Looking for a way to change up your holiday traditions? Here are 12 seasonal suggestions found in south Charlotte:

1. Take a drive through the neighborhoods of Pineville and look for the best decorated homes. Each year, the town sponsors a best-decorated contest, with the winner receiving their January electric bill paid in full.

2. Stop in Matthews to check out the official town tree. You’ll find it at the Town Green at 232 Matthews Station St.

3. Want Santa to send a letter to your child? Parents wishing to have a letter from Santa sent to their children need to follow these steps and remember the deadline of Dec. 15. Once the reply is written “Santa’s response” should be placed in a stamped envelope addressed to the child. Place the envelope in a larger, stamped First-Class Mail or Priority Mail envelope and mail to: North Pole Christmas Cancellation, Postmaster, 5400 Mail Trail, Fairbanks, AK 99709-9998. North Pole postmark requests must arrive in Fairbanks before Dec. 15. Postal elves at the nearby North Pole Post Office will postmark Santa’s replies and mail them back to the children.

4. Need a tree? Pick up one for a good cause in Waxhaw to benefit a foundation started by a young local cancer patient. Buy a tree at the corner of New Town and Marvin School roads to benefit The Adam Faulk Tanksley Foundation charity. Operating hours are Monday through Friday, 5 to 9 p.m., Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sundays, noon to 9 p.m.

5. Make a meal donation to Operation Homefront North Carolina on Park Road to aid veterans and their families. Visit www.operationhomefront.net/nc for details.

6. Stop at the post office on Carmel Road to pick up this year’s holiday stamps featuring Santa and reindeer, Christmas ornaments, Mary with Jesus, a special Kwanzaa stamp or one featuring the word Hanukkah with a dreidel. Other choices feature snowmen, snowflakes and winter owls.

7. Pineville is a good choice for a Christmas Eve drive. Santa will be out riding through neighborhoods on a fire truck, passing out treats.

8. Pick up holiday reads at South County Regional Library on Rea Road – for both holiday guests and the younger set. Remember that all Charlotte-area libraries will close for Christmas Eve and Christmas day.

9. Round up bikes for your guests or the entire family and go for an after-meal spin at the Four Mile Creek Greenway off Rea Road. Enjoy the new parking lot for bikers/walkers/joggers at 5803 Bevington Place.

10. Drop off a new toy to Toys ‘R’ Us near Carolina Place Mall through Dec. 24 as part of the U.S. Marines’ annual Toys for Tots program for children in need.

11. Still want more lights? Don’t forget the light show at a private home in the Lake Park neighborhood in Indian Trail. Look for nightly shows every half hour from 6 to 9 p.m. through Dec. 31 at 4019 Lake Charles Way, Indian Trail. Or try the Cook House at 10732 Honeynut Drive nightly from 6 to 10 p.m. through Jan. 1.

12. Involve the family in checking closets for clothing they’ve outgrown. Bag it and drop it at the Salvation Army in Monroe at 417 E. Franklin St. Donations are accepted Mon. through Sat., 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

13. Don’t miss Kevin Cook’s computer-controlled music and light display at his Ballantyne home located at 10732 Honeynut Drive. The display features more than 80,000 lights and runs nightly from 6 to 10 p.m. through Jan. 1. Donations benefit A Child’s Place.

14. Need more lights in your holiday? Check out one of hundreds of lighted vignettes at this home at 4019 Lake Charles Way in the Lake Park neighborhood in Indian Trail. See the action from 6 to 9 p.m. through Dec. 31.

From South Charlotte News, Dec. 5, 2012

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