Out and About Tri-Cities – December 2019

Family Friendly Events In The Tri-Cities

Out and About Tri-Cities – December 2019

Family-Friendly Events In the Tri-Cities and Just Beyond

If you are looking for family-friendly events in the Tri-Cities, you have come to the right place. Our mission at Geez, Gwen is to encourage families and couples to get out and explore and learn together as often as possible. We also strive to be a source of information for excellent volunteer opportunities that you can take part in to improve our community and the lives and well being of our neighbors. Welcome!

**This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.**

Local Family Fun

Bristol’s Annual Community Christmas Tree Lighting at Cumberland Square Park

Monday, December 2nd, at 6:30 pm

Bristol’s Annual Community Christmas Tree Lighting is set for Monday, December 2nd at 6:30 p.m. at Cumberland Square Park in Historic Downtown Bristol. The event showcases the site’s nearly 50-foot Norwegian Spruce and its younger counterpart, a 25-foot Douglas Fir decorated with thousands of warm-white Christmas lights – about 30,000 of them – for a dramatic and joyous display.

2019 Celebration of Trees in Jonesborough

December 2nd through 27th, 2019

Twinkling lights, the scent of Fraser firs, handcrafted ornaments and lovely Christmas decorations are filling the shops and storefronts of downtown Jonesborough. The annual Celebration of Trees, a unique exhibit of beautifully decorated Christmas trees, will be held in Historic Jonesborough December 2-27.

This year’s exhibit begins at the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center where 6 beautifully decorated live trees will be on display within the Old Town Emporium Gift Shop. These trees are all sponsored and decorated by area businesses and non-profit organizations. Here you can pick up a program that features a listing of nearly 25 locations throughout the historic district where you can view over 30 decorated trees.

The celebration of trees has been a Jonesborough tradition for nearly 30 years. Growing over the years it has now become an event that stretches from the Visitors Center to the Jonesborough Senior Center to the Chuckey Depot Museum at Jonesborough on 2nd Ave. The exhibit features many spots in between as well, with stops at the International Storytelling Center, Noelle, Gabriel’s Christmas, Mill Spring Park Gazebo, McKinney Center and many others. You are sure to leave in the holiday spirit!

The exhibit is free and open to the public on display Monday, December 2 through Friday, December 27. Exhibit programs are located at the Jonesborough Visitors Center and the International Storytelling Center. All locations are open to public viewing during their normal operating hours.

For additional information on the Celebration of Trees, contact the HistoricJonesborough Visitors Center at 423.753.1010 or visit jbochristmas.com.

East Tennessee Children’s Choir Performs at Johnson City Public Library

Monday, December 2nd from 6 pm to 7 pm
A group of talented singers, 9 years old and older, from all around our area, will treat our patrons to a variety of holiday favorites.

Cookies With Santa at Blackbird Bakery In Bristol

Tuesday, December 3rd, at 6 pm

Ho, Ho, Ho! Santa’s coming to Blackbird! Be sure to drop by and share your wish list with Santa. He’ll be giving away cookies (while supplies last).

Our favorite bakery in the world and Santa Claus – it’s a beautiful Christmas Miracle we should all take advantage of. Actually it happens every year, but it’s wonderful and a beautiful and delicious tradition!

The Bristol Christmas Parade on State Street

Thursday, December 5th, 2019 at 7 pm

Thousands of area residents will be on State Street Thursday night, Dec. 5th for the Bristol Christmas Parade. The parade, which has been taking place in the downtown area for more than a century, is a program of the Bristol Chamber of Commerce. The nights’ festivities, which will start on Bob Morrison Blvd., make its way through the center of town before finishing up at the Train Station. As always, jolly ole Saint Nick will make his presence known, riding in the final float.

More than 150 floats from local businesses, civic and volunteer organizations, church groups, bands, schools, neighborhood groups, etc. make up the parade.

Johnson City Christmas Tree Lighting at King Commons

Friday, December 6th, at 7 pm

Please join us for the lighting of our city’s Christmas Tree. There will be choirs, caroling, hot cocoa, and opportunities to get photographed with a very special guest – THE BUDWEISER CLYDESDALES!!!

