‘Tis the Season: 24 Memphis Holiday Events

Posted by Holly Whitfield | November 22nd 2011 3433 0

Happy Holidays, Memphis! Here are a ton of holiday events (everything from lights to shows and snow globes) that are sure to get you in the spirit:

1. Memphis Zoo on Ice, Memphis Zoo, daily from 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and during Zoo Lights, $6 skate rental, $5 if you bring your own

Memphis Zoo Ice Skating Rink

The Memphis Zoo is one of the few places you can ice skate in Memphis this winter. They're bringing their indoor ice rink back for a second year. It's open daily during Zoo hours (and on weekends during Zoo Lights) until January 29th. Skating is $6 (in addition to regular Zoo admission) and includes skate rental.

2. Zoo Lights, Memphis Zoo, select night Nov. 22 – Dec. 30, 5:30 p.m. – 10 p.m., $5 members, $7 non-members

Zoo Lights features huge holiday light displays, pictures with Santa, animals on display (in the Animals of the Night area), singing Christmas trees and the return of the Zoo's ice skating rink. Admission is $7 for non-members, and skating (with skate rental) is an additional $6. Check the calendar – Zoo lights is on select nights between now and the end of December.

3. Christmas at Graceland, Graceland, through Jan. 9, daily, included in the price of a regular tour

See Elvis' mansion decked out for the holidays, inside and out. If you go on a regular house tour, you'll get to see Graceland decorated for Christmas. If you're not into the house tour, you can always drive by at night and see the huge exterior light display.

4. Enchanted Forest Festival of Trees, Pink Palace Museum, through Dec. 31, $6 adults / $5 kids

Enchanted Forest, Pink Palace Museum

Walking through the Enchanted Forest is a Memphis holiday tradition. Take a walk through an anamatronic wonderland of animals arranged in scenes of holiday delight, check out the trees decorated by local organizations. There's also a gingerbread village and photos with Santa. The proceeds benefit LeBonheur Childrens Hospital.

 5. Irving Berlin's White Christmas, Orpheum Theatre, Nov. 22 – Nov. 27, $15 – $90

The touring Broadway version of "Irving Berlin's White Christmas" is just like the classic movie musical, only on stage. Expect familiar classic songs and lots of dancing at this family-friendly show. "White Christmas" will be at the Orpheum for eight shows starting on Nov. 22nd, with a special kids' night on Nov. 23.

6. Peabody Hotel Christmas Tree Lighting, Peabody Hotel, Nov. 25, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., free

The South's Grand Hotel does the holidays in exactly the way that you'd think they would: huge. The Peabody is having its annual tree lighting on Nov. 25th. The lights will come on at 11 a.m., local choirs will sing, and Santa will be on hand after the 5 p.m. duck march.

7. Mrs. Bob Cratchit's Wild Christmas Binge, Circuit Playhouse, Nov. 25 – Dec. 23, $12 – 20

Think of "Mrs. Bob Cratchit's Wild Christmas Binge" as a booze-soaked blending of "A Christmas Carol" and "It's a Wonderful Life". The adults-only show plays with holiday cliches, making it the perfect show for anyone who's feeling a little more bah-humbug than happy holidays.

8. Tsunami Holiday Artists Market, Tsunami, Nov. 27, 11:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., free

Get your shopping done and support Memphis artists at the Tsunami holiday market on Sunday, Nov. 27th. Local artists will have their works (everything from housewares to handmade paper and wall art) set up at the Cooper-Young restaurant all day.

9. Starry NIghts, Shelby Farms, Nov. 25 – Dec. 30, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. (or 10 p.m., weekends), $20 per car

Starry Nights, Memphis, Tenn.

If you love incredible light displays, you'll love Starry Nights. The annual drive-through light show features more than 1.5 million LED lights in amazing displays throughout Shelby Farms. Every Monday night, Starry Nights is closed to cars and open to people on skates, bikes or feet.

