We have to agree with the old song, Christmas really is the  most wonderful time of the year. The smell of peppermint, pine, and sugar cookies seems to permeate everything, there are holiday lights and songs cascading throughout the stores, and if you are headed to the Smokies, it is when the area has some really dynamic holiday events.

Winter Fest in Pigeon Forge

Pigeon Forge is fun and fantastic to visit at any time of the year, but imagine it draped in more than five million holiday lights. This is exactly what happens every winter, when the town is transformed into an authentic winter wonderland. Their Winterfest begins in early November and runs all of the way through February (proving that the season is the best time of the year!)

And while a town glittering with millions of twinkle lights is more than enough for most, the decorations are just the beginning. There are lots of different shows and events throughout the period, too. For instance, Dollywood has a Smoky Mountain Christmas with all kinds of activities, parades and fun. The Old Mill Square sets up a covered bridge and creates a magical spot in a historic setting. The Smoky Mountain Opry also dolls itself up for the season and if you are there around Thanksgiving, you can experience the region’s opening celebrations and fireworks display!

The Island at Pigeon Forge becomes a major Christmas destination and features a half a million lights of its own on display in the trees and Santa’s workshop. There is a Dinner Show, and of course, the amazing Winterfest Driving Tour of Lights running from early November to the end of February.

Winter Magic in Gatlinburg

Not to be outdone by its neighbor, Gatlinburg has its Winter Magic events that run from November through February, as well. The town is draped with millions of light and eco-friendly visitors will appreciate that every single display and decoration is now environmentally friendly!

The displays include LED lights and feature all kinds of themes and figures. You can enjoy the display from your car or book yourself some seats on the far more comfortable Gatlinburg Trolley Ride of Lights. You enjoy a guided tour through the entire display in town and remain cozy and warm throughout.

Keep in mind that there is more than the lights and special events. There is also the amazing natural scenery, and since the park is open throughout the year, a winter day hike or a drive through spots like Cades Cove and other beautiful routes could be a good way to kick off your holiday visit.

Don’t forget that Ober Gatlinburg is a premiere ski destination, and the famous Village in Gatlinburg is a wonderful Christmas destination. And at the end of the day, a stay in one of the cozy cabins throughout the region could add that perfect touch of magic. After all, you can sit by the fire, gaze out at the views, and savor the twinkling stars above the twinkling lights in the towns below!