Plan ahead for 15 Smoky Mountain Christmas Events

Santa visits my niece, Jessalyn, on the Polar Express.

Right now, it’s all about pumpkins and ghosts. But, before we know it, it’ll be turkeys and pilgrims. And then, right on the tails of those pilgrims, come the elves and Christmas trees.

Yes, indeed, friends, Christmas is just around the corner. I couldn’t be more thrilled.

In fact, I’ve been begging my husband to let me put up the tree. My kids are joining me in the attempt. He staunchly disagrees with putting up a Christmas tree before Halloween (or even much before Thanksgiving…). Spoil sport.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about Christmas. And all the great Christmas events in the Smokies. Plan ahead now — if you’re going to be in the Smoky Mountain area for the holidays, here are some things to plan around:

1. Polar Express — Dec. 1 – 29

“Over 42,000 passengers rode The Polar Express™ with the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in 2011 and we hope to see you this year! The 1 ¼ hour round-trip excursion comes to life as the train departs the Bryson City depot for a journey through the quiet wilderness for a special visit at the North Pole. Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, guests on board will enjoy warm cocoa and a treat while listening and reading along with the magical story. Children’s faces show the magic of the season when the train arrives at the “North Pole” to find Santa Claus waiting. Santa will board The Polar Express™, greeting each child and presenting them with a special gift as in the story, their own silver sleigh bell. Christmas carols will be sung as they return back to the Bryson City Depot.”

For tickets prices and more info, visit the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad website.

2. Gatlinburg Winter Magic — Dec. 1 – 31

“Featuring one-of-a-kind LED lighting displays along Gatlinburg’s famous Downtown Parkway, adjacent River Road, and the triangle juncture of the two, the $1.6 million-plus rollout of custom designed and fabricated lighting displays is marked by sections reminiscent of winter forests, evergreens and romance. Now, Hwy. 321 features an injection of new displays.”

For more information, visit the Gatlinburg website.

3. Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival — Dec. 1 – 31

“See the Smokies most spectacular light display and a lineup of live Christmas shows that celebrate the true meaning of Christmas, all at Dollywood.”

For more information, visit the Dollywood website.

4. Sevierville’s 50th Annual Christmas Parade — Dec. 1

“A traditional hometown parade with baton twirlers, pageant winners, marching bands and floats leading up to the appearance of the Grand Marshal–Santa Claus! Parade begins at 11am and can best be viewed on Forks of the River Parkway and Court Ave. in historic downtown Sevierville.”

For more info, visit the Sevierville website.

5. Breakfast with Santa — Dec. 1

Join Santa for breakfast at the Old Mill Square in Pigeon Forge. For more information, visit the Pigeon Forge website.

6. Titanic Snow — Dec. 1, 8, 15, 22, & 29

Free in the Titanic Pigeon Forge parking lot. “It will snow this again this holiday season in Pigeon Forge; Titanic Museum Attraction guarantees it. It will snow – yes, REAL snow – at the Titanic. The snow is part of the museum’s ‘Christmas in a Winter Wonderland,’ which is dedicated to honoring and celebrating the lives of the 2,208 passengers and crew of the Titanic. Each night the Titanic will produce real, falling snow off the bow of the ship. AND…the entire ship inside and out will be aglow with Christmas lights and decorations.”

For more information, visit Titanic Pigeon Forge’s website.

7. Saturday with Santa & Holiday Open House — Dec. 1

“Celebrate the Christmas season in historic downtown West Jefferson with a visit from Santa while enjoying the open house at the Ashe Arts Center!”

For more information, visit the VisitNorthCarolina website.

8. Christmas Craft Fair — Dec. 1

Sparta, NC. “Come find those one-of-a-kind homemade gifts for Christmas on December 1. Browse a wide variety of crafts by local artists and while you are in Sparta be sure to get your very own locally grown Christmas tree at one of our many Choose and Cut Farms.”

For more information, go to the VisitNorthCarolina website.

9. Appalachian Christmas — Dec. 1

“Initiate the Holidays with an Appalachain Christmas musical event that evokes nostalgic recollections of holiday celebrations evident in early settlements in the Appalachain Mountains. This program of traditional regional melodies is an enjoyable way to set the tone for the holiday season.”

Play is from 7-9 p.m. For ticket prices and more info, visit the VisitNorthCarolina website.

10. Christmas on Ice — Dec. 1-2

Ober Gatlinburg. “Enjoy the spirit of the season as local skaters display their talents on ice to the sounds of holiday music in a two-day performance at Ober Gatlinburg’s ice arena.”

For more information, visit the Ober Gatlinburg website.

11. Townsend Christmas Parade — Dec. 2

Townsend, TN. For more information, visit the Townsend website, or call 865-448-6886.

12. Reindeer 5K Run — Dec. 2

Maryville. For more information, visit the Townsend website or call 865-983-9244.

13. Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade — Dec. 7

“The City of Gatlinburg invites you to bundle up and generate a spirited dose of holiday cheer and soak up Gatlinburg’s 37th annual Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade at 7:30 p.m.”

For more information, visit the Gatlinburg website.

14. Santa on the Chimney — Dec. 8

Chimney Rock, NC. “Have you ever wondered how Santa can climb down millions of chimneys all around the world in just one night? He practices on 315-ft. Chimney Rock! USA Today named Chimney Rock one of the top 10 places to catch up with Santa. Come and see why!” Santa comes from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

For more info, visit the Chimney Rock Park website.

15. Santa Hustle — Dec. 9

Sevierville, TN. “This great winter themed 5K and half marathon will provide every participant with FREE Santa hat, beard and customized dry-fit Santa shirt. Everyone will love the holiday decorations, the Christmas music and the after party offering a buffet of food and plenty to drink.”

Race with thousands of Santas, starting at 8 a.m. For more information, visit the Santa Hustle website.

So there you go — a quick overview of the holiday events for the Smoky Mountain area. I’ll write posts later that go into more detail on some of them. Until then, I’m dreaming of mistletoe!

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