Deck the Halls: The 2012 I Love Memphis Guide to Holiday Events
Christmas is coming, and to help you get in the mood, I've assembled this list of super festive Memphis holiday events. Keep checking back as the holidays near – I'll add more events as I get them.
Baseball season may be over, but the Memphis Redbirds are having a holiday party at AutoZone Park on Friday, Nov. 16. They'll throw the switch on a 35 foot artificial tree and there will be caroling, live music and hot chocolate and cider for all.
The Zoo is turning into a winter wonderland from Nov. 16 through Dec. 30, and this year, it's going to be a little epic. As at Zoo Lights past, there will be light displays, live reindeer, Santa, caroling, ice skating, magic shows and train rides. Unlike last year, this year you can see it all from a 90 ft. tall ferris wheel.
Graceland is flipping the switch on their annual holiday light display on Friday, Nov. 16. The ceremony is free and open to the public and American Idol finalist Skylar Laine will perfom. Please bring a canned good to donate to the Mid-South Food Bank. The house will be decorated for Christmas from Nov. 16 – January 8th.
Get your shopping done early at MCA's 63rd annual Holiday Bazaar. MCA students will be selling their work, which means that you can pick up paintings, drawings, books, ornaments, pottery and gifts by up and coming artists at super reasonable prices.
The annual Enchanted Forest Festival of Trees is one of Memphis' longest-running holiday traditions. Check out dozens of specially decorated Christmas trees, check out the winners of the gingerbread house contest and watch animatronic animals frolic in a retro-fabulous winter wonderland. The festival kicks off on Saturday, Nov. 17 at 9 a.m. when Santa helicopters onto the Pink Palace lawn.
"The Nutcracker" is coming to life during CMOM's holiday extravaganza. Members of the Collierville Ballet will perform excerpts from the classic ballet. You can also pose for pictures with the characters, listen to a bell choir and enjoy holiday games, crafts and face painting.
The swankiest hotel lobby in Memphis is going to be all dolled up for the holidays on Friday, Nov. 23rd. The lights on the massive, two-story tree will be flipped at 11 a.m. There will also be a visit from Santa, seasonal music from Opera Memphis and the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and dance performances from New Ballet Ensemble and the Children's Ballet Ensemble.
Load up the car and drive slowly through Shelby Farms' ginormous annual holiday light display (Starry Nights features more than 2.5 million LED lights). After you drive through Starry Nights, visit Mistletoe Village where you can meet Santa, ride a camel and check out the petting zoo. You can see Starry Nights on foot (or skates or bicycle) every Monday in December ($5 per person or $20 per family).
Catch your favorite classic holiday movies ("Holiday Inn", "Miracle on 34th Street" etc.) on the Majestic Grille's big screen – with sound! – every Sunday from Nov. 25 through Dec. 23. The Majestic will have special dinner menus available those nights and reservations are highly encouraged, as the screenings fill up fast.
Hattiloo Theatre's urban take on "A Christmas Carol" returns this year for a month of performances. Watch as Eb Scroo sets out on a mission to collect all that's owed to him on Christmas Eve in this musical written by Memphian (and Hattiloo director) Ekundayo Bandele.
Don't let geography get in the way of having a white Christmas. The Memphis Botanic Garden is having a month-long snow day in My Big Backyard with a giant snowglobe (that you can get inside), holiday crafts and games, a massive light bright and a musical light show.
Let's look at Ballet Memphis' production of "The Nutcracker" by the numbers. This year, there are three shows, four seating options and more than 100 dancers wearing more than 300 costumes. There's also a live chorus, sets borrowed from the English National Ballet and a live orchestra. Tickets start at $10.
If all of the holiday cheer is getting to be a bit much for you, indulge in some festive sarcasm. David Sedaris' one-man show, "The Santaland Diaries", tells the hilarious and (mostly) true story of the trials and tribulations of a man turned Macy's elf. This one's definitely PG13.
Everyone's got some kind of juicy, poignant or hilarious holiday story (though, nothing will ever beat this one). Tell your holiday stories and listen to others share theirs at Spillit's holiday storytelling event at Crosstown Arts. Spillit is modeled after The Moth, so if you're into that, you'll be way into this. To sign up to tell a story, email them a pitch.
15. Stumbling Santa Pub Crawl, Flying Saucer (and a handful of other downtown bars), Dec. 1, 7 p.m., admission is a toy donation for Porter-Leath
Don your festive best and join hundreds of Santas as they stumble from the Flying Saucer to the bars of Beale, spreading holiday cheer along the way. Admission is a donation of a toy (no stuffed animals, please) for Porter-Leath that will be accepted at the Flying Saucer.
Memphis' most innovative ballet company is presenting "Nut Remix", their updated, modern take on "The Nutcracker", at the Germantown Performing Arts Center from Dec. 7 – 9th.
Don your favorite festive holiday knit (the uglier the better) and run in the Ugly Sweater Run when it stops in Memphis on Dec. 8. If you're not a serious runner, don't worry – the Ugly Sweater Run is consistently referred to as a "jog" on the official website, and the organizers also make lots of references to mustache contests, spiked hot chocolate and stops along the route where you can go sledding.
The Memphis Symphony Orchestra is teaming up with singer Alexis Grace, the Memphis Symphony Chorus and U-Dig Dance Academy for their annual Home for the Holidays pops concert of holiday favorites.
Celebrate the holidays with the lovely ladies of Memphis Roller Derby (myself included) at the sixth annual Ho Ho Ho Burlesque Show. Expect lots of traditional and holiday themed burlesque performances and more holiday cheer than you can handle. Proceeds benefit the league.
Join the Lucero family for their annual (and somewhat disfunctional) Christmas party at Minglewood Hall. The band will be joined by Jimbo Mathus and the Tri-State Coalition will open.
If you know of any holiday events I left out, submit them to the blog's calendar and I'll add them to the list.