If collecting snow globes, singing jolly yuletide tunes, and decorating sweaters with tinsel and bells is your thing, you’ll feel right at home in these Christmas vacation villages. They start the season with the lighting of giant trees in public squares, and add merry parades and festivals, thousands of twinkling lights, and costumed carolers throughout the countdown to the big day. Find them in popular ski resorts where hot cocoa and photos with Santa follows afternoons whizzing down the slopes, and in quaint destinations that transform into wonderlands come late fall. The perfect Christmas town in the USA awaits…
Why not the North Pole?
Battling it out with Santa Claus, IN, for the best titled Christmas town in the US, Alaska’s aptly named North Pole could almost fool the man in red himself. Snow in December here is a given, but the hamlet makes sure the holiday message rings loud and clear with street names like Mistletoe Lane and Kris Kringle Drive and candy-cane décor that actually sticks around all year. Since this super northern spot has streaks of Aurora Borealis lights dance across the sky in winter, it’s the perfect place to book a secluded log cabin surrounded by pines. But if you need city amenities, Fairbanks isn’t far.
Leavenworth is a taste of Europe
Buried in the Cascade Mountains a couple of hours inland from Seattle, the little village of Leavenworth’s German-style streets are pretty darn charming all year round. But something about seeing the half-timbered facades lit up with icicle lights, and snow frosting the tree tips and blanketing the ground here really puts you in the holiday mood. Reserving a chalet or apartment near the city center places you in walking distance to the Nutcracker Museum and schnitzel and gingerbread cookies at local cafes, while woodsy lodges and cabins a few paces away mean walk outs to snowshoeing trails and sledding hills.
An Ozark Christmas in Branson
Branson is all about the toe-taping tunes that make you want to grab your partner and do-si-do, and the holidays are no exception. Heralded the Live Music Capital of the World, you’ll have no trouble catching a special Christmas concert or variety act in this Missouri town, and plenty of special extras are added to the docket for the season. Christmas parade of lights – check. “Polar Express” styled train rides – sign the kids up. Trees by the 100s scattered about town – of course. Cozy vacation rentals fringing the city make for the perfect home-away-from-home for sipping eggnog, decorating the evergreen, and curling up by the fireplace come evening.
Woodstock – the perfect New England Christmas town
It may not be the most famous Woodstock around, but Vermont’s tiny town certainly makes a name for itself when the snow falls. Still-standing 1800s architecture sparks an old-timey feel, and the surrounding Green Mountains mean incredible vistas of white wherever you look. Stays here might be in a traditional carriage house or a wood-paneled cabin with an aroma of pine, the perfect setting for a traditional Christmas full of popcorn garland, mantle-hung stockings, and cookie baking. The snowmobiling and cross-country skiing nearby is just a bonus.
Christmas festivities in Fredericksburg
Tucked away in Texas Hill Country, Fredericksburg is a quirky blend of classic Western town with a distinctly Bavarian twist. This blend continues during the fruitcake season, with a giant evergreen neighboring a wooden German Christmas pyramid. In between clinking glasses along the local wine trail and shopping for handcrafted goodies to wrap, you can wander the streets to see historic homes dressed up with their best garlands and wreaths. Bed and breakfasts here make for a pretty idyllic holiday stay, too, located in historic cottages and lodges around town.
Williamsburg for family fun
Any day of the year, you’ll feel like you’re stepping back in time in Williamsburg, part of Virginia’s “Historic Triangle” of Colonial-era towns. It may just be the perfect destination to spark an old-timey Christmas. With everything from farmhouse rentals and storied estates to roomy family homes with friendly porches to host your yuletide getaway, it’ll be easy to carry on holiday traditions like decorating gingerbread men around the kitchen table and gathering fireside for hot cocoa. And with Colonial Williamsburg and Busch Gardens both dressed in their Christmas best, there’s plenty of Santa sightings, candy canes, and merry jingles to go around.