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It’s a wonderful life down in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee when the holidays hit. If there’s one Christmas event you have to see at least once in your life, it’s none other than Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas. The heart-warming winter wonderland is open until January 5, and there’s a ton of reasons to do your coat of many colors and make your way over to Dollywood.

1. The Broadway-Worthy Shows

Cancel your plane tickets to New York City, this theme park boasts eleven different entertainment options including stage productions of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, Appalachian Christmas, Christmas in the Smokies, It’s a Wonderful Life and O’ Holy Night. Not looking to sit down for an entire production? Stop by and say, “Howdy!” to Miss Lillian outside her chicken house, or gather around the MistleTones and the Kingdom Heirs to listen to acapella Christmas carols and Southern gospel.

Each of the Christmas shows takes place in the Pines Theater, Back Porch Theater, Celebrity Theater, Showstreet Palace, and Valley Theater. Show times vary, so make sure to check the show schedule at the beginning of the day.

2. The Food

What’s Christmas without food?! No holiday season is complete without some wintertime sweets, especially the kind loaded with powdered sugar and whipped cream. Make a pit stop at Crossroads for a Red Velvet Funnel Cake and a hot chocolate.

If cooking your own meal sounds like fun, make a beeline to the s’mores tent where you can buy all the fixings for your own s’more roasted over the open fire.

3. The Lights

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All the pretty lights 😍

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Once the sun goes down, be sure to look around at the canopy of Christmas lights decorating the entire park. This year, Dollywood invites its guests to experience Glacier Ridge, the newest addition to the Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival, featuring a 50-foot video motion Christmas tree and a recreation of the Northern lights.

4. The Parade

It’s not Christmas season without a special parade! The Parade of Many Colors features fun and whimsical holiday-themed floats based on Dolly Parton’s very own faith, fun, and harmony which are found in Dolly’s NBC movie, Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love. This is a Christmas parade you don’t want to miss.

5. Meet Santa

Want to meet the man in the red suit? Feel like a kid again when you walk into Santa’s Workshop and meet Santa himself. Drop off a letter in his mailbox and snap a few pictures with him. Make sure to make a pit stop over at Holly Jolly Junction to meet with Rudolph and his friends Clarice, Yukon Cornelius, and Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster. You won’t want to miss it!

Read: The Best Amusement Park Food in the World Isn’t Where You’d Expect

Lyndsay Burginger is a food and lifestyle writer as well as the Managing Editor of Wide Open Eats. Lyndsay has worked for companies such as America's Test Kitchen and Disney, and holds degrees in Creative Writing and Culinary Arts. When she's not writing or cooking you can find Lyndsay traveling ...Read more
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