2015 Holiday Events in the Smoky Mountains

We love holidays in the Smokies! Powder-topped mountains, pine trees draped in twinkling lights, spending time with loved ones…and a ton of vibrant holiday events to fill the calendar. Grab a hot chocolate, throw on a cozy sweater, and check out this list of our favorite holiday festivities happening here this December!

Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade


On Friday, December 4th, the streets of Gatlinburg will fill with thousands of spectators for the award-winning Fantasy of Lights Christmas parade. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the event which features impressive floats, festive lights, marching bands, live music, and of course the kids will love to see Santa Claus and his elves in person! The parade begins at 7:30 pm and spans a mile through downtown Gatlinburg. Bring some chairs and get there early to find a great spot for the hour-long parade that is sure to put you in the Christmas spirit.

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival


Have you ever seen 4 million holiday lights twinkle all at once? If not, you can change that at Dollywood’s Christmas Festival! This award-winning event runs from November 5th through January 3rd in Pigeon Forge. As you might imagine, Dolly does Christmas right with spectacular decorations and fantastic holiday performances such as Rudolf and Dollywood’s A Christmas Carol. The kids can even visit Santa at his own workshop! With over 20 different holiday-themed attractions and specialized Christmas menus, it’s the perfect event to make the whole family merry.

Winter Magic Trolley Ride of Lights

It may be cold outside, but it’s nice and cozy in the Winter Magic Trolley Ride of Lights. Relax and enjoy the trolley as it travels through downtown Gatlinburg on a journey filled with light displays, magical animals, and winter scenes. Visitors can enjoy the enclosed heated trolley car while still experiencing shimmering holiday lights and holiday exhibits. The trolley runs from November 12th through January 31st. Rides depart at 6:30 pm, 7:30 pm, and 8:30 pm. Children under 3 ride for free!

Christmas in the Smokies Bluegrass Festival

Celebrate Christmas bluegrass-style! From December 9th to December 12th, a fantastic lineup of bands and musicians take the stage at the Smoky Mountain Convention Center in Pigeon Forge for the Christmas in the Smokies Bluegrass Festival. The festival pays tribute to the sounds of the holidays and features special guests, unique merchandise, and square dancing. Bluegrass music is deeply rooted in the Smokies, and this cheerful festival shows that Christmastime is no exception.

Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Show

Need to do some last-minute holiday shopping? Artisan Tennessee gifts are available at the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Show at the Gatlinburg Convention Center from November 30th through December 6th. Here, local artists present unique products such as handcrafted jewelry, paintings, furniture, instruments, quilts, and so much more. Mark off your Christmas list at this community event and support local businesses at the same time! If you want to shop for these kinds of treasures year-round, Gatlinburg features an 8-mile map of local artists’ shops and is the largest arts and crafts community in the nation.
Ready to book a cozy vacation rental for the perfect holiday getaway? Find your holiday cabin at Smoky Mountains Vacation Rentals!