Holiday Happenings and Attractions in Middle Tennessee
By Becca George
The holiday season is one that is filled with hustle and bustle; buying and wrapping gifts, decorating, and parties. It is also a time to slow down and enjoy spending time with family and friends, especially those that live out of town. When kids are out of school and family and friends come to visit, take them to enjoy many of the holiday festivities Middle Tennessee has to offer.
Historic Murfreesboro Events
Downtown Murfreesboro is a flurry of activity during the holidays. Santa doesn’t just shop local on the square, he makes frequent stops there. His first appearance, along with Mrs. Claus, is at the Tree Lighting on Friday, December 2nd at the Courthouse. He also visits every Friday and Saturday through December 17th.
The square is not the only place celebrating Christmas, you can visit Cannonsburgh Village for Christmas at Cannonsburgh featuring photos with Santa, hayrides, holiday music and vendors. 615-890-0355.
One way to get into the Christmas spirit is on an enchanting tour of historic homes. The Candlelight Christmas Tour of Homes takes place on December 3rd from 4-8. The tour features private homes as well as Oakland’s mansion adorned with holiday decor. www.oaklandsmansion.org
Theater productions can be a wonderful way to spend quality time with family and friends. Middle Tennessee has something for everyone. The Center for the Arts has a production of the critically acclaimed musical, The Christmas Schooner running from December 2-18. www.boroarts.org.
The Arts Center of Cannon County hosts a production of Elf Jr. The Musical December 9-11. www.artscenterofcc.com.
Smyrna’s Springhouse Theater hosts It’s a Wonderful Life December 9-18. www.springhousetheater.com.
If you lean more toward music, the Murfreesboro Symphony hosts Sounds of Christmas on December 15th. www.murfreesborosymphony.com.
The Nutcracker, showing at TPAC December 3-23, is also a holiday tradition. www.tpac.org.
Bethlehem Marketplace, hosted by Southeast Baptist Church, is a wonderful way to celebrate the Advent season. The marketplace is a re-enactment of how the village of Bethlehem may have appeared following the birth of Jesus. The event is put on by church members and features Roman soldiers, live camels and animals, and merchants staying true to the period. www.sebaptist.org
All over Middle Tennessee there are parades that the young and the young at heart will enjoy. Lavergne hosts its annual Parade of Lights on December 3rd at 6pm starting at Veterans Memorial Park and ending at La Vergne City Hall.
Smyrna hosts their annual Christmas Parade with “A Classic American Christmas” theme. All ages congregate on Lowry Street for floats, bands, classic cars, Clydesdales, dancers and Santa at 2:00 on December 4th. 615-267-5003.
Eagleville hosts their Christmas parade, with the theme “My Favorite Christmas Song” on December 10th starting at 2:00 p.m. on Main Street in Eagleville.
Finally, Murfreesboro hosts their Christmas Parade on December 11th at 2:00 p.m. beginning on East Main Street in front of the President’s home at MTSU and concluding on Walnut Street. www.gnsradio.com.
If getting out of town is more your speed, just a short distance away, Nashville has more family-friendly fun.
Dancing Lights of Jellystone Park
Many people have fond memories of loading into the family car and driving around to look at Christmas lights. While that is a great option, The Dancing Lights of Christmas at Jellystone Park offers another fun drive-through experience. The display hosts an animated 35 foot Christmas tree along with hundreds of thousands of dancing Christmas lights. They are open nightly from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. through January 1st. www.thedancinglightsofchristmas.com.
Gaylord Opryland’s A Country Christmas
Gaylord Opryland knows how to celebrate the holiday season. They begin in late November and offer events for the entire family through the season. The Broadway musical, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, is showing at The Grand Ole Opry House November 18-December 25. Ice! Featuring Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer runs November 11-January 1 and showcases the magic of Rudolph through 2 million pounds of colorful ice sculptures and four ice slides.
For the family members who want something a little more thrilling the Arctic Plunge Snow Tubing is just the thing. Running from November 11-January 1 this attraction offers a race down a five-lane tubing hill that is covered in real snow. If ice skating is more your pace, Gaylord Opryland offers ice skating under the stars in their outdoor ice rink. If your nature is a bit more competitive, Santa’s Snowball Toss, allows you to launch pre-made snowballs at moving presents and mischievous elves in Santa’s workshop.
In addition to these, Gaylord Opryland hosts many other events such as Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers Christmas Dinner Show, photos with Santa, carriage rides, scavenger hunts and their impressive display of lights both inside and out. www.visitmusiccity.com.
Northpole Express with Santa
The Tennessee Central Railway Museum hosts a special train excursion during the holidays. The train, with its steamlined coaches and comfortable amenities, always includes something special on its trips. During the holiday season that something special is a ride on the North Pole Express and a visit from Santa Claus. Santa excursions take place on December 3rd and 10th. www.tcry.org.
Whether it is hosting friends and family around the fire, playing board games or getting out and about for holiday activities, spending time with family and friends is the true key behind enjoying the Christmas season.