I can't even remember how many years in a row now we've gone to Dillsboro with all the Cruzes, but it's a good tradition.
Sidebar: I'm surprised sometimes at how fiercely our kids love traditions. It was a major decision to break up our usual Fantasy of Trees routine, even though I think it's not actually, technically, really all that exciting for the older kids...they just feel strongly about doing the things we always do.
Anyway, back on topic: Dillsboro. We gathered first at our house and shuffled the cousins up among the vehicles to their liking. Various groupings watched Polar Express, The Grinch, Narnia, and a couple others along the way. We ate at our favorite pizza place (the teens/tweens got their own table, oh man, I can't believe how big they are). Our server complimented us on our well-mannered children after taking orders. Score! Then on to the lights.
We perused the ornament store, browsed the general store, talked to the talking bear, bought some delectable chocolate and candy from the fudge shop, and took not one, but TWO horse-drawn wagon rides. The 20% chance of rain gave us a break, and we spent the evening dry and just chilly enough to feel festive. Couldn't have been a better day trip.
Bonus: for the drive there we decided to go through the GSMNP. We went through some thick fog for a few miles as we winded up the mountain, then came out of it and were treated to this incredible view of what we had just been driving in...