Live Nativity, Christmas music, movies on Chattanooga area’s weekend calendar

Staff Photo / Candy Meck of Simply Southern Bakery rings up a customer's order in 2021 during the Chattanooga Holiday Market at the Chattanooga Convention Center.

The holiday season is in full force as we enter December. Here's a look around the region at Christmas-themed events over the next few days.

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-- Hunter Museum of American Art, 10 Bluff View, will celebrate Holiday Teen Night 6-8 p.m. Thursday. Presented by the museum's Teen Council, the event will include crafts, gift making, cookie decorating and an ugly sweater contest. It coincides with Throwback Thursday, a monthly promotion scheduled at 4-8 p.m., when admission is free to see the permanent collection and $5 to the temporary exhibit, "Memories & Inspiration."

-- Christmas art show: Local artist Ed Lewis will showcase his wood-turned pens, bowls, wall hangings and other crafts 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at his studio, 6526 Harrison Pike. 423-240-6567.


-- Chattanooga Ballet will take fans "Behind the Curtain at 'The Nutcracker'" 4-5:30 p.m. Sunday for an exclusive preview of the costumes and props used to stage the ballet, backstage photos with the cast, an interactive reading of the story, plus cocktails and child-friendly treats. Tickets, $20-$40, must be purchased online. The company's production of the classic holiday ballet is scheduled Dec. 9-11 at the same venue, Memorial Auditorium, 399 McCallie Ave.


-- Imax Theater, 201 Chestnut St., is showing "The Polar Express" daily through Dec. 26 (closed Christmas Day). Hours vary through the month, but there's a single screening at 5 p.m. Thursday, then two daily, at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., through Dec. 8 before the schedule changes again. Tickets are $8-$10. A bonus activity, with limited tickets, is the annual PJs and Polar event, in which visitors can don their pajamas to meet the conductor and enjoy refreshments at an early screening Dec. 17. The event takes place 9:15-11:45 a.m., with tickets priced at $13-$20.

-- Free holiday movies will be screened the next three weekends at the Gem Theatre, 114 N. Wall St., Calhoun, Ga. First up is "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation," to be shown at 1 and 7 p.m. Saturday. It will be followed by "It's a Wonderful Life" at 4 and 7 p.m. Sunday. Also in the series are "Elf," 1 and 7 p.m. Dec. 10, and a "White Christmas" sing-along at 1 and 7 p.m. Dec. 19. Donations are appreciated. Concessions will be available.

-- Downhome Christmas Movie Night, featuring "The Polar Express," starts at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Ringgold Depot, 155 Depot St., Ringgold, Ga. The annual screening raises funds for community projects of the Boynton Lions Club. Concessions will be available. Children 15 and younger must be accompanied by an adult. Admission is free, though donations are welcome. Old eyeglasses will be received for recycling. 706-935-3061


-- Cleveland State Community College, 3535 Adkisson Drive, Cleveland, Tenn., will host a free holiday concert by Vocal Rhapsody and Blue Notes Jazz Ensemble at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the George R. Johnson Cultural Heritage Center. 423-473-2303

-- A Classic Nashville Christmas, featuring Jason Petty and Gail Bliss, starts at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Cumberland County Playhouse, 221 Tennessee Ave., Crossville, Tenn. Both performers have starred in acclaimed tribute shows: Bliss as Patsy Cline and Petty, a Manchester, Tenn., native as Hank Williams on Broadway. Their Christmas show features music from Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Alan Jackson, Brenda Lee and Elvis Presley, among others. Tickets are $25.

-- Celtic Angels Christmas starts at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Gem Theatre, 114 N. Wall St., Calhoun, Ga. The show features vocal and instrumental holiday and Irish favorites by five vocalists, a live band and Irish dancing. Tickets are $39-$49.

-- Tri-Octaves Christmas concerts are this weekend at Christ United Methodist Church, 8645 E. Brainerd Road. The Tri-Octaves are Rock & Roll Hall of Fame vocalist Willie Kitchens (formerly of The Impressions), Michael Rodgers and Doug Richeson. They'll sing Christmas songs from classic movies in identical shows at 7 p.m. Friday and 6 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free. Donations will be accepted for The Bethlehem Center, which ministers to youth and families.

-- Candlelight Advent Concert is 7:30 p.m. Friday at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 305 W. Seventh St. This installment of the St. Paul's Artist Series will feature Bach's Cantata BWV 61, written for the first Sunday of Advent, and Handel's "Messiah," Part 1, as performed by the choir and featured soloists accompanied by the North Carolina Baroque Orchestra on historical instruments. Tickets are $10-$40. St. Paul's lunchtime Advent concerts will continue 12:05-12:30 p.m. Wednesday with the church's director of music, Paul Thomas, performing organ works by Franck, Bach and Messiaen. Admission is free, but donations will help support the series. A soup lunch will follow in Key-Andrews Hall for $6. A large basket in the back of the church is for the collection of winter hats, gloves, scarves and socks for the Chattanooga Community Kitchen.

-- Chattanooga Boys Choir will be "Remembering Decembers" in its annual holiday concert, to be presented at noon and 5:30 p.m. Saturday at First Baptist Church, 401 Gateway Ave. Special guests will be the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera Youth Orchestra and The Metropolitan Bells, a handbell choir. The program will feature traditional favorites and modern pieces. Tickets are $5-$10.

-- Southern Adventist University, 4881 Taylor Circle, Collegedale, will present its wind symphony, jazz ensemble and steel band in a Christmas pops concert at 8 p.m. Saturday in the Iles P.E. Center.

