A Gatlinburg Christmas is what you and your family need this holiday season. I am sure you are dying to get our of the house after being cooped up for months so if you are wondering what is there to do in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and the Smoky Mountains during the holidays – I’ve got you covered.
Christmas in Gatlinburg starts long before December and is always crawling with fun action packed activities also in surrounding cities of Pigeon Forge and Sieverville.
The Smoky Mountains are filled with country charm no matter the time of the year you decide to explore the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge area.
The areas is always full of holiday cheer from the Christmas shows, shopping sprees, holiday parades and Christmas events that will warm your familys’ heart.
Christmas in Gatlinburg is a must- do and see winter destination and will have your family vacationing in the Smoky Mountains each and every holiday season.
Keep Reading and I will answer the following questions:
- Smoky Mountain Winterfest Events
- Winterfest Parades
- Winter Light and Trolly tours
- What’s open in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg on Christimas Day
- Where to stay in Gatlinburg and Pigeon for the Holidays
Gatlinburg Trolley Ride of Lights
Date: November 12, 2020 – January 25, 2020
Location: Downtown Gatlinburg
The specially designated trolleys carry visitors on a memorable and fun journey through downtown Gatlinburg allowing everyone to experience the magical wonder of Gatlinburg Winter Magic.
Catch the trolley daily at 6:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. from November 22 until December 31. Trolley tours do not run on December 6, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve.
After the holiday season, trolley tours will run on Saturdays at 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30 until January 25.
The Trolly will include the following:
- A special costumed storyteller as your guide
- Complimentary cup of hot chocolate provided by Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
- Special Christmas token to show our thanks and commemorate your experience on the Gatlinburg Winter Magic Trolley Ride of Lights
The Island Tree Lighting
Date: November 21, 2020
Location: The Island in Pigeon Forge
Light up your holiday season with the Tree Lighting at The Island in Pigeon Forge during Winterfest. Bask in the glow of 40,000 ornaments, half a million lights and more than 5,000 feet of garland.
Festival of Trees
Date: November 27, 2020 – December 1, 2020
Location: WL Mills Conference Center
Address: 234 Historic Nature Trail
Gatlinburg, TN 37738
What better way to spend Christmas than in a room full of ornately decorated Christmas trees. The Gatlinburg’s annual Festival of Trees returns with all new family-friendly activities, live entertainment, visits with Santa Claus and, of course, exquisitely decorated Christmas trees and wreaths that will be available for purchase.
This year marks the 48th year of Gatlinburg’s Festival of Trees.
The Festival of Trees runs from November 27th to December 1st and kicks off with Candy Canes and Cocktails Reception on the evening of Tuesday, November 26th.
Families are invited to enjoy Breakfast with Santa on November 30th. The Festival will feature a children’s craft and play area, entertainment throughout the week, photos with Santa Claus and, of course, the beautifully decorated Christmas trees and wreaths.
This year the event will bring back the Gingerbread House Competition.
Winter Smoky Mountain Tunes and Tales
Date: November 29, 2020 – December 22, 2020
Location: Downtown Gatlinburg
Address: Gatlinburg, TN 37738
Phone: (865) 430-4148
Toll Free: 1-800-568-4748
Winter Magic Tunes & Tales will once again present strolling Christmas entertainment on the streets of Gatlinburg, beginning the Friday/Saturday after Thanksgiving, November 30 & Dec 1 from 5:00-9:30 pm, followed by performances again on Dec 7-8, 14-15, 21-22.
Holiday music will fill the air with a sacred-secular mixture of Appalachia, Bluegrass, and Country. Visitors will also enjoy visiting with Santa’s Elves-Frosty-Rudolph, a little bit of history, humor and more!
This interactive program is a Holiday favorite, staged against a backdrop of millions of lights….making it truly a Winter Magical experience in Gatlinburg!
