(Written by Melissa Coker).
Though the Music City area’s forecasted highs are not expected to dip below freezing there’s still a lot of cool activities in which visitors of all kinds can expect to delight this December.
1) ICE! Ice tends to feel twice as nice inside and you’ll experience tons of that bundled-up festive fun as part of “Ice!” and many more of Gaylord Opryland’s “A Country Christmas” wintry mix of events throughout the year. There’s more than a bit of a chill in the air as you walk throughout the 2 million pounds of sculptures and it’s not just because How the Grinch Stole Christmas is this year’s theme. The room is kept at a steady 9 degrees. There are also four 2-story tall ice slides and a crystal-clear Nativity. Other activities yule flip over on the premises include ice skating on an 8,000 square-foot rink, ice tubing on the lawn, carriage rides, and an oh-so-sweet gingerbread decorating corner. You can enjoy a delicious meal and meet the Grinch while you’re feasting! The interactive dining experience includes a buffet of Who-ville inspired items and table-side visits with The Grinch. There’s still more to discover and too many “A Country Christmas” events for which to quite capture the essence here so please visit the resort’s site for all of the information your holiday heart could desire. Many package deals and discounts are available for adults, children, military, and more. https://www.marriott.com/gaylord-hotels/gaylord-opryland-nashville-christmas-events-activities.mi
Elsewhere on Gaylord ground, every light in (and outside – there’s at least 3 million of the holiday variety) of Gaylord Opryland’s house is on as country superstar Trace Adkins performs featured standards from his 2013 release The King’s Gift and beyond on select dates in the resort’s Tennessee Ballroom through Christmas Day. There’s even a special menu – featuring fare like “Noel” chocolate custard. https://tickets.gaylordopryland.com/eventperformances.asp?evt=31
2) It may not be Santa Claus or Candy Cane Lane but on December 17th the Walmart at 204 North Anderson Lane in Hendersonville fully intends to festively rival these names. How? Well if you follow the wheels on the loads of tour buses that typically go round and round you’ll find that they’re opening up their doors as part of the annual Christmas 4 Kids outreach in the store’s holi-dazed paradise of a parking lot. From 5 to 9 pm fans will get an opportunity to meet some stars and climb aboard their parked tour buses. The annual bus show showing raises money to fund holiday shopping sprees at Wal-Mart for more than 400 local school children. Those scheduled to appear include 3 Doors Down, Adairs Run (who recently performed on USA Network’s Real Country); talented songstress Ashton Shepherd (with top 20 singles “Takin’ Off This Pain,” “Sounds So Good,” and “Look It Up” to her credit), Craig Wayne Boyd, Kimberly Schlapman of Little Big Town, favored Tennessee favorites The Young Fables (who’ve also performed on Real Country), Lee Greenwood, rockabilly renaissance man Eric Heatherly (whose new album Matchbook Rendezvous will be released next year) and many more. Hunter Hayes will be there for one hour only from 5-6 pm. For the complete list please visit http://christmas4kids.org/busshow/.
3) Spruce things up with a special show from some Oaks. The one-of-kind musical gift of the Oak Ridge Boys are wrapping their holiday tour season up in style as their popular far-reaching Shine the Light On Christmas tour arrives on a December 23rd joyful noise-filled night at Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center. If the previews we’ve seen online are any indication then the Boys are more prepared to pull out all the stops and then some at this jubilant event (presented without orchestra). This show is nearing sold-out status so hurry and get your tickets at nashvillesymphony.org to avoid a blue Christmas.
Speaking of which - - feeling Elv-ish? Catch some Christmas classics of The King’s (of Memphis – not Bethlehem) courtesy of Terry Mike Jeffrey and complete with symphony for only $25 on the 19th and 20th with “An Elvis Christmas” at the Schermerhorn.
4) Harmonious husband-and-wife duo Vince Gill and Amy Grant are settling in for so many of their famed Christmas shows at the “Mother Church” that they may as well be pitching a tent (or paying rent). Rodney Crowell, John Jorgensen and Hannah Sutherland open. Remaining dates of their 12 days/nights stand are December 16-20th and once more on the 23rd. “These holiday tours have become our favorites,” chimes Vince. Tickets here.
5) Brighten up the season: Stroll in and around Cheekwood's Holiday “LIGHTS” experience featuring one million bright bulbs in which to bask along the one-mile walking path. Visit with reindeer, enjoy seasonal drinks such as hot chocolate and cider, be crooned to by carolers, see a 500+ poinsettia tree, roast a marshmallow and maybe even meet Santa if you’re into that kind of thing. https://cheekwood.org/calendar/holiday-lights/
6) Hall aboard! The Country Music of Hall of Fame and Museum is gifting an impressive display of offerings to visitors during its Deck the Hall events. “Tour and Concert: A Legendary Holiday” gets underway December 15th with a tour of historic RCA Studio B and music from Jason Coleman and Meagan Taylor. Shake things up and make mini-museum exhibit snow globes in the Hall’s creative zone, or take in a movie with a screening of the legendary “Whisperin’” Bill Anderson’s 1968 A Country Christmas on December 23rd from 11 am to noon. More “Deck”-designed happenings here.
Speaking of flicks, on a (loosely) related note we would be remiss not to mention everyone’s favorite classic Christmas film Die Hard. It’s bursting onto the Belcourt screen with a vengeance on December 15th at midnight. https://www.facebook.com/BelcourtTheatre/posts/10156393944953929
7) If you’re in the vicinity of Goodlettsville and want to extend the warm and fuzzy feelings along to your furry friend then chin up! Good tidings for you. RiverGate Mall is hosting Pet Photos with Santa in front of JCPenney on December 18th from 6-9 pm. It’s a special night just for pets and you can reserve your time online. https://www.rivergate-mall.com/events/pet-photos/
8) Feeling a dreary winter cold coming on? Cure it with a good fix from the Old Crow Medicine Show. On December 30th and 31st the much-beloved Americana-ian band of merrymakers are building a Nashville nest for themselves as the Opry-member and Grammy-winning group swoop into the Ryman Auditorium for a two-night residence to close out the year. Curious as to just what kind of raucous Ryman nights you might experience with these fowl folkists? Here’s a quote from lead vocalist Ketch Secor (upon OCMS’s Opry induction) to give a good glimpse.
“We the Old Crows are just so proud to be entrusted to carry on the traditions of the Grand Ole Opry’s good-natured riot.”
Their newest album Volunteer was released earlier this year and is available here. Tickets to both shows (featuring The War and Treaty) are available via Ryman.com.
Lastly but not leastly, if the thought of ringing in the new year gives you hot and cold fever (and, ya know; leaves you in a cool cool sweat) then you’re in luck. John Prine plus prime openers Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats (with special guest Iris Dement) take the Opry House stage at 8 pm. on December 31st. More info and tickets here. To further set the tone you can also see performances from Prine plus Rateliff and the Sweats’ steamy number direct from the 2018 Americana Music Festival by streaming CMT’s hour-long Americana Fest special for free through select cable providers. http://www.cmt.com/full-episodes/r1t9dv/2018-americanafest-2018-americanafest
**If booking an area hotel stay, consider choosing Music City’s “Holiday Memories in Nashville Package” where you can choose from a list of area events through the Nashville Convention and Visitor’s Corporation and have a one-of-a-kind “Spirit of Music City” (including lots of sweet treats) gift box to show for it. https://reservations.visitmusiccity.com/package/info/8833/7527
Hi. I'm a member of the country club. Country Music is what I love.