Dollywood Gets on the 'Nice' List with a New Santa Meet-and-Greet

December 1, 2020, 2:04 PM · How can children meet Santa Claus this year, when everyone is supposed to to stay six feet apart?

Dollywood is offering a creative solution to that problem with its new Santa Claus meet and greet for Smoky Mountain Christmas: Santa’s List... Naughty or Nice.

The trick with rethinking any attraction for the Covid-19 era is to envision an experience that does not feel diminished from its "normal" form. You want to create something that feels fresh and even plussed, to make up for the hassle of masking up and keeping your distance in public.

Dollywood has done that with a Santa Claus encounter that allows kids to continue the tradition of writing a Christmas wish list and getting a picture with Jolly Old Saint Nick. But the park's experience goes beyond that, by allowing children also to see Santa at work and actually see their names on the "Nice" list.

No, kids cam't climb on to Santa's lap this year. But Santa’s List... Naughty or Nice offers an alternative that allows visitors not feel cheated by that. Check it out.

There's no need for much of a backstory here to explain why Santa Claus has set up shop in the Smoky Mountains. Of course Santa gladly would pick up and head south to some time with his BFF Dolly Parton — the woman who sends millions of children free books, and who, for Christmas this year, got all of us a coronavirus vaccine.

Santa’s List... Naughty or Nice continues at the Pigeon Forge, Tennessee park through December 23, though the rest of the Smoky Mountain Christmas event continues through January 3, 2021. For more information and tickets, please visit

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Replies (2)

December 1, 2020 at 3:42 PM

I swear, that just brought tears to my eyes. Good on Dollywood to come up with such a clever solution to allow little kids to see Santa, and take a picture with him, that means so much to them. And shame on so many Americans for being so self-interested and willfully stupid that it's come to this.

December 1, 2020 at 7:09 PM

A truly magical solution to the Santa meet-and-greet conundrum. This is a prime example of how Dollywood exemplifies the Herschend motto of "creating memories worth repeating".

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