Preparation already underway at Opryland for this year's A Country Christmas

Posted at 9:13 AM, Sep 01, 2022

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Well — maybe not everywhere you go, but if you head to Gaylord Opryland, the season is already starting. At least, the preparations for "A Country Christmas" are and it's actually already been underway for weeks.

"It takes four months to prepare. We’re putting up lights every single day starting in July and it’s nothing hard it’s just very time-consuming," says Megan McDugald, the chief engineer of horticulture for Gaylord Opryland.

McDugald, whose done this for nearly a decade, is in charge of most of the land at Opryland.

"Inside is 9 acres, under glass, and then outside it’s another 50 acres," she said.

Lots of it — adorned in lights — which takes lots of time. It takes, according to McDugald, about a week a tree for the sprawling cypress trees as each branch is wrapped individually.

"All in all over the resort it’s about 4 million lights… just an attraction that you would not see in many places in the United States," she said.

It doesn't end there. Inside the Opryland resort, it’s required that it's merry too!

"We have about 15,000 poinsettias and a majority of them we get from a local grower here in Nashville," said McDugald. "But there's all different varieties other than your typical reds and whites… we have burgundy’s and oranges even some speckled ones."

People come from all over to see them. It’s a massive undertaking for much of the staff, especially for Amanda Taylor, the director of special events and entertainment.

"Believe it or not, we're planning for the next year during the season. So, the moment the doors open this year, we start taking notes we look to see if anything needs a bit more magic, a sprinkle of Christmas spice," Taylor said.

Everything from the Oak Ridge Boys and the "Christmas in Tennessee" dinner show, to the iconic 40-foot Christmas tree, all go hand-in-hand with perhaps the most popular attraction "ICE!" — which is back after a brief hiatus.

Taylor says the theme this year is "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," which the artisans from China will carve and craft in a 9-degree exhibit space.

It takes more than 2 million pounds of ice that are carved to create the nearly 20,000-square-foot attraction. There will be 12 scenes from the classic Christmas tale.

All of the holiday fun will kick off Thursday, November 10 with the lighting ceremony and will open officially to the public the following day. Find out more by visiting