For my entire life I’ve been that jerk. The one that blasts Christmas carols in July. Practically skips right on over Thanksgiving. Relies on Christmas socks as the only source of warmth come chilly months. Still prays for snow despite living in TN. Indulges in all of the Holiday goodies (no calories at Christmastime). Counts down to this infamous day as of December 26th each and every year. Some may call me the anti-Scrooge. A Cindy Lou Who of our time. What I think is that I’ve simply always taken a bit of a liking to the big man himself. If you haven’t noticed, Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick is a pretty loyal fan of the list. He’s got one super important list under his belt every year. Checks it TWICE. Mr. Claus is a man from my own heart. Which is why I continue to be the first in line to partake in any form of Christmas cheer. With finals season consistently overcasting my annual Christmas glee, I’ve decided to finally discover what a true Nashville Christmas is all about… while still saving some dimes for a little gift bearing come the big day. I’ve made my own little list, and you should too! Who knew Music City had so many festive (and free!) events throughout the holiday season? Mark your calendars and start checkin’ em off – A Top 5 Calendar of Nashville’s Festive Christmas Freebies
5. It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas Everywhere You Go
Saturday, December 1st 2:00 PM at the Frist
Kick off the 25 Days Until Christmas with some old-fashioned Christmas tunes. Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music “Suzuki Strings” will perform traditional Christmas favorites as well as classical pieces. The show’s comprised of 50 gifted violin and cello students all between the ages of 5-13. The youngest of talents serenading you with some of your favorite classic carols will certainly help set the mood for this holiday season.
4. The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers
Friday, December 7th Downtown Nashville
This season marks the 60th Annual Nashville Christmas Parade! Festivities include a tree lighting ceremony at 6:30 sharp at Public Square, followed by fireworks, and the big parade! The parade will begin at LP Field, cross over the bridge, and march all the way down Broadway. Not committed on the whole shebang? Sit back for some dinner and drinks on Broadway and luckily the show will come to you.
3. City Sidewalks, Busy Sidewalks, Dressed in Holiday Style
December 8th & 9th on Franklin’s Historic Main Street
In it’s 27th year, “Dickens of a Christmas” continues on Main Street in Franklin. Transformed into a page ripped right out of Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, the street bustles with characters in full costume, horse-drawn carriage rides, street performers, Victorian food, all ending with a sing-a-long that Sunday night. A few hours of time travel is guaranteed to be an afternoon well spent.
2. Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly Fa-la-la-la-la…
December 10th 7 PM at the Belmont Mansion
The Belmont Mansion is transformed every holiday season into a beautifully decorated Victorian-style Christmas heaven. There is no better excuse to bear witness to the mansion’s stunning displays than “A Camerata Christmas” show. The show features holiday chamber music with vocalist Kathy Chiavola and fiddler Tammy Rogers-King. Throw on your holiday best and dash over to the mansion for a beautiful and exceptionally classy sing-a-long.
1. I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas
Nashville’s Most Famous Christmastime Tradition: Opryland’s “A Country Christmas”
One seasonal spectacle that I have not yet laid eyes on is the infamous display at Opryland. Since moving down to Nashville I’ve heard year after year that I simply must go see the beautiful light displays at Opryland and this year I’m finally going. Be warned that Opryland offers an array of Christmas goodies – some of which are quite pricey. There’s a lengthy list of DreamWorks Animation events – from a holiday Shrek Feast and an ice show to a Shrek-themed scavenger hunt – providing many ways to splurge if you’re treating some little ones to a day out. The older crowd can indulge in a dinner show featuring Grand Ole Opry member Lorrie Morgan or take a seat in the Grand Ole Opry House for a delightful night with the Radio City Rockettes. For those looking for a festive freebie, like me, venture out to Opryland and stroll around the grounds. From the inside out the Opryland Resort glimmers with over two million Christmas lights. Outside rests a dazzling Nativity Display, with lights and narration of the Biblical story. Inside features Holly Jolly Town Square – a flashback into Christmastime in the 1950’s. Walk around and visit all of the shops within the square, located in the Ryman Exhibit Hall. Still craving a little nonsense Christmas fun? DreamWorks Animation offers a free showing of a Holiday Shrektacular – fun for the family or just a goofy group. With full-fledged Shrek costumes of the cast and an indoor snowstorm throughout the performance, this is one show I refuse to miss. Whether you plan to spend the day or just a few hours, Opryland at Christmastime is a tradition that is the Number 1 Must See this holiday season. I plan to get my Winter Wonderland fix whilst down here in the snow-less South through the gorgeous Christmas trees and light displays of Opryland. The resort is brilliantly transformed for the holidays and this Nashville tradition is the festive Christmas freebie that simply can’t be missed!