One (maybe unexpected) area that NC’s Brunswick Islands specializes in is the holiday season. The most wonderful time of year holds nonstop fun with several events going on in the area. From festive parades to Christmas tree lightings, there is plenty of holiday cheer to ring in for both locals and visitors. Discover some of the long-standing holiday traditions that the whole family can enjoy this year during a holiday getaway to the Brunswick Islands. 

Holiday Events for the Whole Family

The Holiday fun begins on Friday, November 24, in Ocean Isle Beach at the Letters to Santa event. This festive outing features letter-writing and craft stations, magical light displays, photos with Santa, and more! The following evening, Saturday, November 25, marks the 19th Annual Ocean Isle Beach Flotilla. Enjoy this family favorite event where boats decorated in Christmas lights travel down the Intracoastal Waterway from Inlet View at Shallotte Point to Sharky’s in Ocean Isle Beach. Over in Holden Beach, the town will host its Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony on Thursday, November 30, at the Holden Beach Pavillion. Guests can look forward to live music and see displays from the town's Gingerbread Creation Contest. 

Ocean Isle Beach Flotilla

December kicks off with the Annual Calabash Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting in Downtown Calabash, along with tree lighting events in Oak Island and Southport. The holiday fun continues with Oak Island's Christmas by the Sea Parade and Shallotte's Christmas Parade both happening on Saturday, December 2. Over in Southport, Winterfest, a full week of holiday events centered in historic downtown Southport, runs from December 1–9 with fun outings for all ages. Visit the charming downtown area to see and vote for stores with the best holiday decorations in the week-long storefront showcase, walk through the Candy Cane Garden at Keziah Park, or grab your blanket and watch the Polar Express on Fort Johnston Garrison Lawn. Be sure to plan your stay to the end of the week so you can watch the Light Up the Night Christmas Parade on Friday, December 8, and the 29th Annual Southport Winterfest Flotilla the following Saturday at dusk. And, don't miss the popular Leland in Lights celebration running from December 2 to January 2 where you can witness Leland transform into a winter wonderland.

Southport Winterfest Storefront

Get in the Spirit with Seasonal Shopping

Offering more than just events, the Brunswick Islands are home to a pair of long-standing and cherished holiday stores that keep families coming back year after year. The first is St. Nick Nacks, where you'll find a fun collection of festive goodies for all ages, a forest of 150+ decorated trees, and more than 4 million Christmas tree ornaments. This holiday haven is part of the larger Callahan's of Calabash gift shop, which has been a destination for shoppers since 1978. Another must-visit shop is The Christmas House in Southport. Since 1997, this family-owned and -operated business has strived to bring Christmas Day to its customers year-round. For even more unique gifts, or just to find some holiday inspiration, be sure to check out the various holiday markets in the area that offer unique handmade items paired with an extra festive shopping experience.

wm_Southport Christmas House

If you’re looking for a beachy escape that encompasses holiday cheer, then look no further than NC’s Brunswick Islands! From holiday events that appeal to the whole family to unique shopping experiences that can get anyone in the spirit, there's no better place to celebrate the season. To learn more about the Brunswick Islands, and to plan your trip, visit