November 08, 2022
The Christmas season is full of so many wonderful events and traditions and one not-so-wonderful necessity, shopping. As an adult, Christmas comes with the realization that not all gifts are provided by the man in the red coat. Some are purchased and packaged yourself. Now, if you're anything like me, and have done your primary shopping online for the past six years because you hate going to store, finding personal and fulfilling gifts for loved ones can be a hard task. (A task made even harder when your wife is the best gift-giver this side of the Mississippi.) That is why this year, I am using Dollywood and its wide array of merchandise as my one-stop-shop for all things this Christmas season.
In a world full of mass-produced products made for momentary consumption, a true handmade gift is few and far between. All throughout Craftsman's Valley, local artisans are hard at work in one of our many shops. From blacksmith creations to cut-and-curl candles and personalized leather, there is no shortage of true one-of-a-kind options.
I'll be using the Valley to look for a number of family members. My Grandmother has been wanting a new centerpiece for her table, Old Flames Candles or Mountain Laurel HOME have great options. It seems my Dad needs a new billfold every other year-perhaps a genuine leather wallet from Smoky Creek Leather will last a good long while. As with any shopping spree, I'll start with looking for those items, but I know I'll find some more treasures along the way.
Personalizing any gift is a great way to add a heartfelt touch to your purchases under the tree. Many of Dollywood's craftsmen have the ability to customize their creations. Want a specific sign for your friends' home? Get it at Dollywood. Want an engraved bat for your niece or nephew? Get it at Dollywood. For me, I'll be getting custom ornaments from Mountain Blown Glass this year for my mom, sister and sister-in-law. The store will let you select your colors and even blow the ornament yourself. That's a fun story to tell! The snowmen are pretty cool, too...
Understanding who you're buying for is a big first step in the gift-giving department. Take my mother-in-law, for instance. She is a big-time Dolly fan. Lucky for her, I just so happen to work at Dolly's theme park. The Dollywood Emporium has doubled down on its delightful Dolly offerings this year, and I plan on taking full advantage. Seeing as Dolly is possibly the most-liked person on the planet, I doubt she is in the minority here. So, if you have a Dolly fan in the family (or are one yourself), come to Dollywood, we have you covered in the gifts department. Don't forget to check Pokeberry Lane, which is the retail shop inside Dollywood's DreamMore Resort and Spa.
Of course, any park is full of its own merch. Now, these items are not just meant to be souvenirs purchased by tourists. For folks like me who grew up in East Tennessee, Dollywood is more than a park. It's an identity-and one that you can never represent too often. If you have ever been in the park and have seen someone struggling over a purchase decision just to walk away, go back and get it for them! My family came to Dollywood during Harvest Festival, and my nieces and nephews loved the Dollywood pop toys at Gazebo Gifts; their parents thought they were too loud for the house, but their [favorite] uncle disagrees. Perhaps a safer gift would have been a t-shirt, but I digress.
As a side note to any family member reading this blog, stop getting me presents at Christmas. I already have too much stuff to put in my house, and I don't need any more. Get me something to experience. I know that many other people feel the same way I do on the matter. Gifts come and go, certain things are trendy and then boring, but memories, these last forever. If only there was a way to gift a whole year of memories - Oh wait, there is! A Dollywood Season Pass is the perfect 2023 memory making experience for you or a loved one. With a new ride and a new spring celebration in the works, 2023 will be an incredible year at the park.
I plan on knocking out my whole list this year at Dollywood in one fell swoop. Perhaps you should, too!
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