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.
The Victorian-era village Rugby, Tennessee will come alive this holiday season to spread joy and cheer to locals and visitors alike. Experience how Christmas was celebrated in the 1880s during Christmas at Rugby Dec. 4 and Dec. 11, 2021 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.
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.
Make new family memories and traditions at "Light Up Pikeville" that kicks off with the annual Christmas parade Nov. 27, 2021 through the month of December 2021 in the quaint town of Pikeville. Each weekend in December will have 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.
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 Dec. 10 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 Dec. 11, 2021 and don't miss the Loudon Christmas Parade featuring floats, bands and more 6 p.m. Dec. 11.
Small Towns in Middle Tennessee
The beloved Leiper's Fork Christmas Parade is back for 2021, taking place 2 p.m. Dec. 11. Local school bands, antique tractors, horses, surprise appearances by celebrities and creative floats make their way through Leiper's Fork's downtown. A Grand Marshal for the parade is yet to be announced, but past Grand Marshal's include Loretta Lynn, Kid Rock and John Schneider. After the parade, do some local boutique shopping at Serenite Maison or Props Antique, make a s'more at one of the community fire pits and enjoy a meal at Puckett's Grocery.
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 Nov. 20, 2021. 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 Dec. 4, 2021. Marvel at the 40-foot Christmas tree and enjoy entertainment by national radio star Blair Garner. Listen to music by American Idol Season 19 finalist Cassandra Coleman at Christmas at The Factory Gala with heavy hors d'oeuvres, open bar and a Christmas Market full of Tennessee made gift items. See Rory Feek in concert during the Rory Feek Home Christmas Concerts at Hardison Mill Homestead Hall on Saturdays in December. Experience the new venue The Mulehouse during the Rejoice Music Series featuring performances by Rhett Walker, Travis Cottrell, Matt Maher and Christy Nickels. Finally, take a stroll through the beautiful historic architecture of Columbia at the Maury Christmas Historic Home Tour Dec. 3-4, 2021. 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 taking place Dec. 3-4, 2021. 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 12 homes included on the tour. Take a self-driving tour or take advantage of the some of the transportation options. On Dec. 3, 2021, 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 the movie "The Polar Express."
Smithville heralds in the holidays with the annual Christmas Parade and Christmas on the Square event on Dec. 4. The parade begins at 4 p.m. with floats, bands and more marching from New Life Connection Center onto South Congress Boulevard to the downtown square. 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.
West Tennessee Small Towns
See more than 1 million lights synchronized to Christmas songs during Discovery Park of America's "Let It Glow" light show beginning Nov. 12 through Dec. 30, 2021. The drive-thru light show occurs on the 50 acres of the heritage park. This year, you can 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.
About 24 miles from Discovery Park, Blue Bank Resort in Hornbeak hosts their Winter Wonderland from Nov. 20, 2021 to the end of January 2022. Relax by the fire pits and make s'mores, walk through one million Christmas lights and enjoy a visit with Santa Claus. Live music will take place every weekend and dining specials will be offered as well.
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 Nov. 23, 2021 on the Collierville Town Square followed by the Christmas Parade on Dec. 3, 2021. 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 Instagram-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.
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 Dec. 3, 2021 featuring floats, bands, light displays and more. Savannah hosts the annual Christmas on Main, a series of weekend events in December (Dec. 3-4, Dec. 10-11, Dec. 17-18, 2021) 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 Dec. 6, 2021, Christmas in the Park at Pickwick Landing State Park Dec. 10-11, 2021, and Wreaths Across America at Shiloh National Military Park Dec. 18, 2021.
Experience a Victorian era Christmas during Dickens Christmas in Covington, Tennessee. The historic court square will be 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 Nov. 30-Dec. 31, 2021 and performances of "A Wicked Christmas Carol" Dec. 10-18, 2021 at the Historic Ruffin Theater.
Make even more holiday memories in Tennessee by checking out the full calendar of events this Christmas season.