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CHRISTMAS: Where it Means the Most

by | Jan 6, 2024 | Holidays | 0 comments

“It’s the most wonderful time … it’s the most wonderful time … of the year.”

This popular Christmas song was written in 1963 by Edward Pola and George Wyle. Its refrain is often heard this time of year, along with dozens of others – some romantic, some fun, some inspiring and spiritual.

So, it’s only natural that during this season we would want to know where is Christmas the most popular? OK, there’s nothing natural about that, but it is interesting to know where the Travel Channel suggests the joyous holiday is most honored.

It may be comforting to find that six of the top 10 places to celebrate Christmas are in the United States. Sad to say, Washington D.C. is not among them; however, Grapevine, Texas is.

Grapevine is considered that state’s Christmas capital, hosting 1,400 events during the yuletide season.

As much as we loved Bedford Falls, New York, in the Christmas classic “It’s a Wonderful Life,” the real merry metropolis of Bedford is in Virginia. Bedford is “a small town nestled in the shadow of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. There, they even decorate the “hideaway” of Thomas Jefferson.

Next on our seasonal sleigh ride is, appropriately, Bethlehem – Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, that is. It’s known for its Christmas market of ice sculptors and a 26-foot tall Christmas tree. It’s also near

Hershey, PA, the chocolate capital, and the Hersheypark Christmas Candylane.

From there, it’s a 350-mile jaunt up the East Coast to Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Portsmouth goes all out for the month of December, featuring a “postcard-perfect New England town” wrapped up in a bow of ice skating, musicals, and a free ride on the Christmas trolley.

Then all head west to Greater Lafayette, Indiana. The combined towns of West Lafayette and Lafayette take visitors back in time to a Victorian Village of horse-drawn carriages, period costumes, and a living Nativity, complete with donkeys, camels, and sheep.

After that, the spirited traveler goes even farther west in search of the ultimate Christmas, all the way to Garrison, North Dakota, where the snow is never fake.

Garrison transforms itself into the Victorian Dickens Village Festival. Revelers can take a horse-drawn carriage or double-decked Queen Elizabus to see the sights. Note: the bus is much warmer to ride in than the carriages.


As one might guess, the No. 1 Christmas capital is in Europe – Strasbourg, France. Unfortunately, Beijing, Moscow, Tehran, and Pyongyang did not make the list. Known as Capitale de Noel, Strasbourg has maintained Christmas marketplaces that date back 400 years. In America, that would date back to when the Pilgrims landed at Cape Cod. Today, the Cape’s Christmas does not rank among the top 10.

If France is not one’s cup of milk and plate of cookies, then Copenhagen, Demark runs a close second to Strasbourg. There’s the children’s favorite Tivoli Gardens, as well as the Hans Christian Andersen Christmas Market, and for the adults – hot mulled wine. The Travel Channel says the atmosphere is “jolly and bright,” and may all your Christmases … well, you know.

Just a hop, skip. and skate across the English Channel to Winchester, England is where another holiday hotspot makes the top 10. It claims one of the best Christmas markets in the world – the Winchester Cathedral. It attracts more than 350,000 visitors each year and comes complete with a covered ice-skating rink.

Finally, there’s Hamburg, Germany. It claims to be the Christmas capital of Northern Europe. One of its top attractions is Rathausmarkt, where Santa goes flying overhead in his sleigh. The other is Spielzeuggasse Alley, where hand-crafted, wooden toys for girls and boys are on display.

So, WUP wishes one and all a very Merry Christmas with the hope that 2024 will measure up to what 2023 didn’t.