Welcome to The Ultimate Nashville Holiday Fun List! There are so many choices for family fun this holiday season. Make your plans and then relax and enjoy the season.
Every year, we publish this list. And every year, we apologize for pushing holiday stuff so early. But not this year!
I absolutely love Thanksgiving. It’s probably my favorite holiday. I spend weeks planning my menu and looking for recipes.
But, while I’m doing all that Thanksgiving planning, I am also reserving tickets for concerts and plays to see in December. I am buying and wrapping gifts for my overly large family. I am programming my DVR for all my favorite Holiday movies and programs. I can multitask! And I bet you mamas, papas and grandparents can too.
There are lots of activities and events for the holidays but the cost of all that fun can add up! Here are some Christmas deals and discounts we found.
Check back often, we will add more through the 2019 holiday season. And if you know of more, please leave them in the comments and we will add them to share with everyone.
The holiday season is expensive. The presents. The food. The travel. The decorations. The list of expenses seems never ending. We’ve found lots of options for free holiday fun in Nashville and Middle Tennessee this season. Keep checking this list because we will be adding free events right up until New Year’s!
Hanukkah starts on December 22nd this year, and there are many opportunities to celebrate with your family.
All About Santa
There are LOTS of opportunities to see the Jolly Old Elf all over Middle Tennessee! Have your picture taken with him, eat breakfast with him, be in a parade with him and more!
Make some holiday memories at Breakfast with Santa. Kris Kringle has meals planned all over Nashville and Middle Tennessee this season. Plan these in advance because they are CRAZY popular and most of them will sell out before you buy your Thanksgiving turkey. This list is growing constantly so check back for new additions!
The only thing better than getting a picture of your child with Santa during the holiday season is getting that photo for FREE! If you want a great professional photo shoot with Santa, we have some great choices on this list. But there’s lots of good reasons to seek out a free option.
The first is obvious. I know my budget is always very tight during the Christmas season. Getting a free photo (especially if you have a bunch of kids) can definitely ease that strain. Maybe you have a fancy camera and feel like you are a pretty good amateur photographer? In that case, a free Santa photo opportunity would be a great option for you too. Whatever your reason may be, find lots of places on this list to take a selfie with Santa.
Santa does more than just get his picture made and have breakfast this season. Here are some other places you can hang out with the jolly old elf (or his wife!) This list grows every week so keep checking for more Santa fun all season long.
Christmas Lights and Parades
Nashville and the surrounding areas will be lit up for the holidays! See drive thru light displays, drive around town and see all the amazing decorated homes and be sure to go to a Christmas parade – or 5 – near you.
One of our favorite things about the holiday season is Christmas lights. And we are so lucky to live here because Nashville and Middle Tennessee have some of the BEST Christmas light displays.
Go off the beaten path this season. Dress the kids in their jammies, throw some hot chocolate in a thermos (or two) and load up the minivan. Pick a place you have never visited and create some holiday memories for your whole family.
Start your holiday season off right by attending a Christmas parade! Parades are a great way to have some family fun this Christmas. Connect with your community, see a marching band or two and enjoy some free holiday entertainment.
There are lots of parades happening all over Middle Tennessee, and we did not want to miss one (or let you miss one!).
“The Dancing Lights of Christmas” is sure to become a holiday tradition for your family.
Christmas Light Tours are a great way to get out and explore the city. Whether you are entertaining guests from out of town or just playing the Hometown Tourist, these tours can be a great addition to your holiday season.
We’re sad to learn that the annual Holly Trolley tour has ended but there are still lots of options to tour the city and see the lights. Get your tickets quickly for these tours! They will definitely sell out early.
If you have lived in Nashville for any length of time, then you know that Cheekwood has offered lots of holiday fun for many years. They have concerts, cookie decorating, gingerbread workshops, the hands down best Santa in all of Nashville (completely my opinion!) and LIVE REINDEER!
It’s basically a wonderland of Christmas fun every weekend from Thanksgiving through Christmas.And since Holiday Lights began a few years ago, Cheekwood is now a must for your Holiday family fun.
Holiday Concerts, Plays, and Musicals
The holidays are a great time to see a play, musical stage production or concert. Live music is always a treat, especially when the performance includes your favorite Christmas carols. Treat your family to one of the many stage productions being performed by local actors as well as traveling shows in town. And of course, you can't forget the Nashville Ballet's annual production of the Nashville Nutcracker.
