There’s nothing like Christmas in the South and we may be partial to Northeast Tennessee’s picture perfect downtowns and mountain landscapes. Looking for a list of holiday activities for the family? Check out our top 12 ways to celebrate the season.
Rogersville Hometown Christmas Parade
With Santa’s annual visit, the Parade of Trees, Downtown merchants Open House and the tree lighting service on the Courthouse Square, Rogersville does it right for Christmas. Take in the atmosphere of this small town and its larger life holiday spirit during the annual “Hometown Christmas” parade that runs through the heart of downtown on December 3 at 4 p.m. Click here for more info.
Kingsport Exchange Place Christmas in the Country
Experience the holidays on the farm in the 1850s. Christmas in the Country features fresh greenery and trees, handcrafted wreaths and roping, as well as unique folk arts and crafts. In the kitchen, you’ll find traditional Christmas fare including oysters, fritters, cinnamon waffles, ginger cakes and wassail. Join in to make old-fashioned yuletide decorations such as stringed popcorn and pomander balls, as well as candle-dipping, bird tree decorating and old-timey toys. Christmas in the Country also features blacksmith demonstrations and no celebration is complete with an official Yule Log Ceremony. The Kingsport Exchange Place Christmas in the Country will take place on December 3 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Click here for more info.
Rocky Mount Candlelight Christmas
Smell the apple fritters frying in the kitchen, pies waiting to be eaten in the dining room and smoke of the bonfire. Travel back to Christmas Eve 1791 where the Cobb home is adorned with handmade decorations of greenery and candles. Listen to the stories of firing the anvil, the kissing ball, poor man’s punch and to traditional music where you may even be invited to join in and dance. A Candlelight Christmas will take place on December 2, 3, 9 and 10 from 4:30 to 8 p.m. Reservations are encouraged and admission is $10 for adults and $8 for children ages 5 and up. Click here for more info.
The Pinnacle Speedway in Lights
For 20 years, Bristol Motor Speedway has turned into a winter wonderland, growning into one of the largest holiday spectacles in the country on a near five mile route. Many guest-favorite lights return including the dinosaur village and candelabra poinsettia. Returning guests will be excited about the reintroduction of the “Sea of Illumination” Ripley’s Aquarium display under the grandstands. The holiday spectacular also includes a trip to the infield for a visit to the Appalachian country Christmas-themed Christmas Village presented by Eastman Credit Union, complete with holiday vendors, family-friendly midway rides, arts and crafts, hot chocolate and marshmallows and a visit with Santa Claus.The Pinnacle Speedway in Lights takes place from 6 to 10 p.m. November 18 through January 7. Admission varies. Click here for more info.
Christmas Shows at Barter Theatre
There’s no better way to welcome the Christmas season than with the official state theatre of Virginia. Barter Theatre produces three shows dedicated to the spirit of Christmas throughout November and December. Learn the meaning of family with the comedy Other the River and Through the Woods, witness the determination and trials of childhood with the comedy All I Want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth and reunite with classic ghost story of Christmas during the drama A Christmas Carol. Admission and times vary. Click here for more info.
Electric 94.9’s Acoustic Christmas
Electric 94.9’s Acoustic Christmas is the largest annual holiday concert for all ages in Northeast Tennessee. The show features national pop and rock recording artists playing both plugged in and un-plugged shows. Artists scheduled to appear are Charlie Puth, Nelly, Jake Miller, Gnash and Jojo. Ticket prices vary and seating is limited, so be sure to get your tickets before it is sold out. Electric 94.9’s Acoustic Christmas takes place on December 16 at 7 p.m. at Freedom Hall Civic Center in Johnson City. Click here for more info.
Christmas in Olde Jonesborough
Tennessee’s Oldest Town turns into an old fashioned Norman Rockwell scene during its annual Christmas in Olde Jonesborough event series that takes place on Saturdays leading up to Christmas. Take part in family oriented events downtown including Whoville Christmas on November 26, bring the furry friends for A Doggone Christmas December 3, special events just for the kids during At Home with Santa on December 10 and a Historic Church Stroll on December 17. Christmas in Olde Jonesborough takes place each Saturday from 11 a.m to 3 p.m. All events in the series are free and open to the public, unless noted otherwise. Click here for more info.
Old Christmas: Militia Muster at Fort Watauga
December 25 has come and gone, but Christmas isn’t over yet! European migrants brought Old World holiday traditions to America, from the Dutch Sinterklaas to the Twelve Days of Christmas. Discover the English, German, Scottish and Irish roots of our modern holiday celebrations. Linger on to that Christmas spirit and learn about the Twelve Days of Christmas at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park on January 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and January 8 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Old Christmas: Militia Muster at Fort Watauga is free and open to the public. Click here for more info.
Erwin Candlelight Nativity Parade
Hundreds of little shepherds and angels will flow down Main Street singing traditional Christmas songs and lighting the way for sheep and other animals as they search for the star of Bethlehem. The scene will be set to link activity to the First Baptist Church as the sheperds and angels arrive to see Mary, Joseph and the wise men with baby Jesus. Spectators and onlookers can join in on the reverent event and follow the holy family to the manger while singing family carols along the way. The Erwin Candlelight Nativity Parade is free and open to the public and will take place on December 21 at 7 p.m. Click here for more info.
Country, Bluegrass and The Muppets at Capitol Theatre
Whether its country Christmas music, bluegrass or The Muppet’s Christmas Carol, you’re sure to find your inner Christmas cheer at the Capitol Theatre in Greeneville. Step Cousins is a country band with an authentic sound that you can only get when you grow up in a small town. Join them at the Capitol Theatre on December 15 for a special Country Christmas show. Nothing says Christmas in the south like some old fashioned bluegrass with Barry Bales on December 17. He is a member of Alison Krauss’ Grammy winning band, Union Station, as well as IBMA and Grammy winning band The Earls of Leicester and the 2016 International Bluegrass Music Association Bass Player of the Year. Everyone’s favorite puppets take on a Christmas classic in The Muppet’s Christmas Carol, in a special showing at the Capitol Theatre on December 18. Ticket prices vary. Click here for info.
Johnson County Festival of Trees
You’re already in the mountains of Johnson County, so why not take in a festival dedicated to the trees? Back for its second year, the Johnson County Welcome Center and Museum’s Festival of Trees showcases up to 25 trees decorated in various styles by community members, organizations and businesses. You’ll find anything from shopping coupons, memorials, Victorian era and modern to rustic.The public is also encouraged to take part in the fun and ote for their favorite tree. The Festival of Trees is free and open to the public and takes place the entire month of December. Click here for info.
Christmas in Hancock County
It’s small town USA at its finest when the Hancock County/Sneedville Chamber and Community Partners put together their annual Christmas Parade on December 3 at 6 p.m. Decorated floats with lights and music, antique tractors, classic cars, horses and more fill the streets to compete for coveted people’s choice awards. While you’re in town, area residents take part in the fun with festively adorned homes during the Home Decorating Display competition throughout the month. The Magic of Christmas Marketplace will also be full of crafts, food and a special visit from Santa at the Fall Festival site on December 12, 18 and 19 from 4 to 9 p.m. Click here for info.
While this is just a sampling of some of our favorite activities in the region during November and December, there are plenty more craft shows, theatre performances, parades, tree lightings and more events taking place. We encourage you to check out our online calendar or visit your local Visitors Bureaus and Chambers of Commerce for even more fun for the holidays.