I am not one of those people who wishes Thanksgiving away by celebrating Christmas early. Ok, maybe just a little bit, but it’s really just for one day. Before there were Gaylord properties scattered across the United Sates, there was one. Opryland. And one thing that Opryland Hotel always had going for it, at least AFTER Opryland Theme Park closed down, was the annual Christmas Lights. Granted there are many ways to bring in the season and I’m sure there are many more that can beat out or at least rival Opryland’s display, but for us who live in and around Nashville, this lighting ceremony is tough to match. With over two million lights and a host of other events throughout the holiday season, you could be the most grinch-like inhospitable individual on the face of the earth and still find it in your heart to give a twinkle in your eye to the person next to you. It’s an infectious Christmas atmosphere that inspires you to celebrate the season in grand style. We happen to be lucky enough to live in this fine city, so for us it has become a yearly event for more than a decade with only one lighting missed due to the 1,000 year flood we experienced in 2010 where the entire hotel was flooded and eventually gutted for a reopening. But, even with that blip, it is the time of the year when we at least “start” to open the holiday season. This year was a bit easier to celebrate with our temps in the 20’s due to the Polar Vortex. (Polar Vortex- what we used to call a cold snap before everything had to be given a name by our high maintenance society) I digress. As the countdown begins and the local power company cringes, all eyes are on the barren trees, which have actually been strung with lights since July (it takes this long to decorate the entire hotel which is massive).
Along with the many lights outside, you can expect much of the same on the inside of the building. There are 3 massive atriums that are all themed and decorated along with multiple lobbies and various other areas. It takes only a matter of steps to see the next Christmas tree in this place. Quite literally a Christmas Wonderland, a night’s stay here would be the equivalent of being in the middle of a holiday movie. Gaylord offers much more than just lights, there’s the Rockettes, an outdoor ice skating rink with ice runs for tubing, several Christmas themed shows and ICE, which is a production that is worked on weeks prior out of huge ice sculptures around a particular theme. So, if you’re looking for those special holiday memories for your kids or just enough to make you feel like a kid again, make that short flight or drive to Tennessee and experience Christmas in its fullness. And if you have a problem with Christmas, just stand clear of the nutcrackers stationed throughout the hotel.