The hunt parades down Main Street during Christmas in Middleburg.

Thanksgiving has passed, marking the official start of the holiday season. Let’s not let the holidays flash by in a whirl of frenzied shopping and events. Celebrate the season at a slower pace with us here in Loudoun. Our quaint towns and villages along with many historic sites host seasonal celebrations that will take you back in time, allowing you to revel in the joy of the season.

Loudoun’s holiday season kicks off this weekend with one of the area’s most celebrated events – Christmas in Middleburg. Main Street of this charming town is filled with people and closed to traffic as the local fox hunt parades through town in full riding gear, complete with the pack of hounds. Later in the day a traditional parade is hosted featuring floats, bands, performers, and more. Other activities include breakfast with Santa, a wine crawl through town to end the day, and of course, tons of great shopping and dining at the town’s locally owned boutiques and eateries.

Fill yourself with holiday spirit during Run Rabbit Run Theatre’s performance of Dickens’ classic tale, Once Upon a Christmas Carol. Performed at Franklin Park Performing Arts Center, the show features an adaptation by prize-winning playwright Meredith Bean McMath, music, dancing, beautiful costumes, and a highly creative two-tiered set. The show’s 2010 premiere met with standing ovations and sold out performances.

Looking for unique, locally crafted gifts? Stop by Glenfiddich Farm Pottery this weekend for their annual holiday sale. Clay artist Richard Busch houses his studio and shop in a converted 165 year old dairy barn just outside of Leesburg. Normally open by appointment only, this annual sale is one of two times per year that the studio is open to the public. Richard’s pottery includes vases, bowls, plates, teapots, and much, much more, truly making this an opportunity to cross many gifts off your list.

While you're out don't forget to pick up your Christmas tree! There are numerous farms around Loudoun where you and your family can choose and cut your perfect tree. Visit the Loudoun Farms site for a list of Christmas tree farms.