Great American Christmas Towns

From Southern Charm to Mountain Majesty, These Three Destinations Offer a Host of Holiday Spirit

Article by Stephanie Hasbrouck

Photography by Grapevine Convention & Visitors Bureau, Breckenridge Tourism Office, Visit Franklin

Originally published in Cross Timbers Lifestyle

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and something festive is taking place in every corner of the country. We’ve scoured the map to showcase a few of the most magical Christmas towns in America.  

From our own Grapevine, Texas, to the mountain majesty of Breckenridge, Colo.; to the Dickensian charm of Franklin, Tenn., these three towns possess their own special Christmas spirt.

Location #1:

It’s no surprise that Grapevine is the Christmas Capital of Texas. With millions of twinkling lights, enormous decorations and numerous festive events, families flock to the town to celebrate the season each year.

Perhaps one of the most popular events is the Grapevine Vintage Railroad’s magical North Pole Express. Guests receive a souvenir ticket as they begin their journey to the North Pole. They also receive a “We Believe” silver bell, memory mug, a recipe card for Santa’s Special Frosty Chocolate Snow Milk, a Christmas cookie and a complimentary photo with Santa.

Explore Grapevine’s past and get creative with the Grapevine Christmas Passport – Elf Adventure. Stamp a brass luggage or gift tag at Millican’s Blacksmith Shop; make a piece of metal tinsel for your tree inside the Grapevine Tin Shop at the Bragg House; decorate a wooden Christmas train ornament at the Cotton Belt Route Section Foreman House; and design a holiday necklace or bookmark in the Historic Cotton Belt Depot.

Shop till you drop at all of the locally-owned shops and boutiques in Historic Downtown Grapevine’s  and then Enjoy Dr. Sue’s Hot Chocolate Happy Hour or a nice sip of wine at one of the winery tasting rooms.

Enjoy the many holiday performances at the Palace Theater, including William Lee Martin’s “The Nutcracker,” A Christmas Standup Spectacular and “It’s a Wonderful Life – A Live Radio Play.” And enjoy a free Christmas Concert from Church at the Cross. The Palace Theater also showcases classic Christmas movies and after-Christmas movies.

Don’t forget to visit Nash Farm to get a glimpse into Christmases past. Decorate the farmhouse, enjoy cookies and cider, make ornaments, listen to traditional music and enjoy the beautiful simplicity of a farmhouse Christmas.

For more information on all of these events and more, visit

Location #2

If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, pack your bags, puffer jackets and skis and head to Breckenridge, Colo. Breckenridge has re-imagined many festive winter events this year.

The town will transform its historic district into a sparkling snow globe scene with more than 13,000 feet and 250,000 LED holiday lights. Even though large gatherings have been postponed, the Christmas spirit is still alive and well in this winter wonderland.  Those visiting during the Dec. 5 kick-off weekend can expect to see the entire community decked out in Santa suits, a festival of trees, animations aimed to surprise and delight, socially distanced s’more stations, self-guided snowshoe adventures to see Santa and much more.

The Ten Days of Ullr will take place from Dec. 9-19. For more than 57 years, the community has donned Viking helmets and paid tribute to Ullr, the Norse god of snow, in hopes of a plentiful snowfall. Legend has it that this ritual is the reason Breckenridge receives more than 360 inches of snow each year.

From Jan. 26-Feb. 7, the Breckenridge Snow Sculpture Invitational will take place. Internationally acclaimed snow sculptors from across the state will amaze visitors with their snow creations. In addition to admiring the temporary snow sculptors, visitors can stroll through the town’s award-winning arts district, filled with more than 30 public art installations.

For more information on these events and beautiful Breckenridge, visit

Location #3

For those hoping to enjoy a tender, Tennessee Christmas, Franklin has the perfect combination of small-town enchantment and historic relevance.

From the sparkling Christmas tree in the center of town to the charming shops that line the streets, Franklin tends to give every visitor – even the crankiest of Scrooges – a dose of holiday happiness.

And speaking of Scrooge – Franklin is widely known for its Dickens of a Christmas holiday festival. Sadly, the festival will not be held this year, but make plans to attend the 36th annual event Dec. 11-12, 2021.

The Heritage Foundation of Williamson County hosts the annual event, which recreates the time of Charles Dickens, highlighting beautiful historic downtown Franklin’s Victorian architecture as the backdrop.

Approximately 200 musicians, dancers, and Dickensian characters fill the streets and mingle amongst the visitors. Don’t be surprised to see Jacob Marley, Tiny Tim Cratchit or the ever-grumpy Ebenezer Scrooge meandering about. A Victorian father and Mother Christmas also make an appearance to offer treats to the children.

While in Franklin, take a drive along the scenic Natchez Trace Parkway, stop at the Loveless Café for a biscuit or two, sip some wine at Arrington Vineyards and do some holiday shopping at the Factory, a fascinating complex of 11 depression-era factory buildings that have been renovated into one of Tennessee’s most unique shopping and dining venues.

For a complete list of things to do in Franklin during the holidays and all year long, go to

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