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VOL. 40 | NO. 39 | Friday, September 23, 2016

Nashville's ultimate holiday to-do list

By Hollie Deese

Print | Front Page | Email this story

Don’t let the fact Halloween is weeks away stop you from planning your Christmas season activities. From live shows to shopping, decide now what you and yours want to do later this winter.

63rd annual Nashville Christmas Parade

December 3

The theme for 2016 is The Musical Mile, so it’s only fitting that Grammy Award-winning artist Kelly Clarkson has been tapped as the Grand Marshal for the parade sponsored by Piedmont Natural Gas in partnership with Monroe Carrell Jr. Children’s Hospital and presented by Tootsie’s.

Some of the proceeds from this year’s event will benefit Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt along with Piedmont’s Share the Warmth energy assistance program that helps local low-income families pay their energy bills at any point during the year, regardless of their energy source

The parade kicks off the holiday season in downtown Nashville and will again use the new route that began last year, starting at the intersection of 8th Avenue and Broadway, heading east down Broadway to Second Avenue North, crossing over the Cumberland River and ending at the base of the Woodland Street Bridge.

Information: www.nashvillechristmasparade.com

A Christmas Story at TPAC

Nov. 25-Dec. 21

Just about everyone has the tradition of watching this film classic at home during the holidays, but this performance by the Nashville Rep is not going anywhere, so why not add a live production of the Christmas classic to the mix? All the classic elements are there – the pink bunny suit, the leg lamp and the family meal at the Chinese restaurant. Now in its eighth year.

Information: www.nashvillerep.org/a-christmas-story

Christmas at Belmont

Dec. 3-4

Tickets sell out quickly for this annual holiday concert that showcases the various School of Music ensembles, especially the nighttime performance, and that is if you have a connection with the school. Tickets for music majors, minors, music graduate students and other students performing in Christmas at Belmont will be available on Oct. 12 with a limit of two tickets per student. Any remaining tickets will be made available to Belmont faculty, staff and non-performing students on October 26. Missed last year’s show? Look for a rebroadcast on PBS, hosted by Kathy Mattea, in December.

Information: www.belmont.edu/music/calendar/christmas_at_belmont/index.html

Christmas Village

Nov. 11-13

Shopping for charity is a Nashville tradition and Christmas Village is one of the oldest charitable events in the city, supported and run entirely by volunteers from the Nashville Pi Beta Phi Alumnae Club. During its 55-year history, Christmas Village has raised more than $10 million for the Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center, the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts and more.

Walk among the 260 merchants to find a variety of unique seasonal and gift including toys for all ages, clothing, jewelry, food, pottery, collectibles and so much more. Stroll the fairgrounds and find something for everyone on your list.

Information: www.christmasvillage.org

Christmas at the Ryman with Amy Grant and Vince Gill

Nov. 30-Dec. 22

The Grammy-winning husband-and-wife team present cherished standards and newer seasonal fare in a two-hour set at the iconic Ryman Auditorium that has become a local tradition for many people, and an annual favorite for the couple. What started off with just a few shows a few years ago is now an annual tradition. This year’s bookings cement these two as the local Christmas power couple.

Information: www.ryman.com/events/AmyVinceXmas_121114

Dancing Lights of Christmas at Jellystone Park

Nov. 4-Jan. 1

The annual Dancing Lights of Christmas at Jellystone Park grows each year – now in its 6th - with hundreds of thousands of LED Christmas lights synchronized to some rocking Christmas tunes.

The drive-thru light show is sponsored by Big 98 WSIX and this year has even more, new displays with an addition of hundreds of thousands of LED Christmas lights that are synced to your car’s own radio. Fox 17’s Santa’s Village is also on site. The hours are every night from 5–10 p.m., with extended hours on the weekends and holidays.

Information: www.thedancinglightsofchristmas.com

Deck the Hall at the Country Music Hall of Fame

Nov. 25-Dec. 23

Celebrate the season with holiday-themed programs for the whole family from the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and Hatch Show Print with a full month of seasonal activities that blend music, art and education for the entire family.

Festivities officially kick off on Nov. 25 with the lighting of the 30-foot Christmas tree in the Museum’s Mike Curb Conservatory, though it is still too early to know who the person is who will light it all up.

On Nov. 25-26 the puppet show partnership between the public library and museum returns, and on Dec. 14, the holiday concert will be Wynonna and the Big Noise Christmas.

