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By homeis  ·  December 20, 2019

Best Christmas Towns

This is what Christmas magic looks like. Looking for a festive Christmas town to visit this year? You've come to the right place. It's been said that there's no place like home for the holidays, but we have a feeling our list of the best Christmas towns—which are towns across the country that really get in the holiday spirit with light displays, Christmas decorations, holiday craft fairs, and other fun festivities that should definitely be on this year's Christmas bucket list—might convince you otherwise. Plus, what's more magical than taking a trip with your family and kids during the most wonderful time of the year?

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Cape Cod

By Darshan
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Looking for boatloads of Christmas cheer with a New England twist? Head to Cape Cod! There are few things more picturesque than lighthouses decked to their nines in Christmas garlands, wreaths, and lights. What's more, the quaint seaside destination hosts dozens of craft fairs, parades, theater productions, and even a "Train to Christmas Town."
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Ann Arbor

By Darshan
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There's so much to love about a Christmas in Ann Arbor, from the dozens of holiday events offered (think: free outdoor markets, German food fairs, lantern parades, s'mores roasting, and live music, just to name a few). The annual "Sing Along with Santa" event, presented by the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra, is a can't-miss spectacle. It's just what is sounds like: A carol sing-along featuring Santa himself, plus plenty of cookies and cider.
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Stockbridge

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Stockbridge might look just like a Norman Rockwell painting—and that's because it is! Each year, the town recreates the 1967 Rockwell painting, "Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas (Home for Christmas)" during their annual festival. Old-fashioned cars line the main street to recreate the painting, and the public can tour historic homes decorated for the holidays.
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Park City

By Darshan
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Why not escape to a literal winter wonderland for Christmas? Park City is a breathtaking place nestled in the mountains. There are tons of Christmas events throughout December such as holiday markets and a ride on the North Pole Express. The celebrations culminate in a Christmas Eve torchlight parade, where skiers and snowboarders come down the mountain carrying torches to lead Santa into town.
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Franklin

By Darshan
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Step back in time at the annual Dickens of a Christmas festival in historic downtown Franklin. The festival, which is in its 35th year, brings characters from A Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist to life throughout its weekend-long festivities. Roam the Victorian Village and try Victorian era Christmas treats like sugar plums while listening to carolers. Stop for a chat with Jacob Marley or Ebenezer Scrooge before visiting Father Christmas.
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Duluth

By homeis
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Thousands flock to Duluth during the holidays to witness Bentleyville, a massive light display. The event is free to the public and runs through November and December. There's also a scenic train journey along Lake Superior, as well as a bustling Christmas village set up in front of the historic Glensheen mansion.
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Essex

By Darshan
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here are plenty of reasons to visit Essex at Christmastime. Ride the North Pole Express with your kids where they can enroll in the special Elf Academy and meet Santa. Keep things locomotive-themed at the annual Holiday Train Show, or do some Christmas shopping at the holiday village where you can also catch a stunning light show. Have dinner or even stay at the historic Griswold Inn for the perfect New England holiday.
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New Hope

By Darshan
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Who wouldn't want to spend their Christmas in this lovely East Coast locale? You're bound to experience a "white Christmas" if you do. New Hope is also home to the North Pole Express, where you and your family will be treated to Christmas carols, hot cocoa, cookies, and even a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus themselves.
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Darby

By Darshan
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Tucked within Montana’s Bitterroot Mountains, this gorgeous town is the perfect place to enjoy a true cowboy Christmas. Over at Triple Creek Ranch, you can enjoy horseback riding, snowshoeing, ice fishing, and more, and you'll find elaborate holiday décor all around the property and cabins. Guests are even given the option of choosing a real or artificial tree for their cabins, with ornaments provided.
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Big Spring

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What's better than an all-American Christmas right in the heart of West Texas? This charming town is big on holiday spirit. In fact, it's been dubbed the "Lighted Poinsettia Capital of Texa
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Denton

By Darshan
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All aboard! The Denton Farmpark’s Country Christmas Train in Denton, North Carolina is well worth the trip—both for you and any little ones you're bringing along. You'll stop by Santa's cabin, travel through a real-life "gingerbread house," and even sing carols at a church. With a population under 3,000, Denton is a fabulous, homey place to spend Christmas this year.
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Blue Ridge