Nashville may be ‘Music City’ all year long but the holidays are a great time to see some special performances. From huge productions at the Nashville Symphony to local community band concerts, you’ll find something on this list to keep the holiday fun going for your family. We will add concerts right up until Christmas so keep checking back for more musical possibilities.
Nashville is home to a ton of great theatre groups. And there is no better time to see a show than during the holiday season. There are so many choices! From Broadway style musical productions to small community plays, you are sure to find something your family will enjoy. Plan a date night or a family outing. And if you are having out of town guests, a night at the theatre can be a great way to show off our hometown talent. Make plans in advance as lots of these production will sell out early.
Nashville Ballet returns with one of the city’s most beloved holiday traditions, Nashville’s Nutcracker, for the eleventh year, December 7-23, 2019, at TPAC’s Jackson Hall.
Christmas Festivals and Special Events
Visit one of the many area historic homes and learn how Christmas was celebrated over 100 years ago. There are also Christmas festivals plus special holiday events at your favorite Nashville attractions to get you in the holiday spirit!
Make your list and check it twice before heading to some of these holiday expos and Christmas craft fairs. These local events are a fun way to get yourself into the holiday mood. My mother in law has a family tradition of attending one of these every year. It’s the first day of the season that she allows herself to start listening to Christmas music! So grab some friends and shop for holiday goodies this season.
Mark your calendars now for some (or all!) of these Christmas Festivals & Holiday Special Events. This list will grow as the season continues so keep checking back as we add more fun events for the holidays.
The holiday season is a great time to visit one of Middle Tennessee’s many historic homes. Most of you know that I drag my kids to tour old houses everywhere I go! There are so many interesting things to see and learn. I never get tired of it. During the holidays, most of these historic homes put up lavish decorations.
This is basically my favorite thing ever. I get all kinds of ideas to decorate my own home and, at the same time, I get the kids out of the house for an afternoon during their (far too long) school break. If you have out of town guests, definitely put a couple of these tours on your agenda. Another plus is that these tours are rarely crowded so they are a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of other holiday attractions.
Christmas in Nashville isn’t complete without a visit to the Gaylord Opryland hotel to see the lights, experience ICE!, and see a holiday show.
Santa’s Flight Academy is a free immersive experience at The Mall at Green Hills for children of all ages to become a member of Santa’s flight crew to help Santa ready his sleigh to deliver presents to children all over the world.
Celebrate the holidays with the Country Music Hall of Fame and “Deck the Hall” with concerts, activities and celebrations.
Christmas Movies and TV Classics
New and classic favorite movies will be showing both in area theaters and on TV throughout November and December. Check out these lists of show times and add one to your calendar. You can also program your DVR so you don't miss anything!
Get in the holiday spirit with some great Christmas movies and TV specials. Starting in November there are lots of new shows and movies along with traditional favorites. Here are the schedules we found. Set you DVR and pop some popcorn!
For my family, Christmas movies are a big part of the holiday season. It’s one of the few times of the year that we all have some time off to spend together. Many local theaters are showing some of those perennial holiday and Christmas classics on the big screen this season. So make some plans to start a new holiday tradition that involves zero hustle and bustle and lots of popcorn and relaxation! This post will grow throughout the 2019 season so keep checking back for more opportunities to see Christmas movies on the big screen.
Find the date and time when your favorite holiday shows will be on, set the DVR or pencil it in on your calendar and then enjoy the season!
Christmas Tree Farms and Tree Lots
Load up your family in the car and pick out a fresh Christmas tree! You can go to a farm or a local tree lot. Both have lots of fun with activities, hot cocoa and more.
Take your family out and cut your own Christmas tree! Some of these farms have other family fun activities and refreshments available too!
Here’s a list of places to buy your live tree right in your local area. No ‘over the river and through the woods’ required!
Things to do in November
For those of you that are not ready for Santa, there are lots of things going on in November that do not include the Jolly Old Elf.
There are many ways to celebrate Veterans Day to thank those who have served and remember those we have lost. Attend one of the many area events and if you are a veteran, please take advantage of one of the many deals and discounts as a special thank you for your service.
If your family is like ours, November is a frugal month. We try to save as much money as we can in anticipation of the holiday season. With that in mind, here are some ideas to enjoy some low-cost family fun this month.
Have some fun this November in Nashville and Middle Tennessee. There are some of you that are just ANNOYED by early Christmas events. You have no interest in Santa, reindeer or twinkling lights before you stuff your Thanksgiving turkey. This list is for you! Find activities scheduled all month long that have nothing to do with Christmas. And if your budget is tight, check out all the events in Blue. They are Free!