Dear readers, some kind of way the calendar has done us wrong this holiday. My kids don’t get out of school until December 20. And that part would be fine except…THEY DON’T GO BACK UNTIL JANUARY 7!!!
That is 12 days (yes I count the weekends) of no school AFTER Christmas Day. I’m a mom to older teens now so entertaining them is a lot easier than it was when they were younger.
But if this had happened when they were in elementary school? The very thought of having 5 kids home for 11 days IN THE DEAD OF WINTER would have caused me to stress eat a whole bag of chocolate Santas.
Those days before Christmas are so easy to fill, aren’t they? The kids are excited. There’s gingerbread houses to build, family to visit and the anticipation of Santa usually leads to pretty good behavior. But after Christmas? That’s just a wasteland of long, cold days where everyone seems to be bored and hungry 24/7.
Having survived (and mostly enjoyed) kid’s Christmas breaks for many years now, I can tell you that planning is key. Depending on the age of your kids and what your vacation/work schedule looks like, you might have the opportunity to do a little or a lot. Use our list to get some inspiration.
Pick a few activities or events that you know your family will enjoy and mark them on the calendar. Then relax and enjoy the season.
25 Things to Do on Christmas Break for Fun and Entertainment
- There are lots of programs available during this month at Adventure Science Center. Pack a lunch and spend the better part of a day there.
- While you are there, check out a program at Sudekum Planetarium. Good chance one of these shows will keep your kids quiet for at least 30 minutes.
- It’s hockey season! See the Nashville Predators play at home in December.
- Get inspired by the Preds and go ice skating. Public skating times are available at Centennial Sportsplex or the Ford Ice Center. Or visit the temporary outdoor rink at Ascend Amphitheater or The Fountains at Gateway in Murfreesboro.
- If ice skating seems a bit advanced for your kids, try roller skating. We have lots of rinks in the area and almost all of them offer special open skate times during school holidays.
- If your house is overflowing like mine, spend a day ‘helping’ the kids de-clutter. Go through old toys, clothes and books to make room for the stuff Santa dropped off. (This also makes a great pre-Christmas activity. Kids seem more motivated to get rid of stuff during the exciting anticipation of getting new things.) Bag and box everything up and take the kids with you to donate your items.
- Do you have a few days off? Consider a day trip. One of our favorites is the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga.
- If you have out of town guests, be the ultimate Nashville Tour Guide. Take them to the Country Music Hall of Fame, RCA Studio B, The Grand Ole Opry, The Ryman or Musician’s Hall of Fame. (If you have lived here for a hundred years and haven’t been to any of these places, it’s ok to visit as a hometown tourist too!)
- Tour a historic home. The Middle Tennessee area is chock full of these wonderful homes and most of them will still be decorated for the holiday season if you visit before New Year’s. Here’s just a few suggestions : The Hermitage, Rock Castle, Traveller’s Rest, Belle Meade Plantation, Oaklands.
- Have lunch at the Nashville Farmer’s Market. The food court offers lots of choices and then you can spend some time wandering around the market. If the weather is mild, finish the day with a walk across the street to the Bicentennial Mall.
- Admission to The Frist Center is FREE for kids Plan a visit with 2 adults and tag team. One of you can take the kids to the Martin Artquest Gallery upstairs while the other enjoys the downstairs galleries.
- Get a discounted wristband for a morning of fun at Hendersonville Circus World on Fridays until 5PM and Saturdays until Noon. Discounts on Monday and Wednesday too!
- Take the kids bowling. There are plenty of places to bowl a game or 2 in our area.
- Let the kids bounce off someone else’s walls for a while! Take them to Altitude Trampoline Park, Bounce U!, Pump it Up, Urban Air Adventure Park. Hoppity Hop, Monkey Joe’s, Above All, or Jumpstreet.
- There is always something new to discover at the library. Visit the Nashville Library for a puppet show or storytime. Or make a trip to your local branch for books and DVDs to entertain the kids for a while.
- If you have younger kids, think about a day at Cornerstone Indoor Playground, Monkey’s Treehouse or (our favorite!) Discovery Center in Murfreesboro.
- Spend a day giving back to your community. Hands on Nashville has lots of opportunities for families to volunteer.
- Have you made a new year’s resolution? If eating healthier is on your list, take the kids shopping for ingredients for a meal and cook it together. Yes, it will probably be a mess but you may find you all enjoy it.
- Have a house full of bored teens? Take them to Climb Nashville. All ages can ‘boulder’ at the East location but it’s 13 and up only at the West location. The Crag in Franklin and The Ascent in Murfreesboro are 2 other great options to get those big kids movin’!
- Unless we experience an arctic blast, the weather should be fine for a trip to Radnor Lake. Unplug your family from all their devices and burn off some of those holiday treats together.
- Keep the holiday going for a while longer with a trip to see some Christmas Lights. Traffic should be lighter and most of the displays are up until the new year.
- Create something awesome at Fired Up! or Brushfire Pottery. Make something fun for yourself or get the kids started on some early gifts for Mother’s or Father’s Day.
- See a working paleontology laboratory and more at The Earth Experience – Middle Tennessee Museum of Natural History in Murfreesboro. Open Thursday-Saturday.
- Test your family’s skills and strengths with an attempt at the Nashville Escape Game. The game is designed for ages 12 and up but they often have families bring younger children.
- Have some Nashville fun downtown. Walk around and see the Riverfront area, have a meal at The Old Spaghetti Factory or Demo’s (Yum!) and maybe play a game at LaserQuest.
Find even more Christmas and holiday fun in our Nashville Christmas Guide!
Rachel is a Middle Tennessee native, born and raised in the Nashville area and having lived in Hendersonville, Murfreesboro, and Mount Juliet. She is mom to 3, step mom to 4 and Grandma to one (so far!)