10. Snowy Nights in My Big Backyard, Memphis Botanic Gardens, 6 p.m. –  8 p.m., select nights Nov. 25 – Dec. 28, $5 members / $7 non-members

There's only one place that kids in Memphis can get a White Christmas: My Big Backyard. The special kids' area of the Botanic Gardens will be turned into a winter wonderland with lights, snowflakes, arts and crafts, and a special snow globe tent where you can frolic in snowflakes (seriously).

11. If Scrooge was a Brother, Hattiloo Theatre, Dec. 1 – 24, $10 – $25

If Scrooge was a Brother, Hattiloo Theatre

Hattiloo Theatre's urban version of "A Christmas Carol" returns this year for four weeks of performances. The show is about Eb Scroo, a man on a mission to collect all that's owed to him on Christmas Eve. It's a musical, too – expect gospel, reggae and R&B influences in the songs.

12. Ballet Memphis Presents: The Nutcracker, Orpheum Theatre, Dec. 2 – 4, $5 – $72

Ballet Memphis is staging their annual production of the holiday classic for four nights at the Orpheum Theatre. It's going to be a fairly magical holiday experience – the choreography and costumes are original to Ballet Memphis, the sets are from the London City Ballet and the music will be plaedfrom the Memphis Syphony Orchestra.

13. A Christmas Carol, Theatre Memphis, Dec. 2 – 23, $10 – $28

Theatre Memphis presents their annual take on the Dickens classic from Dec. 2nd through 23rd. Barry Fuller returns to the stage as Scrooge, a bitter man who gets a little holiday enlightenment through visits with ghosts from the past, present and future. The show is family friendly, and tickets start at $10 for kids.

14. Stumbing Santa Pub Crawl, Flying Saucer downtown, Dec. 3, 6:30 p.m., free (but bring a toy)

Break out your Santa costume – the seventh annual Stumbling Santa Pub Crawl is happening downtown on Dec. 3rd. Join the band of Santas as they drink their way through downtown, starting at the Flying Saucer. The crawl is free, but the organizers will be collecting new toys for the kids at Porter-Leath.

15. Aesop's Fable-ous Christmas Tree, Circuit Playhouse, Dec. 3 – 18, $12 – $20

Aesop's fables are getting a holiday spin at Circuit Playhouse this year. The show is made of 12 vignettes, each featuring a seasonally appropriate take on one of the fables. The show is family friendly.

16. Jeffery and the Pacemakers Holiday Show, Hi-Tone Cafe, Dec. 4, $5

Bring your family to this special early rock'n'roll Christmas show. Jeffery and the Pacemakers will be playing rock'n'roll (and rock'n'roll Christmas songs) and Santa will be in attendance at this all-ages show. If you're bringing kids, don't worry – the Hi-Tone is smoke-free.

17. Trans-Siberian Orchestra, FedExForum, Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m., $31 – $59

Celebrate Christmas arena rock style at the FedExForum on Dec. 8. The Trans-Siberian Orchestra is bringing their annual winter tour back to Memphis. It's family friendly, and there will probably be some kind of laser light show.

18. Nut Remix, GPAC, Dec. 9 – 11, 7 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. (on Sunday), $15 – $35

You could go see the traditional version of "The Nutcracker". Or, if you'd like something a little more modern, you could go see "Nut Remix". New Ballet's annual performance infuses the classic with ballet hip-hop, African dance and an updated score that nods at the original.

19. Singing Christmas Tree, Bellevue Baptist Church, Dec. 9 – 11 and 13 -14, $3 – $18

Bellvue's annual Christmas musical is a huge production involving singing, dancing, more than 100,000 lights, a 40-foot tree, and yes, a story with a moral. The show is in its 36th year, and there are seven performances (both afternoon and evening shows).

20. Ho Ho Ho Burlesque Show, Hi-Tone Cafe, Dec. 9, 9 p.m., $10

Ho Ho Ho Burlesque Show poster

Watch the lovely ladies of Memphis Roller Derby tease their way through classic burlesque acts at the annual Ho Ho Ho Burlesque show. The show features skaters doing original burlesque acts and live music from Fille Catatonique. All proceeds from the show go to support your local roller derby league.

