For a truly made-for-TV-Christmas-movie experience, many festive tourists flock to small towns that go all out for the holidays. With an escape from the big cities, colder weather, and rustic and charming atmospheres, big holiday celebrations come in these small towns.
Santa Claus, Indiana
With a name like Santa Claus, this town has to be festive. In fact, since the 1930s, Santa has been using the town of his namesake as his personal P.O. Box, with 22,000 letters coming in last year alone, and every single one receiving a reply. And if that isn’t enough to grow your heart three sizes this day, you can meet the man yourself from December 1st to December 24th, perfect for indecisive kids. Christmas comes early to the town, with festivities beginning on November 24th with the Santa Claus Land of Lights drive through display, festive chainsaw carving, and many other celebrations beginning December 2nd.
Few authors were able to create a memorable Christmas story like Charles Dickens. And for 32 years, Franklin has brought Dickens to life with a free street festival open to the public. This town truly makes a merry Christmas for one and all with live entertainment featuring over 200 musicians, performers, dancers, and characters straight from the books. Keep an eye on your wallet around Fagin, greet the season with Ebenezer Scrooge and company, and even meet a Victorian-era Father and Mother Christmas. For two days, December 10th and 11th you and a few thousand of your newest friends can have a Victorian Christmas you won’t forget.
This Bavarian town takes Christmas seriously. While it’s common to find a year-round Christmas shop in cities and towns now, the town of Frankenmuth is home to the world’s largest Christmas store. Open every single day, Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland celebrates with 50,000 lights, streamers, giant ornaments on display, and more. The Old Christmas Station, also open daily, serves traditional European Christmas entrees with everything being made fresh daily, setting it apart from any food offering found in a theme park. While Frankenmuth has exciting attractions all year round, the town really comes alive for the holidays.
Another quaint Bavarian town, this winter wonderland really gets into the holiday spirit. With a whopping 21 miles of lights running across almost everything in the town, including roof tops, fences, gazebos, and anything else nailed to the ground. You’ll also be transported in time with music performed with handbells, harps, and other festivals happening weekly as Christmas continues to approach. You can even have a holly jolly Christmas with ample opportunities for sledding and to listen to carolers, and freshly mulled Gluehwein.
North Pole, Alaska
If you’re the kind of person who sees Walmart decorating for Christmas and you enjoy it rather than rolling your eyes, North Pole is a must-see destination. Although the residents of the snowy North Pole town stay in the festive holiday spirit, North Pole is essentially Christmas Town from Nightmare Before Christmas. Although the lights and candy canes can be seen any time of year, it’s best to visit the Santa Claus House when the big man is taking gift requests. When the town does officially kick off the official Christmas festivities, it is with fireworks, candle lighting, ice sculpture carving, and even live reindeer.