The 3 Best Christmas Towns to Celebrate the History of the Holiday

By Leah Chester-Davis

The holidays often bring to mind favored traditions or the desire to make new ones. If yours is to experience how Christmas was celebrated long ago, these four destinations provide many options.

Hart Square Village | Vale, NC

Enjoy a walk through this magical early American village along lantern-lit pathways. Learn about pioneer Christmases with a tour of eight or so cabins in this impressive collection of 100 historic log structures, the largest in the country.

Popular pioneer yuletide traditions are a highlight: roasting chestnuts on an open fire, making candles and knitting stockings to hang by the chimney with care. Create your own cornhusk angel ornament and enjoy delicious treats such as Brunswick stew, ham biscuits and molasses cookies.

Details: Event dates are Dec. 4 and 5, 2020. Seating is limited, so order tickets early. 828-528-5029

Biltmore Estate | Asheville, NC

Opulent abundance is the hallmark of Biltmore Estate, especially during the holidays. The mansion exudes warmth and elicits child-like wonder as more than 50 hand-decorated Christmas trees are adorned with miles of ribbons, garlands, lights and fanciful ornaments. Another 60-plus trees are decorated across the estate. Choose to visit during the day or for one of the Candlelight Christmas Evenings and let the inspiration and celebration begin! AAA Members can save up to 40 percent when they purchase their Biltmore Estate tickets through AAA!

Details: Holiday events run from Nov. 6, 2020 – Jan. 10, 2021. 800-411-3812


Colonial Williamsburg | Williamsburg, VA

America’s Colonial past is celebrated in the entire town, which is considered an interactive history museum. Greenery and lovely fruit-studded wreaths and other adornments that are a signature of the Williamsburg style lend an elegant holiday splendor to windows and doorways. Tours are available for those who want to learn more about the traditional holiday decorations. Enjoy a wide range of seasonal offerings and events such as ox wagon rides, historic organ recitals, secrets of the chocolate maker, children’s tours, theatrical performances, family-style dinners and a Community Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. Save on tickets when purchasing online at

Details: Various events run throughout December. 888-965-7254

Please note: Event information may change due to COVID-19. Confirm details and current operating protocols with each destination before visiting. 

(Photos: Old Salem photo courtesy Old Salem Museums and Gardens)

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