Our Favorite Knoxville Christmas Traditions

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I’m gonna be honest – the sight of ‘December 2’ on my phone this morning was slightly jarring. Anyone else finding it hard to believe it’s already December!? I decided today would be a good one to sit down and do some Christmas planning, including plotting out which dates would be best for our beloved Christmas traditions. As I jotted in my planner, I thought it might be helpful to share some of these traditions with you all. 10 years into living in Knoxville with kids – we’ve discovered a list of traditions that make this time of year extra special for us.

Ice Skating in Market Square

knoxville christmas traditions in market square

One of our absolute favorite family activities during the holidays is lacing up some rented skates and twirling around the rink in Market Square. The Holidays on Ice event is a Knoxville classic, turning Market Square into a winter wonderland. Skating under the twinkling lights, surrounded by the festive spirit of downtown Knoxville, has become a tradition that kicks off our holiday season with pure joy. If you haven’t experienced it yet, check out the details here.


Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland

Every year, we make the short trip to Sevierville to witness the mesmerizing light show at Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland. Trust me, it’s not your average light display—it’s a festive drive that immerses you in a world of synchronized lights, music, and holiday cheer. Find all the details you need here.


The Nativity Pageant Show

nativity pageant in knoxville tn

For a beautiful reminder of the true meaning of this season, we always make our way to the Nativity Pageant show. It’s a heartwarming production that brings to life the story of the first Christmas, including live animals and wonderful music. If you haven’t experienced this beautiful presentation, you can learn more here


Elf on the Shelf Adventure in Downtown Knoxville

Our little ones absolutely adore the Elf on the Shelf Adventure in downtown Knoxville, and you can sign me up for a walk around Market Square any day. This tradition is a whimsical scavenger hunt that leads us through the heart of the city, discovering hidden elves and festive surprises along the way. Get all the details here, and join in the joy as your kiddos follow the mischievous adventures of Santa’s little helpers.


Surprise Cocoa and Christmas Lights

Perhaps the most cherished tradition in our family is the spontaneous yet eagerly anticipated Cocoa and Christmas Lights evening. On a different night each December, after tucking our boys into bed, my husband and I burst into their rooms, announcing that it’s time for Cocoa and Christmas Lights!! We whisk them into the car, head to Starbucks for white peppermint cocoas, and drive around Knoxville admiring the enchanting light displays. It’s a simple yet magical tradition that brings us closer as a family and allows us to marvel at the beauty of the season. For a list of the best houses this year, head here.

I want to take a moment to mention that there are a myriad of fun Christmas activities in Knoxville. A good resource for all of them is the Knoxville Moms blog. I have found in years past that its so easy to get swept up in all of the options, and all of the things I see other moms doing on Instagram, and it can rob the joy of this season really quick. So, consider this your permission slip to keep this season simple. To savor time with your precious ones. To anticipate the celebration of the birth of Christ. I hope this little list inspires you to find your few beloved holiday traditions.


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