America's best towns for the holidays

By The Active Times Editors
December 20, 2016, 9:20:27 AM EST

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Small towns seemingly come to life around Christmas time. They are ignited up with millions of holiday lights that can brighten up even the gloomiest of days. Communities come together to decorate and maybe unofficially compete for the best garnishing.

December becomes a festive month when people celebrate what they’ve accomplished and set plans to conquer new heights in the coming year. One of the unsurpassed ways to do all of that is by going on a vacation to a place especially designed to reflect the holiday spirit, with creative spins on traditions and decorations.

These towns take their holiday traditions very seriously. Most of them host annual events that bring tourists and locals together every year.

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Whether you are a winter sport enthusiast, who is looking to ski his or her way through fresh snow, or you would love to view spectacular holiday light displays and watch incredible firework shows, the towns on this list are sure to excite you and put you in the holiday spirit.

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McAdenville, North Carolina

McAdenville is so into the holiday that it renames itself Christmas Town USA for the month of December. Hundreds of thousands of people visit during the last month of the year – 600,000 last year, compared to a local population of about 650 people – to marvel at the stunning lights the town puts up. About 400 trees are lit in downtown alone, and around 200 garlands are placed on lampposts all over. The life-size Nativity set and the spectacle of Santa and his reindeer add to the small town’s magic. The kids won’t want to miss the Yule Log Parade where they pull a sled with a Yule log.

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Woodstock, Vermont

A light dusting of snow, cheerful displays, Christmas parades, and exciting events are just some of the many things you have to look forward to during Christmas in Woodstock. This historic New England town welcomes all to attend their pre-Christmas Winter Wassail Weekend; don’t miss the Wassail Parade, it runs through the center of Woodstock and features more than 50 horses and riders dressed in costumes. There is also a holiday craft fair and performances by local theater troupes.

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