Christmas is the most magical time of the year, and there is no better place to experience the holiday spirit than in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. While many of us cherish the traditions of gathering at home for Christmas, planning a vacation during this special season gives you the perfect opportunity to break away from the usual holiday routines, reduce stress, and focus on quality family time.
1. Enchanting Winter Wonderland
In December, Gatlinburg comes alive and is at its most festive to match the mood of this jolly season. The town transforms into a real-life winter wonderland thanks to the twinkling lights, cheerful holiday displays, and freezing temperatures with a chance of snow.
One of the most captivating features of Gatlinburg’s Christmas scene is the incredible light displays. The Gatlinburg Winter Magic Trolley Ride of Lights takes you through a stunning journey of beautifully illuminated trees, animals, and more. It’s a spectacle that kids and adults alike will adore, making your Christmas vacation even more magical.
2. Cozy Accommodations
Gatlinburg offers diverse accommodation choices to suit all budgets. You can choose from rustic cabins, chalets, mountain lodges, hotels, motels, and campgrounds that are adorned with seasonal decorations to celebrate the festive spirit. But with Christmas being a busy time, it’s advisable to make your lodging reservations in advance.
There is no cozier way to enjoy this season than by staying in hotels in Gatlinburg with fireplaces, which create a warm and inviting atmosphere to relax after a day of exploring the city.
3. Dazzling Festive Events
Gatlinburg’s winter calendar of events is packed with fun activities, from the dazzling Winterfest to the Festival of Trees, with beautifully decorated Christmas trees.
Two special events to mark on your calendar this December are:
Lights Over Gatlinburg: The “Lights Over Gatlinburg” event at Gatlinburg SkyPark is a festive holiday celebration featuring thousands of Christmas lights, including a spectacularly lit 38 ft. Christmas tree and an upgraded Tunnel of Light along the entire length of the SkyBridge. This popular event offers a magical experience with day and night attractions, enhancing the holiday spirit for visitors in Tennessee.
New Year’s Eve Celebration: Visit the famous Gatlinburg Space Needle to be a part of the thrilling countdown as the ball drops, followed by stunning fireworks and celebrations to welcome the new year.
It’s the season of giving, and finding the perfect gifts for family and friends can often be a challenge. Fortunately, Gatlinburg’s bustling shopping scene can help you in this hunt, with a variety of stores and shops filled with unique finds and locally crafted items. What makes it even better is that these shopping opportunities are conveniently located near hotels, ensuring that you’re close to all the festive action. Here are the top places to go gift shopping in Gatlinburg:
Village Shops: Gatlinburg’s Village Shops is a charming collection of boutiques and stores where you can explore a wide range of unique items, from handcrafted jewelry and artwork to specialty foods and home décor. The cobblestone pathways and rustic architecture add to the distinctive atmosphere, making it a must-visit destination for those looking to find local craftsmanship and authentic Smoky Mountain souvenirs.
Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community: The Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community is the largest organization of artisans in the United States. Along this route, you can visit numerous shops and meet over 100 artists and craftsmen, including carvers, weavers, watercolor artists, soap makers, potters, silversmiths, and more. It’s the ultimate destination to find that perfect Christmas gift, with a vast selection of handcrafted items to choose from.
5. Winter Outdoor Adventures
One of the reasons to spend Christmas in Gatlinburg is the opportunity to visit Anakeesta.
During the holiday season, the park turns into a winter dreamland with colorful decorations, festive lights, and fun activities for the whole family. Look out for the Treetop Skywalk with suspended bridges adorned with twinkling lights, the Firefly Village with boutique shops, the Anavista Observation Tower, and dining options like the Cliff Top Restaurant.
This outdoor retreat offers a full range of winter sports, from skiing and snowboarding to ice skating and snow tubing, making it an ideal destination for families and adventurers. The slopes at Ober Mountain cater to all skill levels for winter sports. The Aerial Tramway offers breathtaking rides up the mountain that provide both stunning views and adventure.
Ober Mountain is a great place to visit during the winter and Christmas seasons. The resort offers a variety of activities for all ages and interests, and the festive atmosphere makes it a perfect place to celebrate the holidays.
Smoky Mountains National Park
The Smoky Mountain National Park is the most iconic attraction in this region. This natural wonderland provides a serene winter landscape with snow-dusted peaks for visitors this time of the year. The park offers charming winter hiking trails and picturesque mountain views.
6. Diverse Food Experience
Gatlinburg’s diverse culinary scene, featuring Southern classics, international flavors, and sweet treats, allows families to share memorable moments. You can begin your day with classic pancakes, explore cozy steakhouses, and end with sugary treats like handmade fudge to make the holiday sweeter.
With Christmas in Gatlinburg, you can relax and enjoy the flavors of Gatlinburg and leave the worries of cooking and cleaning behind.
When planning to spend Christmas away from home, you want things to be perfect and fun-filled for the family. Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is a charming and family-friendly destination that exudes the warmth and joy of the Christmas season. With its beautiful holiday decorations, festive events, thrilling activities, and cozy lodgings that feel like home, it is the perfect place for a memorable Christmas getaway.