“City sidewalks. Busy sidewalks. Dressed in holiday style. In the air. There’s a feeling. Of Christmas”~ SIlver Bells
The Hallmark Christmas Town
We all watch the Christmas movies, especially Hallmark, with those dreamy places decorated to perfection with cute names LIKE Garland, Alaska. wishing it existed, that quintessential Christmas town. But art does imitate life. Though really that picture perfect holiday setting means something different to each of us. Do you want the ski lodge experience or the Coastal Christmas? Or the picturesque New York Christmas in the city feel? Or perhaps it is a mountain, country, Christmas? It varies for everyone depending on taste, but if you look hard enough you WILL find it, and you CAN have your Hallmark Christmas moment!
I have done a lot of traveling. And while I do love a good beach town, I also love traveling at Christmas and seeing different decor. I guess you could say I AM looking for that idyllic Hallmark town, but of course I would prefer it to be coastal! The last couple years my travel has been pretty limited, to pretty much New England as well as living vicariously through my pictures, but I have narrowed down five (Okay technically four as I might have taken some artistic liberties with the fifth.) places that should be put on your buck list for holiday travel. (and just in general!) It probably isn’t shocking that some of my favorite places to visit are small coastal towns, BUT their charm is further amplified with the magic of Christmas.
New York City
First on the list is New York City which I think is a given. And I will totally fight anyone who says New York City is NOT the Christmas Capital of the world. It is and while I respect others differing opinions, this is the ONLY right one and I am sticking with it! Joking, but also kinda true. Christmas in New York is so cliche and so touristy, but there is a REASON for that. I always say touristy spots are touristy for a reason and New York is a prime example of that. From the Tree at Rockefeller, to dinner at Rolfs, to the Lights at Saks they are all popular must sees because they are truly magnificent! Most nights after class and work, I would either walk or run from my apartment to Rock Center to see the tree lit in all of its glory. It was busy and insanely crowded, but it was always, ALWAYS magical.
While Rock Center (and rightly so) stole the spotlight, you have lesser known attractions that are equally magical and perhaps special because they are still frequented by locals, like the Winter Village at Bryant Park, which has its own glorious tree (and spectacular tree lighting) as well as skating rink. You also have my favorite Christmas activity to do which is to go and see the lights at Dyker Heights, which reminds me of how WHoville must have been in the Grinch. As a (former) New Yorker there is nothing more magical then seeing my city in all its Christmas glory. It really is magnificent.
This is another place that is tugging at my heart strings and making me miss Europe so freaking much. If things had been different, I would be there now, and my wish and prayer for 2022 is that I WILL be. Europe as a whole, has a quaintness and an old fashioned charm around the holidays that I absolutely adore. And while you have the German markets in Germany and Austria, and the streets decked out in London, Paris is the epitome of tradition, and gaudy chic, and just all that vivre that the French are known for. From the stores like Cartier and Chanel dressing their windows to the Galleria Lafayette that always puts on a stunning display, to just the small cafes with simple decor, date I say it, but Paris could rival New York for Christmas in the City!
Jekyll Island, Georgia
One of the most magical, yet delightfully surprising places I stumbled on in my travels was Jekyll Island. A private getaway for the Vanderbilts and Rockefellers WAY back in the day, it is now a vacation destination off the coast of Georgia, but still historically, as well as environmentally preserved. While there is development, they are very selective about what they let be built on the island. It is a stunning place to visit year round, but it is especially stunning at Christmas time.
I had no idea when I visited, but they are known for their lights, which are stroung through the Spanish moss trees and hang down lighting the downtown area. I know I am saying this alot, but it is truly magical and such an incredible experience. I am alway down for a Coastal Christmas but Jekyll Island kills it mixing history with beautiful decor, creating a coastal chicness that transports you to a different time when perhaps holidays were a bit simpler.
Charleston, South Carolina
There is a reason that a Charleston Christmas is a hashtag. Charleston has an abundance of the Southern Charm complete with classic and CLASSY Christmas decor. From visiting some of the historical houses, which go all out, to walking down King Street and seeing all the gorgeous window displays to venturing to some of the Islands that are decked out, it is a much warmer and quainter version of New York.
Charleston really did not disappoint, not that I thought they would, because it is Charleston, and they are amazing! They already have the benefit of been known for their gorgeous window boxes and terraces which are always beautifully decorated but during the Christmas season they really come alive, with lights and invoking old traditions like oranges in troughs, and garland. It truly does create a charm that Charleston is known for mixing history and tradition, while still being classy and festive.
New England Coastal Towns
And now we come to the “Place” I took some liberty with and by liberty I am talking about a whole region! I know, I know, but New England truly does have an abundance of quaintness and quintessential old fashioned Christmas that even Chevy Chase AND Candace Cameron Bure would be jealous about. Honestly, I never realized it until the last couple years being here how Hallmark-esque it really is. And I am honestly here for it! While I always thought of New England (in part because I LIVE in a ski town) as snow and lodges, the coast bedecks itself out in true nautical style and I love it!
From Lobster Trap Trees, to Buoy trees to Santa arriving on a boat, New England really does embrace that Nautical Christmas and I am here for it! It is such a cute, unique take on the holiday, while also exhibiting a a regions culture, industry, and history. I love it so much, that I have thought about doing it next year in my apartment!
Where is your favorite place to visit during Christmas and get some Christmas cheer?
You can read my other A Nautical Christmas Blog Posts Here:
Day 1: Blogmas: A Nautical Christmas 2021
Day 2: Rocking Around (And Decorating) The Christmas Tree
Day 3: What do I Wear?!?! A Fancy Friday Christmas
Day 4: Department 56: North Pole village
Day 5: Wanderlusting: L.L. Bean’s Northern Lights
Day 6: My Flocked Christmas Tree
Day 7: What DO I Wear: All the Christmas Cozy Pj’s
Day 8: 2021 Ornaments
Day 9: An Unofficial Ted Talk to Relieve Holiday Stress
Day 10: What Do I Wear: Christmas Graphic Tops
Day 11: My Christmas Mug Collection
Day 12: Advent Calendars
Day 13: Christmas Wrappings and Cards
Day 14: What DO I Wear: The Little Red Dress
Day 15: Wanderlusting: Christmas Loft 2021
Day 16: Christmas Baking
Day 17: Friday Favorites Holiday Edition