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Christmas Traditions in Covington

The holidays in Covington are a time when those seeking Christmas cheer come from near and far to celebrate our southern traditions. If you are interested in history tourism, you may be pleasantly surprised at how many of our southern Christmas traditions have been around.

The Lights and Decorations

The Yuletide celebration was observed in the 1800’s in the south long before it was made a national holiday. People would come together in the communities to sing Christmas carols and walk around looking at decorations. In Covington, the tradition is carried on with the Lighting of Downtown. With 150,000 lights being lit this year, it’s an event you don’t want to miss!

Did you know a version of this event has been going on for decades? Originally, Covington held the Lighting of the Courthouse where people came to see the lights and hear the children’s choirs. Over time, the lighting has evolved to include the Christmas tree and now all the trees and buildings in the square are lit. The tree has also changed. Our photos from the 1980s remind us of the real trees we used to light. Today’s tree stands in the same place every year.


Included in the Lighting of Downtown this year are fireworks, presented by Facebook Newton Data Center. What you might not know is that fireworks were part of history dating back before the Civil War in the south. They were often set off on Christmas Eve to celebrate the holiday season.

Candlelight and Carriage Rides

The candlelight and carriage rides are another activity in Covington that has been around since at least the 1980s. Long-time residents know that Thursday nights in December are the time to come downtown to take a carriage ride around the Square and see the beautiful lights and decorations. Some people might remember the wooden nickel they exchanged for the ride, but today it is free. Newcomers have caught on to this tradition and want to experience this classic, holiday tradition, too. It’s a popular activity that often has a wait, but it’s worth it!

Photos with Santa

Santa’s chair and house are a huge tradition for Covington that has also been around for decades. Every year, people come to take their holiday photos with Santa on his chair. It’s a big chair that holds lots of wonderful memories. Santa will start providing photo opportunities that will serve as cherished reminders of the Lighting of Downtown, so get your phones ready! He’ll also be at the Visitor Information Center throughout the season, so make sure to check on the times.

The Annual Parade

Every year people line the streets to see the annual Christmas Parade presented by the Covington Lions Club. The parade is one of Covington’s best loved holiday traditions. With decorated floats and vehicles, music and dancing, the event brings the community together with participation from school children and church groups to businesses and other organizations.

While we reminisce over the nostalgia about Christmas traditions of the past, we’ve found a few photos from the 1960s as well as the 1980s. Enjoy!

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