Complete Guide to Christmas in Nashville

Published by at under Nashville

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Christmas in Nashville is a magical journey through nostalgia, make-believe, and joy. With dazzling lights, holiday happenings, musical performances, and historic homes decked out in holiday finery, Music City goes all out to celebrate the season.

DAZZLING LIGHTS

Throughout Nashville and neighboring communities, festive lighting decorating neighborhood homes and spectacular light displays lighting up large venues transform the ordinary into Christmas wonderlands.

Opryland Christmas Lights
With a flip of a switch at 5:45 pm every evening between mid-November through January 1, Christmas magic lights up Opryland’s Magnolia Lawn in sparkling beauty. Over 2 million lights herald in traditional sights and sounds of Christmas, and custom designs add a unique Music City vibe.

The Dancing Lights of Christmas
Nightly until January 1; drive through Jellystone Park to the surround-sound dancing light show. Thousands of synchronized Christmas lights twinkle to the beat of Christmas tunes coming through the car radio. Animated displays, including a spectacular 35-foot high Christmas tree and a Santa Village, add to a favorite Nashville tradition.

Cheekwood Holiday Lights
From December 6 – 24, one million lights beautifully placed throughout Cheekwood Gardens, Nashville’s spectacular botanic garden, cast an unforgettable glow. Bundle up for a gorgeous 1-mile winter stroll through elegant displays on a multi-sensory journey through dazzling lights and views. Throughout the grounds, live reindeer, carolers and S’more pits create an evening to remember. Get there in the fun holiday spirit of a music-filled ride aboard the Old Town Trolley shuttle.

Old Town Trolley Holiday Sights Tour
Downtown Nashville’s businesses, museums, and iconic music sites get into the spectacle of Nashville Christmas lights in a big way. From Dec. 5 through Dec. 24, hop aboard the Old Town Trolley to sing along to favorite holiday tunes while cruising around the streets of Music City and nearby neighborhoods to take in a creative mix of festive light displays.

Franklin Christmas Lights
Thanksgiving Day through December 27, from 4:30 pm to 10 pm, drive south to Old Charlotte Pike in the community of Franklin and along Sparrow Street in nearby Spring Hill to see magical light displays dancing to synchronized music.

Sunnyside Drive Christmas Lights Display
From Thanksgiving Day to New Year, homes in Brentwood on Sunnyside Drive go all out by putting on a show every holiday evening. Park and walk for a special neighborly experience of Christmas lights and favorite holiday figures. Santa takes a break from his Christmas preparations to make an appearance every evening during Christmas week (Dec 17 through Dec 23!

Festival of Lights
From 5 pm – 9 pm, every Thursday, Friday and Saturday in December, tour through several acres filled with hundreds of thousands of animated lights, beautiful lighted scenes and displays at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center in Lebanon, 35 minutes east of Nashville. Kids love the Grinch in Fiddler Cove Jail, the Nativity scene, and a post office box to drop off their Santa letters. The drive through Fiddlers Grove, where over 40 village houses are lit up for Christmas, is a special step back in time to Christmas past.

HOLIDAY HAPPENINGS

A Country Christmas at Opryland Holiday Events
Spectacular, over-the-top happenings take place in Opryland every day through the Christmas season until January 1, engaging everyone in Christmas family fun. It’s a great place to take the kids.

Check these out:

  • Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Musical, a lavishly costumed, entertaining extravaganza
  • Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, favorite scenes are carved into 2 million pounds of ice sculptures
  • A Full Nativity Scene is carved in crystal clear ice
  • Artic slides: fly down 2-story ice slides; Artic Plunge Snow Tubing: take a thrill ride down a real snow hill in 5-lanes of tubing
  • Glacier Glide Ice-skating: Show off ice-skating skills in 6000 square-foot outdoor ice rink
  • Gingerbread decorating; Elf on the Shelf Scavenger hunt; Opryland Express Train – all family fun!
  • Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers perform their hits and holiday favorites at a dazzling dinner and show.

General Jackson Holiday Dinner Cruise
Cruise along the Cumberland River enjoying a seated dinner and an evening of festive holiday-themed musical entertainment aboard the General Jackson, a large, grand paddlewheel riverboat. From mid-November through Christmas, the popular General Jackson Dinner Cruise is replaced by the Holiday Dinner Cruise & Show. Dining, dancing, fabulous views of Nashville’s skyline glowing in holiday lights, and lively holiday entertainment performed by some of Music City’s finest country musicians and singers will get you in the holiday spirit the Nashville way.

