The holidays have a way of making your town feel a little bit magical. While that’s probably true for everywhere, Memphis really is something special this time of year! There’s something for everyone—you might even say for kids from 1 to 92—so the SCO team has put together a quick list of some of our favorite things to do during the holiday season. If you’re looking to keep things close to home this Christmas, we’ve got you covered!
Memphis Museum of Science and History
3050 Central Ave.
Memphis, TN 38111
November 20—December 31, 2021
Although the Pink Palace rebranded this year and changed its name to the Memphis Museum of Science and History, their annual Enchanted Festival of Trees is as magical as ever. Watch as the holidays come to life among professionally decorated trees in a beautiful snowy setting, complete with miniature trains and a sweet gingerbread village designed by local chefs, businesses, individuals, and groups.
You’ll also find charming animated characters in attendance, like teddy bears, busy elves, and penguins playing in the snow. Speaking of penguins, be sure to stop by Penguin Pond, where hundreds of cuddly-stuffed penguins represent the many donations made to the Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital!
Looking to sit for a spell after exploring the mezzanine? How about taking in a holiday movie? The Giant Screen Theater will be showing “The Year Without a Santa Claus” and “The Light Before Christmas,” while the AutoZone Dome Planetarium will wow you with their Season of Light and Laser Holidays.
Pictures with Santa will still be available this year, although he will be sitting in a snow globe to keep everyone safe and healthy. Keep in mind that you’ll need to purchase tickets in advance this year to reserve the date and time of your visits. To meet social distancing requirements, MoSH will be limiting the number of guests per hour, and all guests over the age of 2 will be encouraged to wear a mask while in the exhibit. Purchase your tickets online in advance to enjoy this Memphis Christmas classic with your whole family!
Children’s Museum of Memphis
2525 Central Ave.
Memphis, TN 38104
December 4, 2021—January 2, 2022
You’ll be walking in a winter wonderland from the moment you enter CMOM! They’ve got Christmas trees decorated, twinkling lights strung, dancing snowflakes, and a variety of pop-up activities available. Sock skate at Sockefeller Center and test your skills by climbing the slopes or participate in a snowball fight with your family to see who comes out on top. The Art & Innovation Lab features holiday-themed crafts every day, including candy cane ornaments, Christmas picture frames, gingerbread friends, and more!
There are fun facts about winter on display everywhere, and guests can expect magical visits from their favorite seasonal characters and local performers. Have your kiddos head to the CMOM branch of the Santa postal service to write and post their wish lists to Santa, who will also be around for photos and special appearances throughout the day! CMOM is closed every Monday and will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as well. The Winter Wonderland is included in the price of admission and free to members, so if you’ve been thinking of joining, now is the perfect time.
Dixon Gallery & Gardens
4339 Park Ave.
Memphis, TN 38117
December 18, 2021
11 AM-3 PM
If you’re looking for something exciting and unusual to do during the holiday season, this Christmas Fiesta fits the bill! Dixon Gallery & Gardens is partnering with the Cazateatro Bilingual Theater Group and Opera Memphis to present families with a fun-filled day exploring the Christmas traditions of Latin America and the Caribbean. You’ll be able to sample some scrumptious Latin food, listen to traditional Christmas music in both English and Spanish, and learn how to make a small piñata. There will also be poinsettias to take home!
Need more convincing? Every item purchased through this Amazon Wishlist will be donated to a Memphis child during the Christmas Fiesta event on December 18th. You can play Santa at the same time you’re enjoying this excellent international celebration! What’s not to love?
125 N. Rowlett St.
Collierville, TN 38017
Saturdays in December
10 AM-4 PM
Collierville’s Historic Town Square is charming enough on its own, but add holiday trappings into the mix and you’ve got something truly special! This year, they’ve added over a quarter-million twinkling lights in the historic district to amp up the Christmas magic and made Saturdays unmissable. Families will be able to visit and take photos with Santa in the Gazebo, snap pics along the Holiday Photo Stroll, and follow it all up with a ride around the Square in a delightful horse-drawn carriage.
The Holiday Light Tour is back, too! It will be running nightly December 6-23 and features 92 merry and bright locations this year. You can use this map to see them all.
Giving back to the Memphis community over the holiday season
This time of year is great for reflecting on all the good things in your life. It’s also a wonderful time to provide for those in need. We wanted to include one such opportunity in this write-up to give you a place to start!
Compass Community Schools serve 1300 students in under-resourced communities across the city, including Berclair, Binghampton, Frayser, Hickory Hill, Midtown, and Orange Mound. When schools began closing in urban areas across the country, Compass opened its doors to students that would otherwise be left behind. Since 2019, they’ve been fostering a family-like environment where teachers can help prepare each individual child for college and life-long success by focusing on academic excellence, values-based character education, and service-learning in the community.
Now you can be a part of their journey! As a charter school, each Compass student is supported by state and federal funding, but this does not cover the total cost of educating a child. New necessities and technology have stressed an already tight budget. Partnering with Compass will help these schools achieve their dream of bringing world-class education to the Memphis students who need it most! Click here to view investment options that begin with as little as $50 to fund school supplies for a child for the entire year.
Happy Holidays from the SCO team
Whatever you’re planning to explore this holiday season, we’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for trusting us with your smile in 2021! We appreciate your support so much and look forward to the adventures 2022 has in store. Happy Holidays from all of us to all of you!