If you’re going to go traveling in the holidays why not visit the most Christmassy towns in the USA. Although every town dresses itself in holiday finery, some just ooze festive spirit and cheer, offering a special welcome. With fabulous decorations and community events, tons of shopping and a special atmosphere, here are the most Christmassy towns in the USA.
1. New York, New York
The Big Apple outdoes everyone on Christmas bling and is by far one of the most Christmassy towns in the USA. From the Rockefeller Center’s huge tree to the Radio City Rockettes, the city sparkles with Christmas energy. Take in the Nutcracker Ballet Troupe or go through Bryant Park’s Winter Wonderland for a festive taste of Noel. Don’t lose your patience, though, as some things require waiting in long lines. If you want to see the holiday window displays at Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue, Barney’s or Macy’s, you’ll have to get through a crowd first, but when you catch a glimpse, you are already close to your Christmas shopping destination!
2. Los Angeles, California
Although you likely won’t find snow in L.A., you’ll find plenty of Christmas spirit. For example, Olvera Street celebrates with a version of The Posadas that the public can participate in. The Posadas depicts the passage of Mary and Joseph, asking if there is any room at the inn. Neighborhoods host these processions with a different family hosting festivities each night. Also, take in one of the tallest Christmas trees in the nation at The Grove outdoor shopping mall; its height often exceeds the height of the Rockefeller tree in New York.
3. Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Visit the Inn at Christmas Place for an old-world feel that spares no detail. The Christmas décor astounds and is present all year, and there are activities all month long leading up to Christmas. You may even get a visit from a singing Santa or the great-great-grandson of Charles Dickens, Gerald, who may recite the “Christmas Carol” play. Across the street is Christmas Place, the American South’s biggest Christmas store!
4. Woodstock, Vermont
Vermont is the perfect setting for classic Christmas scenery, especially since you’re likely to run into at least a light dusting of snow and the scent of pine trees wafting through the air. Woodstock hosts a festival called the Wassail Weekend, rooted in Old Norse traditions. More than 50 horses and riders march in the parade, all wearing their holiday costumes and dressed in period clothing. Along with the parade, the weekend offers wagon and sleigh rides, a feast, and tours of historic buildings. Shops stay open late all weekend so you can get a little shopping done too!
5. MCADENVILLe, North Carolina
This tiny town with a population of only about 620 people turns into Christmastown USA. On December 1, this town pulls together the biggest light display in the U.S! There are more than 375 decorated trees, some reflecting off the water. More than 200 wreaths decorate lampposts, and Santa with his reindeer add to the small town charm. Christmas carols ring from the church close by, and there’s a colorful light show at the fountain. It’s a must-see.
6. Solvang, California
Settled by Danish Americans, this village sticks closely to its Scandinavian roots. The town hosts Julefest, the word Jule being associated with both Christmas and the winter solstice of old Norse times. The Scandinavian-style houses, shops and the 4 windmills are decorated with bright lights, and festivities include Danish folk dancers, horses, music, carriages and a parade.
7. Santa Claus, Indiana
The Santa Claus post office processes more than 400,000 letters to Santa! As if the postmark wasn’t enough, “America’s Christmas Hometown” is a one-stop destination for anything Christmas. Visit attractions such as Santa’s Candy Castle, or drive through Santa Claus Land, a drive-through light display over a mile long inside the Lake Rudolph Campground and RV Resort.
8. Washington, DC
Every year since 1923, U.S. Presidents have hosted the lighting of the national Christmas tree. The tree has been in several locations throughout the years, including the White House lawn, but it usually graces the Ellipse. This ceremony is usually accompanied by TV personalities and singers, and each night in December groups perform in the park. Stroll around the smaller trees (56, to represent all the states and the territories) to find your state tree—each state provides its’ own unique tree decorations.
9. Lincoln and North Conway, New Hampshire
The magic of the Polar Express comes alive at two train stations in New Hampshire. Kids, their parents, and children-at-heart will enjoy a 2-hour train ride through a scenic forested area to the land of Christmas imagination, the North Pole!. At the end of the ride, Santa greets everyone with a reading of the Polar Express!
How does your town measure up in the Christmas stakes? I always love to go to London for at least one shopping rip at Christmastime but my home town of Northampton always plenty going on too.