This small South Georgia town loves the holidays.

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Southern small towns love the holidays, but none more so than Moultrie, Georgia. This southwest Georgia town dresses up for Christmas in a big way. Beginning in November, Moultrie’s historic courthouse square (affectionately called “the Square”) is decked in a canopy of glowing lights that cascades from the top of the courthouse and blankets the surrounding streets. The lights are switched on (by none other than Santa himself) during the festive Lights! Lights! celebration at sundown on Thanksgiving Day, and they then light up the night with a kaleidoscope of colors every evening until the New Year. Beyond the lights, there are plenty of things to keep you busy on a trip to Moultrie. (It’s my hometown, so take my word for it.) Read on for a few must-visit spots for shopping and dining during the holiday season and throughout the year.

Shopping in Moultrie

The Square has always been a favorite shopping destination for Moultrians, and both new retailers and long-loved boutiques open up their doors to welcome visitors year-round. One of the newest additions to the Square is Dustmade, a pretty shop with a nearby studio that’s helmed by store owner and jeweler Anna Edwards. Stop in for Dustmade’s original jewelry designs and artful home goods, and you’re likely to leave with a dose of inspiration too. There’s no shortage of nearby spots for browsing: Next door is The Flossy Peach, a clothing boutique, and a few doors down is Turner’s Fine Clothing, a dress shop; Everything Special & More, a gift shop; and Cranford Jewelry, a destination for fine jewelry, china, and silver.

Around the corner is Sid’s Antiques, a beautiful shop with a 35-year history, where you’ll find countless treasures across multiple floors, all expertly curated by shop owner Sid Collins. Across the street, the department store Lazarus of Moultrie offers a big selection of clothing, shoes, and accessories. You should also make a visit to nearby Tallokas Road, where shop owner Theresa Durham Thomas offers a lovely selection of gifts and jewelry, as well as home and garden goods and wonderful gifting advice and recommendations.

Dining on the Square

Before you begin browsing the shops on the Square, stop into downtown Moultrie’s locally owned coffee shop, Beans & Strings, for a cup of hot chocolate. Then, once you’ve shopped till you’ve dropped and are looking for a bite to eat, set your sights on Three Crazy Bakers, an eatery loved by locals that’s open for lunch and dinner. Wraps, salads, soups, and freshly baked desserts are served up in a light-filled space with cheery black-and-white checked floors. (Order the potato soup!)

For dinner, stop by Blue Sky Grill, which is also located on the Square and serves a big menu of Southern favorites and a rotating roster of specials. Just a few steps away is another dinner destination called The Square—a nod to its location—and in addition to a dining room, it hides a small bar behind walls holding bits of Moultrie history, including a gallery of hand-drawn 19th-century Sanborn maps.

Point your compass toward Moultrie, Georgia, this holiday season, and you’ll find a town filled with holiday spirit and Southern hospitality. Moultrie’s bound to charm you: When there’s a chill in the air, a canopy of lights overhead, and a bunch of welcoming shops inviting you in to browse and chat awhile, you’ll find yourself in the holiday spirit too.

What’s your favorite small-town holiday tradition? Does your town put on any fun events during the holidays?