Memphis Holiday Events Guide 2014: Christmas Parades, Shows, Lights, and More

Posted by Holly Whitfield | November 11th 2014 15100 0


Whether you’re looking for a Mid-South Christmas parade, holiday-themed performance, Santa visit, or lights display, there’s the cornucopia of Memphis holiday events this year. If you have something to add, leave it in the comments! 

Peabody Christmas Tree

– Related post you might like (or be looking for): Guide to Thanksgiving Openings
– I’ll publish a New Year’s Eve guide soon. If you are an organization, restaurant, or venue hosting a holiday or New Year’s event, submit it here.

Events and Parades

Santa Landing, Pink Palace, Nov. 15, 9 a.m., free, all ages/kid-friendly
The Enchanted Forest festival kicks off on Saturday, Nov. 15 at 9 a.m. when Santa helicopters onto the Pink Palace lawn.

Santa’s Arrival, The Shops at Carriage Crossing, Nov. 15, 9 a.m. – noon, free, all ages/kid-friendly
Take the kids to see Santa arrive at the mall in a horse-drawn sleigh, read a holiday story, take photos with Santa and friends, and enjoy a free showing of the movie “Frozen”

Holiday Lighting Ceremony, Graceland, Nov. 21, 6 p.m., free, all ages/kid-friendly
John Stamos of Full House and Greek yogurt commercial fame will be at Graceland to flip the switch and light the mansion with the traditional blue lights and Elvis’ original Christmas decorations.

Break-A-Leg 5K, Orpheum Theatre, Nov. 23, 2 p.m., $25 adv./$30 day of race, all ages/kid-friendly
Celebrate the Broadway musical “A Christmas Story” and support the arts education fund at the Orpheum by donning your holiday sweaters, Santa hats, and A Christmas Story costumes for a 5K downtown followed by block party.

Whitehaven Christmas Parade, Sat. Nov. 22 – time and location TBD

Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, Peabody Hotel, Nov. 28, 11 a.m., free, all ages/kid-friendly
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. 

Sunday Supper and a Movie, Majestic Grille, Nov. 30, Dec. 7, Dec. 20, times vary, included with dinner, all ages/kid-friendly
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. Reservations are required, as the screenings fill up fast.

57th Annual Hernando Christmas Parade, Dec. 1, 6:30 p.m.
The parade begins at the corner of Mt. Pleasant Extended and Commerce, traveling down Commerce, around the Square and ending at Hernando Baptist Church.

Holiday Trivia Nights with Kevin Cerrito, Wednesdays 7 p.m. at Tamp & Tap, Thursdays at 8 p.m. at Green Beetle, Dec. 3 – Dec. 18, free to play, all ages
Win prizes and enjoy drink specials during holiday and year-end themed trivia weeks. Dec. 3 – 4 is holiday trivia (traditions, songs, TV specials), Dec. 10-11 is Christmas movie trivia, and Dec. 17 – 18 is  Year In Review trivia (politics, current events, sports, pop culture from 2014).

38th Annual Collierville Christmas Parade, Dec. 5, 7 p.m.
The parade route is from Market to Frank Rd., north on Byhalia.

38th Annual Olive Branch Christmas Parade, Dec. 6, 10 a.m.
The parade will be held in downtown Olive Branch. Food and craft vendors will be in Old Towne from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Arlington Christmas Parade, Dec. 6, 4 p.m.
The parade route is Chester starting at Douglas to Walk and Quintard.

Bartlett Christmas Parade, Dec. 6, 4 p.m.
The parade route will proceed on Stage Road between Elmore Park and Shelby Street.

Memphis Christmas Parade, Dec. 6 , 4 p.m.
The parade will take place on Beale Street.

Millington Christmas Parade, Dec. 6, TBD
The parade will take place in downtown Millington

Red Carpet Christmas/Visits With Santa, Children’s Museum of Memphis, Dec. 6, Dec. 13, Dec. 20, prices vary, all ages/kid-friendly
First, go to the Red Carpet Christmas on Dec. 6 where Santa will arrive, see mini performances of Peter Pan and Nutcracker, face painting, crafts, and a photo booth ($12 non members/free for members). Bring your own camera for photos and vistas with Santa again on the 13th and 20th – price included in museum admission.

