Who doesn’t love Christmas? From the twinkling lights to the holiday parties, it’s hard not to get into the spirit of things. If you’re looking for some new traditions this year or just want an excuse to explore Tennessee in December, here are 12 ways you can celebrate Christmas in Tennessee

Applicable dates: 2021/22 events


Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas – Pigeon Forge 

The exciting days in Dollywood just gets exciting every year! The Smoky Mountain Christmas is a family favorite in the Great Smokies. With more than 5 million dazzling lights, this event has been awarded “Best Christmas Event” 13 times and will be your next must-see for guaranteed fun! The best way to experience Christmas in this town is by visiting this popular walk-through tunnel of lights. It features a unique show, with music playing throughoutand walk through an open field under starry skies as snow falls gently on your shoulders!

Applicable Dates: November 6, 2021 to January 2, 2022

Speedway in Lights at Bristol Motor Speedway – Bristol 

If you’re looking for the most epic light show in this region, look no further than Speedway In Lights! The largest holiday spectacular at Bristol Motor Speedway’s drag way will be held at Highway 394 (not on Volunteer Parkway). The lights are so beautiful and captivating that it’s hard to take one step without being fascinated. The best part of going to Bristol Motor Speedway is the 90-minute driving radius Ice Rink. You shouldn’t let this one slip away!

Applicable Dates: November 12, 2021 to January 1, 2022

Anakeesta’s Enchanted Winter – Gatlinburg

A visit to the Great Smoky Mountains is made even more magical at Anakeesta’s Enchanted Winter event.

See winter decorations including a 40-foot tall Christmas tree at the Anakeesta plaza on the Parkway. Feel like you’re in the North Pole with all of its glimmering lights and winding paths as you ride up to Anakeesta Mountain. This is one way for people who live there year round, but visiting tourists will come across enchanting holiday decorations on their travels through town during December time! The fire pits are lit warmly at night so that visitors can enjoy themselves while they sip hot cocoa from the new Hot Chocolate Trail before going home again. The experience isn’t complete without carolers singing festive tunes outside Vista Gardens.

Special Event Your Kids Will Love:

  • Special Breakfast with Santa & Mrs. Claus – Dec. 4 and Dec. 11 (includes pre-breakfast Santa Parade)

Applicable Dates: November 11, 2021 to February 2022

Lights Over Gatlinburg at Gatlinburg Skylift Park – Gatlinburg

Experience America’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge in a whole new way this December as Gatlinburg Skylift Park is decked out for the holidays with more than 60,000 lights coordinated to classic Christmas music. Photo opportunities at the 30-foot tree and lighted trees along the new SkyTrail will complete your night. The “Lights Across Gatlinburg” provides an unforgettable experience with access to the SkyBridge during daytime where you can explore a new Tower called Tulip. It offers mountain views on each level while telling an inspiring story of renewal and rebuilding after the 2016 wildfires. Then, you can return at night to see the park twinkle with holiday cheer for free!

Ghosts of the Past at Christmas – Huntsville

In Tennessee, you might not have known it, but for centuries people have been telling ghost stories at Christmas. A great way of getting into the spirit is with an spooky story – and who doesn’t enjoy being terrified? (Me! Just kidding!) 

The ghosts of the past live on at Christmas time in Huntsville, Tennessee when you visit one-of-a kind haunt called “Ghosts Of The Past At Christmas.” A perfect opportunity for some spooky fun with history and tours that will leave your hair standing up on end! Book your tour today as tickets must be purchased in advance.


Dancing Lights of Christmas – Lebanon

The Dancing Lights of Christmas is an event that thousands flock to every year. The Tennessee Christmas Light and Music Shows is the state’s largest drive-thru holiday light show, with over 2 million lights along a 2.5-mile route are programmed to music and new, colorful displays. Catch them live every night at 5 p.m. rain or shine and on all holidays. 

Applicable Dates: Nov. 12, 2021 to Jan. 2, 2022 at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center

The Nutcracker – Nashville

The whole family can enjoy “Nashville’s Nutcracker” presented by the Nashville Ballet. This annual holiday production features sparkling journey through the Land of Sweets with nods to Nashville’s history and new, surprise elements. Feel the magic of beloved characters like the Sugar Plum Fairy, Drosselmeyer, Madam Bonbon and, of course, Clara and her beloved Nutcracker. The spectacular show is a Nashville family tradition. There’s always something new and exciting to see at this event, with glittering sets that captivate the audience for hours on end!

Applicable Dates: December 15-24, 2021

Clarksville, Tennessee

Make memories that will last a lifetime at the many holiday events and activities in Clarksville. For those lookingfor some action in winter, the ice rink at Downtown Commons is open now through Jan 10th. For just $12 for adults and $10 for kids, you can take a spin with your family for skate rentals.  Christmas on the Cumberland is the most popular holiday activity as it features over 1 million lights in displays along the half-mil Riverwalk at McGregor Park now through Jan. 1, 2022. Planning to drive around the town? No problem!  Head to the Clarksville Speedway’s Drive-Thru Christmas Lights which features more than 3 million light displays along the one-mile track. If want a different entertainment experience, check out the holiday classic at The Roxy Regional Theatre like “It’s A Wonderful Life,” “Elf” and “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” among others.

Applicable Dates: January 2022

Christmas in the Park – Cookeville

December is a busy month for the people of Cookeville. From illuminating their 40-foot tree to welcoming in Christmas, it’s clear that this town loves celebrating! Expect Christmas-inspired activities ranging from downtown carriage rides, meet and greets with Santa, concerts, Christmas Movies in the Park and the Christmas Forest exhibit at the Cookeville History Museum

While you’re nearby be sure to check out Monterey, Tennessee‘s Christmas Home & Hearth Celebration; the more-than-50-year-old evening Christmas Parade through downtown Cookeville; and the drive-through light attraction Hidden Hollow Lights that is open now through New Year’s Day. 

Applicable Dates: Open now to January 1, 2022


Museum of Science & History – Memphis

A magical experience awaits you in this amazing place where beautifully decorated Christmas trees welcome you and your family. Kids will love the model trains and Gingerbread Village. Make sure to take photos with Santa in his snow globe. Catch your favorite holiday movies, “The Year Without a Santa Claus” and “The Light Before Christmas” at the Giant Screen Theater and see the “Season of Light and Laser Holidays” shows at the AutoZone Dome Planetarium. Before heading home, don’t forget to drop buy at the museum’s gift shop for unique gifts.

Applicable Dates: November 20, 2021 to Dec. 31, 2021

Dickens Christmas – Covington

Take a journey through time and space to the Victorian era during Dickens’ Christmas in Covington, Tennessee. The streets of the city as well ass the historic court square will be transformed into Charles Dickens’ world, with Victorian characters and carolers. You’re encouraged to wear Victorian era costumes if you feel like it!  Additional holiday events taking place in Covington include the Festival of Trees at the Tipton County Museum Nov. 30-Dec. 31, 2021 and performances of “A Wicked Christmas Carol” Dec. 10-18, 2021 at the Historic Ruffin Theater.

Let It Glow Holiday Light Show – Union City

The “Let It Glow” light show in Discovery Park of America is coming up and it’s sure to be a spectacular holiday experience! The event will feature more than 1 million lights synchronizing with Christmas songs. This great attraction starts on November 12th through December 31st 2021, so don’t miss out if you’re near West Tennessee during this time frame! If you’re not comfortable being in a crowd, make your way to the drive-thru light show on the 50 acres of the heritage park. This year, you can walk through part of the light show on the grounds.  Indulge with great food and get warm with a great hot chocolate in local cafes around the town. 

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