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A Country Christmas 

When: Nov. 22-Dec. 25 2010
Remember in Pygmalion (My Fair Lady to you Gleeks) when Henry Higgins spends the entire play bitching about Eliza Doolittle, only to realize after she’s gone that he misses her? That’s a little like Nashville’s relationship to the Opryland Hotel complex and Opry Mills. Residents complained that it wasn’t the old theme park, that it was gaudy and grandiose, that the traffic was awful and the parking a hassle. Then came last May, when flood waters turned the Opryland Hotel’s Cascades into a genuine swamp and threatened to submerge the entire luxury resort for good — and suddenly the prospect of a holiday season without all that gaudy, grandiose spectacle seemed startlingly bleak. Now, after sinking $270 million into the post-flood overhaul, Gaylord has thrown the switch on its annual holiday festivities in defiance of May’s disaster, and it’s as if they’d reopened the Statue of Liberty at the end of Planet of the Apes. If you’re looking for alternatives to football and Faster, consider the hotel’s panorama of seasonal attractions, all of which are open Thanksgiving Day. Play it cool with ICE!, the zero-degree chill zone of ice slides and sculptures, modeled this year on the Rankin-Bass favorite Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town. Feeling not so frosty? Try its kid brother SNOW!, with its outdoor snowfall, live reindeer and snowball-throwing range. Or raise your temperature with the yearly Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring the leggy Rockettes. If you’re saving your dough for Black Friday, looking is free at the hotel’s nearly 2 million lights, which put a glow on the horizon you can see from Briley Parkway. And we haven’t even listed auxiliary attractions such as carriage rides, the indoor boat cruises and the synchronized displays of color-coordinated fountain jets. What can we say, other than we’re glad to have it all back, every last glitzy bangle of it? We’ve grown accustomed to the place. See www.gaylordhotels.com/gaylord-opryland/a-country-christmas/index.html for prices, show times and more information.
— Jim Ridley

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