by TJ Anderson
Feeling festive yet? Whether your yuletide joy is in full bloom or you need a little help getting in the spirit, there’s lots to do in and around Nashville
of a Christmassy nature.
Here are just a few of the things I’ve bookmarked for the coming weeks, if you’re looking for places to take the kids and/or opportunities to celebrate in more grown-up ways:
Go Local Gift Shopping
If you’re already done Christmas shopping, you’re a magical reindeer. Most of us still need a little time and help. A few great options if you’d like unique, handmade and/or local options:
=> Porter Flea Holiday Market
at Track 1 (4th & Chestnut) Ticketed preview Friday, Dec. 5, 6 to 9 p.m., full free market Saturday, Dec. 6, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Porter Flea’s annual holiday maker market features the wares of dozens of local and regional makers, artists and artisans selling everything from furniture to clothing to kids’ toys.
Saturday, Dec. 6, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
This inaugural holiday market will feature the curated work of local makers plus offerings from Marathon retailers and holiday ornament crafting with Paper Moon Crafts.
Go Local People Shopping
Saturday, Dec. 6, 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.
This cocktail fundraiser offers a chance to bid on the most eligible 20-something to 30-something Nashvillian gents and ladies and head out on dates sponsored by some of the best local restaurants and hangs, all to aid the YWCA in the launch of a project called MEND, focused on fighting domestic violence. If you’re not in the market for a bachelor/bachelorette but would love in on the date packages, there are options for that, too.
Go on a Santa Rampage
Saturday, Dec. 13 at 8 p.m.
A pub crawl with a festive twist: Year on year, around 1,000 Santas gather to spread cheer (and gifts) and have a few drinks with their red-suited brethren, after posing together for a family photo in front of the tree at Public Square Park. There are a few rules, but the key ones: Come dressed appropriately; bring treats to share; enjoy and imbibe, but remember that Santa knows when to say when.
Don Your Christmas Worst for the Terrible Christmas Sweater Party
Saturday, Dec. 20 at 8 p.m.
You could throw your own awful Christmas sweater party, but easier (and offering lots more sweater awfulness): hitting the annual Terrible Christmas Sweater Party presented by Jägermeister. This being the party’s 10th year, expect extra wonderful terribleness, from multiple live bands and dance floors to a photo booth to capture your festive style and tastes of Jäger’s new Jäger Spice. Admission is a $10 donation at the door, and yes, ugly sweaters are required.
Hark Back to Dickensian Days
Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 13-14
For 30 years now, Historic Downtown Franklin has been transforming into a Victorian wonderland around the holidays, with costumed street performers, vendors, horse-drawn carriage rides, an arts and crafts area and lots more during this free street festival. Kids in the middle of reading, say, Oliver Twist or A Christmas Carol in school? Here’s a solid way to get them more excited about and engaged in history and classic literature while having festive family fun.
Go See the Pretty Lights
If you’re not among the remarkably motivated folk who deck out their homes Christmas Vacation-style, there are plenty of places to go and ogle bajillions of Christmas lights. Two solid choices:
Inside and outside, you can view more than 2 million Christmas lights over various displays, along with several massive decorated trees (perfect for photo ops). There’s also the ticketed ICE!, this year with a ’Twas the Night Before Christmas theme, featuring 2 million pounds of ice sculptures and a live ice carving zone.
A bit more low key but nonetheless wonderfully sparkly, Franklin Christmas encompasses the computerized display work of local Christmas lights enthusiasts at two locations (Old Charlotte in Franklin and Sparrow Street in Spring Hill) with a total of 80,000 lights. The whole effort serves as a fundraiser for nonprofit Graceworks Ministries.
Take a Ride on the North Pole Express
Saturday, Dec. 6 and 13, 8:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Got a little girl or guy who’s obsessed with trains? A no-brainer: Tennessee Central Railway Museum’s Santa Express excursion trains travel out to Lebanon with Santa on board. Watch the countryside, snap shots with St. Nick and enjoy the wonders of the rails.
Catch 'A Christmas Story' Live Nashville Rep's A Christmas Story at TPAC
Various showings through December 21
Great: the annual viewing of holiday classic A Christmas Story on the ol’ TV. Even greater: Heading to TPAC to catch Nashville Repertory Theatre's adaptation of the beloved Story in the flesh. It’s a major award!
See the Reindeer at Cheekwood
Through December 31 Tuesday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Seeing Santa in person: old news. Seeing Rudolph (or Dancer or Prancer or Vixen) in person? Reason to get unreasonably excited. Cheekwood has two of Santa’s antlered companions on site every day this holiday season (though they also have many other attractions, including weekend portraits with Santa and cookie decorating).
Any of these on your Christmas to-do list? Any other stuff I should know about? Love to hear your thoughts -- drop me a line