Christmas in July? Gatlinburg’s Christmas Expo starts today.

If trimming the tree and hanging lights are your thing, no matter the time of year, you’ll want to drop by the Gatlinburg Convention Center this weekend for tips on making your place even more Christmas-y than last year. The 2013 Christmas Expo will run Thursday, July 11 through Saturday, July 13 at the 30,000 square foot center.

You’re also bound to learn a few holiday tricks as well. Conference-goers can pick the minds of Christmas enthusiasts, professionals, consultants and vendors nationwide, as well as attend educational seminars, meet and greet special guests and get a sneak peak at new Christmas trends and stuff arriving in stores this fall.

“We will feature a wide range of products, valuable to both the professional and neighborhood decorator,” said Chuck Smith, event promoter. “In fact, we’ve already registered attendees from all across America and even Australia. We take Christmas decorating very seriously.”

Some of those educational classes that enthusiasts can sink their teeth into include seminars about indoor decorating, outdoor Christmas displays, computer animation, how to produce your own drive through park and starting a holiday decorating business.

The event is open to the public, professionals or those to aspire to be one from 9 am to 5 pm on those dates. Tickets are $8. For more information about the Christmas Expo, or to register for educational classes, call Chuck Smith at (615) 301-1671 or visit website at A $4-off general admission coupon is available at

Christmas Gift Ideas You Can Find in Gatlinburg

We know, we know, you’re still trying to find that perfect Christmas gift for a loved one, friend, or even a co-worker. Well, if you haven’t tried Gatlinburg, what are you waiting for? There are plenty of specialty and unique stores to get some quality shopping done in the old town.

So how about some ideas? Ask and you shall receive. Here is a list of a few of the most attractive items to be found this holiday season in Gatlinburg in no certain order:

  • Tickets to Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies – You can’t come in to Gatlinburg without running straight into Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. This popular aquarium is home to over 10,000 sea creatures and was rated the No. 1 aquarium in the country by Tripadvisor. There is no better attraction outside of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park around here, but the Aquarium runs a close second. Just the look on a child’s face or the expression of someone entering Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies for the first time is reason enough for this to be considered a great holiday gift.
  • Ole Smoky Moonshine – Stop by a pick up ajar of some of the best and 100% legal moonshine around. You can purchase a slew of varieties in a number of flavors. For those of you who aren’t in to moonshine, their store offers other gift items including dips and salsas, and each have their own local flavor and twist.
  • Sweets for your sweet – The Country Candy Kitchen offers some of the best in chocolate and sweet treats in Gatlinburg. Candy and fudge are some of Gatlinburg’s greatest exports, and what better time of year is there to give sweet treats like dark chocolate, chocolate covered strawberries, etc? Besides the Country Candy Kitchen, there are many fudge and candy shops along the Parkway. Some of them even offer online purchasing.
  • Santa’s Claus-et – What’s better this time of year than a personalized or local Christmas ornament? It’s something friends and family can bring out every year and remember their time in Gatlinburg. Santa’s Claus-et in the Smoky Mountain Arts & Crafts Community is the perfect place to start your search. They offer everything Christmas and if you can’t find what you’re looking for they probably know where you can find it.

We hope that this condensed list gives you a good start or a great finish to your Christmas shopping in Gatlinburg this year. Maybe you know someplace that has great gifts that we’ve passed over? Leave us a comment below and we’ll consider adding it to ours. Happy holidays!

Santa’s Claus-et

There might be no other place more appropriate to visit in Gatlinburg this time of year than Santa’s Claus-et, found in the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community. Not only are they 364 days a year Christmas, they make sure you know it when you come by.

Recently, Santa’s Claus-et took home this year’s Craftsmen’s Award in the Gatlinburg Winter Magic Decorating Contest. The award goes to the best decorated business in the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community every year as part of the town’s Winter Magic festival of lights.

Santa’s Claus-et itself is a store that offers everything Christmas-y you could want in the Smoky Mountains. From gourmet holiday food to ornaments, all kinds of Santas from the collectible to the decorative, to holiday videos and ornaments as far as the eye can see.

You can see people’s eyes and noses perk up when you say something like “gourmet foods,” and for good reason. We’re talking about the best in mixes, fruit butter, jelly, preserves, pickles, syrup, honey, salsa, relish, salad dressings, and so much more.

As mentioned, ornaments run the gamut of the eclectic to the eccentric to the exotic. You’ll see Santas lying on the beach on one shelf and sports ornaments on another. Looking for a Smoky Mountain ornament? Santa’s Claus-et has lots of local, personalized gifts and ornaments that will put a smile on any child or adult’s face. They also offer videos, as well as local Christmas music, that you just won’t find at many other places.