Stumbling Santa Pub Crawl, 1st stop is Flying Saucer downtown, Dec. 6, 7 p.m., toys or cash donation for Porter-Leath, 21 and up
Don your festive best and join hundreds of Santas/Ms. Claus’/elves 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) or cash ($20+) for Porter-Leath that will be accepted at the Flying Saucer.

Ugly Sweater Run, Shelby Farms Park, Dec. 21, 3 p.m., $25 before Nov. 22/$30 after Nov. 22/$40 day of race if available, all ages/kid-friendly
Don you now your worst holiday apparel and join your fellow jingle-belled runners and walkers at Shelby Farms for the “merriest 5K”. You can burn off the calories of the hot chocolate, beer, or hard cider at the finish line.

Ongoing Events and Lights Displays

Ferris wheel, Memphis Zoo, Memphis, Tenn.

Zoo Lights, Memphis Zoo, select nights Nov. 21 – Dec. 30, 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m., $6 members / $8 non-members
Go to the Zoo after Zoo hours to check out LED lighting displays, magic shows, “snow”, reindeer, Polar Express train, and Santa. You can see it all from a 90 ft. tall ferris wheel ($5), take a camel ride ($4) or ice skate ($6) on select nights. 

Starry Nights, Shelby Farms, every night Nov. 21 – Dec. 28, Sun – Thu: 6 p.m. – 9 p.m., Fri – Sat: 6 p.m. – 10 p.m., $20 per car/$50 per van/limo, all ages/kid-friendly
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). This year’s new displays pay homage to Memphis landmarks like Graceland, Beale Street, Sun Studio, the Grizzlies, and more. After you drive through Starry Nights, visit Mistletoe Village where you can meet Santa, ride a camel, and enjoy some s’mores. 

Enchanted Forest Festival of Trees, Pink Palace Museum, Nov. 15 – Dec. 31, Mon. – Sat. 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sundays noon – 5 p.m., $6 adults / $5 kids
Check out specially decorated Christmas trees and watch animatronic animals frolic in a retro-fabulous winter wonderland. The festival kicks off on Saturday, Nov. 15 at 9 a.m. when Santa helicopters onto the Pink Palace lawn. Enchanted Forest is open for nighttime viewing until 9 p.m. on Dec. 5, 12, and 19. 

Snowy Nights in My Big Backyard, Memphis Botanic Garden, Fridays and Saturdays Nov. 28 – Dec. 14, nightly Dec. 15 – 30, 5:30 p.m. – 8 p.m., $7 MBG Members / $10 Non-Members / free for kids under 2, all ages/kid-friendly
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 giant Snow Globe. 

Holiday Decor and Music in the Galleries, Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Dec. 5 – Dec. 21, museum hours, free with price of admission, all ages/kid-friendly
The Dixon is celebrating the holidays with decor, music, and several events. Holiday decorations are up every day the museum is open starting December 4, and music is on Sundays at 2 p.m. Check out the Dixon’s site for info on a holiday centerpiece workshop, crochet ornaments craft day for kids, and a showing of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. 

Holiday Shows and Performances

nutcracker memphis

Nut Remix, Cannon Center, Nov. 21 – 23, $20 – $65, all ages/kid-friendly
New Ballet Ensemble school performs their annual mash-up of dance styles to bring a new twist to the traditional Nutcracker, accompanied by the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. International jookin’ star and NBE alum Lil Buck will perform.

Polar Express in 3D, CTI 3D Giant Theater at the Pink Palace, Nov. 15 – Dec. 31, $9.50 – $13.50, all ages/kid-friendly
Magical trains, the North Pole, Tom Hanks’ voice combine for this new holiday classic, all in CGI 3D magic at the Pink Palace. Tickets are $11 for adults and $9.50 for kids/seniors, except on Enchanted Forest Friday nights 7 p.m. showing, when adult tickets are $13.50.

A Christmas Story, Orpheum Theatre, Nov. 25 – 30, $20 – $125, kid-friendly for kids over age 4
If you love the movie, you’ll love the big, colorful Broadway version of A Christmas Story, which has all the iconic scenes and a talented cast of kids. This show is great for families and kids over age four. 

If Scrooge Was a Brother, Hattiloo Theatre, select dates Nov. 28 – Dec. 21, 7:30 p.m. / 3 p.m. 23, $16 – $28, 13 and up
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. Get your tickets now; several performances are already sold out.

Sanders Family Christmas, The Circuit Playhouse, Nov. 28 – Dec. 28, $15 – $22, all ages
This musical, set in WWII-era 1941, features 25 Southern Gospel Christmas favorites.  

