Rather than sit around eating fruitcake and listening to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” on repeat, try a different approach to getting in the holiday spirit. Here are 10 different festivities you can enjoy:
Christmas in the Village hillsborovillage.com
Dec. 6| 5 -8 p.m.| FREE
Hillsboro Village is adding a cool edge to the Christmas season. During Christmas in the Village, artists and musicians will show their work as you enjoy carolers, Santa and his elves, the possibility to win a raffle and hot cider and cocoa. Throughout the village, businesses will also join in with discounts and additional festivities. Feeling bad about blowing off Study Day? You can also donate a toy for Toys for Tots at Fido.
The 60th Annual Nashville Christmas Parade and Christmas Tree Lighting nashvillechristmasparade.com
Dec. 7 | Tree Lighting: 6:30 p.m.; Parade: 7 p.m.| FREE
Supporting soldiers, police officers, firefighters and public servants while also catching candy thrown to you — what could be better than that? Come see the mayor light the Christmas tree and stay for a wintery night full of fun and cheer.
Holly Trolley tmagroup.org/shop/holly-trolley
Dec. 6-22 | Trolley A: 6:30 p.m.; Trolley B: 8:30 p.m.| $16
Do you miss the times when you would ride packed in your car with your parents and look at Christmas lights? The Holly Trolley is a close substitute, offering rides all December to “ooh and aww” at the lights in Franklin, Brentwood and Williamson counties. Buy your ticket fast — the seats are filling up like Santa’s belly with cookies!
Dickens of a Christmas historicfranklin.com/events/dickens-of-a-christmas
Dec. 8-9 | Saturday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday: noon-5 p.m.| FREE
Experience the way Christmas was 150 years ago with Dickens of a Christmas. An annual tradition in Historic Downtown Franklin, Dickens offers carriage rides, a holiday bazaar, Victorian foods and costumed characters. Caroling and a Christmas tree lighting will be on Sunday at 4:30. A $1 donation is requested, but not required. So decide: Are you a Scrooge or a Tiny Tim?
North Pole Express tcry.org/pass_ops.htm
Dec. 8 & Dec. 15 | 8 a.m.–1:30 p.m.| $32 for regular seats
A real life Polar Express, except instead of searching for Santa, he’s sitting on the same train, and you can see beautiful country landscapes instead of (hopefully) mounds and mounds of snow. If you’re looking for a way to escape after finals, this two-and-a-half-hour train ride is the place to zone out and soak up the holiday cheer.
Holiday at Cheekwood cheekwood.org/Public_Programs/Holiday_at_Cheekwood.aspx
Nov. 23- Dec. 30 | Times vary| Prices vary
From reindeer, to concerts, to photo ops with Santa and adult gingerbread decorating classes, Cheekwood has the ultimate Christmas package. If you’re unsure of what festivities you want to partake in this holiday season, head out to the beautifully-decorated Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and choose from more than 15 activities.
Carriage Rides at The Square downtownmurfreesboro.com
Every Friday thru Dec. 21 | 5:30 p.m.–9:30 p.m.| FREE
In almost every romantic, Christmas-themed movie, a moonlit carriage ride is featured. Instead of hailing one off the street and scrounging for cash to pay, come to The Square in Murfreesboro where free carriage rides are offered every Friday. Snuggle under a plaid blanket, maybe sneak some hot chocolate on board and enjoy the ride.
A Nashville Symphony Christmas nashvillesymphony.org/tickets/event/nashsymphchristmas
Dec. 13| 7 p.m.| $44+
If you still have some money left over from all your holiday shopping, splurge a little on tickets to the Nashville Symphony. During its orchestra and chorus concert, audience members will hear sleigh bells, famous carols and Christmas songs we all know and love. If you buy tickets to the symphony, you also get free tickets to the Frist Center. Great present idea, anyone?
Gaylord Opryland Hotel gaylordhotels.com/gaylord-opryland/index.html
Anytime| Anytime| FREE
If you’ve already spent all your money this season, go down to the Opryland Hotel to check out their beautiful lights display. You don’t even have to bundle up to enjoy the hotel’s acres of decorations. If you do have money to spend or are in a bind for a Christmas gift, Opryland also offers multiple holiday packages to enhance the Christmas spirit.
The Murfreesboro Salvation Army facebook.com/salvationarmymurfreesboro
Deadline for Angel Tree donations: Dec. 15
Christmas is about giving, and what better way to celebrate the holiday than by volunteering to ring a bell outside storefronts for red kettle donations? If you’d rather skip the cold, Angel Tree signups are still on. Either way, you’ll feel great after spreading your holiday cheer.