November 11, 2020
They say that Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, and it’s certainly true in the Smoky Mountains! Throughout the entire month of December (and even in November), the cities of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN come to life with a variety of wonderful holiday activities and attractions. To help you make the most of your next vacation, we’ve put together a guide to 7 of the best ways to celebrate Christmas in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.
If you think that your neighbors put their Christmas lights up early, just wait until you visit the Smokies! Both Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge officially ring in the holiday season in November when they flip the switch on their millions of gorgeous Christmas lights. These lovely LED displays depict traditional holiday scenes along with Smoky Mountain wildlife and local landmarks, like The Old Mill. Pigeon Forge even provides free maps detailing the locations of all the displays at the Pigeon Forge Trolley Office and the Pigeon Forge Welcome Center.
On the first Friday of December each year, Gatlinburg hosts its annual Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade. This beloved event will feature gorgeous floats, enormous balloons, marching bands, horses, and appearances from popular holiday characters. The parade start at Baskins Creek Bypass and proceed down the main Parkway until Traffic Light 10. We recommend arriving early because the parade is expected to attract more than 60,000 spectators! It’s easy to see why the Fantasy of Lights Parade is one of the highlights of Christmas in Gatlinburg.
Before heading out on his mission to deliver gifts to children all around the world, Santa Claus likes to gear up for the season with a tasty meal in Pigeon Forge! In early December each year, Jolly Old St. Nick appears at The Old Mill Pottery House Cafe & Grille to eat breakfast or brunch with visiting families. Space is limited at this popular event, and reservations are required. For more details, check out The Old Mill Events Calendar.
Some of the best bluegrass bands in the South will be in Gatlinburg this December to participate in the Christmas in the Smokies Music Festival. For three days, the Gatlinburg Convention Center will host world-class pickin’ and grinnin’ that is sure to delight the bluegrass fans in your family. Guests can expect to see a great mix of touring groups and local bands.
Beginning in November, virtually all of the theaters in Pigeon Forge host special Christmas shows that are guaranteed to get you in the holiday spirit. These amazing performances typically blend highlights of the year-round show with a heaping helping of yuletide cheer. Featuring beautiful holiday decorations and all of your favorite Christmas songs, these shows are fun for guests of all ages. Here are some of the most popular Christmas shows in town:
No holiday trip to the Smokies is complete without a visit to Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival! Running from early November through the end of the year, the Christmas Festival is one of the theme park’s most treasured traditions. During this magical event, the park is decorated with more than 5 million twinkling Christmas lights and hosts a nightly fireworks show. Be sure to bring your appetite, too — this festival features all your favorite holiday food. The Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival is also famous for its wonderful shows, which include an adaptation of “It’s a Wonderful Life” and a Nativity story.
From mid-November through December, you can celebrate Enchanted Christmas at Anakeesta! This mountaintop adventure park is decorated with twinkling lights and Christmas decor, and features plenty of holiday fun. Stroll through their magical villages to see the lights, enjoy a warm cup of hot chocolate by the fire, or have breakfast with Santa!
A cabin rental is the perfect home away from home for anyone celebrating Christmas in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. Our cabins come in a variety of sizes so you can choose between an intimate holiday getaway with your immediate family or a huge Christmas celebration with the whole clan. All of our properties feature fully equipped kitchens, which make it easy to whip up a tasty holiday meal. Some of our cabins even come furnished with spectacular Christmas decorations!
To start planning your Christmas getaway, browse our selection of cabins in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.