A Christmas Carol, Theatre Memphis, Dec. 5 – 23, $10 – $30, all ages/kid-friendly
It’s a Memphis holiday tradition: Theatre Memphis’ annual run of the classic “A Christmas Carol” is just like Dickens intended it.

Visible Music College Rock ‘n’ Roll Christmas Show, Cannon Center, Dec. 5, 7:30 p.m., donations encouraged, all ages/kid-friendly
Hear Visible Music College students and faculty perform family-friendly Christmas rock music. It’s free show (though donations are needed) so get there early and bring some cash to give back.

The Velveteen Rabbit, Germantown Community Theatre, Thursdays – Sundays, Dec. 5 – 21, $10 – $21, all ages/kid-friendly
Enjoy a modern retelling of the classic Velveteen Rabbit story, perfect for kids and for the holidays.

Ballet Memphis’ The Nutcracker, The Orpheum Theatre, Dec. 12 – 14, $9.50 – $74.50, all ages/kid-friendly
More than 100 dancers with magical sets and costumes make up Ballet Memphis’ production of The Nutcracker. There are special preview events and chances for kids to meet the characters; go here to see that schedule.

Holiday Pops, Cannon Center, Dec. 20 at 2:30 p.m. or 7:30 p.m., $15 – $85, all ages/kid-friendly 
Memphis Symphony Orchestra performs their annual “Home for the Holidays” concert of Christmas favorites. 

Lucero Family Christmas, Minglewood Hall, Dec. 19, doors at 7 p.m., $22 adv./$24 day of show, all ages
Join the Lucero family for their annual Christmas party at Minglewood Hall. The band will be joined by Mighty Souls Brass Band. $1 of the show’s proceeds will benefit a local charity (TBD).

Cirque Dreams Holidzae, Orpheum Theatre, Dec. 26 – 27, 8 p.m., $48.50 – $78.50, ages 4 and up/kid-friendly
Cirque du Soilei-style holiday show full of acrobatic feats and stunt masters meets Broadway musical dance, song, and music.

Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker, Cannon Center, Dec. 28, 5 p.m., $35 – $80, all ages/kid-friendly
Moscow’s professional ballet company performs the a Russian folktale-inspired version of traditional Nutrcracker.

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. […] Holiday Lighting Ceremony, Graceland, Nov. 21, 6 p.m., free, all ages/kid-friendly John Stamos of Full House and Greek yogurt commercial fame will be at Graceland to flip the switch and light the mansion with the traditional blue lights and Elvis’ original …read more […]

  2. Holly says:

    Hey Memphis, You're Invited! December 5th 7:30 @ The Cannon Center:

  3. L. Thomas says:

    Thank you so much for this list!

  4. Wow! There's so much to do in December!  Thanks for this awesome list!

  5. Join us for Midnight Mass 12/24 at 10pm. We area located at 531 S McLean (corner of Peabody and McClean). All are welcome and all Baptized Christians can receive Communion. St. Francis Old Catholic Church

  6. demetria reed-washington says:

    Thanks for the info,want to do more things with the family this holiday season!!!

  7. David Maxey says:

    Don't forget Christmas Day brunch at the Peabody. Pricey at about $65 per person, but the greatest spread you've ever seen! Reservation needed.

  8. Carolyn Ester says:

    Breakfast with Santa and Christmasland opening the holiday season at New Bethel MB Church, Germantown 12/6/2014 from 8am to 1pm. Admission free. 

  9. Dee says:

    Looking forward to enjoying some of these great events. Thank you

  10. Jamie says:

    Thank you so much!! Such a big help to our family!

  11. libusa says:

    Thank you! There is so much to see and have fun and enjoy happily this most beautiful holidays of the year. God bless you all !

  12. Monique says:

    I'm sure you are, but I am still going to ask if there will be a list of open restaurants for Christmas Day.

  13. Doris Kelly says:


    I need the Beale Street Parade route for December 28, 2014.  I'm going to Memphis to see me grandson march in the parade and I can't find the route anywhere.  Thank you in advance for any help you can give me.

                                                                                   Doris Kelly

  14. […] none of these float your boat, take a look at the updated calendar, the Holiday Events Guide, the Holiday Shopping Guide, or the Thanksgiving Openings list to plan your Thanksgiving next […]

  15. Hannah says:

    Holly, thank you. I love your blog. It is very helpful.

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