Free photos with Santa happen all month long, and there will be plenty of hands-on activities for kids in the Taylor Swift Education Center. Along with shopping opportunities, a songwriting session with Kristian Bush and historic tours of Studio B, it’s the perfect place to take visiting family to really show off some of the best of the seasonal celebration in Nashville.

Information: www.countrymusichalloffame.com

Dickens of a Christmas

Dec. 10-11

The highly-anticipated two-day event in downtown Franklin has become one of the largest Christmas festivals in Middle Tennessee, now in its 32nd year.

The festivities offer people the opportunity to step back in time, thanks to the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County. Sponsored this year by Nissan, the street festival will recreate the time of Charles Dickens using historic downtown Franklin’s Victorian architecture as the backdrop.

Look for performances by nearly 200 musicians, dancers and characters to fill the streets, including several from Charles Dickens’s stories like Fagin from Oliver Twist and Victorian Father and Mother Christmas with treats for the children.

Favorite Victorian-era activities will include street vendors serving up delicious sugar plums and roasted chestnuts along with heartier old English fare, horse-drawn carriage rides, a petting zoo, live artisan demonstrations, and more than 60 vendors offering holiday arts and crafts for authentic holiday shopping.

And of course, each night will end with a town sing-a-long of classic Christmas carols.

Information: www.historicfranklin.com/events/event/dickens-of-a-christmas

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical

Nov. 18-Dec. 25

Broadway’s No. 1 holiday hit returns to the Grand Ole Opry House as part of A Country Christmas at Gaylord Opryland Resort. The show features over-the-top sets designed by John Lee Beatty and costumes designed by Robert Morgan, inspired by Dr. Seuss’ original book, while the music of Mel Marvin and Timothy Mason breathes new life into the timeless holiday classic.

And ultimate Dr. Seuss fans are sure to adore the new Breakfast with The Grinch at Gaylord Opryland Resort, and interactive dining experience with a buffet of Who-ville-inspired breakfast items and table-side visits with the Grinch himself.

Information: www.getgaylordtickets.com/

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl

Dec. 30

Each year the SEC takes on the ACC or Big Ten at Nissan Stadium in what has become one of Nashville’s biggest holiday sports traditions. In addition to the game there is also the MusicFest Battle of the Bands and more activities leading up to kick off, and the event is a big draw for out-of-towners who come to Nashville to root for their team.

Information: www.musiccitybowl.com

Gaylord Opryland’s Country Christmas

Nov. 11-Jan. 1, 2017

The annual holiday event at Gaylord Opryland grows each and every year, and this year features the musical of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, two million pounds of carved ice sculptures at the impressive ICE exhibit, Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers Christmas Dinner Show, millions of holiday lights and more.

Race your friends and family down Nashville’s only six-lane tubing hill covered in 1.5 million pounds of real snow at Arctic Plunge Snow Tubing.

Christmas packages give people the option to stay on site, get tickets to the shows they want and really immerse themselves in Christmas spirit.

Information: www.marriott.com/hotel-info/bnago-gaylord-opryland-resort-and-convention-center/christmas/y477rbs/home-page.mi

Gray Line Holiday Tours

Gray Line of Tennessee adds a few Christmas lights tour packages to their already full roster of sightseeing tours in Nashville and surrounding counties.

The Twinkling Tennessee Christmas tour takes riders through Nashville and Franklin to see some of the state’s most beautifully-decorated homes and neighborhoods before heading to the Lotz House in Franklin, decorated in mid-1800s fashion. There, riders can enjoy cookies and hot chocolate. This year they are adding a tour out to Cheekwood to enjoy their new holiday lights display.

Information: www.graylinetn.com/tours

Holiday Lights at Cheekwood

Nov. 25-Jan. 1 (closed Mondays and December 25)

Tickets on sale starting Oct. 14

A new holiday tradition began last year at Cheekwood with gorgeous decorations that will extend from the Mansion out into the gardens, setting the grounds aglow with one million festive, twinkling lights. Real reindeer will be on hand every night, as well as s’mores pits, a Christie Cookie Co. sweets shop, holiday carolers, hot chocolate and hot toddies and more.

And the lights are just the latest addition to the holidays at Cheekwood, with gingerbread house workshops, festive music, elaborately-decorated trees, cookie decorating and a museum concert series.

Information: www.cheekwood.org

Holiday Cruises on General Jackson

Nov. 17-Dec. 25

If you have yet to try out the General Jackson, Christmas is a great time to do so, either with their Nashville Christmas Holiday Midday Cruise, or the Heart of Christmas Evening Holiday Cruise complete with Christmas dinner. Each cruise is nearly three hours and includes a full meal and plenty of entertainment, from music to comedy and even dueling fiddles. At night, upgrade to the captain’s table for early boarding, a commemorative T-shirt and captain’s cup and tour of the Pilot House during the cruise.

