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See Santa's reindeer, 1 million holiday lights: Tenn. garden turns into winter wonderland

Credit Caitlin Harris via Cheekwood

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) — A charming 55-acre botanical garden, nestled in Nashville, Tennessee, will soon trade in their harvest pumpkin houses for more than one million holiday lights.

A village of real reindeer, a canopy tree draped in dripping lights, and dozens of nutcrackers decorating a historic mansion are a few features of Holiday LIGHTS at Cheekwood Estate & Garden. In its seventh year, the holiday festival will run Nov. 20, 2021, through Jan. 9, 2022.

The extraordinary 1930s estate will be decked out with a whimsical peppermint pathway, a shimmering tunnel of lights, s'mores stations and the Dancing Lights of TRAINS! display.

At the Frist Learning Center, guests will be able to drop off letters to Santa and find a holiday marketplace to shop for custom gifts like ornaments, home décor, nutcrackers, candles and winter accessories. Then tucked inside Cheekwood's mansion and museum, a 20-foot orchid tree will take center stage for the mansion's "A Botanical Holiday" theme.

“Each year, we enhance our lights display with more lights and new features so our guests can look forward to a unique experience year after year,” says Peter Grimaldi, Cheekwood VP of Gardens & Facilities. “We are especially excited about adding a whimsical peppermint pathway and shimmering tunnel of light to the Bradford Robertson Color Garden.”

The seasonal festival will stay open seven nights a week during its run with the exception of Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Cheekwood officials say timed-entry tickets purchased online in advance will be required. Learn more here.

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