Rocky Mount Candlelight Christmas

December 6th, 7th, 13th, and 14th (evenings)

A special time of the year to join with the Cobb Family in celebration of Christmas in the year 1791 with candlelight and decorations as the custom of the late 18th century before the heavy commercialization we know today.  Music, dancing, decorations, and sacred tales will all be part of your experience this magical evening.

Tour Description

  • The tour begins with an orientation of the history of Rocky Mount and Christmas traditions of the past
  • Lantern guides lead groups down the candlelit paths to the historic home of Rocky Mount, Christmas Eve 1791
  • Spending a few minutes in each room, the tour goes through the buildings of the historic site
  • Meet historical persons such as William Cobb, Gov. Blount, Mrs. Blount, and the people of the Southwest Territory
  • With a special emphasis on cultural history, the evening demonstrates the music, food, revelry, and traditions of an 18th century Christmas.

Tours begin every fifteen minutes starting at 4:30, with the last tour beginning at 8:00.  Each tour lasts around 60-90 minutes ending with a modern reception with light refreshments.

  • $12.00 Adults
  • $8.00 Children (ages 5-17)
  • Discounts for Members of RMHA
  • Group rates available for groups of 12 or more with reservation
  • Other discounts do not apply
  • Dress in layers for the weather, the evening takes you outside, some rooms heated only by fire, others get quite warm.

Due to the popularity of this event, reservations are highly recommended.  For more information and  to make reservations please call (423) 538-7396

Winter Greenery Hike and Christmas Tree Decorating at Steele Creek Park in Bristol

Saturday, December 7th, at 2 pm and 4 pm

2:00 pm: Winter Greenery Hike – Meet Don at the Nature Center for a Holiday themed adventure! Enjoy a mild hike in search of winter wonders including Christmas Ferns, mistletoe, and hollies. Also, help find and collect a 2019 Christmas tree for our Nature Center! Then at 4:00 pm: Christmas Tree Decorating
After the hike, we’ll come back to the Nature Center to decorate our tree and have some holiday refreshments!

Visions of Christmas 1860 at Tipton-Haynes Historic Ste

Saturday, December 7th from 2 pm to 6 pm

Come and enjoy an 1860 rendition of a Haynes family Christmas. You will tour the house and watch as the Haynes family prepare for Christmas and the celebration of Landon Carter Haynes’ birthday. Treats will be cooked on the open hearth of our cabin. Reservations for tours are appreciated. Regular admission is required. Members of Tipton-Haynes are also FREE! (Non-members are $5 for adults and $2.50 for children.)

Christmas Countdown Calendar Workshop at The Home Depot In Johnson City

Saturday, December 7th, 9 am to noon

Create your own countdown to the holidays, and have a blast with your child while doing it. Kids develop hands-on skills with sanding, nailing and applying stickers. With help from parents and store associates, your child will make a merry memory this holiday season. All Kids Workshop attendees must be accompanied by a parent or adult at all times. All kids get to keep their craft, receive a FREE certificate of achievement, a Workshop Apron and a commemorative pin while supplies last. Register here.

Santa At The Center In Bristol

Saturday, December 7th at noon

Join us at the Downtown Center / Country Music Mural for a visit and professional photo with Santa Claus! Photos will be printed on-site and will cost $5 per print. Sponsored by Believe in Bristol, Twin City Photo Club, and the City of Bristol, TN. We’ll have hot chocolate, apple cider, and cookies for you while you wait to meet with the jolly man himself!

Johnson City Christmas Parade

Saturday, December 7th from 10:30 am to noon

Come out to downtown Johnson City to see the 2019 Christmas Parade! This year’s theme is “Johnson City: Past, Present, and Future” – we’re looking forward to seeing all of the fun and creative ideas everyone comes up with to go along with the theme.

UETCS will once again have a float in this year’s parade; any members that may be interested in participating (which involves walking the roughly 1.5 mile parade route), please contact us for more information.

Christmas at the Train Station – Bristol Train Station

Sunday, December 8th, 2019 at 2 pm

The Bristol Train Station will host its first inaugural Christmas at the Train Station event on Sunday, December 8th. There will be a variety of fun-filled activities for all ages including Santa for children to meet and have their picture taken with by Jared Jarvis Photography (digital photos will be emailed), a miniature trackless train for children to ride on, meet-and-greet with the famous Ice Princess Sisters, several crafts, letter-writing to Santa, hot chocolate and cookies, ringing of the historic train bell, a gingerbread house-building contest, and more!

