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Holiday Open House to kick off Christmas season

Instead of spending the first official day of the Christmas season inside busy, cramped chain stores, the Oxford Square Alliance is inviting everyone to the Square for a fun day of crafts, carriage rides, pictures with Santa himself and of course, some great shopping at local stores.

A long-standing tradition for the alliance, the Open House features a host of family-friendly activities and events to usher in the holiday season.

“We are really excited to be able to present the Holiday Open House again this year,” says Mark Huelse, president of the Oxford Square Alliance and co-owner of Something Southern. “The Egg Bowl will be the following day, so we are encouraging people to come early and enjoy the festivities.”

The Open House will feature a free digital photo shoot with Santa from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with holiday art activities including an ornament decoration station and a booth to create holiday postcards. Horse-drawn carriage rides around the Square will begin at 2 p.m. and last until 6 p.m.

Huelse said the alliance decided to extend the hours for photos with Santa this year. In the past, it ended at 4 p.m.

“There was always a long line and Santa helps with lighting the city Christmas tree so is still on the Square anyway during that time,” Huelse said.

Carolers from Oxford Civic Chorus will perform in front of City Hall from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

When Santa arrives to the Square, he will land his antique sleigh on the lawn of the Lafayette County Courthouse where citizens young, old and in between can sit and take photos.

The annual Christmas tree lighting in front of City Hall will be at 6 p.m. Immediately following there will be a Square Dollars raffle with $500 worth of gift certificates being awarded. Shoppers earn raffle tickets while shopping in the stores around the Square on Friday. You must be present at the drawing to win.

Have someone on your list who is hard to buy for? Square Dollars can also be purchased, like gift certificates, which can be used at any of the retail shops and restaurants that are members of the Oxford Square Alliance. Square Dollars can be purchased at Visit Oxford on the Square all year long.

Belles & Beaus and Cannon Motors are the 2016 presenting sponsors of the Holiday Open House and Oxford Magazine and Invitation Oxford will be this year’s Square sponsors.

Oxford Maker’s Market Handmade & Homegrown Black Friday Spectacular event will also be taking place on the courthouse lawn where dozens of local vendors will be selling a wide variety of goods.

For more information on the Holiday Open House visit the Oxford Square Alliance on Facebook.