Christmas music playing over the intercom systems in shopping centers, glittering lights dancing on colorfully adorned trees, neighborhood blocks lit up in awe-inspiring displays, candy canes, presents with giant sparkling bows, gingerbread houses, and endless batches of cheerfully decorated Christmas cookies … there’s just something about this time of year. If you aren’t quite feeling the magic of the season yet, consider visiting the holiday lights display or holiday village near you. Here are some of the best ways to kick off the holiday season and awaken your inner child (the one that still believes in Santa!).
Hot chocolate with a peppermint stick and marshmallows on a frosty-cold night, miles of vibrant, twinkling lights, and smiles on the red-cheeked faces of people bundled up like snowmen … what could be better? My family and I find this – and a 22,000-square-foot Christmas Village to shop in to boot – at Callaway Gardens every year. It’s quite a drive, but we always come home late, chilled, and happy.
If you’re anywhere near Gaston County in North Carolina, be sure to take some time to visit McAdenville – aka Christmas Town -- this time of year. This small town goes all out, decorating well over 300 trees. Some of these surround a lake with a fountain sparkling with holiday colors of red and green. Even the town’s community center rings out with a bell tower that plays Christmas carols. A (possible) light dusting of snow, wreaths on every lamppost, and shops decorated to the hilt add to the festive environment.
Those near Vermont will appreciate the Winter Wassail Weekend, complete with a parade. Woodstock, Vermont is a beautiful town that transforms into a 19th century winter wonderland for the holidays every year, complete with sleigh rides. This event was voted one of Vermont’s top 10 and is well worth a visit.
The very adventurous can venture to the North Pole. Go directly to the source of Christmas cheer and visit Santa’s house. North Pole, Alaska is an amazing trip that deserves a spot on your “someday” list. Visit the Santa Claus House, tour the Ice Park, and be amazed by the “Christmas in Ice” event, an ice-sculpting extravaganza that hosts ice sculptors from home and around the world. Bring out your inner child by getting lost in the ice maze or shooting down one of four giant ice slides.
Between all of the frenzied shopping, gift-wrapping, decorating, baking, and parties, take a moment to just enjoy the beauty of the season … the lights, the sparkle, the music, the food, the smoke rising from the chimneys in the neighborhood on a brisk evening … and of course the magic.