6 Festive Things to Do at the Ryman This Holiday Season

The Mother Church has enough seasonal merriment to power all of Nashville’s light displays.

Meet Santa on the Ryman stage

Get a keepsake photo with the Ryman’s biggest headliner yet! (You might’ve heard of him — he’s got a white beard and a belly that jiggles like a bowl full of jelly.) Like all rock stars, Santa’s got a busy touring schedule, but he’s making a one-day-only appearance at the Ryman on December 7.

After catching a glimpse of the jolly guy in Nashville’s Christmas parade, get up close and personal on the Ryman stage. Round up the kids — we’re offering free tour admission for children under 12 with purchase of an adult tour ticket — and get ready for an on-stage family photo-op. A free digital download and printed photo is included with tour admission.

Even if you aren’t able to pay a visit to Saint Nick on December 7, come take your family’s holiday card photo anytime this season. Our professional photographer will be on hand to capture your magic moment on the Ryman stage, and you’ll still get a printed photo free of charge.

Photos with Santa available from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 2 – 3:30 p.m. on December 7.

Hark! Hear carolers sing

No Nashville holiday celebration is complete without music. When Santa visits the Ryman on December 7, carolers dressed in traditional Victorian garb will make their rounds providing a joyful soundtrack to your tour experience. We can’t wait to hear their harmonies reverberate off the Ryman’s wooden pews.

Record a Christmas carol in Air Castle Studio

Sure, you can go Christmas caroling anywhere, but only at the Ryman can you cut your own seasonal song.

Harking back to Nashville’s first recording industry boom, Air Castle Studio allows visitors to record their own rendition of a hit song, from Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” to Garth Brooks’ “Friends in Low Places.”

The recording booth, located inside the auditorium, is adding three Christmas classics to its catalog: “Up on the Housetop,” Silent Night,” and “Jingle Bells.” To get in on the fun, all you’ve got to do is sign up for a timeslot outside of the studio. If you like what you’ve recorded, you can get a digital copy for just $15. It makes the perfect keepsake you’ll want to pull out year after year.

Enjoy our decorations — and then make your own

We’re decking the halls — and the pews. The Mother Church has been around for a lot of Christmases — 127 to be exact — but this Christmas is shaping up to be the most festive yet.

You can’t help getting a twinkle in your eye as you wander at your own pace on a self-guided daytime tour and look up at the Ryman’s colorful stained-glass windows, which always seem to take on a special glow this time of year. Make sure to pause for a photo-op on our plaza and “step inside” our giant snow globe.

Before you’re whisked away by other countless holiday plans, take a moment to visit our coloring station to color your own Ryman-themed ornament and remember what it’s like to be a kid again. (We bet that 5-year-old next to you will share her crayons, if you ask nicely.)

And if you can’t be in Nashville this holiday season, print out your own ornaments at home to decorate next to the roaring fireplace.

Cross that perfect gift off your list

Don’t forget to peruse the Ryman gift shop to find those gotta-have-it items for under the tree, whether that be a collectible Hatch Show Print poster or a cozy pullover. Get a sneak peek of what’s in store (promise we won’t tell Santa) in our holiday gift guide. Or shop online while you’re still in your slippers.

Sip on a free cup of hot chocolate from Cafe Lula

When you’ve wrapped up your tour of our star-studded exhibits, warm up with a complimentary cup of hot chocolate from Cafe Lula, which adjoins the Ryman. Cafe Lula’s got plenty of filling dishes to help you power through an afternoon of holiday shopping. Just keep our soft, gooey cookies on the down-low — if word gets out to Santa, we’ll need four more ovens to keep up with demand.

Katie Quine

Katie Quine is a digital marketing coordinator for Opry Entertainment. She believes Dolly Parton is one of the greatest philosophers the world has ever known.