As is usually the case when you’re inviting an entire city to your party, there are always last-minute loose ends to tie up until the very last second before guests arrive. Such was the case at last night’s sneak preview of Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art‘s inaugural “Holiday Lights” exhibit. Expecting nothing but the best, guests were treated to just that as a landscape that is beautiful year-round was made especially so by thousands (750,000 to be exact) of tiny, colorful and oh-so-festive holiday lights.
“Holiday Lights” marks Cheekwood’s first year competing in the seasonal light display space, and from what we saw, it’s going to be a successful and well-embraced new Nashville tradition that sticks. Visitors in search of the holiday spirit can find it everywhere on the 55-acre property … strung in trees, twinkling along the expansive grounds and framed up in fun Christmas-y shapes as well as inside the historic Cheekwood mansion. Walk the grounds and take in the beautiful colors of all the different lights, the last of which, visitors at the preview night were told, were put only moments before the event began. In fact, while walking around, we spotted a ladder strategically tucked under a tree, a last-minute hiding spot, no doubt.
Before you head out to explore the lights, grab a hot toddy for yourself and a hot chocolate for the kids; several stands are set up to serve up warm drinks for the chilly nights ahead. Then as you stroll the property, listening to the classic Christmas tunes and take in the undeniably beautiful and festive sights, we bet there’s no escaping the child-like wonder that this season is known for evoking. There’s just so much to see!
Before you leave, make sure to swing by the s’more stations; there are several fire pits and a table filled with all the necessities to make the quintessential fire-side treat. I watched as children anxiously speared their marshmallows — or had their parents do so — but what was even more heartwarming than that was the sight of adults of all ages just as excited to toast a marshmallow over an open flame. After all, isn’t that the magic of the Christmas season? The child-like wonder it sparks in believers of any age?
It’s been a long week, hasn’t it? And by long, I mean sad. And scary. And intense. With all the unrest in the world, frankly, a little bit of seasonal spirit and holiday cheer could serve us all well. And that’s what “Holiday Lights” did for me. Reminded me of the hope this season inevitably brings. See if it does the same for you, too!
Cheekwood is located at 1200 Forrest Park Drive in Nashville. “Holiday Lights” is open to the public nightly from Friday, November 27 through Sunday, January 3, with the exception of Christmas Day. To learn more and/or purchase tickets, visit Cheekwood.org.