-- Christmas With Selah concerts are Saturday at Concord Baptist Church, 7025 E. Brainerd Road. Natalie Layne will open for the Dove Award-winning trio. The promoter, Moody Radio Chattanooga, has added a matinee at 3 p.m. The 7 p.m. show is sold out. Tickets are $18.

-- Handel's "Messiah" will be presented in two performances this weekend at First Presbyterian Church, 554 McCallie Ave., by the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera, Choral Arts of Chattanooga, the CSO Chorus and the First Presbyterian Church Choir. Concerts are scheduled at 7:30 p.m. Saturday (limited seats remain) and 3 p.m. Sunday (a sing-along). Tickets are $10-$25.

-- A Bluegrass Christmas Celebration, featuring Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, will ring out at 3 p.m. CST Sunday at The Caverns, 555 Charlie Roberts Road, Pelham, Tenn., Tickets are $55-$350.

-- Jamie Kimmett, a Christian recording artist, will bring his Christmas Classics Tour to Spring Creek Road Baptist Church, 1312 Spring Creek Road, at 7 p.m. Sunday.

-- Classic Christmas, an annual holiday celebration at Lee University, will take place at 3 p.m. Sunday in the Conn Center, 150 11th St. NE, on the Cleveland, Tenn., campus. The featured artist is Lee alum Clark Beckham, runner-up on Season 14 of "American Idol." Ensembles scheduled to perform are the Lee Orchestra, Lee University Chorale, Choral Union, Ladies of Lee and Lee Handbells. Several selections will be audience sing-alongs. The event will be livestreamed at Tickets are free but required.


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-- Coats for Kids, benefiting the Forgotten Child Fund, is Thursday at Hamilton Place, 2100 Hamilton Place Blvd. The Chattanooga Fire Department and several media organizations will collect donated coats in all sizes (children to adults), plus winter hats, gloves and scarves, 7 a.m.-7 p.m. in the parking lot near The Cheesecake Factory.

-- Santa arrives Thursday at Dalton Mall, 816 Walnut Square Blvd., Dalton, Ga. Walk-ins are welcome, but online bookings are good for a free call from Santa. Hours are 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday, noon-6 p.m. Sundays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Christmas Eve.

-- Candlelight tours are scheduled the next two weekends at the Gordon-Lee Mansion, 217 Cove Road, Chickamauga, Ga. Built in the 1840s, the historic home was used by both armies during the Battle of Chickamauga, first as Union headquarters and later as a Confederate hospital. Tours are 6-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday (and Dec. 9-10). Admission is $2-$10. (Similar tours are scheduled later in the month at the Chief Vann House in Chatsworth, Ga., and the Marsh House in LaFayette, Ga.)

-- Burks United Methodist Church, 6433 Hixson Pike, will stage a live Nativity 6-8 p.m Saturday. The drive-through vignettes will be accompanied by audio played on a car radio or CD. A website post says vans and buses from churches and organizations are welcome.

-- Mall entertainment: Hamilton Place, 2100 Hamilton Place Blvd., will have special entertainment this weekend. The Chattanooga Community Orchestra, a 60-person senior ensemble, will play holiday favorites 2-3 p.m. Saturday on the lower level in front of JCPenney. The Ginger Brown Dance Studio will perform 2-4 p.m. Sunday on the Center Court stage near Santa's Workshop.

-- Scuba Claus, an underwater doppelganger, will be taking dips in the River Journey building's freshwater exhibits the next three weekends at the Tennessee Aquarium, 1 Broad St. His visits, set for 2 p.m. Saturday and Dec. 10 and 17, are part of Holidays Under the Peaks, which also will include festive music through Dec. 21. The attraction's designated tree lighter is electric eel Miguel Wattson, who can be found in the Rivers of the World gallery. Thanks to sensors in his exhibit, Wattson can illuminate a nearby tree with his electric discharges.

-- First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, 650 McCallie Ave., will offer a Moravian Love Feast, its "Christmas gift to the community," 5:30-7 p.m. Sunday. The evening will include Scripture-led breaking of bread, carol singing and candle lighting. The University of Tennessee in Knoxville Trombone Choir will be featured at 5:30 p.m.

-- Pet photos with Santa are scheduled 4-7 p.m. Monday at Northgate Mall, 217 Northgate Mall Drive, and Hamilton Place, 2100 Hamilton Place Blvd. Pets should be leashed or in a carrier to enter the malls.,


-- "A Christmas Carol," a musical adaptation about miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, is in its final weekend at Artistic Civic Theatre, 907 Gaston St., Dalton, Ga. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Tickets are $10-$16.

-- "The Christmas Express," about the strange events that happen at a railroad station one Christmas Eve, opens this weekend at the Oak Street Playhouse behind First-Centenary United Methodist Church, 419 McCallie Ave. Shows start at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, with a similar schedule Dec. 8-11. Tickets are $12-$17.

-- "Miracle on 34th Street," a stage production adapted from the 1947 motion picture about a department store Santa claiming to be the real deal, starts a two-weekend run at Athens Arts Center, 320 N. White St. Shows are scheduled at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, 7 p.m. Dec. 8-9 and 2 p.m. Dec. 10. Tickets are $15-$20.

-- "Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some)," described as a "racy, madcap romp" through such classics as "It's a Wonderful Life," "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "A Charlie Brown Christmas," opens Friday at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre, 400 River St. Shows, suitable for mature audiences, are scheduled at 7 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 18. Tickets are $20-$25. A family show, "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever," will open the following weekend.

Find more events, and add your own, at

Contact Lisa Denton at or 423-757-6281.