There are a limited number of tickets and they must be purchased in advance for one of five groups with corresponding check-in times (2 pm, 2:30 pm, 3 pm, 3:30 pm, and 4 pm). The check-in time system is in place to ensure that both wait times and lines are kept to an absolute minimum, and to make sure each guest has a smooth & fun-filled experience. After checking in, guests will begin the Christmas tour with their group. It will take approximately one hour for each group to enjoy the activities.

Thanks to generous sponsors, tickets are only $8 and can be purchased here.

Winterfest Art Show at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park

December 8th – 18th

Opening Reception: Sunday, December 8, 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm

Kick-off the holidays at Sycamore Shoals! The Watauga Valley Art League exhibition and sale will begin with a reception on December 8 with great opportunities for holiday shopping! Artwork from the Watauga Valley Art League will remain on display during regular park hours through December 18th.

Gingerbread House Competition ay Johnson City Public Library

Tuesday, December 10th from 6 pm to 7:30 pm

Build your most impressive gingerbread house in one hour! All supplies will be provided by the library. Prizes go to the top 3 designs. This program is intended for ages 12-18. Registration is required.

An Evening of Hygge at Johnson City Public Library

Wednesday, December 11 at 6:00 p.m

Back by popular demand! We at the Johnson City Public Library, during these cold winter months and this busy holiday season, would like to share a little hygge with you, our patrons. Join us on Wednesday, December 11 at 6:00 p.m. for an evening of comfort. We will have a cocoa and tea bar; a crafting space for holiday card making; a selection of cozy reads you can read and check out; and an inviting atmosphere where you can work on your own holiday craft project or cards or simply curl up with a good book. Attendees are invited to dress for comfort and bring their coziest blanket.
Meik Wiking, in his book The Little Book of Hygge, says the Danish concept of hygge, “Is about an atmosphere and an experience, rather than about things. It is about being with the people we love. A feeling of home… You may be having an endless conversation about the small or big things in life– or just be comfortable in each other’s silent company– or simply just be by yourself enjoying a cup of tea.”

International Mountain Day at Roan Mountain State Park

Wednesday, December 11th from 9 am to 10 am

Mountains are special and valuable places.  Not only are they beautiful places for recreation, but they also provide vital resources such as clean air, fresh water, food, wood, minerals, medicines, and so much more.

December 11 is International Mountain Day, a day to celebrate the importance of mountains and learn more about the threats facing them.

Join Roan Mountain State Park Manager Meg Guy for an informative program about what makes our Appalachian mountains so special, what puts them in danger, and what you can do to help ensure that these mountains are still beautiful and valuable for future generations.

Christmas Wreath Workshop at Bay’s Mountain

Thursday, December 12th from 6 pm to 8 pm

Looking for that perfect decoration to hang above your mantel or on your front door? Christy will help you construct a festive natural wreath!

No experience needed, and all supplies are provided. Pre-registration is required. Space is limited, so register early! The cost is $27 per person. The registration deadline is December 10. Click HERE to register.

Gingerbread Houses and Polymer Snow Workshop at Hands-On Discovery Center!

Saturday, December 14th, 10:30am-2:30pm

Stop in anytime between 10:30-2:30 to test your engineering skills by building your own graham cracker and candy “gingerbread” house as well as make your own polymer snow to take home. Children must be supervised at all times. (Contains small parts and food allergens.) A materials fee of $3 per person for Hands-On! Discovery Center members, $5 per person for non-members, while supplies last.

Orion and the Christmas Star at Miller Farmstead – Roan Mountain State Park

Saturday, December 14thth from 8 pm to 10 pm

The December sky holds some of our most interesting and brilliant constellations.  Roan Mountain State Park invites you to join us for a winter star party focusing on the brilliant constellation of Orion the Hunter as well as a look into what the Christmas Star that led the three Wisemen to Bethlehem may have been.  A telescope viewing will end the evening party.

