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The Appalachian Lodge
holiday lights in Gatlinburg

During the holiday season, the city of Gatlinburg is transformed into a winter wonderland, complete with festive decorations and millions of twinkling lights. Many of the attractions offer exciting Christmas festivals, and the shops are abundant with Christmas decor and gifts. Are you planning on celebrating Christmas in Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains? If so, we have a few events that you’ll want to add to your itinerary for a perfect holiday season in the mountains! Here are some of the best ways to celebrate Christmas in Gatlinburg:

1. Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade

On Friday, December 1st, the city of Gatlinburg will be filled with everything you could envision a magical land of Christmas to be! More than 60,000 people come from all over to be a part of this special celebration and kick off to the Christmas season! The Gatlinburg Christmas Parade features impressive, lighted floats, marching bands, giant balloons, and more. Of course, it wouldn’t be an award-winning parade without Santa Claus himself joining in the action! The line-up includes floats from local businesses and community groups, high school marching bands, and more traversing through downtown Gatlinburg.

2. Holiday Shopping

The Village at Christmas The season for shopping has arrived! In Gatlinburg, you can stroll through the charming shops of town and enjoy the energy of the season in a way that you won’t find in a crowded mall back home. However, it’s not only your experience that will be more special and filled with lifetime memories, but the gifts that you give those you love will be extra wonderful too! You can purchase gifts from local artists, items that can only be found in the Smokies, and therefore the presents that you give this holiday season will not be forgotten any time soon! Some of the most popular places to go holiday shopping in Gatlinburg are The Village Shoppes, Baskins Square, and the Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Community.

3. Snow Sports at Ober Mountain

Guests that will be in town for the holiday season will want to add some play time at Ober Mountain to their Smokies bucket list! Tennessee’s only ski resort is the hub for winter fun! Sitting just above the downtown area of Gatlinburg is every activity involving snow that you can possibly think of! There are opportunities to ski, snowboard, snow tube, ice skate and more! They even have a snow play area for the little ones! Ober offers the option to drive and park at the top, or you can enjoy the views of the Smoky Mountains while enjoying a ride on their Aerial Tramway from the heart of downtown Gatlinburg.

4. Enchanted Christmas at Anakeesta

anakeesta in gatlinburg tnAnakeesta as yet to fail us during any season when it comes to creating a dream like place to hang out and play, and the winter is no different! Their Enchanted Winter Celebration will be running from early November through the end of December. when the sun goes down this holiday season, Anakeesta comes alive with a celebration of lights. Stroll through all the magical villages to take in millions of twinkling lights. Whether you’re shopping for the perfect holiday gift in Firefly Village, listening to live holiday music in Black Bear Village, or enjoying the “Classic Christmas” tree farm in Stone Village, you’re in for a treat. Don’t miss the change to walk through Arctic Alley to witness thousands of winter lights programmed to festive, seasonal soundtracks either! You can dine, shop or take in the views of snow-covered mountain tops! Even Santa Claus makes an appearance on the mountain on select dates in November and December.

5. Lights Over Gatlinburg at Gatlinburg SkyPark

The Gatlinburg SkyPark has been one of the hottest spots in the Smoky Mountains this year, and although it’s not exactly hot up there during the holidays, it is absolutely beautiful and where you’ll want to be this holiday season! During the Lights Over Gatlinburg event, lights will remain through the end of January and are obviously best viewed at night! Tickets are good all day, so you can visit more than once if you want. Ride up to the top early and then roam town, shop, grab a bite to eat then head back up to the top and sit around the fire pits while you watch the sunset and wait for the Christmas beauty to light the way! During this holiday event, there are thousands of Christmas lights, photo ops for the family, their famous tunnel of lights covering the entire SkyBridge, and a huge 38-foot Christmas tree! You won’t want to miss the chance to experience the magic of the Lights Over Gatlinburg event.

6. Gatlinburg’s Festival of Trees

christmas tree with lightsIf you’re visiting Gatlinburg around Thanksgiving and you’re looking for Christmas tree ideas, family time activities, entertainment, Santa Claus and more, you’ll want to check out the Festival of Trees! This event features a children’s craft and play area, photos with Santa, and beautifully decorate Christmas trees and wreaths. If you don’t make it this season, it’s an annual event and you can add it to the list for next year!

7. Christmas Arts & Crafts Show

The Great Smoky Christmas Arts and Crafts Show is a great event for supporting local artists and purchasing gifts and decor that you won’t find anywhere else! The event runs from the end of November through beginning of December each year at the Gatlinburg Convention Center. Visitors will be able to find unique handcrafted gifts made by members of the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community. Items range from gorgeous quilts to hand-dipped scented candles. These provide the perfect holiday gifts for anyone in the family!

8. Winter Smoky Mountain Tunes and Tales

Gatlinburg signCan it really be a Hallmark kind of Christmas in the Smoky Mountains without carolers and storytellers? We don’t think so! That’s why we absolutely love that throughout the Christmas season, guests and locals will enjoy characters and storytellers roaming throughout downtown. This is a little something simple that adds storybook fun and beauty to the holidays on Fridays and Saturdays during the holiday season! Take a stroll through the streets of Gatlinburg to visit with Santa’s elves, Frosty, Rudolph, and more. This is a magical experience that can only be enjoyed in downtown Gatlinburg!

Where to Stay During Christmas in Gatlinburg

We’re pretty confident that we’ve given you plenty of ways to celebrate Christmas in Gatlinburg, but we have one more way to celebrate, and it’s our favorite — stay with us! Let The Appy Lodge be your Christmas time home away from home! We have everything you’ll need, including holiday decor, fire pits, continental breakfast, fireplaces, an indoor pool and hot tub, and comfy beds to rest after all the shopping and fun.

Ready to plan your Christmas trip? Take a look at our Gatlinburg hotel rooms and book your stay!