Dollywood has it all – rides and restaurants, museums and more. There is something for everyone of every age, whether they’re a thrill seeker, die-hard Dolly fan, or history buff. Knowing that there are many incredible options for guests to experience throughout the park, I went to check out whether this Christmas, I could get my holiday shopping done while at Dollywood. As a Dollywood Insider, I’ve come to know the park so well, but I tend to navigate by food stands and places to eat. This would be my first time really getting to know the incredible retail options available during the Smoky Mountain Christmas festival. After whittling the list down, I was on the hunt for: a Dollywood fanatic, some too-cool-for-school kids, an avid ornament collector, a foodie with a sweet tooth and a homemaker with a new house. So, let’s get going!
My first stop was Smoky Mountain Christmas Cottage in Rivertown Junction, a superbly-festive store that is bursting at the seams with seasonal items, Christmas decorations, and eye-catching, sparkly ornaments. Having perused the baubles and vintage tree collections (Vegas themed ornament, anyone?), I spotted a seven-tiered display of customizable decoration. Nestled in among the Christmas trees and flamingos (!), I spotted a simple and elegant design of six small hearts wrapped in ribbon. A small sprig of holly and two golden stars completed the look. This is perfect for Grandma! With five grandkids and one great-grandchild, there is no gift more perfect, or more personal, than one that commemorates the love shared between family.
This year people across the country have tackled decorating and refurbishing projects with such rigor, there is bound to be someone close to you who is looking to add a new piece or two to their newly- decorated living room or kitchen. If that’s the case, then be sure to head down to Mountain Laurel HOME, my favorite shopping spot in all of Dollywood. Here you’ll find an incredible array of home furnishings and accessories to complement every theme and design. Here, I picked up a collection of soaps, candles and lotions, the perfect gift for relatives who recently renovated their master bathroom.
Pre-teens are infamously hard to shop for come Christmastime. (Harder still when toy and tech trends change almost daily.) Wanting to firmly cement myself as the cool aunt this holiday season, we headed up to the very top of Craftsman’s Valley to stop in at the Airbrush T-Shirts! Nestled in the shade of the Eagle Mountain Sanctuary, opposite the swirling, twisting Tennessee Tornado, this is the spot for custom designs. Choose your shirt, your design and your level of customization and, hey, presto! One bright and bold t-shirt for the cool kids in your life.
Our last stop on every Dollywood visit is to the Spotlight Bakery for a loaf or two of cinnamon bread and a little sweet treat for the journey home. This year the bakery has an incredible collection of festive decorated treats, from frosted cookies to take-home gingerbread house kits. Why not pick up a pack or two for the foodie in your life? They’re bound to enjoy a batch of iced gingerbread cookies – especially the adorable snowflake shaped ones! What a delicious way to say Merry Christmas.
Whether you’re shopping for a few or buying for many, there are gifts galore at Dollywood this Christmas, so find some time between rides and shows to stop by the stores and stands to find the perfect presents. Wishing you all the merriest of Christmases and a happy – and healthy – New Year!