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Tennessee has loads of holiday celebrations in charming small towns that will fill you with warmth and cheer. Here are just a few towns to visit and experience the magic of the season.
Christmas Towns Near Knoxville
The Victorian-era village Rugby comes alive each holiday season to spread joy and cheer to locals and visitors alike. Experience how Christmas was celebrated in the 1880s during Christmas at Rugby with holiday music, hot drinks and cookies, historic buildings decorated for the holidays, carolers throughout the village and a visit from Father Christmas. Take a tour of the historic buildings throughout the village, see the tree lighting ceremony complete with free Wassail and cookies, find the perfect gifts at local shops and see local artisans and shop their creations.
The small town of Loudon hosts several holiday events that are not to be missed. All through December, you can drive or walk-through the Christmas light displays during Loudon Lights at Loudon Municipal Park. Feel merry and bright during Christmas in the Park featuring festive treats, more than 100,000 twinkling lights, carriage rides, horse-drawn hay rides, a bonfire for s'mores, food trucks and an opportunity to place your letter to Santa in Santa's Mailbox. Enjoy breakfast and lunch with Santa and don't miss the Loudon Christmas Parade featuring floats, bands and more.
Christmas Towns Near Johnson City
There's no shortage of Christmas cheer in Tennessee's oldest town, Jonesborough. Every Saturday from Thanksgiving to Christmas, the town decks its halls for Christmas in Olde Jonesborough, an event featuring a different theme each week, Santa visits for children and downtown shopping in local boutiques. Bring an unwrapped gently used or new toy to donate to underprivileged children in the community. Enjoy the lighting of the Christmas tree which includes caroling, a Christmas story told by a local storyteller and more. The Celebration of Trees, a progressive holiday dinner, the kid-friendly At Home with Santa and the award-winning annual Holiday Tour & Tea are just a few of the events that will help you make precious family holiday memories. Claim your spot on the parade trail for the nighttime Jonesborough Christmas Parade featuring bands, church choirs, floats illuminated with Christmas lights and a live nativity scene.
Christmas Towns near Chattanooga
Make new family memories and traditions at "Light Up Pikeville" that kicks off with the annual Christmas parade through the month of December in the quaint town of Pikeville. Each weekend in December has different events including horse-drawn carriage rides, visits with Santa, a concert by Carrie Hassler, a live nativity, decorated Christmas trees and caroling. Enjoy the festive decorations downtown and pop into the local shops that have unique gifts for all your loved ones.
Holiday Towns near Nashville
The beloved Leiper's Fork Christmas Parade includes local school bands, antique tractors, horses, surprise appearances by celebrities and creative floats as make their way through Leiper's Fork's downtown. Past Grand Marshals of the parade have included singer/songwriter Lee Roy Parnell, Pam Tillis, Chris Janson, John Schneider and others. After the parade, do some local boutique shopping at Patina Home & Garden or Props Antique, make a s'more at one of the community fire pits. Enjoy a meal and live music at Fox & Locke.
Christmas is heralded in with the lighting of a 40-foot tree in the center of Dogwood Park in Cookeville. The holiday weeks are filled with 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 in the area, 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 Thanksgiving evening through New Year's Day.
Columbia goes all out for Christmas with a full calendar of community events. Get an early start on your holiday shopping at A Very Maury Christmas. You'll find more than 40 vendors with Tennessee made goods and crafts for sale at the market. Herald in the holiday season at the 35th annual Columbia Main Street Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting. Marvel at the 40-foot Christmas tree and enjoy live entertainment. Finally, take a stroll through the beautiful historic architecture of Columbia at the Maury Christmas Historic Home Tour. Tour some privately owned homes and historic landmarks at your own pace, taking in the beautiful holiday decor and history.
The charming town of Bell Buckle hosts the annual Old Fashioned Christmas on Saturdays in December with the annual Quilt Walk. You'll be filled with holiday spirit as you enjoy activities like free sleigh rides with Santa, a Quilt Walk Tour of Homes, a performance by the Flat Creek holiday dancers, a pet parade, s'mores around fire pits and more. Pop into the local boutiques for unique holiday shopping and to support local artists. The Quilt Walk features a stunning display of patterns and styles of traditional and modern quilts. Marvel at the handmade designs and embroidery of the quilts on display at the homes included on the tour. Take a self-driving tour or take advantage of the some of the transportation options. The popular Night Market will take place with outdoor games, holiday shopping and handmade crafters along with live music, food vendors and a showing of classic holiday movies.
Smithville heralds in the holidays with the annual Christmas Parade and Christmas on the Square event. The parade includes floats, bands and more marching. After the parade, Christmas on the Square kicks off with a free photo booth, local shopping at the downtown boutiques, festive outdoor displays and Christmas music at the Smithville City Hall and the DeKalb Courthouse and a "Live" Windows Contest at businesses and offices downtown featuring "live" scenes in the decorated windows. See Santa at the Justin-Potter Library and the lighted decorations at Evins Park.
Christmas Towns near Jackson
See more than 1 million lights synchronized to Christmas songs during Discovery Park of America's "Let It Glow" light show in November and December. The annual, drive-thru light show occurs on the 50 acres of the heritage park. You can even walk through part of the light show on the grounds. Food and beverages like hot chocolate will be for sale. Shop local, handmade gifts, Christmas carol karaoke and more holiday surprises.
Savannah, Tennessee and other surrounding towns in Hardin County light up for the holiday season with festive events and decorations. The Pickwick Christmas Parade kicks off the holiday season each year featuring floats, bands, light displays and more. Savannah hosts the annual Christmas on Main, a series of weekend events in December that brings thousands of light displays to the historic district along with carriage rides, movies, ice skating, local crafts and more. Additional events include the Savannah Christmas Parade, Christmas in the Park at Pickwick Landing State Park, and Wreaths Across America at Shiloh National Military Park.
Holiday Towns near Memphis
Each year, Collierville goes all out for Christmas, transforming the beautiful town into a charming Christmas town just like in the movies. It all starts with the Christmas Tree Lighting on the Collierville Town Square followed by the Christmas Parade. Each Saturday, you can find the town square bustling with holiday activity from Santa visits in the gazebo to horse-drawn carriage rides, a Holiday Photo Stroll where you can take the perfect photo-worthy photo, local boutique shopping, a quarter of a million lights strung around downtown and much more. All events are free and open to the public.
Experience a Victorian era Christmas during Dickens Christmas in Covington, Tennessee. The historic court square is transformed into a world filled with Victorian characters, horse drawn carriages, carolers and more. Enjoy refreshments, local boutique shopping and more. Join in on the fun and don a Victorian era costume yourself. Additional holiday events taking place in Covington include the Festival of Trees at the Tipton County Museum and performances at the Historic Ruffin Theater.
Make even more holiday memories in Tennessee by checking out the full calendar of events this Christmas season.
Skip the holiday mall rush and purchase the gift of experiences instead for everyone on your list. Browse these gift ideas from Memphis and the surrounding areas.