Fa, la, la, la, la, y’all. ’Tis the season for tons of holiday fun in Nashville. Whether you are staying in town this holiday season or trying to pack in as much cheer as possible before you hit the road, here’s a bucket list of “must dos” this holiday season in Music City.
Mark Your Calendar
Nashville Christmas Parade: December 3, from 9-11:30 a.m. in downtown Nashville. Wave on floats, marching bands and a cast of holiday characters. Dress warm and be sure to bring your letters to Santa. It’s a Nashville tradition dating back to 1927.
Dickens of a Christmas: December 10-11 in Franklin. A Victorian themed street festival, complete with horse drawn carriage rides and a holiday bazaar. Sure to win over any Scrooge, the festival also includes costumed characters and a town sing.
Holiday Lights at Cheekwood: November 25-January 1. One million lights decorate the property for a walking tour of bright holiday scenes. Live reindeer are on site and s’more pits and holiday spirits for purchase will keep you warm along the route. TNM tip: Santa is there on Sunday for story time.
Dancing Lights at Jellystone Park: November 4-January 1. Hundreds of thousands of lights dance to holiday music piped in through your car radio. So many lights!
Opryland ICE: November 11-January 1. A Rudolph themed exhibit of two million pounds of ice sculptures and four ice slides kept at nine degrees. Yes, you read that right, but luckily you get to borrow a parka with your ticket. TNM tip: The exhibit is stroller friendly, free for kids three and under and offers parkas for kids an infants. You can make a day of it and enjoy other activities on the property and see the hotel decorated inside and out.
Ornaments perform Charlie Brown Christmas: November 15-December 23 at Family Wash (December 17 morning kids show at the Belcourt). This is by far my absolute favorite thing to do every December. You can make this event kid friendly or secure a babysitter and do a date night for a special performance of the Charlie Brown Christmas record by a local collaboration of musicians knowns as the Ornaments. With early and late shows at Family Wash each night, the performances are family friendly, but many parents opt for the official kids program on December 17 at the Belcourt. Kids crowd by the stage and dance and bop to the classic songs. If you’ve never been, this will solidify your love affair with Nashville.
More Ways to Show Your Spirit
Pick a Christmas Tree: Choose and cut and shop local by taking home your tree from this list of Tennessee Farms. I’m a big believer in real trees (my parents actually own a Christmas tree farm in Nebraska), but our little family tradition is to visit a pop up Christmas tree lot near Five Points in East Nashville. We grab a coffee at Bongo Java, walk over to grab our tree and celebrate later at Five Points Pizza. There are plenty of lots all around the city where you can experience a little holiday cheer in the middle of an urban existence.
Visit Santa: Sure to be spotted at every local mall, Bass Pro Shop, Cheekwood, and by chance at local Christmas tree lots, this jolly old elf stays visible for plenty of sightings from now until the big day.
Lace up your skates: Back again this year, the Nashville Predators have a small outdoor ice rink in the Country Music Walk of Fame area downtown. It’s open until February 20 and is fun for all ages. I took my then almost two year old last year and it was a blast.
I’ve always loved Christmas-time, but ever since I became a mom, I’ve wanted to saver the season as much as possible by seeing every light, visiting every Santa and watching every sappy movie possible before January 1. It really is such a magical time to share with your kiddos.
What other ways will you celebrate the season?