Photo credit: Jaanus Silla via Flickr.
A city of stunning gothic architecture and quirky folkloric traditions, Christmastime inPrague is unlike any other. Even the city’s renowned Christmas markets bring a touch of local traditions, with giant hams spit-roasting in the town square, choirs singing carols by candlelight, wooden huts selling hand-painted ornaments and local handicrafts, and ladies in traditional dress frying trdelník – sugary Czech pastries. There’s even a stable in the Old Town Square, with sheep, goats and donkeys set around a traditional nativity.
Read more about Christmas in Prague
Midwesterners know a thing or two about celebrating Christmas and Chicago is a hub of wintry fun in the holidays. Take in the famous Macy’s Christmas tree and animated window displays; practice your ice skating moves in Millennium Park; walk the Magnificent Mile where an incredible one million lights adorn the shop windows; and check out the Museum of Science & Industry’s incredible ‘Christmas around the World and Holidays of Light’ exhibition, with it’s falling snow and forest of tinsel-draped Christmas trees. The biggest event of the season is the traditional German-style Christkindlemarket, where a Santa House, tree lighting ceremony, carol concert and lantern parade provide plenty of entertainment and vendors sell food and wares from around Europe and America.
If you’re after a guaranteed white Christmas, Alaska is the perfect choice, with a packed schedule of winter carnivals, dogsledding races, ice carving competitions and community snowshoeing expeditions. Head to the North Pole, where the entire town is a festive dream – wander down the magical Santa Claus Lane where even the streetlamps look like candy canes; meet the ‘World’s largest Santa’, a 42-foot statue; feed carrots to Santa’s reindeer and snap a photo in Santa’s sleigh. Of course, don’t forget to visit the Santa Claus House and pay your respects to the bearded fellow himself.