Top Destinations for Celebrating Christmas

2023-06-30 00:05:24 - Drany Macley Drany Macley, the senior editor of, brings extensive journalism background and over eight years of experience in travel writing and editing to the site, offering practical insights and first-hand knowledge through articles on innovative hotels, backed by a BA in Journalism from Ithaca College.

Approaching is the season often deemed the "most delightful time of the year," and destinations worldwide, including those within the United States, are starting to feel the festive spirit. The optimal locations to visit during Christmas are those that offer exuberant embellishments and celebratory events that capture the joyful essence of the holiday season. It doesn't hurt either if these places possess breathtaking scenery. Plus, with a multitude of these idyllic Christmas destinations situated across the nation, a perfect December vacation is just a road trip away.

From sun-kissed shores to enchanting ski resorts, allow us to introduce the finest destinations for this year's Christmas celebration.

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Embark on an incredible adventure by taking advantage of the ideal skiing conditions and delightful holiday events at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort this December. From December 23 to December 31, guests will be treated to the Holiday Roundup, an occasion brimming with family-friendly festivities like spellbinding fireworks on New Year's Eve. For lodging options, choose from a collection of breathtaking slopeside lodges including the opulent Teton Mountain Lodge & Spa or the ski-in/ski-out Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole. While strolling through downtown Jackson, keep a lookout for the dazzling white lights illuminating the elk antler arches which grace the Town Square during the holiday season. Alternatively, if you seek a one-of-a-kind adventure that embraces both extremes, consider planning a trip to the Granite Hot Springs Pool, accessible only by snowmobile, fat bike, dog sled, or ski.

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Nothing can quite compare to the magic of Christmas in the bustling metropolis of New York City. Witness the city come alive with twinkling lights and magnificent trees as you shop for last-minute gifts or savor a cup of steaming hot cocoa. Immerse yourself in a beloved holiday tradition by attending the Christmas Spectacular featuring the iconic Radio City Rockettes or explore the enchanting holiday markets.

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Delve into the ultimate winter wonderland experience by hitting the slopes at Beaver Creek in Colorado. This destination offers an array of festive activities sure to please the entire family. Consult the resort's calendar for a comprehensive lineup of holiday events and plan your days accordingly. Choose to stay at The Osprey at Beaver Creek, a RockResort, ideally located just 26 feet away from the nearest chairlift. This accommodation boasts luxurious amenities and an inviting outdoor heated pool. Alternatively, you can opt for The Pines Lodge, a RockResort, which offers only 60 rooms, each providing awe-inspiring views and ski-in/ski-out access.

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For those who envision a "white Christmas" spent reclining on a warm, ivory sand beach, consider venturing to Saint Lucia. The luxurious Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort, presents a delightful calendar of activities from December 21 to January 1. These include special appearances by Santa Claus, a traditional family Christmas feast, an exhilarating New Year's Eve beach celebration, and much more. Naturally, you can also blissfully spend your days unwinding on the mesmerizing beach or partaking in the myriad of amenities and activities offered by the resort.

Offered by Old Edwards Inn

For a delightful and enchanting Christmas experience in a small-town setting that evokes the charm of a Hallmark movie, look no further than Highlands, North Carolina this holiday season. This idyllic town is nestled in the southern Appalachian Mountains, within the Nantahala National Forest, making it one of the coziest destinations for Christmas. Old Edwards Inn and Spa and Half-Mile Farm (highly regarded hotels according to Travel Leisure readers) provide an abundance of holiday cheer with their festive decorations and cozy accommodations.

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If you are unable to explore the charming streets of London or Munich this winter, fear not, because you can still experience the European vibe right here in the United States. Solvang, a small city in California's Santa Ynez Valley, was established by a group of Danes in the early 1900s. They crafted this enchanting Danish community, now renowned for its Danish businesses and European-style architecture. Solvang typically hosts Julefest every holiday season, complete with jovial events and festive decorations. Stay in one of the city's exquisite boutique hotels, such as The Landsby or The Winston, for an authentic experience.

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Brimming with charm and an idyllic destination for a Christmas getaway, Stowe is a popular ski resort for East Coasters and one of the most picturesque places to visit. Located within driving distance of several major northeastern cities, Stowe's ski season kicks off in November, making it a perfect choice if you crave a white Christmas and a plethora of outdoor activities. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the mountains while staying at The Lodge at Spruce Peak, offering breathtaking mountain views and unrivaled ski-in/ski-out access in town.

