Nashville Christmas Guide
Holiday Lights, Santa, Parades, and More….
Happy Holidays and welcome to our 2021 Nashville Christmas Guide!
Like everything else this year, 2021 holiday celebrations are a little different. Most events require pre-purchased tickets with specific dates and times to visit. That just means you need do a bit of extra planning. However, there are lot of options that allow for safe, social distancing, and lots of holiday cheer.
So, get out your calendar, buy your tickets, make your plans and then RELAX and enjoy the season. Go ahead and bookmark this now because we are adding new events every day. There may also be last minute changes, so be sure to double check the details of a event before you head out. And don’t forget to check out our calendar for even more events and activities!
Welcome to The Ultimate Nashville Holiday Fun List! There are so many choices for family fun this holiday season. Make your plans now and then relax and enjoy the season.
Remember, double check any event before you head out, just in case something has changed.
The holidays are upon us, and there are lots of activities and events for the holidays. Here are some deals and discounts we found to save on holiday fun and entertainment.
Check back often, we will add more through the 2021 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 November 28th this year, and there are many opportunities to celebrate with your family.
Celebrate Hanukkah in Nashville. The first night of Hanukkah is Sunday, November 28th this year. If you are not Jewish, you can learn more about Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights and all the traditions that mark the holiday.
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!
Christmas 2021 may still look different than in years past but we know that many of you will still want a picture of your child with Santa to remember the holiday. Use our list to plan your Santa photo experience.
Please pay close attention the the COVID-19 guidelines set by each photography venue. Make sure, where available, that you book a photo slot online as many locations are limiting the days and hours Santa is available for photos.
We are determined to help you find fun this Holiday season so check this list throughout November and December. We’ll add events as we find them!
Bass Pro Shop has been a go-to place for free Santa pictures for several years in Nashville. This year, Santa is going to look a bit different. Get all the details you need to make a reservation and visit the jolly elf.
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!).
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.
“The Dancing Lights of Christmas” is sure to become a holiday tradition for your family.
Looking for something fun to do with the whole family while also giving to a good cause? Franktown Festival of Lights is the answer! This 1 mile drive-thru light display is fun for all ages and features over 200 light displays. Tune your radio to Franktown’s local station and watch the lights sync to the music!
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, televised for the first time.
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 "Mission: Save Christmas featuring Elf" and more!
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.
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 2021 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!
I learned something new; you can get a permit to cut down your own Christmas tree in select national forests. Not only do you get a wonderful family experience, you are increasing the health of the forest by thinning out densely populated stands of small-diameter trees.
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.