Memphis Holiday Events Guide 2015: Christmas Parades, Shows, Lights, and More

Posted by Holly Whitfield | November 17th 2015 13513 0


Want information on the Memphis Christmas parade, the Nutcracker, or Memphis Zoo Lights? There’s a cornucopia of Memphis holiday events this year, and here there are:

Zoo Lights

– If you’re looking for a list of holiday markets, go here.
– 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

Downtown Memphis Tree Lighting, Main St. and Peabody Pl., Nov. 20, 4 p.m., free, all ages/kid-friendly
Radio host Chris Vernon flips the switch on a 30-foot Christmas tree in downtown Memphis. The tree will be at the corner of Peabody and Main (near the Majestic Grille). Stay after for carols and hot chocolate. Lights go on at 5 p.m.

Holiday Lighting Ceremony, Graceland, Nov. 20, 6 p.m., free, all ages/kid-friendly
Country music artist Trisha Yearwood will be at Graceland to flip the switch and light the mansion with the traditional blue lights and Elvis’ original Christmas decorations.

Santa’s Arrival, The Shops at Carriage Crossing, Nov. 21, 9 a.m. – 11 a.m., free, all ages/kid-friendly
Take the kids to see Santa arrive at the mall in a sleigh, take photos with Santa and friends, and enjoy a free showing of the movie “Despicable Me 2”. Toys For Tots will collect donations.

Whitehaven Christmas Parade, Sat. Nov. 21, 10 a.m.
The 17th annual Whitehaven Christmas Parade is on Saturday, November 21. Parade route info TBA.

Whitehaven Songs of the Season Concert, Sunday Nov. 22, 4 p.m., Abundant Grace Church (1574 E. Shelby Dr.)
Several choirs perform holiday favorites at this free concert.

Peabody Hotel Lobby

Peabody Hotel Lobby

Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, Peabody Hotel, Nov. 27, 11 a.m. – 7 p.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. 29, Dec. 6, Dec. 17, 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.

Holiday Trivia Nights with Kevin Cerrito, Various dates and locations Dec. 1 -29, free to play, all ages
Win prizes during holiday trivia themes from Christmas movie favorites (Home Alone, Love Actually, Christmas Vacation, etc.) and a Year In Review theme on Dec. 29. Reservations may be required; check individual events.

Collierville Christmas Tree Lighting, Collerville Town Square, Dec. 1, 5:30 p.m.
Enjoy hot chocolate, entertainment and a Christmas tree lighting and Santa’s arrival.

39th Annual Collierville Christmas Parade, Dec. 4, 7 p.m.
The parade route is from Market to Frank Rd., north on Byhalia.

Tree at Zoo Lights

38th Annual Olive Branch Christmas Parade, Dec. 5, 2 p.m.
The parade will step off at Olive Branch Elementary and head north.

Arlington Christmas Parade, Dec. 5, 3 p.m.
The parade route is TDB. Click here for updates.

Bartlett Christmas Parade, Dec. 5, 4 p.m.
The parade will begin at Elmore Rd. and Stage Rd.

Memphis Holiday Parade, Dec. 5 , 4 p.m.
The parade will take place on Beale Street.

Millington Christmas Parade + Festivities, Dec. 5, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Enjoy a daylong celebration of the holiday with brunch and crafts, the parade (begins at 1 p.m. along Navy Rd. starting at Newport), and a free showing of It’s A Wonderful Life.

Stumbling Santa Pub Crawl, downtown Memphis, Dec. 5, time TBA, toys or cash donation for Porter-Leath, 21 and up
The Flying Saucer’s annual toy drive for Porter-Leath will be bigger than ever this year, with a heated tent to better accommodate the 1,200+ people eager to don Santa and elf outfits for the yearly pub crawl. They’re still in need of funding for the event; click here to donate.

58th Annual Hernando Christmas Parade, Dec. 7, 6:30 p.m.
Follow the Hernando Chamber of Commerce on FB for parade route information.

Jammies and Jingles Breakfast, CMOM, Dec. 12, 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m., $12 members/$17 nonmembers
Take the kids (in their holiday PJs!) for a pancake breakfast, pictures with Santa, face painting, crafts, and more. Tickets must be purchased in advanced. Call 901-458-2678 ext. 221 for required reservations.

In the Flashback window display.

