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The Ultimate Guide to Memphis Holiday Fun for Everyone 2015

Photo: facebook.com/TheMagicOfTheHolidays
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Christmas Vacation Quote at Younge Ave Deli

Young Ave Deli, Photo: Amanda Hill

It’s never too early to start planning your holiday adventures in Memphis! Grab a coffee or hot chocolate and make plans with our handy guide below.

Quick Links:

Ongoing Light Displays:

 

  • Starry Nights at Shelby Farms Park
    • November 20th – December 27th
    • With more than 1.5 million lights illuminating the night sky, this is the largest annual drive-through holiday light show and festival in the Mid-South. This year, Orion Starry Nights features a completely new light show that celebrates some of the most iconic places in Memphis, as well as versions of your family favorites.
    • Cost:
      • $20 for car, truck or minivan
      • $50 for limo or 15 passenger van
      • $150 for charter or school bus
  • Zoo Lights
    • November 20th – December 30th (select nights)
    • Snow is back at this year’s SunTrust Zoo Lights! You’ll see snow in the Courtyard, an all-new ride, the return of the 90-foot LED Ferris wheel, see Santa in his shop, go ice-skating, see live reindeer, enjoy thousands of LED holiday lights and more.
    • Annual tree lighting ceremony is 11/20 at 5pm
    • Tickets: $6/members; $8/nonmembers
  • Snowy Nights at Memphis Botanic Garden 
    • Open nightly December 11 & 12, December 18-30, 5:30-8:30pm
    • Closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
    • Themed lighting along Playhouse Lane and a musical light show throughout My Big Backyard set the stage as you stroll in through “falling snow,” play in the giant Snow Globe, decorate icicle ornaments, search for hidden snowflakes in the Snowflake Forest, play Mitten Toss and Tic-Tac-Snow, and plug your own design into our Giant Light Bright! Don’t worry about a little chill in the air…you’ll keep toasty warm around campfire pits, perfect for roasting marshmallows and making s’mores.
    • Cost:
      • MBG members $8
      • Non-members $10
      • Children under 2 are free
  • Enchanted Forest at Pink Palace – 11/14 – 12/31
    • $6 Adults, $5 Seniors and children ages 3-12.
    • Pink Palace Members: $5 Adults, $4 seniors and children ages 3-12. Group rates are available.
    • This fairy tale-like forest of glittering lights will dazzle the young and young-at-heart. 100% of the proceeds go to LeBonheur Children’s Hospital.
    • Model Train: A full-scale miniature train twists and turns throughout a snow covered village, set up in front of Santa’s house inspiring the imagination of children and adults alike.
    • New this year: Vintage toys from the Pink Palace collection.
  • Magic of the Holidays Display – Free
    • Every year you can experience 30,000 lights set to music at 6928 Briarhill Drive, in Bartlett.
    • Lights go up on Thanksgiving Day Night.
    • Go here for more info.
  • Bartlett Lights – Free
    • 4064 Sunny Meadows Rd, Bartlett, TN 38135
    • Tune your radio to FM 101.7
  • Bartlett Christmas Lights – Free
    • 3420 Venson Drive, Bartlett 38135
    • Tune your radio to 106.7
  • Downtown Memphis – Free
    • This year Downtown Memphis hosted a Storefront Decorating Contest! Check out the displays and share your favs on Instagram (don’t forget to tag #choose901!).
  • Various Memphis Displays
    • Thanks to this map and kind neighbors you can find local Christmas light displays
    • Also see this map for more light displays

Find a Christmas Tree:

Graceland at Christmas

Photo: Elvis Presley Enterprises

Tree Lighting Ceremonies:

  • Graceland – 11/20 – 6pm
    • Graceland will officially begin the holiday season as Trisha Yearwood “flips the switch” on the traditional lights and decorations during the annual lighting ceremony on 11/20 at 6pm. She will perform a song for guests and patients from Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis will assist Yearwood in lighting up Elvis Presley’s iconic home for the season. Not able to be in Memphis? Watch the Graceland lighting ceremony live here.
  • Downtown – 11/20 – 5pm
    • The Downtown Memphis Commission will be installing a beautiful 40-ft holiday tree on the corner of Peabody Place and Main Street!  The tree will be installed on the northeast corner (near Bank of America)  starting next week. There will be a small ceremony and caroling by the Downtown Elementary School.
  • Memphis Zoo – 11/20 – 5pm
    • Help us flip the switch to ring in the holiday season! We’ll be joined by meteorologist Andrew Kozak of WMC-TV at this special tree lighting ceremony. Join us at 5 p.m. for the free event as part of your special Zoo tradition.
  • Arlington – 11/21 – 4pm
    • Step back in time at Depot Square and see Christmas as it was in the early 20th Century. Some activities include carriage rides, toy workshop, ornament shop, live nativity, candy shop, sweet shop, and more.
  • Peabody Hotel – 11/27 – 11am – 7pm
    • Santa and his elves arrive immediately after the 5pm Duck March. Enjoy a giant gingerbread village as well as local choir performances throughout the day.
  • Germantown – 11/27 – 5pm
    • Outdoor festivities 5 p.m., tree lighting 5:30 p.m.
    • Inside Municipal Center, revelers can visit Santa Claus and enjoy refreshments. No rain date.
  • Collierville – 12/1 – 5:30pm
    • Hot chocolate served by the Town of Collierville Mayor and Board of Aldermen.
    • Schedule: Entertainment at 6pm, Christmas Tree Lighting and the arrival of Santa at 7pm
    • Don’t forget your lawn chairs and cameras but please leave your pets at home.
  • Overton Square – 12/3 – 6pm-9pm
    • Madison Avenue will be closed so you can easily stroll and visit the shops and restaurants at Overton Square as they feature an open house, holiday décor and in store specials. Stop by Babalu to sample free guacamole during the event and join the Square employees in the Ultimate Ugly Sweater Contest. Enjoy music by White Station High School’s “The Key of She”, St. Mary’s “Chamber Ensemble”, Bellevue’s Performing Arts Choir and Marching Band, and the Central High School Marching Band. Rozelle Elementary choir will serenade the audience as they light up the Square’s 20 foot tree on Madison at Cooper.
  • Woodruff Fontaine House Museum – 12/4 – 4pm
    • The WF will be dressed and lit up for the season with “some old favorite” textiles on display throughout. Docents will be dressed in period attire and recounting the most festive happenings from the past. Refreshments will be served. This is a free event open to the public, please consider a contribution so they may continue the preservation of one of Memphis’ finest historic properties.
  • University District – 12/12 – 3pm-6pm
    • Hot cocoa, holiday goodies, s’mores pit, kids ornament-making area, caroling, and a tree lighting!

