceremony, there will be refreshments, photos with Santa Claus and holiday music. Corner of GA 9 and Webb Road. Thursday, Nov. 29 at 6:30 p.m.

Vinings Jubilee Christmas Tree Lighting
For more than 40 years, the town of Vinings has marked the start of the holiday season with the lighting of a Christmas tree, and for 26 of those years friends and families have gathered around in celebration to light that tree at Vinings Jubilee. There will be train and pony rides for the kids, prizes, face painting, balloon twisting, festive music and holiday treats. Kids can tell Santa Claus which presents they would like to see under their tree this year and pose for photos on his lap. Thursday, Nov. 29 at 6 p.m. Visit the website for more information. Horse-drawn sleigh rides take place on Friday, Dec. 7 and 14.

Alpharetta Christmas Tree Lighting
Family-friendly festivities include children’s holiday performances, a reading of a Christmas classic by Mayor David Belle, the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus on a fire truck, free children’s crafts, and a live 45-ft. Christmas tree with 10,000 lights. Friday, Nov. 30 at 5 p.m. at Alpharetta City Hall. 2 South Main St.

Holiday Workshop at Emory Johns Creek Hospital
Enjoy music from school choruses, crafts, Johns Creek Fire Department ribs/Brunswick stew dinner plates on sale (to benefit Georgia Firefighters Burn Foundation), and a visit with Santa. Also see their holiday light show along Hospital Parkway. Friday, Nov. 30 from 6-8:30 p.m. Emory Johns Creek Hospital: 6325 Hospital Pkwy, Johns Creek. For directions, visit the hospital’s website.

Children’s Christmas Parade
Line the streets of Downtown Atlanta for the 32nd annual Children’s Christmas Parade, which begins at Peachtree Street near Baker Street in downtown Atlanta. The route follows Peachtree Street and turns right onto Marietta Street. It will then turn left and end on Centennial Olympic Park Drive. This year’s parade includes local marching bands, larger-than-life balloons, and costumed characters. Reserved, street side bleacher seats are prime for viewing and available for purchase for $15 (with proceeds benefiting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta). It’s a great Christmas tradition in Atlanta. For more information, visit this website. Saturday, Dec. 1 at 10:30 a.m.

Johns Creek Founders Day Parade
Karyn Greer, Emmy Award-winning anchor of 11Alive News and Johns Creek resident, returns as Emcee of the 6th Annual Founders Day Parade. Opening ceremonies feature the Barnwell Elementary School Chorus, followed by the parade with marching bands from Northview and Johns Creek High Schools, floats and Santa. Special entries this year include: Braves’ “Heavy Hitters” electrifying drumline, Seed & Feed Marching Abominable Band, Atholl Highlanders Pipes and Drums of Stone Mountain, three mini racecars, the Regional Mustang, the Weinermobile, knights and maidens from Medieval Times, and the Parris Island Marine Band. The parade runs along State Bridge Road between Kimball Bridge Road & West Morton Road in Johns Creek. Saturday, Dec. 1 at 10 a.m.

2012 Santa Jam at Johns Creek High School
Santa and his fire truck will be available for photos (bring your camera). There will also be live entertainment, music, children’s activities (moon walk & more) and signing of cards for America’s military personnel. Food and drinks will be available. Saturday, Dec. 1 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Johns Creek High School, 5575 State Bridge Road, Johns Creek, GA 30022.

Holiday Lights Celebration at East Cobb Park. Festivities include a children’s choir, live music, special guest appearances by Santa Claus and Rudolph and the lighting of East Cobb Park’s live 40-ft. tree. The event is free and open to the public. Sunday, Dec. 2 at 5 p.m.

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