Since I grew up in Sevier County, going home and seeing all the decorations feels like Christmas to me. I love to watch my hometown go nuts for the holidays. I look forward to driving to my dad’s store on the Parkway in Pigeon Forge and seeing the “12 Days of Christmas” scenes. God help me, I even like to drive the spur on the way to Gatlinburg at night just so the darkness of the tree cover can open up to an electric light parade. I wanted to share with you some of my favorite places to visit in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge to ring in the Christmas season.


The Village is a Christmas hot spot in my opinion. You have Pancake Pantry, Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen, The Donut Friar, and a cluster of small shops all in one place. If you’ve never been to a candy kitchen then you might have never been to the South. Let me tell you something, friend. You’re missing out. We were so lucky to be able to see the old taffy puller functioning as we walked by the shop. Next time you go to Gatlinburg make sure to visit The Village.


For me the quintessential Gatlinburg Christmas decorations are the light poles disguised as trees. That was such a good idea!



A few of the Pigeon Forge hot spots include The Island (pictured below), The Old Mill District, The Christmas Place (where I met Santa) and The Inn at the Christmas Place.


The other places I like are owned by the Patron Saint of the Smokies: Dollywood and Dixie Stampede. If you’ve never been to these places at Christmas they are completely different this time of year. You have to visit again and get the full experience. Here are a few snaps from Sevier County days this year where admission was only $5 for residents. One year I would like to run the 5K Christmas race through Dollywood. Oh what fun that would be! Any takers?


Where do you go that feels like Christmas? I think of my hometown because loved ones tend to find their way back home during this time of year. Not every city puts up lights before Thanksgiving and keeps them up until February but I guess we’re special like that. In Sevier County it’s called “Winterfest” because we celebrate an entire season long. I hope you got a few good ideas for this week or even next year. Merry Christmas from the foothills of the Smokies. You can probably see us from space.

Until next time,



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