Holiday events: Road trips

LIGHTS BEFORE CHRISTMAS: 6-9 p.m. through Dec. 30 (closed Dec. 24-25), Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden, 500 Wildlife Parkway, Columbia; nearly 1 million lights, animated displays, refreshments, visits with Santa;


MADISON, GA.: Madison Artists Guild Holiday Market 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday, through Dec. 30, Cottage in Town Park, 248 W. Jefferson St.; (706) 717-0434

JEKYLL ISLAND, GA.: Specialty Holiday Tours through Dec. 31; Santa and the Sea Turtles Season’s Greeting Spectacular noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, (912) 635-4444;

MAGICAL NIGHT OF LIGHTS AT LAKE LANIER ISLANDS RESORT: Through Dec. 31; more than seven miles of illuminated giant characters; live nativity scene; holiday village with bonfire for roasting marshmallows, holiday fare, pony and amusement rides, petting zoo, shopping, more; Night Light Canopy Tours, 30-minute express tour featuring four zip lines and a sky bridge; ice skating;

GARDEN LIGHTS, HOLIDAY NIGHTS: 5-10 p.m. through Jan. 5, Atlanta Botanical Garden, 1345 Piedmont Ave. NE, Atlanta; nearly 1 million bulbs light a winter wonderland; carolers, refreshments; (404) 876-5859,

CHRISTMAS WITH ATLANTA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: Handel’s Messiah 8 p.m. Thursday and Saturday, Dec. 13 and 15, $30-$60; ASO Gospel Christmas 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14, 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, $18-$45; ASO Kid’s Christmas – Second Chance Christmas, 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, $15-$22; A Very Merry Holiday Pops 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 19, $22-$60; Atlanta Symphony Hall Memorial Arts Building, Woodruff Arts Center; Celtic Woman 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 20, $35-$100;, (404) 733-5000

ABBEVILLE (S.C.) OPERA HOUSE: The Best Christmas Pageant Ever 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 14 and 15; $20 adults, $18 seniors, $10 students; (864) 366-2157,

NEWBERRY (S.C.) OPERA HOUSE: Friday, Dec. 14, Christmastime in Ireland, $30; Saturday, Dec. 15, Christmas with Emile Pandolfi, $35; Tuesday, Dec. 18, A Christmas Carol, $40; (803) 276-6264 or

ASO NEW YEAR’S EVE: 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 31, Atlanta Symphony Hall, Memorial Arts Building, Woodruff Arts Center; Michael Krajewski, conductor, Tony DeSare and Trio, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra; $31-$69; (404) 733-5000,

TYBEE FOR THE HOLIDAYS: Midnight Dec. 31, New Year’s Eve Fireworks; Jan. 1, Polar Plunge;



Pop Rocks: Augusta, my Christmas wish list has one thing

My family often accuses me of being a difficult person to Christmas shop for. While it is true that my tastes run toward the particular and tend to lean heavily on easy-to-wrap standards such as books and records, I believe that as I get older, I’m less concerned with the item than the idea. Give me something I believe you have thought about and carefully considered, and I’m happy. The present clearly purchased at the drug store the day before is met with considerably less enthusiasm.

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