By Darshan
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A Polar Express ride and bona fide Southern charm? It's almost too good to be true. All that and more is available for your family to explore in this northern Georgia town.
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Manchester

By Darshan
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If you're a fan of White Christmas and are hoping to recreate the movie's iconic, rural Vermont atmosphere this year, there's no better place to do it than in Manchester. Guests from all over the country (not to mention the world!) look forward to spending their Decembers in the village. Our recommendation: Check out the mahogany-lined Wilburton Inn for a truly authentic Vermont Christmas experience—the whole place is lit up like a Christmas tree each year.
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Atchison

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There may be less than 15,000 people living in this town, but that doesn't mean they're short on holiday spirit. Join the Atchison community for fun-filled, kid-friendly events including a Christmas parade, horse-drawn sleigh rides, a "coloring contest," and a Mr. & Miss Winter Wonderland Pageant. Trust us, grown-ups: You'll be jealous you can't partake in all of them yourself!
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Newport

By Darshan
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You know it for its stunning Gilded Age mansions and gorgeous ocean views...but did you know that Newport also has a lot to offer in wintertime? A month-long holiday celebration (yes, you read that right!) makes it an excellent place to spend Christmas. Enjoy concerts, watch the annual tree lighting, shop at craft fairs, and even tour those majestic homes by candlelight.
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St. Augustine

By Darshan
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We're guessing you didn't expect our list to open with a warm weather locale. But St. Augustine won a spot here because it's downright festive. Lights, candles, and Christmas decor are sprinkled throughout the town throughout the entire holiday season—and best of all, you don't have to wear a coat to get out and enjoy it all.
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Beaufort

By Darshan
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Take a boat ride, go kayaking, or simply stroll the streets! There's so much to do in this sweet Southern town, including checking out the lights on the Crystal Coast Christmas Flotilla.
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Nantucket

By Darshan
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Nantucket's typically thought of as a summer destination, but that's precisely why it made our list—you'll find it all the more peaceful during its off-season. The annual Christmas Stroll, which takes place in the first week of December, is an excellent way to get a little local shopping done while sipping mulled cider.
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Carmel-By-The-Sea

By Darshan
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This gorgeous coastal town offers pretty Christmas lights, dozens of wine tastings, and beach sunsets. There may not be snow, but we don't think your family will be complaining.
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North Pole

By Darshan
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Bet you never thought you could make a trip to the North Pole! This town may not be the real thing, but it's got the name—and it boasts year-round Christmas spirit. There's also a "Santa Claus house" with live reindeer, a mayor who goes by the name of Santa, and candy cane street lamps. How's that for a winter wonderland?
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Mystic

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There's no better place to experience the joy and wonder of Christmas than in New England! In Mystic, you'll find illuminated boats, well-reviewed seafood restaurants, and even a lantern light tour that's fun for the whole family.
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Panashindia

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It may not be a tiny town, but it's still got all the charm—and it'd be impossible to make a list of the best Christmas towns in America without including the Big Apple! There's simply no place quite like New York City at Christmastime. With its countless attractions, skating rinks, and shopping opportunities galore, it's an obvious choice for at least one of your family's Christmas trips.
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Bethlehem

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Spend Christmas in Bethlehem without shelling out a fortune on airfare or traveling back in time! This Pennsylvania town boasts horse-drawn carriage rides and a "Christmas City Stroll" that'll have your entire family smiling and laughing.
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Sheridan

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Christmas in the Cowboy State might seem like a too-good-to-be-true dream. Snowy weather, an annual Christmas Stroll, and small town charm will have you pinching yourself all day.
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La Jolla

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Whether you stop by the La Jolla Christmas Parade or simply enjoy shopping at one of this locale's beachfront shops, you can't go wrong with a Christmas trip to beautiful La Jolla. Ice skating at Hotel del Coronado is a must.
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Greenville

By Darshan
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Want to feel like you're walking around on the set of a Hallmark Christmas movie? Then you'll want to head to Greenville, South Carolina where the sidewalks twinkle with lights as Santa’s electric sleigh drives by with an elf in tow. There's even a miniature outdoor skating rink on Main Street, a "Festival of Trees" competition, tree lighting ceremonies, and more. It's downright magical!
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Take a trip to gorgeous wine country this holiday season and visit Solvang, located in the Santa Ynez Valley. The town hosts Julefest, which lasts all December long. Guests can go on go on a Holiday Lights Tour, take part in the Santa Sprint, listen to live holiday music, and much more.
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Lewisburg

