‘Tis the season for America’s most “Christmassy” towns

By Morf Morford, Tacoma Daily Index

Whether you “observe” Christmas or not, and whether you avoid, dread or celebrate Christmas music, and whether you consider Die Hard a Christmas movie or not, one thing few of us can avoid is the nearly ever-present arrival of Christmas decor.

Like those who takes tours of the turning of the leaves in the fall, there are those who seek out elaborate holiday decorations and displays.

Here and afar, you can find many examples of businesses, home owners and entire communities expressing themselves by lighting up and making the most of these darkest days of the year.

Washington holds one of the most visited and recognized holiday cities in the country (yes, it’s Leavenworth) but consider some of these towns for your next holiday-themed long-distance road trip.

Tennessee for Christmas?

Most of Tennessee gets about as much snow as Western Washington, but Christmas hits the high voltage in Pigeon Forge.

You may have heard of this town before because Pigeon Forge is home to the one and only Dollywood, Dolly Parton’s world renowned theme park, which features its own spectacular holiday celebrations, complete with seasonal music, performances, and traditional crafts.

Beyond Dollywood, all over town, you can encounter an array of Christmas-themed events, including parades, shows, and the renowned Winterfest, showcasing stunning light displays and live entertainment.

For a more Wild West vibe

Check out Durango, Colorado for an Old West/wilderness experience. One option is the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Polar Express train ride – featuring snow-covered landscapes within view, and hot chocolate and carols up close. For those so inclined, you can also get in some skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing.

The Adirondack Mountains

If you are looking for a storybook-like setting and experience, consider Lake Placid’s holiday festivities. Lake Placid offers a Holiday Village Stroll, featuring carolers, horse-drawn carriage rides, and local seasonal markets.

Holidays in New England

If you are looking for that quintessential New England holiday experience – one that matches the aesthetic sense of a Christmas card, don’t miss Stowe, Vermont. As you might guess, Vermont is noted for its Christmas markets and local craft fairs. And don’t miss Stowe’s winter sports and activity possibilities.

Christmas in Old Virginia

For a memorable and unique blend of history and festive charm, it’s hard to beat Alexandria, Virginia. Alexandria’s rich colonial history adds to its mystique, offering a nostalgic backdrop to modern holiday celebrations including candlelight tours, and their unforgettable Scottish Christmas Walk Parade.

Christmas City USA

With a name like Bethlehem, the town of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania has a lot to live up to. Among other things, the town features a “Live Advent Calendar” – the only one of its kind in the country. For most visitors, the highlight is the famous Christkindlmarkt, an acclaimed Christmas market with a full range of handcrafted goods and live music reflecting the essence of old-world holiday markets.

And speaking of living up to its name; North Pole, Alaska

Where else would you expect to see Santa Claus House? It is a Christmas store/workshop where the spirit of St. Nick lives all year, and around the holidays, a center of elfish activity with visits from Santa himself.

Got cold, if you want it

North Pole’s community events include the Winter Festival and Christmas in Ice, featuring ice sculptures and more winter activities than you thought possible.

Leavenworth, Washington

By train or car, you can cross the Cascades and see Leavenworth in all of its alpine/Bavarian/holiday glory. From Kris Kringle delights to sled tours, the setting and activities can’t be beat.

Wherever you go, or wherever your holidays take you, every corner of this vast country, from Iowa to Texas and from Florida to New Hampshire, towns and cities of all sizes offer holiday experiences and extravaganzas for every taste and budget. You can plan your trip, or get further details on the 75 most “Christmassy” places in the USA here.

And for local holiday experiences, don’t forget Zoolights at Point Defiance or Fantasy Lights in Spanaway.