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

Holiday Events for the Whole Family

The first weekend in December kicks off with the Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony in Holden beach and the 26th Annual Spirit of Calabash Parade and Christmas Tree Lighting, both taking place on Friday, December 3 at 6 p.m. The holiday fun continues with the Christmas by the Sea Parade in Oak Island and the Shallotte Christmas Parade, both taking place on Saturday, December 4. Shallotte's Christmas Parade kicks off at 10 a.m., and the Christmas by the Sea Parade, a 35-year tradition that features the community's businesses and organizations, starts at 2 p.m.

Next up is Southport’s WinterFest, a full week of winter festivities taking place December 5-11. Stroll through the charming coastal town’s downtown area to view and vote on which stores have the best holiday decorations in the week-long storefront showcase. The celebrating doesn’t stop there, though! Guests can enjoy a heap of other scheduled events throughout the week, including the Winter Craft Festival, Winterfest performing arts, supper with Santa's elves, The Polar Express movie viewing on Fort Johnston Garrison Lawn, Christmas caroling, the ‘Light up The Night’ Christmas parade, a candy cane garden party and so much more. The week wraps up with the highly anticipated Southport Winterfest Flotilla on the marina. View the entire 2021 Winterfest schedule of events and plan the week to your liking.


Get in the Spirit with Seasonal Shopping

Offering more than just events, the Brunswick Islands has 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 small family-owned and -operated business has strived to bring Christmas Day to their customers year-round.

Looking for one-of-a-kind presents this year, or just need some extra holiday inspiration? Don't miss the popular one-day Leland Holiday Market at the Leland Cultural Arts Center and the Oak Island Holiday Craft Market at Middleton Park. Both, Leland and Oak Island markets, feature unique handmade gifts that are sure to please everyone on your list. For a unique holiday shopping experience, be sure to visit the Sunset Beach Holiday Market at Sunset Beach Town Park. Offering products from some of the area's finest artisans, along with music, food trucks and hot chocolate, you can enjoy holiday treats and sounds while you shop!  

 Christmas House in Southport, NC.

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 North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands, and to plan your trip, visit