7 Incredible Christmas Markets Only in Mississippi

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Written by Joyce Nash

Published: December 5, 2023

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With twinkling lights, steaming mugs of hot chocolate, and the chance to meet Santa Claus, Christmas markets are a fun and traditional way to enjoy the holiday spirit. Many markets feature local artists, vendors, and activities like caroling or toasting marshmallows. While the Magnolia State may be best known for its seafood and blues music, some cities pull out all the stops for the holidays. Keep reading to discover seven incredible Christmas markets you can only find in Mississippi.

1. Gulfport Harbor Lights Festival

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Christmas markets are a great way to shop with local vendors and merchants.

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Since 2015, the Gulfport Harbor Lights Festival has transformed Mississippi’s coast into a holiday wonderland. The event began as an elaborate light display and has grown over the years to encompass 40 acres in Jones Park. The Gulfport Harbor Lights Festival runs from Nov. 24 through Dec. 31 and is open daily from 5:30-10:30 p.m., except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Today, the Gulfport Harbor Lights Festival features over 1.5 million lights. Visitors can enjoy carnival rides, the the “Dancing Trees Show,” take a ride at the train station, or walk through Santa’s Village. In addition, the festival has warming stations for visitors to roast marshmallows while waiting for a turn to meet with Santa.

2. Holly Jolly Holidays

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The ice skating rink at Old Armory Pavilion is open seven days a week during Oxford’s Holly Jolly Holidays.

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Head to the Old Armory Pavilion in Oxford for seasonal fun and activities during the city’s Holly Jolly Holidays. This event features an ice skating rink with room for the whole family. While this may not be Mississippi’s largest ice skating rink, it’s one of the few that welcomes Santa Claus for visits every Saturday. Ice skates are available for rent, and no reservations are needed to skate. 

This event runs from Nov. 18 through Jan. 7, 2024 with daily operating hours. While you’re in Oxford, be sure to check out the Peppermint Trail! This self-guided tour of the city will lead you through dozens of shops and retailers that are offering special holiday-themed items to bring on the Christmas cheer.

3. 50 Nights of Lights

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In Downtown Cleveland, 50 Nights of Lights encompasses several city blocks.

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From Nov. 11 through Jan. 1, Downtown Cleveland glows with over a million twinkling lights during its 50 Nights of Lights event. The city’s holiday tradition began several years ago when a small group of dedicated residents encouraged downtown businesses to put up white Christmas lights. Since then, the event has expanded to include several participating businesses and organizations, a Christmas Tree Lighting event, and decorations along several city blocks.

The event calendar for 50 Nights of Lights is packed with family-friendly activities. The Train Museum is set to host a Maker’s Market as well as a Music, Milk, and Cookies event. Ice skating and ice go-karts are available in Downtown Cleveland. In addition, the city is hosting multiple Screen on the Green Movies throughout the its 50 Nights of Lights.

4. Christmas in Natchez

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The European Christmas Shopping Village at Christmas in Natchez hosts local vendors with handcrafted gifts, crafts, and snacks.

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Not only is Natchez the oldest city in Mississippi, but it is also a popular destination for its Christmas in Natchez celebration. This event runs from Nov. 25 through Dec. 25 and features the European Christmas Shopping Village on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. While this event is focused on Christmas, there are also displays and activities representing Kwanzaa and Hanukkah.

After you’ve browsed through the shopping village, you can take the free trolley into Downtown Natchez. Be sure to visit the Postal Shoppe for your Christmas in Natchez Passport. You can collect stamps as you visit the downtown shops, then return the passport to the Postal Shoppe for a free gift. In addition to shopping, there will be Caroling in the Park every Thursday at Memorial Park beginning at 5:30 p.m.

5. Canton Christmas Festival

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Santa will be at the Canton Christmas Festival on weekends in December for picture sessions.

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The Canton Christmas Festival is a holiday extravaganza that runs from Nov. 24 through Dec. 23. The festival is open every evening from 5:00-9:00 p.m. and features storytime with Mrs. Claus, an interactive Christmas village, a miniature train depot, and rides for children.

The area around the Historic Canton Square features a giant walk-through gift box, a 40-foot Christmas tree, and a 32-foot walk-through caterpillar. The Canton Christmas Festival also has several special events planned, including weekend sing-alongs, pictures with Santa, and carriage rides.

6. Christmas on the Town Green

Gingerbread cookies at Christmas Market at Town Hall Berlin Germany

Christmas markets are a great place to find new holiday keepsakes and ornaments.

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The City of Diamondhead kick-starts the holiday season with a parade followed by an annual Christmas festival. Christmas on the Town Green will take place on Dec. 9 at Diamondhead City Hall. The parade will make its way down Golf Club Drive with Santa and Mrs. Claus riding along in a fire truck. 

At the festival, kids can write letters to Santa or tell Santa their list in person while they get their picture taken. This event has plenty of family-friendly activities, although be sure to keep an eye out for the Grinch!

7. Holiday Market 2024

Mark your calendars for Jackson’s Holiday Market 2024.

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If you’re already planning ahead for next year, then mark your calendar for the Holiday Market in Jackson. This event is set to take place at the Mississippi TradeMart from Sep. 20-22, 2024. There will be dozens of vendors with items that include jewelry, home decor, personal care products, pottery, and more. 

This event features special events like Margaritas and Mistletoe as well as Muffins and Mimosas. In addition, shoppers can support Community Animal Rescue and Adoption of Jackson by bidding on a Gold Grab Bag. 

Summary of Christmas Markets in Mississippi

Christmas MarketLocation
Gulfport Holiday Lights FestivalJones Park, Gulfport
Holly Jolly HolidaysOld Armory Pavilion, Oxford
50 Nights of LightsDowntown Cleveland
Christmas in NatchezDowntown Natchez
Canton Christmas FestivalHistoric Canton Square
Christmas on the Town GreenDiamondhead City Hall
Christmas Market 2024Mississippi TradeMart, Jackson


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About the Author

Joyce Nash is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering travel and geography. She has almost a decade of writing experience. Her background ranges from journalism to farm animal rescues and spans the East Coast to the West. She is based in North Carolina, and in her free time, she enjoys reading, hiking, and spending time with her husband and two cats.

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