So stop by the store next time you’re in Gatlinburg and stock up for this Christmas or the next. Santa’s Claus-et is open Monday through Sunday from 10 am till 5 pm in Gatlinburg’s Arts & Crafts Community. Happy shopping and have a Merry Christmas!

Santa’s Claus-et
608 Glades Road
Gatlinburg, TN 37738

Gatlinburg Christmas Parade

Get the inside information about the 2012 Gatlinburg Christmas Parade and Festival of Lights in Gatlinburg, TN scheduled for Friday, December 7. Find out where the parade starts, ends, how long it lasts, etc.

The time of year has come for the 2012 Gatlinburg Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade scheduled for Friday, December 7 and beginning at 7:30 pm. The Christmas parade is the third event in Gatlinburg’s Winter Magic celebration. This parade will feature over 100 entries which includes at least 12 marching bands, giant helium balloons, and so much more. Finally, what Christmas parade would be complete without Santa Claus? He’ll be there as well!

Presented by Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, Sharky and Sharkette of Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies will serve as the Gatlinburg Christmas Parade’s Grand Marshals as it travels through downtown Gatlinburg. Distinguished entries in this year’s parade include the world-famous Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. The first Wienermobile was designed by Carl Mayer, nephew of Oscar Mayer, in 1936. The Wienermobile itself is 24 hot dogs high, 60 hot dogs long, 18 hot dogs wide and weighs 140,500 hot dogs.

If you plan on attending the Gatlinburg Christmas Parade, here is some inside info that can help you out. Santa will start his “Autograph Party” at 6 pm at the Riverbend Mall which is located in front of the Welcome Center at traffic light No. 3. The parade itself is scheduled to start at approximately 7:30pm. It will will begin at traffic light 1A on highway 321 and will make its way downtown to traffic light No. 10. If you’re anywhere between those two traffic lights, you’ll have front-row seats for the Gatlinburg Christmas Parade! The parade will last about an hour and a half, so bundle up and bring some hot chocolate!

They are expecting around 80,000 to view the parade, so it’s wise to find a spot early. Also, make necessary dinner plans as most restaurants in Gatlinburg will be packed between 5 pm-7 pm. Either call ahead to your restaurant of choice, grab some fast food, or eat wherever you will be staying (hotel, cabin, etc). It’s not suggested to eat in Pigeon Forge as it will be difficult driving into Gatlinburg before the parade. It’s not a huge deal, but it’s something to prepare for that will make your evening more enjoyable.

The Gatlinburg Christmas Parade is a great event for the entire family. It’s an enjoyable experience to see the faces of children light up as they see all of the lights, floats, cars, entertainers, etc stroll down the street. The music, sights, smells, etc add to what makes a Smoky Mountain Christmas so special to the locals. We hope that you get to experience it along with us! Besides the parade, you’ll also find yourself in a place where people still say Merry Christmas and enjoy sharing their faith and the true reason for the season with others. Christmas in the Smokies is truly one of God’s blessings. We sincerely hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Christmas on Ice at Ober Gatlinburg

Christmas on Ice at Ober Gatlinburg is an annual traditional and features a number of local skaters performing Christmas routines.

If it’s one thing this town knows how to do, it’s put on a spectacular Christmas show. Head up to Ober Gatlinburg this year for one of the best. Christmas On Ice is one of Gatlinburg’s most colorful and spectacular shows of the holiday season and has scheduled performances for Saturday and Sunday, December 1 – 2, and it’s FREE!

Gatlinburg’s annual Christmas on Ice show at Ober Gatlinburg’s ice skating arena features local amateur ice skaters performing skating routines to traditional Christmas music, choreographed by Ober rink instructor Devon Harman. This year, the Saturday night show time is at 7 pm. For those of you who come to the Sunday performance, that show starts at 5 pm.

Ober Gatlinburg’s indoor ice skating arena is the centerpiece of Ober’s 62,000 square foot upper tram terminal and mall. The ice skating arena, crafts market, scenic chairlift, alpine slide, and aerial tramway are all open year round. Ober Gatlinburg’s Amusement park is filled with fun events, rides, and happenings that the whole family can enjoy! We’re not only talking about the indoor ice arena and scenic chairlift, but also attractions like the alpine slide. You’ll also find an arcade, bumper cars, a pirate ship, bungee jumping, a Velcro jump wall, a shooting range, and mini golfing at the facility. You could spend a week there this fall and never have to do the same thing twice.