Meet Ranger Phil from 8-10 PM at the Miller Farmstead parking lot to enjoy the dark sky as seen from Strawberry Mountain.  Hot chocolate and snacks will be served on-site, but guests are encouraged to bring seats, warm clothing, and blankets.  This program is free to attend with no registration.

Victorian Christmas Card Make and Take at Chester Inn Historic Site and Museum in Jonesborough

Saturday, December 14th from 11 am to 3 pm

Visit the Chester Inn Museum from 11-3 and make your own Victorian Christmas card. Make one you can keep and one to send to friends!

Santa’s South Pole Swim at The Kingsport Aquatic Center

Saturday, December 14 from 6:30 to 8 p.m

Bring your kids to the KAC for a holiday pool party. Don’t worry—our pools are warmer than the Antarctic. We’ll have reindeer games, paddleboard rides with the elves, and aquatic sled riding! You’ll even be able to take your picture with Santa.
All children 12 and under will also be able to decorate their very own stocking, provided by the KAC on a first-come/first-serve basis.
Pre-registration is $5 per swimmer. Day-of swimmer tickets will cost $7, and all spectator tickets are $2. We strongly recommend you pre-register! Do so by clicking the link below. Please call the KAC at (423)343-9758 for more information. Get Tickets

Star Wars Celebration at Johnson City Public Library

Tuesday, December 17th from 6 pm to 7:30 pm

Celebrate the release of the newest Star Wars episode with games, crafts, trivia, food, and a cosplay contest! Cosplays are encouraged but not required. This program is intended for ages 12-18. Registration is required.

Christmas Shows 

Miracle on 34th Street December 6th- 22nd, 2019 at Theater Bristol

Theatre Bristol presents “Miracle on 34th Street” this Christmas under the direction of Dottie Havlik, opening December 6 and running weekends through December 22 at Theatre Bristol’s ARTspace, 506 State Street, Bristol, TN, Tickets are on sale now.

Performances December 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22, Fridays at 7:30 pm, Saturdays at 5:30 pm, Sundays at 2:30 pm

Bristol Ballet Presents The Nutcracker

December 13th and 14th. 2019

Bristol Ballet’s presentation of this beloved ballet is always a highlight of the Christmas season! Professional guest artists enhance this quality production, with over 60 area cast members. See the guests at the party, the battle between the wretched Rat Queen and the Nutcracker, and Clara’s journey through the magical snow forest to the Land of Sweets. Savor favorites like the Sugar Plum Fairy and Waltz of the Flowers, with some original twists like Mother Maybelle Carter and the Carter Sisters, complete with fiddles and banjos! Pupcracker, a crowd favorite from last year, returns at the Saturday noon performance. The cast includes some four-legged cast members, and you might find your “forever” dog among the shelter pups available for adoption in the lobby. Nutcracker is a perennial favorite of ours, and it wouldn’t be Christmas in Bristol without it. Get tickets here.

The Wizards of Winter at Paramount Bristol

December 22nd, 2019 at 5 pm

Celebrating their 10th Anniversary – THE WIZARDS OF WINTER is a Holiday Rock Event for the whole family featuring former members of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Rainbow, Blue Oyster Cult, Ted Nugent, The Irish Tenors and more. Join them on a musical journey inside a snow globe in search of the true meaning of Christmas. This 11-member ensemble blends their heavy metal, progressive rock vibe with the heartwarming sounds of the season. Their unique style of musical intensity, soaring vocal harmonies and stage theatrics layered around a rich storyboard make for a dazzling holiday spectacle you won’t want to miss!

Out Of Town Trips, Worth Taking

Winter Nights at Knoxville Zoo

Thursday, December 12th through Saturday, December 15th (5 to 8 pm)

Zoo Knoxville is excited to host an all-new event for 2019, Winter Nights presented by Knoxville TVA Employees Credit Union! This magical event features thousands of lights and tons of activities!

Winter Nights celebrates the magic of the holiday. Visit with Santa Claus, decorate your own holiday cookie, write a letter to Santa, listen to carolers each night, visit with princesses Elsa and Anna, and enjoy festive food and drink!

Additionally, experience the enchanted forest with 100 hanging stars!

