Christmas Place Pigeon Forge: A mini year-round holiday town in TN

The Christmas Place Pigeon Forge

The Christmas Place in Pigeon Forge is billed as the largest permanent Christmas retailer in the American South (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

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Christmas in the Gullion house starts on Thanksgiving Day. 

While Leslie is inside preparing a traditional Thanksgiving meal, I’m outside decking the house for Christmas. 

We run strands of colorful lights along the eaves and small front porch. We decorate the bushes. 

But that’s all backdrop. The front yard, which is less than half an acre, is where the magic happens.

The magic is roughly a dozen holiday and pop culture-themed light-up inflatables. 

It started with a single 4.5-foot inflatable Snoopy on his doghouse, starting our decorating tradition when Sofia – who is now 16 – was two.

Over the years, I’ve rarely paid full price. I hit the stores looking for markdowns in the week between Christmas and New Year’s, strategically biding my time until I get the best deal.

Sometimes I’ve lost out on an item hoping to get it for 75% off instead of 50%. That’s life in the big leagues. 

Not every inflatable survives. We’ve certainly lost some good soldiers over the years.

That first Snoopy has long since gone to live on a farm. And our faithful 10-foot Nutcracker has been put out to pasture, which is the fate I fear our beloved Yoda will suffer this year. 

Yoda? You ask. Oh yes, many of our decorations are Star Wars themed.

We have Droids to The World starring C3P0 and R2D2. There’s a separate BB8 as well as a Chewbacca. Representing the dark side, we have a festive Darth Vader and a varying number of Stormtroopers who are also aging out of service. 

We also have a giant Christmas Mickey Mouse and a Christmas Minion, equally tall. In case you’re wondering if we have anything of a traditional Christmas, we do have Santa in a hot air balloon and a roughly life-sized version of Will Ferrell as Buddy the Elf. There’s also a tiny unicorn, a concession to my youngest. 

Not all of our inflatables’ demises have been naturally occurring. A couple of Christmases ago, we were hit by vandals/thieves who apparently didn’t realize the inflatables are staked to the ground.

They were in a hurry and only made off with one. But several others were destroyed in the rushed grab job. However, the response from friends and family, who ordered replacements, helped to preserve our Christmas spirit. 

So you would think with all the decorations, I’d have a fairly specific plan – like the people on the Christmas shows who deck their houses months in advance.

But I am not a methodical man. It’s more of a shock and awe approach. Each of the last few years, our neighbors have come over to visit and take pictures with the characters in the yard, which makes me embarrassingly happy. 

We will be challenged this year as just today the latest addition to our family arrived, an 8.5-foot tall AT-AT – also known as the imperial walker from Hoth in “The Empire Strikes Back.” He’s decked with Christmas lights, has antlers and a red nose. It’s going to be awesome. 

Read Also: Is Christmas at Biltmore worth it? An honest review

I tell you all of that to say this. 

I’m a Christmas guy. We’re Christmas people.

The first thing we do when we finish decorating is to go to our favorite Christmas tree guy who comes down from Michigan each year and sets up shop. 

Do we buy the tree too early? 

Yes. Every year.

Is the tree on its last needles by Christmas morning? 

Also yes. 

Are we ever going to buy an artificial tree as my wife periodically threatens? 

Hell, no. 

Some people get frustrated by Christmas creep. They don’t want carols too early or a festive atmosphere or peppermint appearing in random places before its time.

They like nice orderly lives where October is for Halloween. November is for Thanksgiving and December is for Christmas. 

I get that, I do. 

But I’m also a romantic or naïve or both.

I like the idea of Christmas. Of peace on Earth and goodwill toward men.

I like songs and TV shows. I like the idea that during the Christmas season, we try to be better people, we try to be a better world. We’re a little more patient. We’re a little more forgiving. And I love the youthful anticipation as the big day approaches. 

I just love Christmas. 

If you feel like I do, to paraphrase Peter Frampton, I’ve got just the place for you. 

Read Also: Gatlinburg weather in December: Does it snow? How cold does it get?

The Christmas Place Pigeon Forge
The Christmas Place is open year-round in Pigeon Forge (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

What is The Christmas Place?

The Christmas Place in Pigeon Forge keeps it festive 24/7 all year long. 

What is the Christmas Place? It’s a little like the North Pole picked up and set down in the Smoky Mountains, except the elves in Pigeon Forge ain’t giving any toys away. 

Billed as the largest permanent Christmas retailer in the American South – you should see the spot they’ve got in the South of France, it’s very ‘Nice’ – and among the largest in the country.

The Christmas Place feeds the Christmas fever of people like me all year round.

They offer a fantastic selection of indoor and outdoor lights, collectibles, ornaments, trees, gifts, home and business decorations – most of which are considerably less gaudy than my own Christmas décor.

inside the Christmas Place
The Christmas Place is the best place to pick up Christmas decor in the Smokies (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

What time does The Christmas Place close?

It’s open from 10 am to 8 pm through the week, from 9 am to 9 pm on Saturday and from 10 to 6 pm on Sunday. The Christmas Place has something for everyone who is in the Christmas spirit.

But John, what if I’m in the Christmas spirit at 9:26 pm on a weeknight? 

First, sing some carols. Secondly, The Christmas Place has extensive online shopping options where you can scratch that jolly old itch any time you want. 

Santas Haus
During the holidays, Santa even comes for a visit at the Santa Haus (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

Who owns The Christmas Place?

Christmas Place and the shops at Bell Tower Square were founded as a family business by Hurshel and Marian Biggs in 1986, both of whom have since passed away.

The Bavarian-style shopping village has since become one of the top ten Christmas and collectible stores in the United States.

Over the years, The Christmas Place has been honored for its merchandising and decorating achievements.

Among the awards they have received is the “NOEL Retailer of the Year” for a Specialty Store. This annual award recognizes a company that has achieved outstanding growth and performance through excellence in merchandising Christmas products.

It also recognizes the significant contributions to the Christmas Decoration Industry.

And Christmas is expanding. In 2019, Toby Barnes of the family ownership group for The Incredible Christmas Place announced plans to open a Mt. Juliet location in Middle Tennessee, just outside of Nashville. 

Wait. Is it The Christmas Place or the Incredible Christmas Place?

Ah. You’ve discovered the classic conundrum.

The signage outside the village and much of the promotional material refer to The Christmas Place with a flowing banner with the word “Incredible” waving above it. 

The store’s website, however, is inconsistent. Sometimes it’s The Christmas Place, others it’s the Incredible Christmas Place.

I’ve always referred to it simply as The Christmas Place, which I prefer, but I realize I do not have the power to change reality with my headcanon.

So far four things in my life have been worthy of the “Incredible” moniker: The Incredible Hulk, the Incredible Shrinking Woman starring Lily Tomlin, the Incredibles and the classic TV show of my youth “That’s Incredible” which starred the magnificently toothy John Davidson and ran videos of things like water-skiing squirrels and a daredevil being dragged down a racetrack on a metal sled.   

Ultimately, whether it’s The Christmas Place or The Incredible Christmas Place, it remains a slice of the North Pole year-round in the Smoky Mountains and that is … well, pretty incredible.   

Have you visited The Incredible Christmas Place? What did you think? Let us know in the comments.

Disclaimer: While we do our best to bring you the most up-to-date information, attractions or prices mentioned in this article may vary by season and are subject to change. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any mentioned business, and have not been reviewed or endorsed these entities. Contact us at info@thesmokies.com for questions or comments.

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