Great Smoky Christmas Arts & Crafts Show
Date: December 2, 2020 – December 8, 2020
Phone: Toll Free: 1-800-588-1817
The Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community is the nation’s largest organization of independent artisans makes its home in Gatlinburg and the 8-mile Arts and Crafts Loop along Route 321, Buckhorn Road and Glades Road.
The Tennessee artists and craftspeople here create beautiful and useful things with techniques handed down for centuries.
Find gorgeous quilts, old-fashioned straw brooms with hand carved handles, exquisitely woven baskets, hand-dipped scented candles, Victorian ceramic pitchers, pottery, dulcimers, stuffed bears and leather vests.
There is handmade jewelry unlike anything you’ll find in the malls back home. Painters capture scenes of landscapes and mountain life, while potters and weavers work magic with clay and cloth.
Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade
Date: December 6, 2020
Location: Downtown Gatlinburg
Toll Free: 1-800-588-1817
On December 6, the 44th Annual Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade will roll through downtown Gatlinburg in celebration of the holiday season and the beginning of Gatlinburg Winter Magic.
Beginning at 7:30 p.m. from Baskins Creek Bypass, a spectacular parade line-up of balloons, floats decorated by local businesses and groups, and 11 marching bands, spans through downtown before ending at traffic light #10. Parade-goers are encouraged to arrive early to find a spot on the Parkway to watch the parade.
The 44th Annual Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade will be held on Friday, December 6, 2019.
More than 60,000 people come to view the award-winning parade featuring lighted floats, marching bands, equestrian units, giant balloons and of course Santa Claus! The parade route runs through the middle of downtown Gatlinburg.
Where To Stay in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg For Christmas
Margaritaville Gatlinburg Resort
Imagine waking up at Margaritaville Gatlinburg Resort in a luxury tropical escape right in the middle of the Smoky Mountains creating a sense of paradise with a rustic feel.
Stroll down to Joe Merchant’s Coffee and Provisions in the lobby of Margaritaville Gatlinburg Resort where you can grab a cup of coffee or a breakfast sandwich to get your day started.
You can sit in the lobby and spend the morning relaxing in a rocking chair, sipping your coffee while the sun rises over the picturesque Smoky Mountains.
While you were reading the first paragraph, I’ve already made my reservations and packed my bags for Gatlinburg.
Aside from the marvelous views and a warm holiday feeling, you simply can not top Christmas in the Smoky Mountains.
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Margaritaville Island Hotel In Pigeon Forge
Escape the every day and discover a new outlook and just chill at the Margaritaville Island hotel in Pigeon Forge for Christmas in the Smoky Mountains.
Located at The Island entertainment complex just off the Pigeon Forge Parkway. The Margaritaville Island Hotel offers the perfect setting to enjoy the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains for Christmas.
Winterfest at The Island in Pigeon Forge is unlike any experience in the Smokies. With millions of lights, our 23-acre property lights up as the sun goes down to create a holiday ambience you’re sure to love.
Every year, The Island host a number of opportunities for entertainment throughout Winterfest to include live music, carolers, photos with Santa, and a Tree Lighting Ceremony at the beginning of the season to kick-start it all!
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If you’re thinking of taking a vacation after the pandemic, prepare for a shock. Because it won’t be like your last one. [Ad] So how do you take a vacation after the pandemic? The ground rules are pretty simple: Pay extra attention to health and safety, make sure you stay at a hotel like @margaritavilleislandhotel who puts the safety of its guests first– and pack the right attitude. Make sure you don’t ignore the social distancing rules, refuse to wear a face mask, or failing to vigorously wash your hands. Throwing caution to the wind can endanger your vacation and your health, and may endanger others. Ask your hotel about its cleaning policies and beware of high-touch surfaces like doorknobs and elevator buttons, which can spread disease. In other words, assume nothing is clean. Have you taken a road trip this year and if so how did you determine where to go and where to stay?
7 reasons why you need a Gatlinburg Christmas.
