Tree lightings and Christmas festivals: 10 cheap or free holiday events to check out in the Greater Nashville area

The Franklin Christmas Tree will be lit during a Dec. 6 ceremony. (Lindsay Scott/Community Impact Newspaper)
The Franklin Christmas Tree will be lit during a Dec. 6 ceremony. (Lindsay Scott/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Franklin Christmas Tree will be lit during a Dec. 6 ceremony. (Lindsay Scott/Community Impact Newspaper)

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Holiday Lights begins Nov. 23 at Cheekwood. (Courtesy Cheekwood Estate and Gardens)
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Lipscomb University's 15th annual Lighting of the Green features a free outdoor concert with Amy Grant. (Courtesy Lipscomb University)
With Thanksgiving over, many residents in the area have begun celebrating the Christmas season. There are a number of affordable holiday events coming up in the Greater Nashville area in the next few weeks.

Holiday Lights at Cheekwood

Now through Jan. 5

Cheekwood Estate and Gardens will showcase one million lights along a one-mile walking path at this annual holiday event. In addition to the lights on display, the ongoing event features carolers, gingerbread workshops, live reindeer, a s’mores pit and other activities. 5-10 p.m. $17-$22. Cheekwood Estate and Gardens, 1200 Forrest Park Drive, Nashville. 615-356-8000. www.cheekwood.org

Brentwood Christmas Tree Lighting


Dec. 2

The city of Brentwood will host its 21st annual Christmas Tree lighting following performances from the Brentwood High School Choir and remarks from city leaders. Light refreshments will be served inside the library. 5:30 p.m. Free. John P. Holt Brentwood Library, 8109 Concord Road, Brentwood. www.brentwoodtn.gov

Lipscomb Tree Lighting

Dec. 3


Lipscomb University's 15th annual Lighting of the Green features a free outdoor concert with Amy Grant and special guests as well as vendors, photos with Santa and the lighting of the university’s Christmas tree. 4:30-7:30 p.m. Free. Lipscomb University, Allen Arena Mall, 4021 Granny White Pike, Nashville. 615-966-1000. www.lipscomb.edu

Tree lighting in Green Hills

Dec. 4


The Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt and the Southern Land Company at Vertis Hils host the 2nd annual Claus for a Cause tree lighting and holiday toy drive. The event will feature food and drinks from restaurants in Vertis Green Hills as well as cookie decorating, pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus, music, life reindeer and more. While the event is free, donations can be made on-site to the children's hospital. 5:30-8 p.m. 4000 Hillsboro Pike, Nashville. See more at the event page here.

BrightStone Christmas Concert

Dec. 5


Franklin-area nonprofit BrightStone hosts its annual Christmas concert, “Season of Love.” The free concert and reception features performances from BrightStone students. The organization serves local adults with developmental disabilities. While the event is not a fundraiser, attendees can make donations or purchase goods at the event. 6:30 p.m. Free. Liberty Hall, The Factory at Franklin, 230 Franklin Road, Franklin. www.brightstone.org



Metro Nashville Christmas Tree Lighting

Dec. 6


The city of Nashville hosts its annual tree lighting in Public Square Park. Past lighting ceremonies have included performances from local school choirs and an appearance from Santa Claus. Free (admission). 10 Public Square, Nashville. www.nashville.gov



City of Franklin Christmas Tree Lighting

Dec. 6


The city of Franklin will light a Christmas tree in downtown Franklin for the holiday season. Families can come get photos with Santa and Rudolph and see performances from the Freedom Intermediate School Choir; Jars of Clay; and the Mistress of Ceremonies, Kathie Lee Gifford. 6-8 p.m. Free. 109 Third Ave. S., Franklin. 615-791-3217. www.franklintn.gov



Nashville Christmas Parade

Dec. 7


The 66th annual Nashville Christmas Parade returns to the downtown streets with balloons, custom floats, musical performances and an appearance by Santa Claus. Road closures have not been announced as of press time. 8:30 a.m. Free-$50 (tickets required for some areas). Brandon St. and First Ave. N. to Broadway and Eighth Ave. N., Nashville. 615-872-2452. www.nashvillechristmasparade.com



Dickens of a Christmas Festival

Dec. 14-15


The Heritage Foundation of Williamson County hosts the 35th annual Dickens of a Christmas outdoor holiday festival. Musicians, characters and dancers will fill the streets of downtown Franklin at this Charles Dickens-themed event, which will also include food, vendors, live music and more. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. (both days). Free (admission). Downtown Franklin. 615-591-8500. www.williamsonheritage.org



Leiper’s Fork Christmas Parade

Dec. 14


The Leiper’s Fork Christmas Parade features classic cars and trucks, costumes, floats, animals and an appearance from Santa Claus. 2-4 p.m. Free. Hillsboro Road, Leiper's Fork. www.facebook.com/leipersforkchristmasparad

By Wendy Sturges
A Houston native and graduate of St. Edward's University in Austin, Wendy Sturges has worked as a community journalist covering local government, health care, business and development since 2011. She has worked with Community Impact since 2015 as a reporter and editor and moved to Tennessee in 2019.


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