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When you plan your trip to Lewisburg, be sure to make a reservation to stay at The Greenbrier Resort. Adults will love this festive hotel that features activities all season long, including parties, tree lightings, and a Gingerbread Ball.
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Andalusia

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It doesn't get too cold in Andalusia, but that doesn't stop the town turning into a winter wonderland. Every weekend in December, residents flock to Candyland, a kid-friendly event where children of all ages can ice skate, visit the different holiday cottages, and meet Santa. The best part? Admission is free!
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Bardstown

By Darshan
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This Kentucky town kicks off the holiday season the day after Thanksgiving—that's November 23 this year—with the Light Up Bardstown celebration. Kids will have a blast at the Fun Christmas Corner, where they can enjoy sweet treats and face painting. Everyone in the family will love the annual Christmas tree lighting and an appearance by Santa Claus himself.
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Myrtle Beach

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If you travel to Myrtle Beach during the winter, the best thing to do doesn't actually have to do with the ocean. The coastal town hosts an annual Nights of a Thousand Candles at Brookgreen Gardens during the month of December. Visitors will be wowed by more than 4,500 hand-lit candles while they listen to Christmas carolers.
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McAdenville

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The map might say McAdenville, but to locals, this place is known as Christmas Town USA. For the past 63 years, this Charlotte suburb has put on an impressive holiday display, with 265 evergreen trees covered in 500,000 lights, plus more than 160 decorated houses. The best part? You can view everything for free.
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Bernville

By Darshan
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Back in 1948, William M. Koziar began decorating his home in Bernville for the viewing pleasure of his family. Now, Koziar's Christmas Village is one of the top attractions in the state of Pennsylvania, and boasts both indoor and outdoor displays.
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On any day of the year, this Bavarian village gives off an Alpine holiday air. But during snowy December, visitors are met with 21 miles of lights along the homes and fences, and can also anticipate handbell concerts, a lively Christkindlmarkt, harp music, and a weekly festival with carolers, Gluhwein, and sledding gathered 'round the town's tree.
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Branson

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Each year, this Missouri city hosts the Ozark Mountain Christmas festival, a month-long extravaganza with festive music, light shows, and plenty of parades. You can even hop aboard the Branson Scenic Railway's Polar Express Train Ride and feel like you're in a scene from the classic movie. Don't forget the hot chocolate!
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Woodstock

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It sounds like the image of a Christmas card: a parade of horses and buggies circling a snowy village green. But Woodstock Wassail Weekend is an actual annual event in picturesque Woodstock, Vermont. Carolers serenade townsfolk and everyone gathers for the lighting of the tree and Yule log. Historic homes and farms open to celebrate rural holiday heritage. You may have to pinch yourself to believe the charming New England spectacle!
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Asheville

By Darshan
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Not surprisingly, much of Asheville's holiday focus is on Biltmore, the historic Vanderbilt mansion, which dresses up lavishly with ribbons, garlands, and sparking lights. Elsewhere in this active mountain town, locals gather to watch Santa rappel down Chimney Rock as a warm-up exercise for his upcoming Christmas Eve activities. The well-established arts scene in town makes shopping for unique gifts easy at craft shows and studio visits in the River Arts District.
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Frankenmuth

By Darshan
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Known as Michigan's Little Bavaria, Frankenmuth's European heritage is on full display during the Christmas season. Some of the town's charming holiday highlights include a traditional Christkindlmarkt, a holiday home tour hosted by the Frankenmuth Women's Club, whimsical light displays, and Bronner's Christmas Wonderland — the world's largest Christmas store.
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Jackson

By Darshan
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No town lights up for the holidays quite like Jackson. The town at the base of the Tetons has a spectacular town square any time of the year, with monumental arches of elk antlers at the four corners. But around the holidays, the arches are wrapped in strings of lights to illuminate the nights with a festive glow. Stick around until New Year's Eve if you want to see the torch parade of ski instructors snaking down the mountain at the town's two ski resorts.
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Natchitoches

