After a few months of wet cold seeping into our bones and daily orders of eggnog lattes, most of us are more than ready to start settling into the holiday season. Once the halls are decked and the weekends to decorate, bake, and shop for presents are planned, we can curl underneath our cozy blankets in front of the television and enjoy one of the Christmas films we watch every year, no matter what, as per tradition.
Almost everyone who celebrates Christmas has at least one of these by now, whether it has been passed down to us from so many Christmases with our parents, or part of a new tradition we’re cultivating with new friends or lovers. In the spirit of the holiday season, we’ve rounded up twelve destinations for twelve days of Christmas, based on classic Christmas movies (plus a couple of doozies). Happy holidays!
Camden Town, London, UK – A Christmas Carol
Home to Bob Cratchit in A Christmas Carol, Camden Town today is an extraordinarily artistic district in London, featuring a vibrant Christmas market done up in lights and ornamented trees for the holidays. Look for Dickens’ old home at 16 Bayham Street for the possible inspiration behind Cratchit’s house. Lots of holiday cheer to be found here, and absolutely no humbug.
Vermont, USA – White Christmas
If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas this year, then make like Bing and head to Vermont. Sadly, the Columbia Inn in Pine Tree exists only on the sets of MGM – however, we recommend that you check out The Woodstock Inn instead. Featuring a ski area where the treetops do indeed glisten, a Christmas buffet, and a Wassail Weekend, this resort is sure to have you singing your way through the holidays.
Shere, Surrey, UK – The Holiday
There is nothing quite like taking a stroll through a snow-capped English village to capture the Christmastime feels. In addition to being the perfect place for romantics on holiday, Shere has served as a filming location for all types of flicks since the early 20th century. The village has been frequented by the likes of the original Bond himself, Sir Sean Connery, as well as George Clooney, and Ringo Starr.
Chicago, Illinois, USA – Home Alone
Chicago is a festive dream during the holidays. Kevin McCallister may have spent most of his time plotting defense against the Wet Bandits in the beautiful Chicagoan ‘burbs, but the tree at Daley Plaza and the lights down Michigan Avenue are worth checking out too. So – while we recommend checking out NYC’s Plaza Hotel Home Alone 2 Package, defs give Chicago a drive through too.
Seneca Falls, New York, USA – It’s A Wonderful Life
Ring a bell at Seneca Falls, a town in upstate New York that served as Bedford Falls in one of the most famous Christmas classics of all time, It’s A Wonderful Life. If you’re all for quiet walks surrounded by snow-sparkle at night, an icy river at your side and lights and garland above your head, then you may wish to pay the Falls a visit this holiday season. Fancy yourself an American history buff, even around Christmastime? If so, this is your place. Seneca Falls is also known for holding the first ever Women’ Rights Convention in the USA.
Cleveland, USA – A Christmas Story
Visit the A Christmas Story House & Museum – which was the actual house featured in the film – and walk through a familiar place that is, by now, a part of your childhood. You can see props at the museum, and even spend the night if you wish. If you’re a hardcore fan, the House & Museum is hosting A Christmas Story Watch Party on December 17. Completely worth it.
Selfridges Department Store, London, UK – Love Actually
Love Actually is, actually, such a Christmas staple, that there was no way it couldn't nab a spot on this list. You may remember Selfridges from a certain scene involving an impatient Alan Rickman and Rowan Atkinson up to his typical shenanigans. But in addition to being a filming location for a famous movie, the department store is, true to form, a good place to do your Christmas shopping.
Rockefeller Center, New York, USA – Elf
It’s nearly impossible to count the number of Christmas movies that are set in New York, for the very good reason that the city may just be one of the most magical places on Earth. There’s Macy’s department store from Miracle on 34th Street, Shakespeare & Co. Booksellers from When Harry Met Sally and 79th Street on the Hudson River from You’ve Got Mail. But perhaps the most quintessential place for a New York Christmas is Rockefeller Center. With its magnificent tree, trumpeting angels, and ice rink, this place will make your New Year’s dreams come true.
Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA – Jingle All The Way
OK, so it’s not exactly a Christmas classic... but there's no denying that this doozy is a memorable one. In any case, Minneapolis and Saint Paul are both stunners around Christmastime, ornamented handsomely in the ~10F weather. Worthwhile events include the Minneapolis Jingle Ball, Holidazzle, and St. Paul’s European Christmas Market. Oh yes, and if you’re looking for a bite to eat à la Schwarzenegger, we recommend stopping by Mickey’s Diner.
Bucharest, Romania – Joyeux Noël
This moving film was shot in various locations around Europe, but we’ve picked Bucharest for the matchless light displays and ornamented trees dappled amidst the ageless Romanian architecture, and for the beauty of Herăstrău Park in wintertime. This is a destination that will make you stop to consider what that night must have felt like – when Silent Night led to an evening truce during wartime, and however briefly, the sound of gunfire was replaced with song and good tidings.
Stoke Park, Buckinghamshire, UK – Bridget Jones’ Diary
Stoke Park was the country club Hugh Grant whisked Renée Zellweger off to in Bridget Jones’ Diary and is the setting for a few of the film’s more adorable scenes. Needless to say, the mansion is gorgeous year-round, but especially so around Christmastime, surrounded by fluffy piles of snow. If Stoke Park is on your travel bucket list this holiday season, you ought to know that the hotel offers a few oh-so-lovely yule-themed services.
Fox Plaza, Los Angeles, USA – Die Hard
Fox Plaza in LA is the infamous high-rise Nakatomi Plaza, where Alan Rickman, Bruce Willis and company gave us all the gift of the Christmas movie we never thought we needed in Die Hard. If you’re in the LA area, this one’s worth stopping by – for the film buff cred, and to pay homage to the late Mr. Rickman. Yippie-ki-yay, Christmas lover.