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Experience the ultimate blend of holiday cheer and captivating activities for the entire family by venturing to the nation's capital this December. Washington, D.C. boasts an array of incredible attractions and many of them are free, allowing you to save for some last-minute Christmas shopping. Seek solace from the cold weather within the renowned Smithsonian museums, bundle up and visit the National Zoo, or take a stroll along the National Mall while marveling at the festive decorations (preferably with a cup of hot cocoa in hand). Choose to stay at The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown for easy access to the city's most enchanting neighborhood.

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With pleasantly warm December weather, the Florida Keys provide an idyllic escape for those seeking a U.S. beach destination to celebrate the holidays. Embark on a scenic road trip through the Florida Keys, stopping at various islands on your way to the renowned Key West. December is a popular time to visit these breathtaking islands, so you might want to opt for a secluded stay at Sunset Key Cottages. This charming resort is accessible by ferry from Key West and offers a peaceful retreat just a short distance away from the attractions of Key West.

Santa Fe truly offers a remarkable experience throughout the year, making it an extraordinary destination to visit. Renowned for its rich culture, vibrant food scene, and breathtaking setting, the city becomes even more captivating during the holiday season, hosting a multitude of delightful events in December. Additionally, if you're seeking winter sports, Ski Santa Fe is conveniently located less than an hour away, promising adventurous thrills. For an exceptional holiday stay, you can enhance your experience by booking a room at the breathtaking Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe. This luxurious resort provides an array of enchanting festive amenities. Another option is to spend the night in the heart of Santa Fe Plaza at the enchanting La Fonda on the Plaza.

London becomes a truly magical place during the holiday season, enchanting visitors with its glittering lights, festive markets, themed pop-up bars, and various ice skating rinks scattered from Hyde Park to the Queen's House Greenwich. The city truly comes alive, immersing you in the joy and wonder of the season. For an unforgettable and truly festive experience, indulge yourself by staying at The Lanesborough, London. This exquisite hotel exudes elegance and boasts exquisite holiday decorations. In addition, the hotel offers the opportunity for in-suite shopping from Harvey Nichols and the option to have your room adorned with their splendid Christmas in Residence program.

Spend your holidays in the charming hometown of Santa Claus himself, Rovaniemi, the capital of Finnish Lapland. Delight in a visit to Santa Claus Village and SantaPark, where you can meet the jolly man himself, as well as interact with reindeer and partake in numerous festive activities. During the winter, Rovaniemi transforms into a winter wonderland with its picturesque arctic landscapes adorned in a glistening blanket of snow. Don't miss the chance to witness the breathtaking beauty of the northern lights. Several hotels offer the renowned glass igloo accommodations, promising awe-inspiring views of the celestial spectacle from the comfort of your own room.

If you prefer to trade in your snowshoes for a swimsuit, consider celebrating the holiday season in the Maldives. This time of year is perfect for embracing an extended vacation in a distant paradise, and what better place than the Maldives, frequently topping the bucket lists of many travelers. Indulge in the ultimate luxury and serenity at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island or The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands. These exceptional resorts provide lavish accommodations and a wide range of activities suitable for the entire family.

Experience the holiday season in the picturesque southern region of Germany. Begin your adventure in Munich, where you can immerse yourself in the magical atmosphere while sipping mulled wine and wandering through the charming city. Then, let yourself be enchanted by fairytale-like small towns such as medieval Rothenburg. Alternatively, if you seek adventure and adrenaline, head to the German Alps for exhilarating skiing experiences. However, be wary of the mythical Krampus, a terrifying Christmas creature deeply rooted in local folklore.

For East Coasters seeking sun and sand during the holidays, the Bahamas is a popular and easily accessible choice. With a diverse range of accommodation options, from luxurious resort complexes like Baha Mar, brimming with endless amenities, to more intimate private island retreats like the beloved Kamalame Cay, there is a perfect vacation waiting for everyone in the Bahamas. Soak up the sun, take a dip in crystal-clear waters, and relish the serenity of this tropical paradise.

Embrace the holiday spirit by embarking on a unique and unforgettable journey to these incredible destinations. Whether you seek cultural immersion, winter adventures, festive extravagance, or serene beach escapes, these places offer something truly special for everyone.

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