“Oh, the weather outside is pleasant – so we’re shopping for a present – while it’s Smoky Mountain Winterfest – it’s the best, it’s the best, it’s the best!”
I’m not exactly Bernie Taupin or even Weird Al Yankovic in my songwriting skills as you can see, but hopefully that little jingle successfully introduces you to the idea of doing your Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or Yule or Chalica or Krampusnacht or Malkh or Bodhi Day shopping in the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee where, for just some very simple driving along the parkways and foot traffic, you can find almost everything your friends/family have requested for the holidays and many more things you might not have expected to see.
Yes sir, we’re recommending some more stores and shopping complexes in this article and we’ll break it up according to the usual avenues of recipient interest. Of course, nowadays family and friends don’t adhere to gender and age-related archetypes anymore – just because she’s your girlfriend or Mom doesn’t mean she won’t like knives and videogames or your dad or brother won’t enjoy seamstressing or antiques – it’s just for simplicity and familiarity.
Let’s get started!
Wife/Mom/Platonic Girlfriends (or whoever may apply):
Gatlinburg is where it’s at for finding something classy for her. Mostly out on Highway 321 and spread along certain shopping places downtown, there are dozens and dozens of quality, unique and even handmade boutique items for clothing, jewelry, footwear, dresses, accessories and more that can have a touch of Appalachian South or something exotic. In Downtown Gatlinburg, the areas you’ll want to look are The Village and North Gatlinburg (just after you come in from Pigeon Forge). You will need to pay to park it and do some walking, but the stores in our area aren’t nearly as huge and easy to get lost in as those on Highway 66 and you’ll enjoy quite a lot of the scenery along the way. Highway 321 has The Wood Whittlers Shopping Complex and, directly across the road, the beginning of the famous Arts and Crafts Community and literally 8 MILES of incredible, off-the-beaten-path shops and boutiques. If you can’t find a gift for the main women in your life there, you’re not even trying.
Grandparents/Elders (or whoever may apply):
Some of the listings above would certainly impress and be useful to Mamaw and Papaw, but here we might want to put a spotlight on The Old Mill and The Island in Pigeon Forge. The Old Mill is designed specifically to evoke an older Appalachian feel (and succeeds) while The Island can cater to their fun side and inner child that never went away. Bonus points if you need to bring them along for the trip as there’s comparatively less walking in both complexes and offers travel convenience (The Old Mill has the Trolley service while The Island has their own tram service from parking lot to the entrance).
Kids/Infants/Young Tweens (or whoever may apply):
And now we come to the kinder kind. Being as the Smoky Mountains are designed for families from the youngest to the eldest, there are indeed many toys and game stores that will appeal to them, however the ones that are more than souvenir shops can be somewhat far between one another. The best shopping complexes for the young’uns’ Christmas lists will be the aforementioned Pigeon Forge Island and also Five Oaks Tanger Mall which will be close to more stores at Governor’s Crossing and the Walmart Supercenter. Five Oaks Tanger is THE biggest shopping complex in our county (it has its own tram system for a start) and where we go for mainstream brand name clothing, foods, gifts, and, yes, Christmas shopping. There are lots of children’s clothing stores there as well as the Disney store and a Toys’ R’ Us Express. If they’re a little bit older than that, the Earthbound Store is also a good idea. Governor’s Crossing just a little ways down from there has a Books-A-Million and Jo-Ann Fabrics for kids crafting ideas or making your child(ren) a present.
Dad/Older Brothers (or whoever may apply):
Where you want to go is Highway 66 from Sevierville to Kodak, TN, as it’s the closest area that one would call “manly” in terms of what’s offered to customers with the large and unique variety of shopping out there. Highway 66 is home to a handful of pawn shops, two flea markets, the Smoky Mountain Knifeworks (which blurs the line between knife store and knife museum), several fireworks stores, helicopter rides, the Smoky Mountain Baseball stadium and the Bass Pro Shop (which is practically a testosterone amusement park in the most awesome way possible). It’s a drive, the shopping areas are the biggest in the county and a lot of footwork will be involved, but you’re guaranteed to find something on his list out there.
Pets/Dogs/Cats/Birds (or whoever might apply… and by that, I mean other types of pets, not your kids or nephews, and nieces or something. Don’t be that person who tries to pass off a dog toy as a kids’ toy for Christmas):
Bonus round! There are not loads of pet or pet-related stores compared to others here in the Smokies, but we’ve got some listings for you to get something for the quadropedal children, too.
Happy huntin’, y’all! Hope to see you this holiday season!