The Christmas holidays are a special time of year over the condition of Tennessee. From Memphis on the western outskirt through Nashville and Knoxville to Gatlinburg on the eastern edge, cities have special occasions, parades, light shows and attractions during the Christmas season. The climate might be cool, yet the hospitality is warm.
Memphis, Home of Elvis and Zoo Lights
Go to the yearly Christmas Lighting Ceremony at Graceland in Memphis. At 6 p.m. the Friday before Thanksgiving, the switch is flipped and the lights and decoration blast up. Elvis and his family initially chose the outdoor lights and shows. Have your photograph made with Santa, and visit the occasionally decorated mansion decked out in red velvet drapes similarly as Elvis preferred. Visit the Memphis Zoo Lights show, a special holiday evening show featuring one million lights. Christmas carols and snow flurries welcome you after entering the park. Walk around the zoo enjoying the light display. Stop for a measure of hot cocoa along the course. Watch out for any nocturnal animals; the rest will be sleeping. Graceland 3765 Elvis Presley Boulevard Memphis, TN 38116 901-332-3322 elvis.com Memphis Zoo 2000 Prentiss Place Memphis, TN 38112 901-333-6500 www.memphiszoo.org
Nashville, Belle Meade Plantation and Gaylord’s Opryland
Praise a Victorian-era Christmas at Belle Meade, a Southern manor where thoroughbred horses were brought up in the mid 1800s. See the traditions of another era around 1883 with the Jackson family as you go to an imagine party in their home. A contemporary choice is to participate in the down-home fun at Opryland. Go to Louise Mandrell’s Christmas Dinner and Show or journey on the General Jackson Showboat. Wonder about the Hall of Trees and take a carriage ride. Special Christmas programs for children, for example, Breakfast with Charlie Brown change yearly. Opryland celebrate Christmas nation style in its mammoth complex. Try not to miss the ice sculptures. Belle Meade Plantation 5025 Harding Pike Nashville, TN 37205 615-356-0501 bellemeadeplantation.com Gaylord Opryland 2800 Opryland Drive Nashville, TN 37214 615-889-1000 www.gaylordhotels.com/gaylord-opryland
Knoxville’s Two Free Christmas Celebrations
Kick off the Christmas season by attending to the Christmas Village for caroling, marshmallow simmering, shopping in the Christmas Market and lighting the 38-foot-tall tree. Krutch Park has this event, which likewise offers free horse drawn carriage rides, free pictures with Santa Claus or cookie decorating with Mrs. Claus. Hot cocoa, snow cream and eggnog are altogether served at the free-for-all holiday party. One more night, celebrate at Chilhowee Park where a woods of lighted trees floats on the lake. This is another possibility at free carriage rides, pictures with Santa, preparing with Mrs. Claus and refreshments. Knoxville knows how to arrange a happy holiday party. Krutch Park 504 Market St. Knoxville, TN 37902 865-215-4248 cityofknoxville.org/parks/krutch.asp Chilhowee Park 3301 East Magnolia Avenue Knoxville, TN 37914 865-215-1450 chilhoweepark.org
Gatlinburg’s Winter Magic
The entire town of Gatlinburg turns into a drive-through or stroll through Christmas light display. No need to pay anything, simply wrap up and jump in the car to enjoy the winter magic.