Christmas comes to Middle Tennessee — Holiday activities for the whole family

  Staff Writer John Coffelt   As the all-important day nears, try visiting some of these Middle Tennessee Christmas events to get your family in the festive mood. See the sights, and find holiday lights   The Delaney Christmas Lightshow, starting each night at 5 p.m. at 1361 Old Airport Rd., is a must-see, and while the family is loaded up, try exploring other neighborhoods for light displays. Make a game of it, seeing who can count the most or biggest display. Add a bit more range to your outing and look for the Gaylord Opryland Hotel display, and nearby look, for Jellystone Park’s Dancing lightshow. For the 6th year, Jellystone Park hosts its display from 5-10 p.m., at 2572 Music Valley Drive. Added this year are hundreds of thousands of LED Christmas lights dancing to some rocking Christmas tunes coming through the car radio. The show is open rain or shine. After viewing the lights, stretch your legs at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel for the Elf on the Shelf Scavenger Hunt. Pick up a scavenger hunt booklet at the concierge desk then search the hotel to find and name the 10 elves so they can earn their magic and return to the North Pole. Participants will have to solve puzzles to find the answers. The hunt goes through the garden and is said to be very detailed. Dates and times are 10 a.m.-8 p.m. daily through Jan. 2. The price is $11.99 per person for all ages over three years old. Scavenger Hunt begins at Cascades Concierge Desk. For more information, go to and search for Gaylord Opryland Hotel.   Picture you and yours with Santa   Santa will be busy up until Christmas Eve having his picture made weekends at Tullahoma’s Northgate Mall, 1600 N. Jackson St. Photos are by Cloud 9 Images. This weekend, Santa will appear Friday, Dec. 18 and Saturday, Dec. 19 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. He will read “The Night Before Christmas” at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 20 Santa will meet pets only from 1-3 p.m. and will greet children until 5 p.m. For more information, visit the Santa Portraits at Northgate Mall event on Facebook. In Manchester, the Coffee County Manchester Public Library will host a soothing Santa experience will from 10-11 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 17 for kids with special needs. This will be an opportunity for children of all ages to have their picture taken with Santa (no flash). Featuring low music, dim lighting, and calm stories, there will be various toys for quiet free-play. For details please email Virginia at   Seek the wonder of the season   Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 838 McArthur St., will hold its annual live nativity from 5:30-7:30 p.m., Monday, Dec.21 and Tuesday, Dec. 22. Each year, the nativity includes the Holy Family, shepherds, magi and an assortment of animals. Tullahoma’s First Baptist Church will hold A Night in Bethlehem at 6:30 p.m., Dec. 21, 22 and 23, on the Corner of Washington and Grundy streets. A Night in Bethlehem offers an interactive interpretation of the Christmas Story with entertainment, free refreshments and exotic animals. Manchester’s Trinity Baptist Church will offer a Christmas meal from 6-7 p.m., Dec. 22, at the church located at 1513 McArthur St. Delivery is available for those who need a meal but cannot make it to the church. For more information, call 450-4420.   Celebrate the music of the season A great new holiday tradition might just be taking the family to see Nashville’s Nutcracker. Nashville Ballet returns with a beloved holiday tradition for the eighth consecutive year Dec. 5-23, at TPAC’s Jackson Hall. Due to popular demand, this year’s production will feature a record-setting total of 13 performances. Beginning at the 1897 Centennial Exposition in Nashville, the tale weaves together the city’s historic landmarks and characters with the world’s most popular ballet to deliver a unique Nashville holiday tradition. Nashville Ballet Artistic Director & CEO Paul Vasterling’s original concept and choreography incorporates local landmarks like the Parthenon, Shelby Bottoms and Belle Meade Mansion as Clara journeys into her holiday dream, complete with all of the magical characters you know and love. “I gave this production a Nashville twist because this city is such a fantastic hub of creativity and I wanted this version of the Nutcracker to reflect and infuse that creativity,” Vasterling said. “Not only does the story pay homage to Nashville’s rich history, but the entire production is locally produced, including the dancers, music, costumes and scenery.” Along with 57 members of the professional dance company and second company, Nashville’s Nutcracker will also include a youth cast of 191 young dancers from School of Nashville Ballet and the community at large performing with the Nashville Symphony—the largest youth cast in the company’s history. “It’s really special to see these young dancers watch an iconic character like the Sugar Plum Fairy dance for the first time because I know the inspiration that they are feeling,” Vasterling said. “Seeing the production through their eyes is a fantastic reminder of the magic of the season and how it sparks a lifetime of imagination and creativity.” Nashville’s Nutcracker is sponsored by Mix 92.9. Tickets start at $28 and can be purchased in person at the TPAC box office in downtown Nashville, by phone at (615) 782-4040 or online at this link. Nashville Christmas Holiday Midday Cruise offers a genuine Nashville Christmas with some of the finest country musicians and singers that Music City has to offer. Boarding begins at 11:15 a.m. with departures at noon, daily. Attire is casual. Pricing is Adults (12 and up) $65 for the cruise, meal and show and Children (ages 4-11): $41. College Street Elementary School will hold its musical at 5:30 p.m. Thursday. At the event will be a steel band concert and a Christmas play. A Winter Wonderland concert featuring Jacob and Cindy Gray, Sharon Kay Edwards and Todd Nichols and Nate Strasser will be held at 7 p.m., Dec. 19 at Tullahoma’s South Jackson Civic Center, 404 S. Jackson St.