The quaint towns around the Smoky Mountains celebrate Christmas with lots of joy and cheer, which makes a Smoky Mountain Christmas very unique and popular among tourists. What makes a Christmas vacation in Gatlinburg so popular is the list of holiday events, awesome winter activities in the nearby ski town and the joyous festive spirit that you will only find in the villages located at the foothills of this Tennessee mountain. Here is a list of things to do in Gatlinburg at Christmas.

Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland:

When the freezing temperatures engulf the towns in the Great Smoky Mountains, the largest drive through Christmas wonderland comes alive in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. With a well-decorated drive through setting featuring thousands of twinkling LED lights, this beautiful wonderland in the Shardrack’s offer a unique experience to each visitor. Enjoy a light show, music event and the experience driving through the beautiful Christmas wonderland featuring 300,000 plus lights dancing to the music of the holiday songs.

The venue hosts light and music shows everyday between dusk till 10 pm in the night. Near to this light wonderland, there is a small Christmas village where you can bring your children to meet Santa, take pictures and enjoy holiday candies. Don’t forget to enjoy a camel or a pony ride at this holiday themed village. After some exploring, relax and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate at the onsite snack bar. This iconic and old-fashioned Christmas wonderland is a must visit for guests of all ages.

Trolley Ride of Lights in Gatlinburg:

Enjoy the magic of Christmas while vacationing in Gatlinburg. Soak up the Christmas spirit and joy as you take a ride along this one-of-a-kind setting featuring LED light displays, custom designed lighted winter forests, fanciful snowmen and even dancing fountains featuring music. Guests can buy the tickets for the trolley ride just by paying $5 per person. The trolley ride operates daily from the time the Gatlinburg Winter Magic season starts. To take the ride, drive to the Mass Transit Center near the Ripley’s Museum in Gatlinburg. Online ticket purchase option is also available.

Christmas Shopping in Gatlinburg:

Shoppers who are in Tennessee for a vacation in Gatlinburg at Christmas will be excited to know that they will find myriads of shopping choices here as well. This mountain city has a lot more shopping choices to offer than you imagine. With hundreds of retail stores, specialty shops and boutiques, this beautiful town of Gatlinburg offers a diverse shopping experience to all its visitors. The most unique of all is the Gatlinburg Aerial tramway Mall located in the Ober Gatlinburg. You will find craft and gift stores, antique and souvenir shops offering collectibles, Native American pottery and jewelry stores and an array of clothing stores offering handmade and modern clothing choices. For sweet and confectionery lovers, there is a homemade candy and fudge shop that offer an awesome variety of sweet treats and baked delights.

Winter Sports and Skiing at Ober Gatlinburg:

December in Gatlinburg marks the season of winter sports. If you are an avid skiing or snowboarding lover, then you should visit the beautiful winter resort of Ober Gatlinburg. This gorgeous ski resort offers an adventurous skiing arena with a variety of slopes matching the skill level of both beginners and experienced skiers alike. The ski resort welcomes anyone over the age three to enjoy skiing and snow activities. Thrill seekers can take the mountain coaster and enjoy the exhilarating ride through the mountainous pathway. The Ober snow pass includes everything from ice skating to chairlift rides, alpine slide and a wildlife encounter ideal for guests of all ages. Snow tubing is another fun activity that you and your family can enjoy here.

Enjoying German Charm at Christmas:

If you are in Gatlinburg during Christmas, then go to Downtown Gatlinburg to get a feel of the Bavarian and German charm. This unique small town setting features timbered structures, German style homes and shops selling traditional German food and beverages. To enjoy the Christmas spirit, try some of those traditional German desserts and explore the miniature Bavarian winter wonderland.

Christmas at Dollywood:

Dollywood theme park is a perfect setting to celebrate Christmas with family. Dolly Parton’s Dollywood is a fun place during the Christmas season. One of the most interesting attractions at Dollywood is the Parade of Many Colors and the Parade of Lights. Every single guest enjoys this unique Christmas parade featuring floats, lights, character meet and music.

Special holiday performances during this event include Meet Rudolph and his friends, theater performance of Appalachian Christmas, the classic It’s a Wonderful Life show, and the special performance by the Kingdom of Heirs. Bring your kids to the Santa’s Land to meet Santa and take pictures with him. The seasonal symphony of Timber Canyon Festival of Lights is another highlight of Dollywood that offers each guest an opportunity to enjoy holiday music. Don’t forget to watch the Dollywood Christmas Carol that features an enjoyable 45-minute musical performance showcasing original carols written by Dolly Parton and her crew.

Gatlinburg’s New Year Celebration:

If you decide to stay in Gatlinburg till New Year, then don’t miss to witness the Ball Drop and the famous New Year’s Eve Fireworks Show in this Smoky Mountain city. The show begins at 10 pm at the venue near the Gatlinburg Space Needle. Guests are welcome to enjoy the nighttime live entertainment, music show and the incredible fireworks after the customary ball drop at midnight.

If you liked our top recommended attractions in Gatlinburg during Christmas and New Year, then plan your holiday vacation in the Great Smoky Mountains this year.