 

santa

See Santa:

  • Collierville – 11/28, 12/5, 12/12, 12/19  – 10am-2pm – Free
    • Santa Rick will once again be visiting the Collierville Square. Bring children of all ages, along with your Christmas wishlist to give to Santa. This will be in the pavilion on the Historic Town Square so feel free to take all the photos you want and don’t forget to visit the shops around the square and do some shopping.
  • Carriage Crossing – 11/21 – 12/24
    • Saturday: 11AM-7PM
    • Sunday: 11:00AM – 6PM
    • Monday – Wednesday: 11AM-7PM
    • Thursday: Closed
    • Pet Photos with Santa also available
  • Enchanted Forest at Pink Palace – 11/14 – 12/31
    • $6 Adults, $5 Seniors and children ages 3-12.
    • Pink Palace Members: $5 Adults, $4 seniors and children ages 3-12. Group rates are available.
    • 100% of the proceeds go to LeBonheur Children’s Hospital.
    • Pictures with Santa: 11/4 – 12/24, 2:30pm – Photo Packages: $10-60. Photos by J&B Childress Portait Art.
    • Santa Send-Off: Thursday, December 24 at 3pm.
    • Christmas Eve, see Santa off as he heads back to the North Pole to begin his journey around the world.
  • Bass Pro Pyramid – 11/14 – 12/24 – Free
    • Get photos with Santa and enjoy free crafts, moving trains, activity tables, and more
  • Oak Court Mall – 11/21 – 12/24
  • Wolfchase Galleria – 11/21 – 12/24
    • Skip the line and pay $10 to make an appointment here
  • Children’s Museum – 12/12 – 9:30am
    • Jingle all the way to CMOM in your coziest Christmas PJ’s for a festive morning filled with family fun and holiday memories. Start your day with a yummy pancake breakfast before posing for pictures with Santa. Will you get your face painted with a red nose like Rudolph or maybe with sparkles like an elf? The choice is up to you! You can even make a special winter time craft while watching a holiday movie. Don’t miss the “cutest jammies” contest at 10:15. Five winners will receive a Village Toymaker gift certificate and a CMOM Family membership. Every child attending receives a special holiday plush SpongeBob to take home.
    • Members are $12 and non-members are $17.
    • Event tickets must be purchased in advance online or by phone at (901) 458-2678, ext. 221.
  • Breakfast with Santa – 12/12 – 9am-11am
    • This event will include a Pancake bar, games, ornament station, photo booth, reindeer food, face painting and of course pictures with Santa. Cost is $5 per child – $10 Family cap for activities. $5 each for Pancake & Sausage Bar. All proceeds go to benefit Casa Hogar Benito Juarez Orphanage, Mexico. Cameras welcome.
  • Breakfast with Santa – 12/21 – 9am – $16/$12/$9
    • Enjoy photos with Santa, Gibson’s Donuts, pancakes, and more.
    • Call today to reserve your spot: 901-758-1015
  • Go Ice Skating with Santa – 12/12, 12/13, 12/19, 12/20, 12/22, – $9
    • Skate with Santa & Crush the Polar Bear. Wear your favorite Santa or elf hat and win prizes.  Also enjoy on-ice Fun & Games.
    • Admission – $9.00
    • Skate Rental – $3.00
  • Pizza With Santa at Aldo’s Midtown – 12/18 -4pm-7pm
    • On Dasher, on Dancer, on Donner and Blitzen,
      To Aldo’s Pizza Pies Midtown to see what we’re missin’!
      Pizza with Santa you say, how do we join in the fun?
      Bring a toy for a tot, and that’s it, you’re done!
      Crafts, goodies, and pics with Santa, will fill your heart with joy,
      While sharing love this season with a grateful girl or boy!
christmas carrolls

Photo: John Carroll

Family Friendly Holiday Shows & Events:

 

christmas in memphis

Photo by Lauren Berry

Holiday Events for Couples:

 

Memphis Christmas

Photo: @badjuju74

Other Holiday Events:

indie market

Holiday Markets

Parades

 

Photo: Central BBQ

Photo: Central BBQ

Thanksgiving Day Events:

 

Photo: facebook.com/TheMagicOfTheHolidays

Photo: facebook.com/TheMagicOfTheHolidays

Christmas Eve Events:

 

revolving door

Christmas Day Events:

Go here for New Year’s Eve events!

Need gift ideas? We’ve got you covered with a few ideas. Also, we wanna see your holiday photos so tag them with #choose901 on Instagram and Twitter and you might just be featured on our blog or Instagram!

We will be updating this list so feel free to post anything we missed in the comments.

Well, ok, not everything, but we try to keep a close pulse on the great things going on in the city, and it is our joy to share those things with you, three times a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday). No spam, cross our hearts.