Washington Irving famously said that Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality. More bluntly, Garrison Keillor explained that the lovely thing about the holiday is that it is compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together. Whatever your perspective, you may find a time this Yuletide when everyone might do well to get out of the house for a bit.
Before your tinsel gets twisted, consider these ideas for family outings that will deck your proverbial halls with the sights and sounds of a holly, jolly Franklin Christmas.
It’s a Wonderful Life
The ca. 1929 Factory at Franklin— a former stove plant turned shopping, dining and entertainment destination — is all decked out for the holidays. Just beyond the spectacular Skylight Bar in the Grand Hall sits the brand new Turner Theater, home of the world-class theater company Studio Tenn. Through December 24, the cast is presenting a classic holiday production with a local twist. It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play is set inside the studio of beloved station WAKM, where the five actors bring to life the heartwarming story of George Bailey’s answered Christmas Eve prayers.
Hello Trolley Holiday Lights Tours
Jump on a Santa-approved trolley for a cozy tour through some of Williamson County’s best light displays. Many of our neighbors go all out with legendary installations, and the ride through the hills and hollows to festive tunes is guaranteed to make your spirits bright. Candy canes and other holiday treats are available on-board, and you’re welcome to bring your own snacks too. The tour lasts about an hour and a half. Tickets are available here.
Pinewood Christmas Tree Farm
While we can’t promise a dash through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh, a wagon ride with blankets and hot chocolate through Williamson County’s only Christmas tree farm can be pretty magical. Afterward, enjoy s’mores by the fire and a run through the gift shop for handmade mementos. Photo opportunities abound across the property, which is a dream come true for this local family who works year round to bring the cheer come December.
FrankTown Festival of Lights
The nonprofit organization FrankTown Open Hearts enhances the lives of at-risk youth, and one of their largest fundraisers of the year has become a tradition that enhances the season for the entire community: the FrankTown Festival of Lights. Held at the Williamson County Ag Expo Center, the mile-and-a-half light spectacular features more than 200 features synchronized to Christmas tunes. Drive through at your own pace, stop for selfies, and enjoy the fire pits and snacks from the food truck afterward. On certain Character Nights, you never know which special guests might appear!
Gingerbread House Building
If you find yourself with a sweet tooth (and who doesn’t this time of year?), then Sugar Drop should be at the top of your destination list. Not only does the dessert boutique offer an array of delightful confections, but they also host classes for groups of all ages. On December 20, the popular Gingerbread House Building class provides guests with a pre-assembled house and all the fondant, buttercream and candied accouterments you can imagine. If you can’t make that one, other classes include themed cookie and cake-making editions.
Christmas Movies at The Franklin Theatre
Think of your favorite holiday movie, from the black & whites through the modern hits, and The Franklin Theatre is likely playing it this Christmas season. The ca. 1937 building was completely restored in 2008 as a state-of-the-art performance venue; between live performances, movies pack the house in the 300-seat theater.
Holiday Trot Adventure Pass
Throughout the season, events all over the county celebrate the magic of Christmas. Download the Holiday Trot Adventure Pass, and don’t miss a moment. From parades to pop-up bars, candy cane hunts to storytime hours, there’s no shortage of happenings sure to jingle your bells!