By Sheree Stubblefield
The holidays are a time of joy but they are also a time of anxiety. The kids are out of school, the family is in town and you are probably looking for the perfect activity with your loved one(s). Sometimes too many options is just as bad as too few and Memphis is bursting at the seams. So you don’t have to sift through them all, we have put together a concise list of where you can have the most fun (and sane) holiday celebrations.
Enchanted Forest Festival of Trees through December 31. Children of all ages will be charmed by the animated characters set in the magical snowy setting of Enchanted Forest. Teddy bears beckon, elves are busy at work and penguins play in the snow. Santa cheerfully greets guests at the end of the Forest and poses for holiday photos. A perfect holiday tradition for the whole family to enjoy!
The Light Before Christmas 3D until December 24. This stunning Stop-Motion Animated film fills the Giant Screen with lavishly detailed sets and characters inspired by the fascinating designs of renowned artist James C. Christensen, while the musical score hearkens back to many beloved Christmas classics.
Season of Light until December 24. Trace the history and development of many of the world’s most endearing holiday customs, all of which involve lighting up the winter season — from the burning Yule log, sparkling Christmas tree lights and candles in windows, to the lighting of luminaries in the American Southwest and the traditional ritual of the Hanukkah Menorah.
They are also playing various family-friendly films that you can view on their Facebook page.
Zoo Lights through December 30. Suntrust Zoo Lights is bringing you the holiday classics. Snow, ice skating, hot chocolate, and warm memories. This is a classic Memphis event!
Children’s Museum of Memphis
New Year’s @ Noon on December 28. New Year’s @ Noon has been a CMOM tradition for over 25 years. This year’s event will be glowing: a glow party complete with DJ and dance floor, fun crafts, balloon art, and glowing face painting. And, the ever-popular count down and balloon drop at noon.
Free S’mores Celebration on December 27. ‘Tis the season to kick back and devour an endless amount of delicious s’mores! The best things in life are FREE, and this is certainly is no exception. Bring out friends & family and sit around the fire under the stars. While supplies last!
Memphis Botanic Garden
Holiday Wonders at the Garden until December 30. Snowy Nights is an outdoor, interactive and family-oriented venue. It is a continuation of the popular Snowy Nights in My Big Backyard. Trees Alight is a spectacular, environmentally sensitive, 360 degree multi-media, LED light show. Trees Alight resides in the Iris Garden and is synchronized to holiday music. This light show extends to the tallest trees within our 96 acres and encircles you in 360 degrees of magic!
Aldo’s Pizza Midtown
Pizza with Santa happening on December 21. There will be free photos with Fabled Santa, crafts, and cookies, and more fun for the whole family. Please bring an unwrapped gift for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis! 🎁
First Responder Gift Bags. Come stuff bags with us on Christmas Eve for our first responders. Every year, the CYCA gives back to the Memphis Firefighters and Police. We will be stuffing approximately 80 bags. We will start accepting individually wrapped store-bought treats or hand made goodies from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. The official bag stuffing will start at 7:00 p.m. so volunteers can arrive then. We want to fill the bags with portable treats so be sure to bring enough for 80 bags.
Church Brothers at the Cove on December 27. The Church brothers keep your holiday merry and bright with a post-Christmas party at the Cove. Round up the whole family (well, all the family that’s 21+) and come out!
Bluff City Backsliders Holiday Extravaganza on December 28. Enjoy this post-work jam session with Santa!
High Cotton Brewing
Free Holiday Party with The Schwag on December 23. Back for another killer pre-Christmas show is The Schwag! This is a FREE show. All ages. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. Show starts at 8:00 p.m.
Lafayette’s Music Room
Christmas Eve Brunch featuring Joe Restivo 4. With over 25 years of professional experience in music, Joe Restivo’s guitar playing strongly reflects his Memphis roots. Heavily influenced and inspired by soul and jazz musicians such as Wes Montgomery, Tal Farlow, Steve Cropper and Reggie Young, Joe has developed into a thoroughly in demand guitarist and composer on the Memphis scene.
Church And Mass
Christmas Eve with Children’s Christmas Pageant. This lively liturgy is specially designed for families with children and features music led by the St. Cecilia and Boys and Girls choirs and brass. Nursery care will be offered for children under five. This is followed by Christmas Eve with Choir and Brass at 5:30 pm.
Christmas Eve with the Christmas portion of Handel’s Messiah. This service begins with the Christmas portion of Handel’s Messiah at 10:30 p.m. A Festival Eucharist will follow at 11 p.m. and will reflect the glory and beauty of Anglican worship with candlelight and incense.
Christ City Church
Christmas Eve Service. Bring friends and family for a sacred Christmas Eve worship service on December 24th at 5pm. Childcare will be available for children 5 and under.
Christmas Eve Candlelight Service. A candlelight service of lessons and carols. All are welcome.
Multiple Christmas Eve Services. Children welcome. 3:00 P.M. – Children-Led Service, 5:00 P.M. – Traditional Lessons and Carols. 10:00 P.M. – Candle-lighting Communion Service (Childcare not available). If you can’t join in person, see the services will be live at https://livestream.com/idlewild.