Roaming Roanoke: Dickens of a Christmas

It’s officially the holiday season and there are SO MANY events and sights to see happening all around the Roanoke Valley! This week’s blogging destination is downtown Roanoke for Dickens of a Christmas!

Dickens of a Christmas has been a staple of the Christmas season in Roanoke for 37 years! This year’s event underwent some changes due to the Covid-19 pandemic. That does not mean fun was sacrificed. If anything, the fun is multiplied! There is something happening downtown almost everyday!

The main attractions are the Elf on a Shelf adventure, the city Christmas Tree, Friday night entertainment and Kids Pass at local attractions, and Saturday Santa’s Workshop. All of this is FREE!!! You can find the details online at

We have been downtown twice for the Dickens of a Christmas and still have not seen it all! One of my kids’ favorite things is the Elf on a Shelf adventure. Fourteen elves are hiding in businesses downtown! If you find them all, you are entered into a contest to win $1,000! My kids LOVED this! You can pick up a “passport” at stores with an Elf on the Shelf Adventure poster. The passport has a list of stores with elves. Once you find the elf in each store, employees will stamp your passport for you. Once you have all fourteen stamps, you can turn it into the Mast General Store for the $1,000 drawing. The deadline is December 17th and the winner is announced on December 18th.

My kids loved looking for elves! In fact, it’s all they wanted to do the first day we were downtown. Each store has hidden them very well. Some are really hard to find and it took us quite a while. I won’t give any spoilers, but I did have to ask for a hint twice! We actually still have a few elves to find so we will be back downtown looking for them before the deadline on the 17th! My five-year-old asks almost everyday to go back to find the other elves!

The city Christmas tree is all lit up and decorated! We also enjoyed seeing it up close. My one-year-old was mesmerized by it! It’s also a great spot for pictures downtown!

Entertainment is different each week but all is impressive! We watched some ice sculpting and also saw roaming performers! 

To stay safe during the Covid pandemic, masks are required at all Dickens of a Christmas events (under age 2 is exempt). Most stores also have hand sanitizer at the doors. You must also maintain six feet of distance between families/people at all inside locations.

There is something for all ages this month at Dickens of a Christmas. You can find the calendar with all of the Dickens of a Christmas events online at

I am sure we will be back downtown before Christmas to see more events (we still have to see Santa’s Workshop!) and find the rest of the elves!

If you have an event for Roaming Roanoke to visit this holiday season, please let me know!

More Roaming Roanoke

Angela Evans

Angela Evans is a former tv reporter turned stay-at-home mom. She and her husband Cody have three children. They moved to Virginia in 2018. When she’s not Roaming Roanoke, she is probably drinking sweet tea, reading a book or dancing.
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