Experience small town Tennessee charm during this holiday season
December has officially marched in with its pomp and cheer. Tennessee has loads of holiday celebrations to fill your calendar in every big city and small town. Being from a small town myself, I always love the warmth of a small community around Christmas time. You can experience some Christmas charm from some of the cutest Tennessee small towns by checking out these celebrations. For a full list, plan your holiday schedule at www.tnvacation.com/calendar.
Discover old time traditions of the local region during the Holiday Homecoming Celebration Dec. 14 at Norris Dam State Park. Bring a flashlight and dress warmly for this walk that will take you through the east side of the park to the rustic cabins. Decked out in Christmas cheer, the area is transformed into a winter village filled with festivities, live animal demonstrations, and historical depictions of Appalachian life, horse-drawn wagon rides, and so much more.
Gear up for another Christmas season in Historic Jonesborough as the town celebrates with a “Family Christmas Traditions” parade 6 p.m. Dec. 14 through Main Street. Don your mittens and hats for a parade filled with live music, illuminated floats, horses, and antique cars. Spend time with family and friends over a cup of hot chocolate and welcome in the season. Stick around town for St. Nick Nights and Christmas in Olde Jonesborough, happening every Saturday night until Christmas with special events all day and night.
For those of you who want to have a Polar Express experience, Oak Ridge should be you destination, especially for the Santa Train Rides happening 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Dec. 14-15 at Secret City Excursion Train. Santa will delight children of all ages as he and Mrs. Claus make their rounds through the coaches, passing out Christmas goody bags and posing for photos. The train will be decked out in Christmas decorations and passengers will learn the history of the Manhattan Project and why it was one of the most remarkable industrial achievements accomplished. Refreshments and souvenirs will also be available for purchase.
Christmas has come to Clifton, Tenn. and with it theme decorated businesses, candlelit Main Street, and carolers strolling the streets singing Christmas songs. “A Stroll Through Christmas,” the town’s annual holiday event, runs Dec. 20-21. Shopping, dining, and local artists will have their wares displayed for sale. A Christmas tree farm, cookies and photos with Santa, and caroling at the historic Presbyterian Church will be offered during the three-day celebration.
An explosion of parades, festival of trees, and Christmas lights has happened in Wayne County for the holiday season. Tour the halls of the Wayne County Courthouse as the building has been turned into a magical wonderland with themed Christmas trees decorated by area organizations. Collinwood’s Christmas Parade will happen 2 pm. Dec. 15 running through the little town located adjacent to the Natchez Trace Parkway.
Travel to Pulaski, Tenn. in Giles County to tour the world-famous Milky Way Farm which boasts over 1,000 acres of pastures filled with deer, wild turkey, barns, trails, and vistas. The farm has one of the largest magnolia plantations of the South and tours of the Manor House are available. The Christmas Country Breakfast or Southern Lunch & Tour will be hosted by Milky Way Farm 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 14 which will include stories by owner Charles Jones and historic tours of the land and manor, decorated in all its Christmas splendor. Tickets are $24.
West Tennessee is just hopping with holiday events throughout its small towns. Head to Paris, Tenn. for the Downtown Christmas Festival, an all-day affair which includes Santa in his gingerbread house, Rudolph, craft booths, Christmas stories, hot chocolate, trackless trains, and holiday fun galore Dec. 14. Put a big red bow on the day by attending the town’s Holly Jolly Electric Christmas Parade 4:30 p.m. The parade is all lit up for Christmas as entries range from decorated and lighted golf carts, floats, cars, trucks and so much more. Wonder, amazement and Christmas cheer is sure to glow in the eyes of each onlooker.
Enjoy holiday displays and luminaries via trolley or horse-drawn carriage ride Dec. 13-14 at Pickwick Landing State Park as it hosts Christmas in the Park. Get into the holiday spirit with the Festival of Lights, find great gifts as local crafters and retailers will have their items for sale. A visit from Santa and his elves, a holiday train ride, and bedtime stories are also on the schedule for this family-friendly event.
What are some of your favorite Tennessee small town Christmas celebrations? Let me know in the comments below!