Enjoy Cheese, Pepperoni, and Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels, Mac & Cheese, and S’mores over a fire.

Warm-up with Apple wassail, fancy hot chocolate of several varieties, and hot coffee! Tickets are just $10 for four and up. Free for 3 and under.

Parking is free during the event and you can take your own pictures with Santa. Santa is only there at night. Learn more or get tickets here.

Tweetsie Railroad Christmas

Now through December 28th from 5 pm to 8 pm

Celebrate the holiday season as Tweetsie Railroad transforms into a winter wonderland for Tweetsie Christmas! Enjoy a nighttime train ride among thousands of dazzling lights, meet Santa in his Gingerbread House, larger than life snowglobes to play in, a live Christmas show, and more!

Tickets are for a specific date and train ride time. A limited number of guests are admitted nightly, so advance tickets are strongly recommended. Adults: $44, Children (age 3-12): $38, Children 2 and under: Free

This truly is the most wonderful time of the year! Grab your calendars and your family and make some plans to make the most of the season. It goes far too quickly!


Merry Christmas and God Bless You!


Thanks for visiting Geez, Gwen today! We are so glad you found us! We are not believers in coincidence so we are confident you are here for a reason! Perhaps we can offer you tasty recipes? Maybe our inspirational quotes are just what you need in your life! Perhaps you’ve been wondering where to take that family vacation? Maybe you want to know the truth about what us homeschoolers really do all day! Maybe you love photography and see it as an art, just like me! Whatever it is, it’s clearly Destiny at its finest! Don’t let this opening door of opportunity slam shut! Run through by subscribing to our newsletter 🙂

Some posts on this blog contain affiliate links. I receive a small commission whenever a product is purchased through these links. Occasionally I receive products in exchange for a review or giveaway post. However, all opinions expressed on Geez Gwen are solely my own, and I only suggest products or services that I believe will be helpful to my readers.

Other Posts You May Enjoy

Biltmore House at Christmas

Christmas At Biltmore House

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Dear Santa Printable Letter

Printable Letter To Santa

This printable Santa letter invites an opportunity to discuss not only what your child wants for Christmas but also what they would like to give. Sit down with your littles to really dig into what they most want for Christmas, which is time with family, a Christmas tree, time spent gift wrapping or decorating Christmas cookies, as well as opportunities to spread the joy of Christmas by being kind and generous themselves and a gift or two. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

Snow Globe Quotes and Sayings

Snow Globe Quotes and Sayings

Who doesn’t love a great snow globe quote or saying? I love snow globes! I always have. When I was a kid my Mom had a beautiful collection of snowglobes and they were my favorite of the Christmas decorations. Don’t me get wrong, I absolutely adore a Christmas tree. But those are all, look but don’t touch!

Not a snow globe though. A good snow globe invites you to give it a little shake and even rewards your effort with glistening snow. If it’s an extra awesome snow globe, you can also turn the little key underneath and it will sing to you. I love them, all glittery and sparkling. Also, I think my addiction to quotes may have first begun when I turned over a snow globe one day and read, “Kindness is like snow –it beautifies everything it covers.” These quotes and sayings are almost as lovely as the globe itself.

Delivery Driver Christmas Thank You Note

Printable Christmas Thank You Note For Delivery Drivers

We have a lot of Christmas Traditions that we love and The Christmas Delivery Gratitude Basket is one of them. It’s nice to say thank you to each of our delivery carriers whether they deliver when we are home or not. This thank you note is perfect to tuck in with your Christmas Delivery Basket. A simple way to say thank you, we see you, we appreciate you, and we wish you a Merry Christmas! Here is the printable of the same thank you note we use!

Instant Pot Soup Recipes

Instant Pot Soup Recipes To Warm You Up

! I would eat soup every single day if the guys would have it. Being born and raised in Maine, I learned early how to appreciate a really good bowl of soup after a really cold day of sledding or skating or even just walking home from school.

Oh yes, the warmth of the bowl cupped in your frozen little fingers, the delectable smells that filled the whole house with comfort, and the taste of a really great soup with crackers all crushed up over the top; it has the best way of warming you from the inside out. That’s hard to beat. Here are my top picks for awesome soup you can make in your Instant Pot.