There’s nothing like the holidays in the south, and we may be partial to Northeast Tennessee’s picture perfect downtown and mountain landscapes. Looking for a list of holiday activities for the family? Check out our top 12 ways to celebrate the season.
1. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer at Niswonger Performing Arts Center
The beloved TV classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer soars off the screen and onto the stage this holiday season. Come see all of your favorite characters from the special including Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius and, of course, Rudolph, as they come to life in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical. It’s an adventure that teaches us that what makes you different can be what makes you special. Don’t miss this wonderful holiday tradition that speaks to the misfit in all of us on Tuesday, Dec. 11 at 7 p.m.
2. Christmas in the Country
Exchange Place Living History Farm will celebrate the holidays and the winter season with fresh greenery, wood crafting, and gifts, all made by local craftsmen. Admission is free for this final public event of the year at the historic site, which is proudly listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Christmas in the Country will take place on Saturday, Dec. 1, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., followed by a yule log ceremony.
3. Christmas at the Bogart Bowman Cabin
The Town of Unicoi and the Unicoi Historic Group have joined together to host the free Christmas at the Bogart Bowman Cabin including cookies and cider, wagon rides, storytelling, a candy cane hunt, music, and a visit from Santa! Christmas at the Cabin will take place on Saturday, Nov. 8 from 4 to 7 p.m.
4. Rogersville Art Council Holiday Market
This year’s Holiday Market will feature 30 artists, crafters, and vendors from across the region with a variety of gifts and special finds. Rogersville’s Main Street comes alive with food trucks, airbrush face painting, a Christmas Parade, Lighting of the Tree, and the grande finale: a Sounds of the Season live concert. The RAC Holiday Market will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1 at Occasions on the Square.
5. Christmas in Downtown Greeneville
Christmas in Downtown Greeneville is nothing less than magical. With carriage rides, an outdoor movie, music and caroling on the Courthouse lawn, piano renditions of holiday classics, and a candlelight holiday sing-a-long, you’ll want to bring the entire family for the day. As the sun sets, the crowd gathers for the arrival of Father and Mother Christmas, as well as Snowflake Fairies, followed by the lighting of the community Christmas tree. Christmas in Downtown Greeneville will begin at 5 p.m on Nov. 30.
6. Rocky Mount State Historic Site Candlelight Christmas
Experience Christmas Eve 1791 with the historic site aglow by candlelight. Greet the Cobb family and find out the beginnings of some of your favorite holiday traditions.Tours will take place on Friday, Nov. 30, Saturday, Dec. 1, Friday, Dec. 7, and Saturday, Dec. 8. Candlelight Christmas tours begin at 4:30 p.m. and take place every 15 minutes until 8 p.m. Admission is $12 for adults and $8 for children ages 5 to 17.
7. Pinnacle Speedway in Lights at Bristol Motor Speedway
The Pinnacle Speedway in Lights features a 4.5-mile drive throughout the Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway packed with 2 million lights and 250 displays. You can drive on the world’s fastest half mile, go ice skating, visit Santa’s Village, meet your favorite characters or ride in Santa’s speedway sleigh! Speedway in Lights continues through Jan. 5.
8. Christmas with Frosty & Friends (Christmas in Olde Jonesborough)
Every Saturday from Thanksgiving until Christmas, you can visit Downtown Jonesborough to experience a winter wonderland with a different theme each weekend, but on Dec. 8 you can meet Frosty the Snowman! Activities include pictures with your favorite characters, cookie decorating, Santa Mart and more. Christmas With Frosty & Friends will be held at the Jonesborough Visitors Center, International Storytelling Center, Courthouse Square and Chuckey Depot on Saturday, Dec.8 from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.
9. Christmas in Historic Blountville
The weekends of November 30 and December 6, will be filled with family, friends and good cheer in Historic Blountville. Events include the Spirit of Christmas dinner and play presented by Blountville Baptist Church, a parade, tree lighting, and more. Christmas in Historic Blountville will take place on November 30 and December 6.
10. Johnson City Christmas Parade and Whoville Village
Join Johnson City for their annual parade and Whoville Village. The event is free, kid-friendly and open to the public.There will be plenty of holiday activities for the family including craft stations, photos with Whoville characters, a dance area and activity stations. The Whoville Village will take place on Saturday, Dec. 1 at the Pavilion in Founders Park from noon until 2 p.m. (after the Christmas Parade that starts at 10:30 a.m.)
11. Christmas at the Carter Mansion (Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park)
Spend a candlelit evening in the oldest frame house in Tennessee, adorned with bright greenery for the holidays. Enjoy music, refreshments and historic interpreters with scenes from an 18th century Christmas. Cost is $7 for adults and $3 for children ages 7 to 17, with ages 6 and under free. Pre-registration is required. Christmas at the Carter Mansion will be held on Saturday, Dec.1 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park.
12. Mountain City Christmas on Main and Parade
Downtown Mountain City comes alive for the holidays during Christmas on Main, featuring local artisans, a tree lighting, singing and Santa on Friday, Nov. 30 at 6 p.m. The annual Christmas parade will take place Saturday, Dec. 1 at 5:30 p.m. and features illuminated floats decked with singing angels, elves, live manager scenes, and everything you’ll need to get in the Christmas spirit.
While this is just a sampling of some of our favorite activities in Northeast Tennessee for the holidays, there are plenty more craft shows, theatre performances, parades, tree lightings and other events taking place. Check out our calendar for even more fun for the holidays.