Oh my – the Nashville Christmas Lights!
The holidays may be over, but the buzz that the Nashville Christmas lights and all of the festivities gave my little family is still lingering. It’s all thanks to the fantastic events that happened around Music City.
We did our best to soak them all in in the moment, but I wanted to write this post-season review in part because I want to relive the magic we encountered and in part because I am honestly looking forward to doing it all over again in just 11 months!
When it comes to the holidays, creating memories is the most important and magical thing, especially when you have children.
Thinking back to my childhood, it’s the family traditions that stand out in my mind, which all came from the ways in which my parents made sure that our hearts were full of Christmas magic. It was never about the presents, though I do indeed remember squealing with glee on Christmas morning just like every other tot in the world.
But the most important memories are of the ones steeped in tradition. I mean, how can I forget the delicious smell of cookies baking as we wrote our letter to Santa to leave out with those treats and a glass of milk? And the fact that he ATE the cookies and left just a couple sips of milk in the glass?! Well that’s just ENCHANTING!
Those “night before” activities are truly amazing, but what about all of the events you can take part in BEFORE the Big Night? Christmas lights, ice slides, gourmet hot chocolate and even some holiday libations for Mom and Dad to enjoy (in moderation!) are in abundance during the holidays. The Greater Nashville area has no short supply of twinkling lights and pixie dust when it comes to fantastic events for you and your family,.
If you’re looking for a run down of the Rockstar Mom Sisterhood’s favorite baby-friendly Christmas haunts, look no further! We’ll keep you jingling all the way through your very own Advent Calendar of festivities in no time.
Best Nashville Christmas Lights on a Budget:
Gaylord Opryland Resort’s A Country Christmas
It goes without saying that the holidays can sometimes put a damper on the “fun money” category of our budgets, so why not indulge in some excitement that’s essentially free? And a trip to the Gaylord Opryland Resort is as 100% free (minus the gas money to get there) if you follow a few simple steps.
Pack up baby’s stroller and Lillebaby carrier, head over to Opryland, park in the mall parking lot nearest the hotel (free parking!) and take your time walking the grounds inside the hotel.
The hotel is a vast indoor atrium with 9 acres of gardens and waterfalls, all in a temperature controlled setting – or as I like to call it “An escape from winter”. Within those 9 acres, you can find all kinds of dining options and fun activities. It’s like being in your own idyllic little city!
This is an annual tradition for my husband and me – and now for our little Jameson as well! We love looking back on the photos from each year, appreciating how richly our life together is growing.
Add In a Little Budget
If you have a bit of a budget for dining and fun, I would definitely suggest choosing a restaurant near the Delta Island area (Stax is my fave for quick bites), watching the water show and then grabbing a beverage from Starbucks to enjoy while you’re walking around. It may even be fun to hop aboard the Delta Riverboat Cruise (yes – there’s a river AND a boat ride in the atrium!).
There are lots of paid holiday activities at Opryland as well, but that’s a post for another day…
Best Drive Thru Nashville Christmas Lights:
The Dancing Lights of Christmas
If you’re looking for a little holiday magic by the carload (or van-load or truckload…whatever suits your fancy), hop a ride on out to Lebanon and experience The Dancing Lights of Christmas for the area’s best drive-thru lights experience.
What’s great about this is that if one of your littles falls asleep, you don’t have to stress about getting in and out of the car. And I can’t stress this one enough – CLIMATE. CONTROL. Plus, the lights are truly spectacular!
And if you ARE ready to get out of the car with the kiddos, the drive thru experience concludes with a visit to Santa’s Village, where there are tons of kids’ activities including face painting, photos with Santa, a petting zoo and bounce house, as well as food and beverages available.
A lot of the activities were included this year as a part of the Lights’ 10th Anniversary celebration. Some things like face-painting and photos with Santa were extra. This is a great time for the whole family!
Best Place to Cut Down A Tree:
Country Cove Christmas Tree Farm
Growing up in Northern New Jersey lends itself to all things wintery and our Christmas traditions followed suit. Every early December, my parents would get all four kiddos up early on a Sunday morning, pile into an IHOP to devour a hearty breakfast and then continue down the highway into Pennsylvania to cut down our very own Christmas tree.
These are some of my favorite Christmastime memories from my childhood, so it has always been very important to me to be able to carry this on, even if I now live in a different state. It took a couple of seasons to find the right Christmas tree farm, but once we did we couldn’t believe we hadn’t found Country Cove Christmas Tree Farm sooner.
The Perfect Tree
I am very particular about my Christmas tree. The needles have to have a specific “feel” to them in order to hang the ornaments juuuust right. It is also an absolute prerequisite that our tree has that “Oh my gosh – it’s CHRISTMAS” smell wafting throughout the house. The trees at Country Cove have just that, as well as some mildly scented trees for allergy sufferers and those with an olfactory aversion to all things pine.
They have the option of cutting down your very own tree with many options, including the Blue Spruce, Norway Spruce, Leyland Cypress, Carolina Sapphire, Turkish Fir and White Pine. They also have a fantastic variety of pre-cut Fraser Fir trees, which do not grow in the Nashville area but are my personal favorite because they meet said requirements listed above.
It is all about the experience of course, so the complimentary hot chocolate and apple cider are such a nice touch. If you’re looking for an extra indulgence, Kirby’s Mini-Donuts food truck is there most of the time with – you guessed it – DONUTS! They are freshly made on site and quite literally melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
We are so happy that we stumbled upon this amazing gem of a farm!
Best New Holiday Lights Display:
I really can’t say enough good things about Nashville’s newest Nashville Christmas lights sensation, GLOW Nashville. Situated at First Tennessee Park in downtown Nashville, this lights display is truly an architectural masterpiece as far as holiday lights go.
The layout of the baseball stadium is utilized perfectly in every way, so much that you forget you’re at First Tennessee Park and instead feel as though you’ve been transported to the North Pole itself. With wonderfully lit tunnels and bridges, illuminated creatures of Christmas folklore and a 100 foot tall Christmas “tree”, your eyes are bound to sparkle in the glow.
The food, beverages and activities are bound to keep the whole family entertained as well. You can go ice skating through a frozen fortress, hang out in a temperature controlled igloo, grab a holiday cocktail in a light up Christmas bulb or stop by Santa’s Workshop to snap a photo with the man himself while Mrs. Claus and the elves entertain your whole crew with stories, music and just plain old great conversation.
And then there is the snow tubing experience! This single handedly won the big kid in me over, while little man’s favorite part of the experience was taking in the lights and seeing his best buddy Santa Claus.
This is one attraction that we are truly looking forward to seeing again next year. If they can be this great in the first year, imagine what subsequent years are going to look like!
Can’t Wait for Next Year!
On the surface, a city like Nashville can appear to be oriented specifically to musicians, craft beer aficionados and foodies without children, but with a little digging, you’ll find that there is plenty of things to do with babies and children alike that Mom and Dad can enjoy too. We are very much looking forward to next year’s holiday season and sharing all of our favorite finds with you again!