Information: www.generaljackson.com

Home Free – A Country Christmas at TPAC

Dec. 11

The five-man band Home Free, winners of NBC’s The Sing-Off in 2013, bring their Country Christmas Tour to town. Known for dazzling audiences with their show-stopping a cappella performances, expect to hear plenty of Nashville country standards (a Calypso-infused arrangement of Johnny Cash’s “Ring Of Fire”) mixed with pop hits (Shakira’s “Try Everything”) as well as new music from an upcoming Christmas re-release.

Information: www.patron.tpac.org

Let There Be Light: A Grand Holiday Lights Tour

Nov. 25-Jan. 30

Customized transportation company Grand Avenue offers two different light tours for people who want to enjoy the show without having to worry about traffic – and there is really no better option than the back of a limousine. Choose to ride through The Dancing Lights display at Jellystone Park during the North Pole route, or see decorated homes in Brentwood and Franklin on the South Pole route. Those who reserve their spots before December 1st while using an online promo code (HOLIDAYLIGHTS2016) get 10 percent off their tour.

Information: www.grandavenueworldwide.com/tours/holiday-lights/html

Martinis and Mistletoe

Dec. 2

This annual benefit for the Horticultural Society of Middle Tennessee takes full advantage of the beautiful party setting at Cheekwood, offering ticketholders a chance to see the grounds under all the new holiday lights in addition to the festive party. Tickets for this event are likely to sell-out. Tickets will be available to purchase in October.

Information: www.hsmtn.org

Monell’s Victorian Christmas Dinner

Dec. 4-5, 11-12, 18-24

With limited seating, the event sells out each and every year – now in its 21st – guests can munch on some of Monell’s finest while being serenades by carolers. Enjoy stuffed chicken, beef with béarnaise, chocolate mouse and Tennessee bread soup family style – all under $50 a person. There’s a reason this meal is so hard to book, so reserve now.

Information: www.monellstn.com

Music City Winterfest

Dec. 10

A free day of Christmas spirit for the whole family that includes an artisan holiday market that makes shopping for everyone in one space easy, and there will also be plenty of activities and even a visit from Santa himself. There will be a pet portrait artist on site, carriage rides, train rides and a special snowball fight, no matter what the weather brings. Walk among the food trucks to get a seasonal sampling from area vendors, and take in live performances from a number of musicians. A sweet, seasonal day that really highlights all the local best.

Information: www.musiccitywinterfest.com

Nashville Ballet presents The Nutcracker

Dec. 3-23

See all of the classic beloved characters such as the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Mouse King, the Nutcracker, the Dancing Bear and even some historic characters from Nashville’s past during the annual performance of Nashville’s Nutcracker at the Andrew Jackson Hall at TPAC. This performance is certainly one of the mainstays of local tradition, and somehow the story of young Clara’s journeys into an unforgettable dreamland never tires. The concept is by Paul Vasterling. Nashville’s Nutcracker weaves together the city’s vibrant history with the Christmas tale, with the music from Tchaikovsky expertly performed by the Nashville Symphony.

Information: www.nashvilleballet.com/nashvilles-nutcracker-2016

Nashville Symphony, seasonal shows

Dec. 1-22

The Nashville Symphony is putting on a number of holiday productions throughout the month of December, appealing to traditionalists, children, families and more. Kicking off the season is A Very Merry Pops, a collaboration between the symphony and Broadway that showcases carols like “White Christmas” and “Little Drummer Boy.” The Holiday Spectacular and Sing Along, which encourages children of all ages to belt out “Jingle Bells” and more, is Dec. 3. It includes a reading of “The Night Before Christmas.” A screening of the John Hughes’ holiday classic “Home Alone,” with the symphony taking up the score, is scheduled for Dec. 4.

Also, look for special holiday concerts from Michael W. Smith, Jennifer Nettles and Wynton Marsalis before the holiday season ends with Handel’s Messiah and an Irish Christmas with Keith and Kristyn Getty.

Information: www.symphony.org

Porter Flea Holiday Market

Dec. 9-10

Held at Skyway Studios, the popular shopping event is set to return with nearly 100 vendors that showcase local and regional designers, bakers, millers and makers to make holiday shopping a snap. Make a day of it, thanks to a number of food trucks that will be on site, and there will even be a photo booth and gift wrapping station.

Information: www.porterflea.com

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