Brentwood Holiday Traditions

brentwood luminaries

As the holiday season begins, it’s time to look back at some of the seasonal traditions that have become a part of the celebrations in Brentwood. Shopping, tree lighting, luminaries, and neighborhoods full of decorations and beautiful Christmas light displays bring the season to life. In our continuing series celebrating Brentwood’s 50th anniversary, today we explore the holiday traditions of Brentwood.

Shopping Adventures

This year was the 11th Annual Brentwood Christmas Crawl. Local stores get together to provide opportunities to win prizes, enjoy free appetizers, get entered into a grand prize drawing of $500, and do a little early Christmas shopping. This year the event took place from November 7 until November 9. Participating shops included Pear Tree, Hot Pink, Cosmetic Market, Snooty Fox, Aly and Sy, Spruce, Copper Penny, Vignette, and Maxi B. Home. Ludlow and Prime provided the free appetizers.

Annual Tree Lighting

Brentwood’s Annual Christmas Tree Lighting, this being the 21st year, will take place on Monday, December 2 at the John P. Holt Brentwood Library. According to research done by Deanna Lambert, Brentwood Community Relations Director, the event began when the library moved from its location in Maryland Way.

“…[T]he previously planted Christmas tree from the library on Maryland Way was dug up and relocated to the new library,” said Lambert. “That tree didn’t make it, so a Brentwood Public Works employee drove to a mountain close to McMinnville, found a new tree, and had it planted in its present location. Thankfully, this tree has been growing strong [ever since].”

Lambert also shared a story from former Brentwood Library Director Chuck Sherrill. He told her that there was no power switch out by the tree, so on the night of the ceremony, he would have one of the librarians hide in the electrical closet with a cell phone. He would have to call the person and give he or she the cue to flip the switch at the critical moment. Since the cell signal was not always reliable, every year the event was nerve-wracking.

This year’s event will include a reading of the book The Polar Express, Brentwood High School Choir will provide music, and holiday treats will be served. The event will begin at 5:00 pm. Free tickets must be reserved in advance.

Lighting Up the Night

Since the 1980s, residents in Brentwood have been enjoying luminaries lined up along the sidewalks of local neighborhoods. This year the official night of luminaries will be December 7, with December 8 being the rain date.

Luminaries are made from paper bags that have had designs cut into them. The bags are then filled with sand, have tea lights placed into them, and are then placed about 10 feet apart on a hard, non-flammable surface like the sidewalks. Over the last several years, Fire Chief Brian Goss has suggested participants use battery-powered tea lights instead of open flames. In past years there have been grass and leaf fires due to bags catching fire.

Viewing Christmas Light Displays

While there are wonderful Christmas light displays on homes all over Middle Tennessee, three housing areas in Brentwood have been mentioned in various media in previous years: Sunnyside, Princeton Hills, and Woodway. They have some of the best displays.

In previous years, Sunnyside’s light displays have been shown on Tennessee Crossroads. Sunnyside-features eight houses and tens of thousands of lights and hundreds of figurines. The displays on Sunnyside began with Bill Minneci after his 16-year-old son was killed in an automobile accident more than 35 years ago. They had decorated the house together for years before the accident, and the father continued the traditions adding more and more lights every year. Minneci has since retired from doing the lights.