November 26th, 2008 12:35 EST
HGTV's Top 10 Xmas Towns
1) NEW ORLEANS, LA- French Quarter Christmas
This city mixes spirit and spirituality during this time of year, shaped by the bayou, blues and Creole Christmas tradition. Traditions include fancy cornucopias filled with candy and flowers, like those used in olden days by gentlemen to woo women. Snow machines give youngsters a fun winter wonderland. Finally, some 2,000 locals gather to see candles in front of the St. Louis cathedral in Jackson Square to pray for those lost during Hurricane Katrina and other hardships over the years.
2) KENNEBUNKPORT, MAINE-- Christmas by the Sea
Residents incorporate seashells into most of their decorations, especially wreaths. They eat lobster for Christmas dinner, rather than turkey - also Santa comes in a lobster boat every year and Christmas trees are made entirely of lobster traps.
3) MOUNTAIN VIEW, ARKANSAS -- Ozarks Christmas
The locals pay tribute to their centuries-long musical heritage by caroling in the caves, in a huge amphitheater located in Blanchard Spring Caverns, where the sound is incredible! Also they make corn shuck angels (made out of corn husks and string) that hold various musical instruments like fiddle banjos and dulcimers, and a guy whittles spools into ornaments.
4) NORTH POLE, ALASKA - Alaskan Christmas
Just outside of Anchorage, this town celebrates with a stunning ice-carving competition, when artists have 29 hours to create their work using drills, chisels, hot water and heat. With sculptures ranging from a Santa on a rooftop to snowmen to a girl playing a harp while standing on a chair, this event consistently wows the crowds.
5) ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA - Scottish Christmas
Residents celebrate the town`s rich Scottish heritage, with an annual Christmas parade complete with bagpipes, dogs and a sea of kilts and tartans. The celebration culminates with the elaborate Holiday Boat Parade and a dazzling light show along the Potomac.
6) MACKINAC ISLAND, MICHIGAN - Vintage Christmas
Just a frozen 20 minute ferry ride from the northern tip of Michigan, this town of only 500 people celebrate Christmas like they did a century ago -- people travel only on horse and buggy, since cars have been banned for 100 years. Among the town`s traditions, Santa visits every child to hear their Christmas wish, they have an annual island Christmas bazaar where they sell unique crafts and their decorations are full of lots of green, red and lilacs, which is a special local color.
7) DURANGO, COLORADO -- Old West Christmas
Families use found items from the Old West for ornaments and trimmings, including cowboy boots as stockings, chaps as table runners or bridle bits as garland to wrap around stairwells or railings. They also have a Polar Express which has been around since the late 1880s, where kids show up in PJ`s, and they hop on a locomotive train which rides 30 minutes out of town to the "North Pole," where Santa is waiting and gives them a little bell.
8) WOODSTOCK, VERMONT- Medieval-style Christmas
Traditions stem from pagan days, including "wassail weekend" (where they drink apple cider-based drink, with fruits and spices, and alcohol) and a huge Yule Log fire on the village green. The entire town is decked with traditional wreaths and pine garlands throughout.
9) SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS- Southwestern Christmas
Residents pull out all the stops to make this Christmas memorable, from piÃ±atas and mariachis to riverboats and twinkling trees. Instead of turkey, they make tamales. Some of the traditional Mexican decorations include figurines made from cornhusks wearing colorful dresses. Finally, they stage an annual spirtual and spirited procession, "La Gran Posada," a moving reenactment of the first Christmas eve.
10) LEAVENWORTH, WASHINGTON - Bavarian Village
This former mining and logging town was transformed into an over-the-top Bavarian village 40 years ago, complete with Old World traditions for kids and grown-ups and redesigned architecture. There, they sip traditional Gluvine-spiced wine drinks and kids lead a lantern parade every weekend. During the holidays, this 2,200-person town swells to 50,000. The town even has a gingerbread factory that specializes in high-end holiday houses that they ship all over the world.