16 Old-Fashioned Christmas Towns You Should Visit
Travel to these small towns around the United States to get in the holiday spirit.
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Reader Mandi Wood says, “This little town sends every Christmas lovers dream right over the top. Its Christmas charm is off the charts!” Dahlonega has served as the setting for a few Hallmark Channel Christmas movies, including Christmas in Homestead. “A walk through the Town Square will send you back in time to enjoy a general store, old-time ice cream shop, chocolate shop and twinkling Christmas lights in the trees overhead,” Wood continues. “At night, it’s beautiful to ride in the horse-drawn carriages as you bundle in fluffy warm blankets and sing Christmas carols with your loved ones.” We ranked the best Hallmark Channel Christmas movies.
“Branson is a magical place at Christmas time,” says reader Trisha Hyzer. “They actually close down the town for a week or more so that everyone can help decorate. Dolly Parton’s Stampede is amazing, and Silver Dollar City is all decked out as well. It’s just beautiful!” Plan a holiday getaway with these last-minute winter travel deals.
courtesy Courtesy Susan Grove/Country
“Last year my husband and I drove to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and really enjoyed their Christmas festivities,” says reader Anne Duvall. “They have carriage rides, music, history, and so much more.” The annual “A Gettysburg Christmas Festival” features reindeer games, Santa’s Central Depot, the Winter Wonderland of trees, and holiday fun for all ages.
courtesy Courtesy Lea Frye/Country
“Railroads played a huge role in the success and development of our valley,” says reader Lea Frye. “Salida celebrates this piece of history. Every year for Christmas, a narrow-gauge caboose is decorated for all to enjoy.” Salida, a charming mountain town, celebrates with a Parade of Lights, Holiday Park, and Christmas Mountain USA, which locals say is the world’s largest Christmas tree.
Corning & Hornell, New York
Courtesy The Corning Museum of Glass
Dotted with delightful settlements between stretches of magnificent forest and all that deep blue water, the Southern Finger Lakes region transports visitors back to a simpler era during the holidays. Hornell is transformed into Whoville, with a Grinch-themed parade and townsfolk dressing as their favorite Dr. Seuss characters. Also, the nearby town of Corning hosts Sparkle, with carolers, fireworks, and photos with Santa in his Crystal House. For more holiday nostalgia, get a look at these rare, vintage photos of Christmases past.
Courtesy Cedarburg Chamber of Commerce
This enchanting historic town is like a Norman Rockwell painting come to life during the holidays. Santa’s Cedarburg Workshop, open on weekends, gives kids the chance to meet Mr. and Mrs. Claus inside a gingerbread house. The restored Rivoli Theatre plays classic Yuletide films, and decorated windows and 1,000 glowing luminaries grace Washington Avenue to enchant and delight shoppers on Fridays. For those who want to do a good deed with their exercise, Santa’s Dash Away 5K raises money to help keep Santa’s Workshop free for families.
Crested Butte, Colorado
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Crested Butte is the name of a lovely little ski town and the mountain that rises above it. The merriment begins on Light Up Night, when Santa lights a giant Christmas tree and downtown merrymakers are treated to free hot chocolate and s’mores. You’ll want to make sure you stroll along Elk Avenue to browse brightly colored Victorian-era storefronts, which will be decorated for Christmas. For an invigorating way to experience Jack Frost’s favorite season, don’t miss the Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade. Ski instructors at Crested Butte Mountain Resort glide down the slopes holding torches, and the mountain’s peak is illuminated. Check out these charming towns that are even cozier when it snows.
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This scenic town, surrounded by the Prescott National Forest and the country’s largest stand of Ponderosa pines, provides an abundance of Christmas cheer. Events begin with the Christmas Parade. That evening, more than 100 trees will be illuminated during the annual lighting ceremony at the Yavapai County Courthouse Plaza. Bands visit 100 area businesses to play during the Acker Music Night, raising money for youth art scholarships. Throughout the holiday season, the Prescott Resort hosts the World’s Largest Gingerbread Village, displaying more than 100 charming, handcrafted houses.
Courtesy Brian Munoz/Country
So picturesque and perfect it might have magically materialized from a fairy tale book, this Bavarian-style mountain town celebrates with its Christmas Lighting Festival. More than a half-million Yuletide lights set the village aglow. Santa and Mrs. Claus, Saint Nicholas, and Father Christmas join in the merrymaking. Music from choirs, marching bands, hand-bell ringers, and carolers fills the air, and horse-drawn carriage rides, dogsled rides, sledding, tubing, and skiing help attendees make the most of this glittering wintry wonderland. This is the most charming small town in every state.
McAdenville, North Carolina
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This tiny town, population 660, boasts a holiday extravaganza that few cities can match, with 375 live trees draped in decorations and lights. The trees range in height from six feet to 90 feet, with 5,000 lights used on the biggest ones. The official lighting ceremony is in McAdenville, and there are events throughout December including a Yule Log Parade. During every Christmas season since 1950, the local children have pulled the Yule log on a sled through town, followed by residents and visitors. When the procession reaches downtown, the Yule log is set ablaze, beginning the annual Christmas Town Festival.