Every year my husband and I plot and plan to come up with meaningful traditions to make the Christmas season extra special for our entire family. A few years ago, December rolled around once again, yet we found the wells of inspiration running dry and had trouble getting into the “Christmas spirit.”
Then I remembered a special Christmas visit to Dollywood I had shared with my family many, many years ago. And suddenly, an idea sparked…
My family needed a little Christmas, right this very minute! The spark soon turned into a flame of inspiration; my husband and I decided that as soon as the kids got out of school we’d surprise them with a road trip to Dollywood for a Smoky Mountain Christmas that very evening.
Yes, it was a school night AND the coldest night of the century in Northeast Tennessee, but it turned out to be one of the most heartwarming Christmas memories we ever experienced and has since turned into one of our favorite Christmas traditions.
Why should YOU plan to spend a Smoky Mountain Christmas at Dollywood? The following three reasons make it special for my family – and maybe will for yours, too.
Seasonal Fun for Kids & Kids at Heart
What visions dance in your head when you dream of everything that makes the holidays special? It doesn’t matter how old you are; there are some things that are just universally meaningful at this time of year, and you can find almost all of them during a Smoky Mountain Christmas at Dollywood.
Is it the lights and decorations? Dollywood has four million dazzling Christmas lights illuminating the smiles and expressions of wonder on the faces of children of all ages as you walk through the park!
Perhaps it’s the food and delicious smells? You may have heard about Dollywood’s famous Cinnamon Bread (you mustn’t miss this treat!) But at Christmas time, you’ll find even more delicious goodies to sample – strudel, eggnog or wassail, anyone?
Do you enjoy entertainment by Christmas characters from the past? Christmas Carolers dressed in the colorful regalia of olden days sing our favorite holiday tunes as they wander the park avenues. Or stop by Holly Jolly Junction to have a photo made with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and friends. Even Yukon Cornelius and Bumble the Abominable Snowman will be there, along with reindeer games and treats! Santa and his elves are also very hard at work in Santa Land, which has taken over Celebration Hall in Dollywood.
You can also raise your holiday spirit by riding all the thrilling attractions! If that’s not your thing, then maybe help Santa fill his sleigh by shopping for some unique gifts in Craftsman’s Valley. You’ll find gorgeous items such as candles, blown-glass ornaments, leather goods, pottery and wood carvings traditionally made by Appalachian artisans.
Spectacular & Heartwarming Entertainment
One of my favorite reasons for visiting Dollywood at Christmas has to be the unforgettable shows. I find myself daydreaming about dancing and humming the tunes all through the season!
From a cappella performances by the MistleTones and talented musicians throughout the park to the seated venues of beautifully choreographed performances and the fantastic Parade of Many Colors, you will be dazzled by the array of seasonal entertainment at Dollywood. I often marvel at how they are able to put together so many wonderful and diverse shows for this two-month time period!
Inspiration for the Heart and Soul
Finally, and most dear to my heart, I can’t leave out the true “Reason for the Season” – and Dollywood doesn’t either.
Celebrate a Southern Gospel Christmas with the Kingdom Heirs as they sing Christmas hymns and songs we know and love. Also, be sure to visit the Valley Theater for “O Holy Night,” a heartwarming show that brings us the traditional story of the Christmas Nativity.
If you are there on a Sunday, pay a visit to Dolly’s Christmas Chapel, which has a worship service every Sunday evening at 5:30 p.m. during the Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival.
You can always stop in the chapel anytime to read the prayer book or sit peacefully in this beautiful place of worship. I bet you’ll find that you leave Dollywood full of the Christmas spirit, and I can think of no better reason to experience a Smoky Mountain Christmas at Dollywood!
A Smoky Mountain Christmas at Dollywood takes place November 4 – January 1, 2018. And here’s an Insider Tip: the best time to purchase a Dollywood Season Pass is during the Christmas festival. Once the Smoky Mountain Christmas festival begins November 4, you can purchase a season pass (which costs less than two days at the park) for the next year and get this Christmas for free!