Go "Christmas Crazy" with a German-style market, a gingerbread house competition and the brightest light displays, plus the coolest ice sculptures and the most extreme Santas on Earth.
Life-size gingerbread house at Christmas at the Galt House: KaLightoscope ChristmasThe Galt House’s annual KaLightoscope display features larger-than-life lighted holiday sculptures. The life-size gingerbread house kicks things off. 960 1280
The Christmas tree at the Ritz Carlton in CaliforniaGrab your surfboard and hat to participate in the Second Annual Surfing Santa Competition. The Ritz-Carlton goes all out with surf-themed Christmas decorations, including a giant tree with sea-related ornaments. 960 1280
Dresden's Christmas market, the StriezelmarktDresden's Christmas market, the Striezelmarkt, has been a holiday tradition since 1434, making it Germany's oldest Christmas fair. Check out market’s centerpiece attraction -- the world's tallest Christmas candle pyramid, more than 45 feet tall. 960 1280
Nuremberg's ChristkindlesmarktNuremberg's Christkindlesmarkt takes place in the city’s Main Market Square. As one of the largest Christmas markets in Germany, the event features some 180 booths selling Christmas goods such as mulled wine, spicy gingerbread and roast sausages. 960 1280
Santa Comes to TownEvery year the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade ends with Santa coming to a stop in front of the department store on 6th Ave, marking the beginning of the Christmas season in the Big Apple. Come explore some of the timeless traditions of Christmas in New York City. 960 1280
Empire State BuildingAt the center of the iconic NYC skyline sits the Empire State Building. During the months of November and December, the top of the building is lit up with red and green lights to celebrate christmas. The first lighting each year coincides with the opening night for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. 960 1280
Speaking of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, don’t miss out on seeing the Rockettes’ show-stopping leg kick precision chorus line 5 days a week during the holidays at Radio City Music Hall.
Rockefeller Center Christmas TreeStarted in 1933, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree has become a timeless tradition for New Yorkers and tourists alike. The tree is on average between 69 and 100 feet tall, and its lighting ceremony is accompanied with a live broadcast in early December. 960 1280
5th Avenue Holiday Window DisplaysShopping in NYC during the holidays can be a nightmare due to the tourist-packed streets. But there is definitely a redeeming quality to making the trek into the crowds: holiday window displays! Every year in mid-November, the biggest department stores in New York City create one-of-a-kind presentations of holiday-cheer in their exterior windows, usually with an original theme or throw-back to years past. (Shown here: one of Macy's Herald Square 2014 holiday window displays). 960 1280
Sledding in the CityIf weather trends stay on course for New York City, you'll want to prepare yourself for some major snow this holiday season. Take advantage of the wintery weather and join the fun at any of the dozen local parks for some sledding! Prospect Park in Brooklyn (pictured here) or Central Park in Manhattan are classic locations to enjoy some slip-sliding fun. 960 1280
Dyker Heights Holiday LightsFor a look at what happens in the boroughs during the holidays, take a trip to Dyker Heights in Brooklyn and tour their annual holiday decorations. The residents won’t label it a competition, but it’s hard not to see it that way when each new year brings bigger and brighter displays. 960 1280
Macy's Thanksgiving ParadeGiant balloon puppets like Spiderman debuted at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade back in 1927. Today, the 87th annual event is one of the oldest Thanksgiving Day parades in the US. 960 1280
Here Comes Santa!Santa Claus rides on his sleigh down Central Park West during the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade in NYC. St. Nick’s arrival at the parade's grand finale signals the official season's start to Christmas in NYC. 960 1280
Houston's H-E-B Holiday ParadeParticipants strike a pose in Houston's annual Thanksgiving celebration, which we’ve voted among the top Thanksgiving Day parades. Now 64 years strong, the parade gets a makeover in 2013, with renewed focus on everything from fashion, food and heroes; to culture, sports and talent. 960 1280
McDonald’s Thanksgiving ParadeMake it a long weekend in Chicago, while checking out "Chicago's Grand Holiday Tradition," now in its 80th year. You just may see Teddy Turkey strut his stuff; he's been the parade mascot since 2009. 960 1280
America's Thanksgiving ParadeGiant balloons float above the street during Detroit's annual America's Thanksgiving Parade, which shares the title of second-oldest Thanksgiving parade (alongside the Macy's parade). Plus, check out our own Andrew Zimmern's Detroit-inspired pumpkin pie.