Did crawling into the grungy mall Santa’s lap as a child send you into peals of laughter instead of hysterical sobs? Did you love the sight of rock-hard fruit cake? Did you start your countdown to the most glorious day of the year in mid-August? Then you just may be a Christmas addict.
And if the usual flow of sickly sweet candy canes and maniacal Christmas songs doesn’t quench your passion for the season, any of these places will fill you with Christmas until the tinsel is pouring out of your ears and you’re begging for mercy.
North Pole Experience, Arizona
Flagstaff, Arizona’s, North Pole Experience may be as close to the real North Pole as you ever get, and trust us: This place is Christmas to the core.
Take a trolley ride away from the all of the “sugar’s bad for you” and “commercialism is ruining our society” humbugs and escape deep into the fir trees to arrive at the brightly painted Santa’s village.
Let your imagination transform you into a squeaky elf as you try your hand at toy making in the elves’ workshop and then ensure that everything looks up to par by doing “quality control.”
Swoon over the magic that somehow delivers all of those presents on Christmas Eve with a peek at Santa’s treasured sleigh.
When you don’t think you can take any more magic — we know, we know, that could never happen — drop by Mrs. Claus’ Bakery for some warm, gooey cookies.
And, of course, Santa. You. Can. See. Santa.
Christmas Market in Ingolfstorg Square, Reykjavik, Iceland
If one Santa just isn’t enough holiday spirit for you, visit Iceland’s Reykjavik, where 13 Santas or “Yule Lads” arrive during the Lenten season.
If you’re lucky, you can even spot a glimpse of the Yule Lads’ troll mother at the Christmas Village Festival as she sneaks through the crowd.
The festival is full of traditional Icelandic holiday culinary delights like homemade flaky pastries and rich hot chocolate.
Do your best to restrain your tapping toes as cozy accordion or jazz music keeps the Christmas spirit going strong and festival-goers peruse stalls glittering with tiny lights.
Make sure to peer into the sky for a view of the Imagine Peace Tower, a stunning blue beam of light illuminating the sky. It was created by Yoko Ono to honor John Lennon’s memory and to promote peace and joy — an important message whatever the season.
Christmas in the Scottish Highlands, Scotland
There’s nothing more picturesque than a train chugging through the Scottish Highlands in the crisp winter air.
This Christmas, wind through the Highlands aboard a chugging locomotive. Traverse the glittering lochs to admire the rugged landscape.
Enjoy having a designated driver in the conductor after you visit Oban Distillery, one of Scotland’s oldest sources of single malt Scotch whiskey. (Much fancier than the annual holiday tradition of watching Uncle Joe get blitzed on Budweiser.)
Stop and do some last-minute gift buying during your stop at the Scottish Wool Center, where rich tweeds and cashmeres abound.
Once the moon is out, laugh with your fellow passengers over hearty holiday meals while enjoying toe-tappin’ live Gaelic folk music and dancing.
Lucknam Park, Wiltshire, England
If you just can’t even handle any part of the real world during Christmastime, bundle yourself away in a British mansion for a weekend of inescapable Christmas festivities.
Start the getaway off with a proper English tea, and then sip crisp champagne while being serenaded by the parish choir.
Spend the snowy English nights curled up by the massive fireplace feasting on mulled wine and mince pies until your satisfied stomach begins to resemble Old Saint Nick’s.
On Christmas Day, an ornate and jolly Father Christmas will pull up in front of the mansion, perched in a Victorian horse-drawn carriage. After all presents have been distributed, sit where Santa himself sat as you glide around the estate grounds in the snow.
Christmas in Ice, North Pole, Alaska
Step away from patting down the lopsided snowman in your front yard and travel to the North Pole to combine two of the best parts of the holiday season: ice and Christmas lights.
Alaska’s Christmas in Ice park is literally a winter wonderland sure to please even the most diehard of Christmas fans.
Bundle up in all of the Santa/reindeer/snowman/snowflake-adorned scarves and gloves and sweaters that you can find and waddle through the maze of intricate ice sculptures glowing with brightly colored lights.
Whether you’re all about those reindeer or more of a Nativity scene fan, Christmas in Ice is the perfect photo op for taking the most Christmasy profile picture ever.
Naturally, you’ll want to share your Christmas spirit with everyone you know to make sure that Santa’s sleigh will definitely run when it’s stocking time. Because really, who doesn’t love throwing up bunny ears beside a giant red and blue polar bear?
Once you’ve “cheese”ed to your heart’s content, hop on a sled and speed down one of the many neon-lit ice slides.
Nutcracker Tea, Carmel Valley Ranch, Carmel, California
Fluffy rhinestone tutus, massive graceful leaps, rich Tchaikovsky score … does this sound like heaven to you?
Even the most die-hard Christmas fan might find nod off during a traditional rendition of “The Nutcracker,” but not so with this festive event.
Enjoy champagne and a complete high tea while watching Dance Kids of Monterey County tell the classic Christmas story, complete with swordfighting as well as stellar dancing.
Jump into the magic and learn to perform an entire scene from the ballet, whether you have two left feet or a background in dance.
It may be fat sugar plums or it may be your absolutely horrific pirouettes, but something will certainly be dancing in your head after a magical night at the Nutcracker Tea.
ICEHOTEL Christmas Escape, Sweden
Obsessed with Christmas? You physically can’t get much closer to winter than you can at the ICEHOTEL in Sweden.
Translation: You will be sleeping in a bed made of ice in a room made of ice in a hotel made of ice.
To combat the chilly temperatures, guests snuggle into high-quality sleeping bags and cover up with reindeer skins.
The hotel’s Christmas package is packed full of traditional Swedish foods and activities sure to put you in the Christmas spirit.
After a day full of participating in the Christmas Games (ax-throwing, anyone?) and dancing around the ice Christmas tree, feast on spicy gingerbread, herring and meatballs at the Christmas Smorgasbord.
When you can’t stomach another candy cane and just want to punch Santa in his big old belly, try a non-Christmassy holiday detox getaway.
After weeks of snowmen and runny noses and the neverending struggle to de-layer yourself whenever you enter a building, escape from all of the holiday hoopla and jet off to the Cayman Islands to thaw out your bones.
To see some trees that are still covered with green leaves, visit the Mastic Reserve, where you can explore the Mangrove wetland and other habitats.
Visit the Cayman Turtle Farm to see sharks and eels as well as massive turtles. The best part is that you don’t have to just stand with your nose pressed to the glass. The farm has a touch tank wading pool where visitors can literally cuddle with the cutest baby turtles they’ve ever seen.
When you’ve had your fill of mini turtles, take some time to just stretch out on the beach with a drink and a smile on your face because you know that everyone back home is freezing their butts off.