1. The Pristine Weather
I was born and raised in Tennessee and those of us who have lived here our entire lives can sometimes take the scenery for granted.
The rooms at Margaritaville Gatlinburg Resort and Margaritaville Island hotel in Pigeon Forge come equipped with a fireplace because when you’re up that far in the mountains, you’re pretty much guaranteed a chilly morning while you open presents or gather around for breakfast.
When you choose to celebrate Christmas in the Smoky Mountains, you’re bound for perfect holiday weather – not too hot, but definitely crisp.
To enjoy this perfect winter weather, head to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park for a hike with your family.
Here is the list of my top christmas hikes to make your holiday in Gatlinburg a memorable one.
2. Outstanding Christmas Attractions in Gatlinburg
Everyone knows that Gatlinburg is packed with exciting attractions and Margaritaville Gatlinburg Resort is within walking distance of all of the main attraction from Downtown Gatlinburg to the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
- Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies – Ripley’s Aquarium is located right next door to Margaritaville Gatlinburg Resort and is one of the most popular Gatlinburg attractions.
- It was voted the number one aquarium in the United States.
- There is something for everyone to see with more than 350 different species of marine life to explore at the aquarium, including stingrays, giant sea turtles, and seahorses.
When celebrating Christmas in the Smoky Mountains, you have to go to Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival.
From November to early January each year, the park lights up with spectacular holiday shows, meet and greet opportunities with Santa and friends.
The kids will love the millions of lights strung throughout the park. Dollywood really knows how to celebrate the Christmas season.
Another magical Christmas attraction in the greater Smoky Mountain area is the Trolley Tour of Lights. The trolley ride takes you through the most notable areas of town – all glowing with holiday LED displays.
If this trolley ride doesn’t put you in the Christmas spirit, nothing will! When spending Christmas in the Smoky Mountains, riding the trolley and seeing the light displays should be at the top of your list.
3. Play in the Snow
Christmas in the Smoky Mountains would not be complete without playing in the snow? Head to Ober Gatlinburg for extraordinary winter activities including:
- Snow Tubing
- A Kids Snow Zone
- Ski/Snowboard Lessons
Ober Gatlinburg is great for those who want to experience the thrill of skiing/snowboarding and those who would rather go snow tubing.
There’s something for everyone at the winter park. Don’t forget to ride the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway for jaw-dropping views of the Smoky Mountains in winter!
4. Finish Your Last Minute Shopping in Gatlinburg
If you’re any like me, you’ve waited until the last possible minute to do your Christmas shopping. Between the shops in downtown Gatlinburg and the Tanger Outlets in Pigeon Forge, you’ll have plenty of places to quickly finish up your holiday shopping. .
5. Christmas Pancakes Anyone?
Gatlinburg is the pancake capital of the South. Celebrate Christmas in Gatlinburg with the festive holiday pancake specials from Gatlinburg’s top pancake houses including Pancake Pantry and Log Cabin Pancake house. I promise your stomach will thank you!
6. See Lights from the Gatlinburg Space Needle
The Gatlinburg Space Needle provides amazing panoramic views of Gatlinburg, with the Great Smoky Mountain National Park in the background.
It’s a great place for you to see picture perfect views of the beautiful Christmas light displays. At 407’ tall, the Space Needle offers 360-degree views of all the Christmas action below.
Conclusion How to Spend Christmas in Gatlinburg
The Smoky Mountains of Tennessee are filled with charm during all seasons of the year, but no season has more of that good old-fashioned Southern charm than Christmas time.
The Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge areas are absolutely brimming with holiday cheer from Christmas shows that can’t be beat to fantastic shopping opportunities, holiday parades and Christmas events that will warm the heart.
It doesn’t matter if you’re visiting family or if you’re from the area, you won’t want to miss these festive holiday activities this winter.
Ready to plan your trip, grab my FREE Vacation Planner to help you plan your trip in the time it takes to watch your favorite TV show!
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