Heart of the Holidays
It’s all heart when it comes to Dollywood’s brand-new Christmas show, featuring none other than Dolly’s kinfolk. I got to experience this holiday magic on opening day of Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas festival and, boy, can I tell you… I am feelin’ the Christmas spirit!
To tell you the truth, when Dolly released her new Christmas album in October, I cranked up the tunes. Spirited, fun, full of cheer, A Holly Dolly Christmas is sure to be at the top of everyone’s playlist this season! So, when I heard that Dolly’s family was prepping a new show featuring songs and stories from and about their iconic aunt, well, let’s just say, Christmas joy came early at my house!
Wrapped in Love and Lights!
The Dreamsong Theater is decked out in white-flocked Christmas trees with flickering lanterns surrounding a warm fireplace creating a cozy cabin atmosphere. But the real magic begins when the family takes the stage. From start to finish, they are brilliant entertainers! A new generation of Partons will fill your Christmas cup with joy! The uber-talented cast features Dolly’s nieces, Heidi Lou and Jada Star, along with Dolly’s cousin, Shelley. Barry J, who the family affectionally claimed as their “outlaw cousin,” accompanies the trio.
Heart of the Holidays opens with a fun new song, “Christmas on the Square,” which is the title of Dolly’s Netflix movie premiering this holiday season. Classic Christmas tunes, holly-Dolly-ized songs and uplifting carols follow and will have you clapping and singing along! One of the things that I absolutely loved was hearing the sweet memories from the family about their childhood experiences with Aunt Dolly while “helping her out” on television specials and cookie baking nights.
The family bond is tight and the talent is real. During the show, you will hear first-hand how the family jumped in on Dolly’s new Christmas album earlier this year. I loved hearing songwriters Jada and Barry tell about “the call” they got from Dolly asking to use a song they had written for this special project. Imagine, Dolly wants to record a song you wrote! You will love hearing them sing, “Christmas Where You Are” live on stage!
One of my personal favorites is “You Are My Christmas.” The song is a duet with Dolly’s brother Randy and features Heidi on high-harmony on the album. This is such a fun song and trust me, you will not be able to sit still in your seat when you hear it performed by Heidi and Barry!
As I watched this show, I was reminded that no matter how crazy life gets, there is always hope. The Parton family drew us in, pulled us together and sort of gave us a pep talk—something like:
“It’s all about kindness
Love and compassion
Better to give than receive”
A gentle reminder that at the heart of Christmas is love. The most important gift we can give.
“And I hope you remember every December
That bright shining light from above
The promise from God’s lips
The greatest of all gifts
Wrapped up in His wonderous love!”