A Cornucopia of Memphis Holiday Events 2013

Posted by Holly Whitfield | November 21st 2013 4792 0

There are a ton of holiday events going on in Memphis this year. From shopping days to shows and performances to ongoing festivities, here's the cornucopia:

From Flashback's Holiday Window Display

Shows and Performances

A Tuna Christmas, The Circuit Playhouse, Nov. 15 – Dec. 29, $22 and up

Two actors play more than 20 different characters in this humorous holiday play about the small town of Tuna, Texas. 

The North Star: An Urban Nativity, Hattiloo Theatre, Dec. 5-22, various times, $18-$25 Written by Hattiloo Theatre's founder and Memphian Ekundayo Bandele, The North Star is reimagining of the nativity story from an urban, African-American perspective.

Nut Remix, GPAC, Dec. 6 – 8, 7:30 p.m. / 5:30 p.m. / 2:30 p.m. , $15 – $35

Nut Remix (used with permission)

The company and students of NBE take Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker and reconfigure it with Ballet, Hip-Hop, Flamenco, Chinese, and African dance.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra, FedExForum, Dec. 6, 8 p.m., $42 – $80

The TSO will perform a platinum rock-opera called "The Lost Christmas Eve".

Opera Memphis' The Christmas List, Clark Opera Center, Dec. 7 – 8, $15/adults, $5/kids Opera Memphis is putting on an original work in this Christmas-themed opera for families. The Saturday show is at 2 p.m., the Sunday shows are at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. 

The Nutcracker, Orpheum Theatre, Dec. 13 – 15, 7:30 p.m. / 2 p.m., $7 and up

Let's look at Ballet Memphis' production of "The Nutcracker" by the numbers. There are four shows, four seating options and more than 100 dancers wearing more than 300 costumes.

Home for the Holidays, Cannon Center, Dec. 21, 2:30 p.m. / 7:30 p.m., $15 and up

The Memphis Symphony Orchestra is teaming up with singer Wendy Moten and the Memphis Symphony Chorus for their annual Home for the Holidays pops concert of holiday favorites.

Lucero Family Christmas, Minglewood Hall, Dec. 21, 7 p.m., $22

Join the Lucero family for their annual (and somewhat disfunctional) Christmas party at Minglewood Hall. The band will be joined by Dead Soliders. The show will benefit the Green Machine Mobile Food Market.


Red Barn Christmas, Agricenter, weekends, Nov. 22 – Dec. 31, free to enter, $10 for unlimited rides

Carnival rides, camel rides, and hayrides, food trucks, live music and lots of shopping make up this Christmas extravaganza. Hours vary for different activities, so check the website before you go.

Zoo Lights, Memphis Zoo, Select nights Nov. 22 – Dec. 30, 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m., $6 members / $8 non-members

Go to the Zoo to check out LED lighting displays, camel rides, Santa's reindeer, magic shows, the Polar Express train and Santa Claus. You can see it all from a 90 ft. tall ferris wheel.

Holiday Lighting Ceremony, Graceland, Nov. 22, 6 p.m., free

Charles "Chip" Esten from ABC's show Nashville will be at Graceland to flip the switch and light the mansion with the traditional blue lights and Elvis' original Christmas decorations.

Enchanted Forest Festival of Trees, Nov. 23 – Dec. 31, open when the museum is open, $6 adults / $5 kids

The annual Enchanted Forest Festival of Trees is one of Memphis' longest-running holiday traditions. Check out dozens of specially decorated Christmas trees, catch a few holiday-themed IMAX movies (additional cost) and watch animatronic animals frolic in a retro-fabulous winter wonderland. The festival kicks off on Saturday, Nov. 23 at 9 a.m. when Santa helicopters onto the Pink Palace lawn.

Starry Nights, Shelby Farms, Nov. 23 – Dec. 28, 6 p.m., $20 per car

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).

Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, Peabody Hotel, Nov. 29, 11 a.m., free

The Peabody kicks off the holiday season with the arrival of Santa Claus and the lighting of the Christmas tree. Local choirs perform holiday classics throughout the day, and the Peabody Pastry Team unveils their Christmas Village. 

Snowy Nights in My Big Backyard, Memphis Botanic Garden, Fridays and Saturdays Nov. 29 – Dec. 14, Daily Dec. 17 – 30, $7 MBG Members / $10 Non-Members

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 “snow,” hot cocoa or spiced tea, winter crafts, and a musical light show on the Leaping Lawn. 