In addition, the Municipal Black Bear Habitat with live black bears is open spring through fall months. Snow skiing and snowboarding begins in December, weather permitting, and goes through mid-March.

Ober Gatlinburg Ice Rink
1339 Ski Mountain Road
Gatlinburg, TN 37738

Gatlinburg’s Nutcracker “Sweet”

Gatlinburg’s Nutcracker “Sweet” returns this holiday season for two performances at the W.L. Mills Conference Center.

There are certain things you look forward to with each oncoming holiday season, and for those of us fortunate enough to call the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee home, one of those things is the Great Smoky Mountain Dance Theatre’s yearly presentation of The Nutcracker “Sweet” at the W.L. Mills conference center in Gatlinburg. The classic ballet will run from November 23-24. It’s a two-night show that features local dancers from Sevier, Knox and Jefferson counties, is very popular and has become one of those holiday events that gets marked on the calendar months in advance.

The Nutcracker, for those who aren’t familiar is not your typical ballet. It’s full of common ballet moves and choreography, but it’s a story that you can really get into unlike other ballets that can include bits of foreign language and topics. This holiday adaptation begins at a Christmas Eve party held in a German home. As a brother and sister delight in their godfather’s entertaining party story complete with life-size robotic dolls, the sister, Clara, receives a nutcracker as a gift from someone. It’s a short-lived happiness as her brother breaks the gift. Clara is chased by a pack of mice following the party when she comes to check on her broken toy. From there, Clara’s nutcracker must defeat the mouse king, and lead Clara on a holiday journey you’re not soon to forget.

Tickets for the show range from $10-25, and are cheapest when bought in advance. Shows are at 7 p.m. in the W.L. Mills Auditorium. Call (865) 680-7369 for information and reservations..

Ober Gatlinburg – Christmas on Ice 2011 (photos)

Photos of Christmas on Ice at Ober Gatlinburg.

Ober Gatlinburg gets to show off their ice skating rink each winter with Ober Gatlinburg’s Christmas on Ice.  The student who learn to skate and hone their skills on the Ober Gatlinburg rink.  From the smallest skater (this year 3 years old) to professional skaters that come in to exhibit their talents, this is a great way to start off the Christmas holidays.

Gatlinburg Christmas Lights 2011 (photos)

Gatlinburg’s Winterfest features millions of lights covering every square inch of the town.

Gatlinburg’s Winterfest features millions of lights covering every square inch of the town.  If you have not gotten in the Christmas spirit yet then a trip down the parkway in Gatlinburg will warm your heart and get you ready for the holiday season.

Celebrate Santa 2010

Largest Professional Santa Gathering and Major Motion Picture Join Forces

The Celebrate Santa Festival to be held March 13 – 17, 2010 in Gatlinburg, Tennessee will feature over 600 professional Santa and Mrs. Clauses celebrating the life and times of Santa Claus. This year, the event is closely tied with the upcoming epic motion picture, Nicholas of Myra, the story of the life and times of St. Nicholas, the original Santa Claus.

The movie’s writer/director, Gerald Hartke and the lead actor, Matthew Mesler are the Grand Marshals of the Holly & Shamrock Parade on March 13th. They also will be the guests of honor at a premiere party Sunday night the 14th called “An Evening with St. Nicholas” honoring the movie and what it means to the overall Santa community.

“This movie will have a tremendous impact on how the public views today’s Santa Claus,” said Joe Moore, the event’s co-coordinator and a nine year Santa Claus. “People will come away with a better understanding of who Santa really is and that there is much more to us then taking toy lists.”

Hartke is also excited at the prospect of being with hundreds of Santas. “We were a little unsure of how the Santas would react to the movie and the history behind the character,” Hartke said. “Celebrate Santa is a tremendous affirmation for us that we are on the right track, and that it was long past time to tell this wonderful story.”

The two events will be promoting each other in order to gain as much exposure as possible prior to Celebrate Santa and afterwards.

Since the Celebrate Santa Festival is an annual event in Mid-March, we see an ongoing promotional opportunity for both entities,” Moore said.

There will be a great many opportunities to talk about both events as they dovetail each other so well,” Hartke said.
According to the Moore, Santas will be coming to Gatlinburg from more than 30 states, Canada and Australia.

We have also been in touch with Santas from Costa Rica, Italy, Sweden and other countries about attending,” he said.

More information can be found about Nicholas of Myra at