In the Flashback window display.

Ongoing Events and Lights Displays

Zoo Lights, Memphis Zoo, select nights Nov. 20 – 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, take a camel ride, or ice skate on select nights (for a few bucks extra).

Starry Nights, Shelby Farms, Nov. 20 – Dec. 27, starts at 6 p.m. each night, $20 car/$50 limo or van/$150 for bus
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 enjoy some s’mores.

Enchanted Forest Festival of Trees, Pink Palace Museum, Nov. 14 – Dec. 31, $6 adults / $5 kids
Check out specially decorated Christmas trees and watch animatronic animals frolic in a retro-fabulous winter wonderland. Pictures with Santa will be available on select times. New this year is a vintage toys display from the Pink Palace archives. Check the link above for daily hours.

Snowy Nights in My Big Backyard, Memphis Botanic Garden, Dec. 11 -12, 18-30, 5:30 p.m. – 8 p.m., $8 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. Closed on Dec. 24 and 25.

Beale Street Christmas

Holiday Shows and Performances

Polar Express in 3D, CTI 3D Giant Theater at the Pink Palace, Nov. 14 – Dec. 31, $9.50 – $11, all ages/kid-friendly
Magical trains, the North Pole, Tom Hanks’ voice combine for this holiday classic, all in CGI 3D magic at the Pink Palace.

Nut Remix, Cannon Center, Nov. 20 – 22, $15 – $50, 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.

Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker, Cannon Center, Nov. 27, 7 p.m., $30 and up, all ages/kid-friendly
Moscow’s professional ballet company performs the a Russian folktale-inspired version of traditional Nutrcracker.

If Scrooge Was a Brother, Hattiloo Theatre, select dates Nov. 27 – Dec. 20, 7:30 p.m. / 3 p.m. 23, $18 – $26, 13 and up
Hattiloo Theatre’s 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.

A Tuna Christmas, The Circuit Playhouse, Nov. 27 – Dec. 27, $15 – $22, all ages
This audience favorite features two actors playing more than 20 roles and crazy costume changes to tell the story of a small Texas town’s holiday hijinks.

Don’t Be Afraid of the Holidays Memphis Comedy Special, Hi-Tone, Dec. 2, 8:15 p.m., $5, 21 and up
Josh McLane hosts a night of comedy with Ambrose Jones, Jordan Jensen, Tommy Oler, Amanda Walker, and Jared Herring, plus special appearances by Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

Ballet Memphis’ The Nutcracker, The Orpheum Theatre, Dec. 4 -6 , $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.

A Christmas Carol, Theatre Memphis, Dec. 4 – 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.

Overton Square Christmas Tree

Overton Square Christmas Tree

A Visible Christmas, Cannon Center, Dec. 4, 8 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, but pick up your tickets ahead of time at these locations.

Magic of Memphis Holiday Spectacular, Cannon Center, Dec. 12 at 7:30 p.m., $15 – $85, all ages/kid-friendly 
Memphis Symphony Orchestra performs their annual holiday pops concert.

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. $1 of each ticket’s proceeds will benefit a local charity.

India Arie “Christmas With Friends”, Minglewood Hall, Dec. 20, doors at 7 p.m., $35
Singer-songrwriter Indie Arie releases her first Christmas album. Jonathan McReynolds opens. Tickets go on sale on Friday, Nov. 20 at 10 a.m.

Did I miss any? Submit them here.

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. Deby Does Memphis says:

    Great List!!! Thanks for all the work that went into this!

  2. Ashley says:

    Can’t wait to do all this great stuff. FYI we went to Starry Nights at Shelby Farms the first night and it’s $20 per car, not $10 as you have listed here.

  3. Cheryl Underhill says:

    This is excellent detailed info and pics!! we are planning ahead to do an “Elvis” Christmas in ’16!!
    Thanks bunches and
    Happy Holidays!

  4. Carolyn Cleveland says:

    Me and my gurls are planning on having a “Paint The Town Red Night” soooo can you please make a list of all Holiday parties?

  5. Carolyn Cleveland says:

    Sorry sweetie. Did not make myself clear. ADULT holiday parties…as in dancing, libations and mingling!

  6. Jenny says:

    And, you do a fantastic job of keeping my hometown memories alive!

  7. J king says:

    Love Memphis! Thanks for this fabulous list of activities.

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