HOLIDAY PERFORMANCES & CHRISTMAS CONCERTS

CHRISTMAS AT THE TENNESSEE PERFORMING ART CENTER 

Nashville’s Nutcracker
A beautiful interpretation of this classic holiday favorite by the Nashville Ballet takes place on specific days from December 3 – December 23 in Andrew Jackson Hall. The story, the costuming, the lighting, the dancing – magical! Check the TPAC schedule for dates and times.

A Christmas Story
Another perennial holiday favorite takes place in the Andrew Johnson Theater on multiple days from December 3 – December 23. Check the TPAC schedule for dates and times.

Home Free: A Country Christmas
A spectacular mix of country and holiday favorites performed by popular group Home Free will ring through the house at the James Polk Theater on December 11 at 2 pm.

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Christmas at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center

  • Dec. 5: An Evening with David Crosby & Friends
  • Dec. 6: A Very Merry Christmas with Dave Barnes & Special Guests
  • Dec. 7: The Spirit of Christmas – Michael W. Smith
  • Dec.9: Big Band Holidays: Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Winston Marsalis
  • Dec. 15-18: Handels Messiah. Another favorite Christmas tradition is elegantly performed by the Nashville Symphony
  • Dec. 22: Keith & Kristyn Getty – Irish Christmas
  • Dec. 23: Oak Ridge Boys Christmas Show. A unique celebration of Christmas, Country Music style happens just in time for Christmas

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Christmas at The Ryman
Take in the music at the legendary Ryman at this great mix of performances:

  • Dec. 5: Kenny G.
  • Dec. 7-8, 14-15, 20-22: Amy Grant & Vince Gill Christmas at the Ryman
  • Dec 11-12: Andrew Peterson
  • Dec.18-19: Rufus & Martha Wainright’s Christmas 101
  • Dec. 27: Gillian Welch
  • Dec. 28: Robert Earl Keen’s Merry Christmas from the Fam-O-Lee
  • Opry at the Ryman: Many great guest artists performs in Opry at the Ryman throughout the holidays. They are sure to get into the spirit of the holidays by performing favorite Christmas songs. Check out December schedule for Opry at the Ryman for a list of dates and performers.

Christmas at Bridgestone Arena

  • Dec.5: R. Kelly, 12 Nights of Christmas Tour
  • Dec. 6: Kelly Clarkson

HISTORIC HOMES IN HOLIDAY FINERY

Belmont Mansion
From Thanksgiving to January 1, enter the world of an elegant Victorian-era Christmas at the Belmont Mansion. Fully decked out in hundreds of gorgeous Victorian decorations, garland swags hanging from door frames and lavish flowers lining mantels, it’s a beautiful, timeless experience.

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Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage
By day, enjoy the holidays at The Hermitage, the mansion of President Andrew Jackson and his family. Special Christmas exhibits feature early traditions and decorations of the 1800s. Enjoy delicious meals in the cafe and unique holiday shopping in the museum store. In the evenings, from December 1-16, the home is open at 7 pm for Hermitage Holiday Evening Tours, a rare trip back to Christmas traditions of the Jackson family in the 1800s.

Grassmere Historic Home Yuletide Tours at Nashville Zoo
Guests visiting Nashville Zoo during the weekends of Dec. 3-4, 10-11, and 17-18, step back in time for a traditional Victorian Christmas in the historic Grassmere Home. Decorated in holiday greenery, ribbon and vintage decorations of the Craft family who owned the home for five generations, it’s a great way to see Christmas through time. Tours offered from 10 am-3 pm highlight the decorations and explain Christmas traditions of that period. Christmas music and caroling will also fill the grounds at various times.

Holidays at Traveller’s Rest Plantation & Museum
Experience how Christmas was celebrated in the 1830s in a simpler home. Costumed docents explain details of the holiday guests the Overton family entertained and the traditional ways they were entertained.

Belle Meade Plantation – A Century of Christmas (1853-1953)
From November 1 until December 31, the rooms of Belle Meade Mansion are filled with 10 Christmas trees and decorations, each representing a different decade in history. On the guided tour around each tree, the traditions of those who called Belle Meade Mansion home from the Antebellum period through the mid-twentieth century unfolds.

 

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