Holiday Dinner and a Movie, Majestic Grille, Sundays, Dec. 1 – 22, 6:30 p.m., included with dinner

Catch your favorite classic holiday movies ("Holiday Inn", "Miracle on 34th Street" , "It's a Wonderful Life", etc.) on the Majestic Grille's big screen – with sound! The Majestic will have special dinner menus available those nights and reservations are highly encouraged, as the screenings fill up fast.

Rock N' Roll Christmas Show for Visible Music College, Cannon Center, Friday, Dec. 6, 7:30 p.m., donations encouraged, all ages

The Visible Music College students will perform with special guests Sarah Simmons (from NBC's The Voice) and the Neighborhood Christian Center Children's Choir.

Toy Bash for Boys and Girls Club of Greater Memphis, Minglewood Hall, Saturday, Dec. 7, 7 p.m., $125, 18+

Bring an unwrapped toy for a kid age 6-12, put on your holiday cocktail attire, and enjoy food, music, and drinks to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Memphis.

Stumbling Santa Pub Crawl, Flying Saucer (and a handful of other downtown bars), Dec. 7, 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.

Gimme Show Holiday Fun: Fun Family Day, Cotton Museum, Dec. 14, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., free

Take the kids to the Cotton Museum for holiday-themed crafts, cooking demonstrations and a book signing with Laurie Triplette, face painting, balloon animals, singalong with Music for Aardvarks, shopping at the gift shop, and Santa.

Reindeer Games and Candy Canes, Children's Museum of Memphis, Dec. 14, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., $3/members $15/nonmembers 

Santa and Rudolph will be on site along with a children's bell choir and a mini-Nutcracker ballet.

Brooks Winterfest, Brooks Museum, Dec. 15, 4 p.m., free to enter

Enjoy live music, food trucks, horse-pulled carriages, crafts and activities, gallery tours, storytelling, and a screening of Jim Henson's "Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas!"


Holiday Bazaar, Memphis College of Art, Nov. 22 and 23, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. Friday / all day Saturday, free

Get your shopping done early at MCA's 64th 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.

Holiday Artist Market, Brooks Museum, Dec. 8, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., free to enter 

30 artists gather in the Dunavant Rotunda to sell their wares; there's a cash bar and you can view the galleries for free.

Handmade Christmas Popup Shop, Overton Square (2090 Trimble Place), Nov. 29 – Dec. 29, free to enter

Memphis Melange Etsy Team and Indie Style Market are getting together for a showcase of handmade and vintage good from indie Memphis designers. It's open Wednesdays – Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. It opens at 8 a.m. on Black Friday.

Sugar Plum Shindig, Overton Square, Dec. 6, 5:30 p.m., free to attend

Overton Square shops and businesses will host a variety of holiday-themed activities like a Christmas tree lighting, photos with Santa, crafts, a costumed fun run, "random acts of yoga", hot cocoa, cocktails. Also Lenny's will be hosting a hot pepper relish eating contest, so there's that.

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.

Show Comments


  1. Rachel says:

    Does anyone know if there is a date for the stumbling santa?

  2. Chris says:

    SS is on 12/7 – I think it has been on the night of the St. Jude Marathon every year.

  3. Awesome List! I can't wait to take part in the festivities!

  4. Lindsay says:

    Visible Music College will have their annual Rock N Roll Christmas show at the Canon Center. December 6th. 

    Details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/388824981220189/?ref=br_tf

  5. Rachel says:

    Thanks Chris

  6. Kristen says:

    There are four shows of The Nutcracker by Ballet Memphis, not two! 

  7. Jeff says:

    My kids love the Bass Pro Winter Wonderland. Lots of activities, free pics with Santa!

  8. […] 2: (Segment 1) I Love Memphis’ Holly Whitfield joins the guys in studio to talk about the cornucopia of Memphis holiday events. (Segment 2) FOX 13′s Good Morning Memphis anchor Ernie Freeman joins the show to talk […]

  9. Renee says:

    Holly, would you mind doing a post on places to celebrate the New Year (the weekend before)?

  10. Holly Whitfield says:

    Renee, I'm planning to as soon as places get their plans in order (many spots don't have stuff set in stone yet. Thanks so much for the suggestion!

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