Gayle Tacker-Gilbert has spent each Christmas as the City of Jackson’s community relations liaison trying to restore memorable Christmas experiences back to Downtown Jackson since 2019 when Mayor Scott Conger was elected.
That effort continues this year as the City prepares to celebrate Christmas for the next month ahead of the big day.
“Christmas time is one of the best chances, I think, for families to make memories together because there’s so much anticipation of Santa Claus coming and we’re celebrating the birth of the Savior,” Gilbert said. “So every year we want to get as many people involved in the celebration as possible, and we want to make it bigger every year.”
The most notable change on the schedule this year is the shift of the city’s Christmas parade to Saturday morning, Dec. 10.
“It’s traditionally been on a Monday night for sometime now, but we decided to move it to give more families a chance to come out and enjoy it and not have to worry about getting the kids in bed before school the next morning or anything like that,” Gilbert said. “So we’ll light the Christmas tree at City Hall the night before to officially kick off the Christmas season in Jackson at 5:15 p.m. and then have the parade at 10 the next morning.”
The parade is also timed to set up for families to enjoy a few more memories in Downtown Jackson as Christmas in the City returns for the first time since before the pandemic.
“This is one we’ve missed because we have so many things going on around The AMP and the Farmer’s Market for kids of all ages to enjoy,” Gilbert said. “One thing we’re adding this year is booths for all the non-profits in town to give people a chance to see what they’re about while enjoying the season.”
There will be a petting zoo, bounce houses, food trucks, different booths and a number of other things available to get everyone in the Christmas spirit and possibly even get some Christmas shopping done at the same time at various nearby businesses or in the booths.
Another addition this year is the decorating contest will expand this year with six new categories available for a winning trophy.
There will be three awards given in residential categories by the City. “Magical Winter Wonderland” will be awarded to the neighborhood that is decorated the best for Christmas. “Best in Snow” will go to the overall best display. “Santa’s Workshop” will be awarded to the best home that incorporates inflatables. There will also be a people’s choice award.
There will be two business categories. “Light Up the City” will be given to the business throughout Jackson with the best decoration presentation. “Take an ‘Elfie’” will be a Downtown business award given to the business with the best decoration presentation.
There is a registration form on the City’s website at www.jacksontn.gov. Entrants will also be put on a map.
“We’ll have this map available on our website so that when you want to pile the family in the car wrapped up in blankets and drinking hot chocolate, you can have a map telling you where to go in Jackson to see the lights,” Gilbert said. “Traditions are a big part of Christmas, and we hope to help families start new ones this year.”
Brandon Shields, firstname.lastname@example.org