21. MSO Presents: Home for the Holidays, Cannon Center, Dec. 17, 8 p.m., $15 – $78

Home for the Holidays is an evening of holiday music and carols performed by the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. The concert will be conducted by Stilian Kirov, and the Memphis Symphony Chorus will sing. Regular tickets are $15 – $78, but students can score seats for $5.

22. Shangri-La Records Christmas Party, Hi-Tone Cafe, Dec. 17, 9 p.m., $5

Shanrgi-la Records Christmas Show

Shangri-La Records' Christmas party is way better than your usual workplace throwdown. It's open to the public, the Magic Kids and Fraysia are playing, and DJ / Shangri-La clerk Buck Wilders will be playing tunes. It's only $5, and the show is 18 and up.

23. Lucero's 2nd Annual Holiday Show, Minglewood Hall, Dec. 22, 8 p.m., $22

Memphis' favorite rock'n'roll country band Lucero is coming home for the holidays to play their now-annual show at Minglewood Hall. This year, they'll be joined by chanteuse Amy LaVere. Proceeds from the show will benefit Musicares.

24. 9th Annual Snowglobe Christmas Show, Hi-Tone, Dec. 25, 9 p.m., cover TBA

After you've unwrapped all the presents, eaten all of the food and have had your share of family fun, head to the Hi-Tone for the 9th annual Snowglobe Christmas show. Snowglobe is a Memphis supergroup (the members play in just about every other band in town) so the show is sure to be awesome.


If I've left your favorite holiday event off of the calendar, please let me know.

Author: Holly Whitfield

I write about what’s going on with Memphis music, food, arts, events, sports, people, and culture. Memphians love Elvis and barbeque with a passion that must be seen to be believed, but there is so much more to this place.

Show Comments


  1. Tonya Tate says:

    The Memphis Melange Etsy Team presents the 2nd Annual Indie Style Market Christmas Bazaar on Trolley NIght 11/25 at Klein Fitness, 338 South Main.  We invite you to shop local + indie + handmade at ISM!

  2. Sarah says:

    You should blog about where Memphians can go to get a great (real) Christmas tree. I know Urban Farms has them but do any other farmer's markets/nurseries have them? 

  3. […] Orchestra, FedExForum, Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m., $31 – $59 Find out more events on the schedule… Are you looking forward to the Holidays in Memphis and Collierville? var […]

  4. Diana says:

    Does anyone know if there are any Christmas Caroling groups in Memphis to join?

  5. Jenn says:

    This is also the first year that Memphis has decorated Main Street and Court Square Park with Christmas lights.  It really enhances the beauty of downtown at night and is extra special to experience on a carriage ride through the park.  Please call Memphis Carriage Rides for details and holiday specials. Ask for Scott at 901-482-9496

  6. Nations Church will probably be doing some caroling.  Email us, and we'll get back with you!  duke@nationsmemphis.tv

  7. Anna says:

    @ Jenn – I had read the holiday lights in downtown are BLUE this year!  Is this true?  I'm living in Texas now, but I did capture last year's lights along Main Street and Court Square. 😀 http://yummies4tummies.com/2010/11/28/main-street-xmas-lights/
    Philip Hollingsworth's Christmas Train display last year:  http://yummies4tummies.com/2010/12/06/xmas-train/
    The beautiful Christmas Trolley:  http://yummies4tummies.com/2010/12/22/xmas-trolley/
    The humongous Peabody Hotel Christmas Tree:  http://yummies4tummies.com/2010/12/31/peabody-xmas-tree/
    Life-size toy soldiers at the Kress Building: http://yummies4tummies.com/2010/12/27/kress-soldiers/
    Camp Good Grief's Gingerbread Village: http://yummies4tummies.com/2011/01/24/gingerbread-village-part1/
    Can you tell I miss the holiday season there in Memphis?  🙂

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