Like many families, we visit Dollywood several times a year. There is always a new reason to visit, and thanks to changing festivals and an amazing group of designers, the park looks different each time!
The winter décor is beautiful, whimsical, and fun. Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas runs now through Jan. 3 with more than four million lights decorating the park!
One of the festival’s best-known guests is Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer. He and his friends set up shop in Holly Jolly Junction located in Craftsman’s Valley and provide lots of fun and wonderful photo opportunities. Visiting this spot is one of my family’s favorite traditions.
Holly Jolly Junction is cheerful, bright, and feels a bit like you’re stepping into the cartoon special. Everyone in this area is in costume with Dollywood’s hosts wearing beautiful elf suits. Holly Jolly Junction brings out the holiday spirit—no matter your age! Yukon Cornelius is there to take photos along with Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, Rudolph and Clarice. They rotate throughout the day, so if you catch a couple of them but want pictures of all, just plan to return later. (Insider note- while you’re able to purchase a lovely professional photo, there’s no stopping you from getting in line and asking a friend to snap a picture with your cell phone!)
Holly Jolly Junction is also set up for the kids to play “reindeer games.” The antler ring toss is our family’s favorite. And best of all, there are cookies to decorate! You probably know that Dollywood is filled with delicious treats throughout the park, and we have our favorites (hello, curly fries). We built other traditions around the park’s great food, such as visiting the candy store as our last stop of the day (read about that tradition here). But decorating a Christmas cookie at Holly Jolly Junction is my one of my daughter’s favorite Christmas traditions.
At Clarice’s Kitchen, you can walk through her cookie station, choosing a cookie to frost and decorate with sprinkles. Once your cookie masterpiece is complete, you can take a seat at a table to enjoy your treat while you take in all the fun of the Junction. We make cookies at home, but somehow they are never quite as special as Clarice’s cookies. It’s a sweet tradition in every sense of the word, and one that we look forward to.