Deck the Halls Down in the Delta

Jingle your way through two towns where fabulous feasts, snug accommodations, and joyful music await those both naughty and nice.
Farrah Austin

Do Christmas Delta style. Greenwood, Mississippi, and Helena, Arkansas, give travelers not only the blues, but also some of the best holiday celebrations in the South.

December's Magic
Anchor your trip at The Alluvian Hotel in Greenwood on U.S. 49. The luxurious property shines as a Delta favorite. Stay during December 18-26, and take advantage of The Alluvian's special Christmas rate, $165 per night. The hotel's Santa turndown service includes candy canes and Kris Kringle cookies on your pillow. For a less expensive option, try the Hampton Inn on U.S. 82 for $89 a night.

At the nearby Viking Cooking School, gumdrop trees reign during the Gingerbread House workshop December 17-21. Classes are $79 for ages 7 and up accompanied by one adult.

You'll fall in love with the aluminum and tinsel-draped Christmas trees at Fincher's Gifts in Greenwood's downtown area. Standing 4 feet tall, the brassy trees ($45) come in lime green and "wow-ya" red.

The night isn't so silent thanks to the city's singing Christmas tree. Presented by the First Presbyterian Church of Greenwood, the free yearly event happens December 18-19 and includes narration and a live Nativity scene.

Continue the Fun
For more music, head two hours away from Greenwood to the Arkansas town of Helena on U.S. 49. You can find the best blues at Bubba's Blues Corner. Scores of old albums and CDs from legends and wannabes mark this place with soulful distinction. Opt for a holiday feast at the Pillow-Thompson House, held the first Thursday of the month. The excellent four-course lunch comes with treats such as roast beef, sweet cranberry stuffing, and crème brûlée ($12).

If staying over the weekend, don't miss the Sunday services at Saint John's Episcopal Church at 10:30 a.m. The church also holds a special midnight Mass in its gorgeous sanctuary on Christmas Eve.

Amen to that.


"Deck the Halls Down in the Delta" is from the December 2006 issue of Southern Living. Because prices, dates, and other specifics are subject to change, please check all information to make sure it's still current before making your travel plans.