By Darshan
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Christmas in Natchitoches begins in June when the bulbs on the strings of holiday lights are tested in anticipation of the town's proud Festival of Lights. The town of 18,000 celebrates the season with more 300,000 lights and 100 set pieces displayed along the banks of Cane River Lake, honoring the holiday and their Creole heritage. Festivities, including carriage rides, historic home tours, a children's festival, fireworks, a 5K race, parades, and live performances, go on until early January.
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Helen

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You may not expect to find an Alpine village along the banks of Georgia's Chattahoochee River, but Helen, a former logging town at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, reinvented itself long ago as a Bavarian town. Visitors come to town in December to view the wreaths and artist-decorated holiday trees on auction at the Festival of Trees and to participate in the Kinderfest, the Christkindlmarkt, and tree lighting in tiny downtown Helen.
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Williamsburg

By Darshan
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Colonial holiday traditions like caroling by torchlight, fife and drum performances, and interpretive programs (care to celebrate with the Madisons and Jeffersons?!) set the stage for Christmas in charming Williamsburg. The activities culminate in a Grand Illumination, a celebratory fireworks and historic gun-salute display, best viewed from the town green. For the less historic minded, nearby Busch Gardens opens for the holiday with Christmas Town, a stroll through European holiday traditions.
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Durango

By Darshan
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This historic mining town uses the local steam-engine train to festive advantage with snowy rides through the surrounding mountains along the Animas River. The Durango & Silverton narrow gauge train operates year-round but in December, its runs include a Polar Express-inspired trip for kids as well as weekend Christmas Tree runs on which passengers can cut their own tree and get it transported back to town.
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Delray Beach

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A 100-foot-tall Christmas tree is just the thing to shift the mood from beach to holiday. At the center of the aptly named Old School Square (a historic district revived as a cultural center), the tree magically opens to reveal a wonderland inside, with toy trains running around miniature scenes depicting holiday traditions.
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Annapolis

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Annapolis showcases its impressive 18th-century historic district at the holidays, with candlelit strolls and guided tours of some of the town's grand homes. The town is lavishly trimmed with evergreen garlands and, down on the City Dock, reflections of the holiday tree twinkle in the water of the harbor. The town's nautical traditions are honored with a lighted boat parade in December.
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Sierra Madre

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Where do Southern Californians go to get the Christmas spirit? Sierra Madre, a foothills town just a few miles east of Pasadena, imports snow from the San Bernadino Mountains every year to build a big snowman in the town's central square, Kersting Court, until the balmy local temperatures send him downstream. There's still plenty to see, with the town's houses and businesses decorated for the season, a life-size nativity scene, and a 154-tree-long Christmas Tree Lane.
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Santa Claus

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Santa Claus, Indiana, with a strong year-round commitment to the holiday, calls itself America's Christmas Hometown. In the late 1920s, the local postmaster began to promote the town and pretty soon, children's letters to Santa began pouring in. Every year, thousands of letters are answered by volunteer Santa's Elves. Local festivities include a themed parade, a candy castle (selling nostalgic hard-to-get favorite treats), and Santa's Land of Lights, a 1.2-mile drive-through holiday light show.
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Taos

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In the days leading up to the holidays, Taos holds tree-lightings, concerts, and crafts fairs like many other towns, but on Christmas Eve, the game changes. A religious procession in ancient Taos Pueblo, the Native American settlement outside town, includes bonfires, luminarias, and historic gun salute, and can make the most jaded Scrooge feel holiday magic stir.
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Oxford

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It might not often get cold and snowy in this college town, but the locals have a clear understanding of Christmas giving. The Gingerbread Village, elaborate structures made from scratch each year by volunteers, benefits local food banks. The town also holds an Ornament Auction, selling unique decorations made by local artists, to raise money for its arts council.
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Fredericksburg

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Fredericksburg, a Hill Country town that still honors its original German settlers, kicks off its holiday with a Christkindlesmarkt in November and continues the celebration with a Texas-scale flurry of parades, tree lightings, choral concerts, Nutcracker performances, craft shows, cookie decorating events, charity balls, and—in a nod to its German heritage—locally brewed seasonal beers.
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