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Top Things to Do with Kids During Smoky Mountain Christmas

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas featuring Glacier Ridge is the most beautiful holiday addition yet! There’s no better way to spend your holiday season, and there’s no place quite as uniquely beautiful as Dollywood.

On opening day of this festival, we explored the park to see what Dollywood has in store for families, especially families like mine with younger children. We quickly found many activities for kids of all ages.

Here are my top recommendations:

First, head to Market Square for a DIY campfire s’more. It’s just down Showstreet, near the park entrance. Have a sweet treat to start off your day!

Make sure to visit the Holly Jolly Junction and experience the many classic characters from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Here, you’ll meet Bumble and Rudolph awaiting your hugs, high-fives, and photos.

Insider Tip

You don’t have to buy a professional photo to stand in line to see these
characters. They’ll take a picture for you, but mom can snap her own pictures, too!

The fun doesn’t stop with the character meet and greets- this area is packed with activities.  Families can stop and decorate Christmas cookies, play Reindeer Games, and shop around.

In between activities, don’t forget to stop and relax at one of Dollywood’s fantastic shows! Our favorite is T’was the Night Before Christmas because it’s the perfect show-time length to hold your child’s attention (45 minutes). The characters are both lovable and funny, and the show has a really beautiful, heartfelt message about Christmas that children of any age will enjoy. It ended up being the best part of our day.

Be sure to make your way toward Country Fair to explore Santa Land. Here, you’ll find face painting, reindeer and Santa photos, an opportunity to meet, talk to, and write letters to Santa, and beautiful silhouette keepsake ornaments (these make great family gifts!).


At night, watch the whole park sparkle and glisten with Christmas cheer. Your family will experience a winter wonderland like they’ve never seen before. The five million twinkling lights are wonderful all over the park, but as you walk through Glacier Ridge, you’ll see elaborate strings of lights and sky-high Christmas trees. It truly will take your breath away.

Be sure to round out your Dollywood holiday pilgrimage with the Parade of Many Colors. It’s definitely worth experiencing!

Staying at the resort for the holiday season?

Join in on the fun during “Christmas at Camp DW”, including crafts, decorating, painting, and holiday festivities for kids.

Click here to learn more about Christmas at Camp DW.

Because this is always popular—I want to be sure you know you can have breakfast with Santa at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa on Saturdays (Nov. 24, Dec. 1, 8, 15, 22).

I hope this helps you plan your trip as a family- and one more tip, bundle up! You’ll WANT to spend time outside enjoying the lights and festive atmosphere. Don’t forget your gloves, hat and cozy winter coats. See you at Dollywood!

By | 2018-11-14T14:01:40+00:00 November 14th, 2018|Family Visits|0 Comments

About the Author:

Autumn Longmire is a kindergarten teacher who enjoys the happiest things in life. She was born and raised in Campbell County, Tennessee, (near the Kentucky state line) where she lives and works. She is a wife and mother of two, and her family thrives on adventure and love. Dolly Parton has always inspired Autumn through her music and her love of literacy and children. Autumn loves seeing Dolly’s Imagination Library books in the classroom and integrating them into her curriculum. She writes for Knoxville Moms Blog and is an advocate for her students.
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