The Never-Ending Holiday
If you’re itching to decorate the tree well before November and wish you could keep holiday lights up forever, you may want to rethink your summer travel plans. Consider a stop at one of these merry locations that embrace Christmas cheer—in one form or another—all year long.
It’s Christmas every day of the year in Christmas, Florida—literally. In honor of its Christmassy name, the tiny town with a population of just over 1,000 keeps a few holiday decorations up 365 days a year. During the actual holiday season, thousands of visitors throng the local post office to make sure their greeting cards get the special "Christmas" postmark.
Wikimedia Commons via Mlo0352
Think Santa hangs his hat at the North Pole? According to the Finns, Santa Claus Village in the city of Rovaniemi is Santa’s true home. The Santa Claus Main Post Office is open year-round for visits, and you’ll hear the faint whisper of carols being sung even during the summer months.
flickr.com via Jane McGonigal
Santa Claus, Indiana
This tiny town (population: 2,481) has plenty of holiday cheer. Aside from its post office, which receives thousands of letters every year, the town also features Santa’s Candy Castle and the Santa Claus Museum & Village. Forbes named the town one of the top Christmas destinations in the world in 2011.
flickr.com via Drew Tarvin
Christmas Valley, Oregon
North Pole, New York
This North Pole lies a little farther south than you'd expect—to be specific, in the town of Wilmington, New York, cradled in the Adirondacks and about 45 miles south of the Canadian border. The miniature village is home to Santa’s Workshop, an amusement park that dates back to 1949. The attraction is open seven days a week from June through Labor Day, then on most weekends through December.
flickr.com via Matt Lancashire
Santa’s Village, Bracebridge, Ontario, Canada
Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany
Visit Rothenburg on der Tauber to admire the town’s exquisite medieval architecture, then stop by the Christmas museum housed in the Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas Village, the company's flagship store. Purveyors of high-quality, handcrafted Christmas decor, Käthe Wohlfahrt has locations throughout Europe, a permanent store in Stillwater, Minnesota, and seasonal shops in some major U.S. cities.
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
There are a number of Christmas-themed attractions to check out in this mountain town, which is also home to Dollywood Family Amusement Park. After you check out the Incredible Christmas Place, the largest Christmas-themed store in the South, check in for a relaxing stay at The Inn at Christmas Place, right across the street. While the store is open year-round, come in November or December to enjoy a reenactment of "A Christmas Carol" and one of the best and biggest light displays in the region.
flickr.com via Brent Moore
In December, the downtown core of Quebec's largest city gets a Christmas makeover. Holiday lights pop up along busy streets, and Christmas markets blossom. While the decorations and seasonal shops disappear after the holidays, there’s one place in the French-speaking stronghold where Christmas lives on year-round—Saint Joseph’s Oratory. This Roman Catholic basilica atop Mount Royal features an incredible collection of crèches from all over the world.
flickr.com via Sophia Huda
West Jefferson, North Carolina
Residents of West Jefferson don't sing carols all year round, but every summer they revive the spirit of the season for one glorious day. Mark your calendars for July 4, 2020, the date of the town's next Christmas in July celebration. The event commemorates the town's booming Christmas tree industry as well as Independence Day, and features live music, craft vendors, kids' activities, and street performances.
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