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6 Festive Events Around the Country to Get You in the Christmas Spirit

There are so many festive events around the country in celebration of the holidays—specifically Christmas. From skating on the Las Vegas Strip to a Santa-inspired Speedo run through the city, there's plenty to keep you cheery!

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Polar Express Train Ride, Durango, Colorado

This historic mining town transforms its local steam-engine train, the Durango, into a Polar Express-inspired ride from November 17th to January 2nd. All passengers are given hot chocolate and a treat served by personal chefs who read The Polar Express story on the way to the “North Pole” where Santa is swooped up. Santa then visits each car, chefs lead Christmas carols, and every child is given a special gift. Passengers can also ride the regular Cascade Canyon Train through the snowy mountains to cut down their own Christmas tree, which is hauled back to Durango on the steam train. The Polar Express is one of our favorite holiday flicks. Check out the rest of the movies that make our top Christmas movies list.

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Christkindlmarket, Chicago

As the temperatures drop in Chicago, the city only gets more cheery, pulling out all the stops for a festive holiday season, starting with Christkindlmarket, the largest open-air market in Chicago. The Bavarian bazaar was inspired by a Nuremberg, Germany market that was founded in 1545. You’ll find nutcrackers, cuckoo clocks, beer steins, hand-blown ornaments, authentic German food and drink, and a whole lot of Christmas spirit. Find out more about our favorite Christmas traditions from around the world.

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102.7 KIIS FM’s Jingle Ball, various cities

If your idea of getting into the Christmas spirit is seeing your favorite musicians perform live, look no further than Jingle Ball. Every year, the Jingle Ball Tour gives back to the community in honor of the holiday season, with big musical acts celebrating the holiday season throughout December in various cities. This year, $1 from each ticket sold will be donated to the Ryan Seacrest Foundation, which is dedicated to inspiring today’s youth through entertainment and education focused initiatives. The tour begins in Dallas, then heads to San Jose, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Philadelphia, New York City, Toronto, Boston, Washington D.C., Chicago, Augusta, Atlanta, Tampa, and South Florida. Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, The Chainsmokers, Sam Smith, Demi Lovato, Logic, and Kesha are among the performers. Psst… did you know music is great for your health, too?

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Go skating and sledding on The Strip, Las Vegas

You might think Las Vegas is only good for those on the naughty list come Christmas time, but there is so much the whole family can enjoy. Start at Caesars Palace, where the Caesar’s Chalet has a massive ice rink lit up by the neon lights on Las Vegas Boulevard. Then go to the Cosmopolitan for even more ice-skating, where its Boulevard Pool transforms into an outdoor ice rink for the holiday season. Next, head to 30-foot-tall tubing hill at The LINQ, which has opened up its own Winter PARQ for the holiday season. Here are some other must-see attractions in Las Vegas that aren’t casinos.

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via @waterskiing.santa

The Waterskiing Santa, Washington D.C.

An annual tradition that takes place on Christmas Eve, The Waterskiing Santa is an entertaining event, to say the least. The tradition began back in 1986 … as a dare! The unlucky friend who had to water ski in the cold Potomac River on Christmas Eve dressed up as Santa and ended up having so much fun he vowed to do it every year. The unusual event now involves a water-skiing Santa, flying elves, the Jet-skiing Grinch, Frosty the Snowman, and a sing-along to Christmas tunes. Speaking of, here are the best-ever Christmas carols ranked!

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Santa’s Enchanted Forest, Miami

Miami makes up for its lack of snow with so much festive spirit, like Santa’s Enchanted Forest. Part county fair, part winter wonderland, you get to throw your hands up on amusement rides, take part in carnival games, and gorge on fair food in a very merry way. Open now until January 7th, you have plenty of time to enjoy the forest.

Alexa Erickson
Alexa is an experienced lifestyle and news writer currently working with Reader's Digest, Shape Magazine, and various other publications. She loves writing about her travels, health, wellness, home decor, food and drink, fashion, beauty, and scientific news. Follow her travel adventures on Instagram: @living_by_lex, send her a message: [email protected], and check out her website:

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