For many local families, Christmas morning means attending their local church, exchanging gifts, and preparing a meal to share. It can also be a day to put down electronic devices and spend time together. Some local venues will be open on Christmas Day and welcome visitors.

The Biltmore Estate will be open during the day and for evening candlelight tours on Christmas Day from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Daytime tours are offered, but no Candlelight Evening Tour will be held on Christmas.  Visit biltmore.com for more information.

Winning creations in the annual Grove Park Inn gingerbread contest are up for view as well. In addition to these popular destinations, here are a couple of ideas for those who want to enjoy a local activity on Dec. 25.

The North Carolina Arboretums Winter Lights is open now and has more lights, new interactive displays than before. Enjoy holiday tunes or a cup of holiday-inspired cocoa, cider or beer. Proceeds generated from Winter Lights help support the Arboretum’s educational programs, exhibits and year-round. Winter Lights is an outdoor walking tour of the Arboretums gardens decorated with lit displays and glowing landscapes.

Composed of nearly 500,000 energy-efficient LED lights, the exhibit emphasizes the beauty of western North Carolina during the winter season. The inspiration for the exhibit was finding a way to encourage visitors to come during the winter months. Festive food and beverages, including hot cocoa, cider, smores, wine and beer, will be available for purchase. 

While the Arboretum will not open until 6 p.m. on Christmas Day for Winter Lights, visitors who want to stretch their legs and enjoy natures winter beauty without visiting the lights will find free parking during the day on Dec. 23, 24, 26 and 27 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. The trails are open but buildings will be closed.

Winter Lights tickets are available for purchase online at ncwinterlights.com. Tickets must be purchased in advance and are date-specific. Pricing is $18 for adults and $12 for children (ages 5 to 11). Children ages four and under are free. Group tickets are also available ($15 per person).

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