Christmas Crazy

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.

Photos

Mayor's Annual Christmas Parade (Baltimore)

Mayor's Annual Christmas Parade (Baltimore)

The Grinch that stole Christmas makes his appearance at the Mayor's Annual Christmas Parade in a city rich in Christmas traditions, Baltimore. The 2.5-mile-long parade route also features the Baltimore Marching Ravens band, Harley Davidson motorcycles and Santa’s dancing elf girls. 960 1280

ktylerconk, flckr  

Christmas Boat Parade (Newport Beach)

Christmas Boat Parade (Newport Beach)

Billed as “Newport Beach’s Christmas card to the world,” the 105th annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade in Newport Beach, CA, features decorated yachts, boats, kayaks and canoes. The boats travel along the harbor for 5 nights in December to welcome in the holiday season. 960 1280

fortherock, flickr  

A Christmas Fantasy Parade (Disneyland)

A Christmas Fantasy Parade (Disneyland)

Goofy decorates a gingerbread house on a float in Disneyland's "A Christmas Fantasy Parade." The parade in Anaheim, CA, is an annual Disney tradition, traveling down Main Street, U.S.A., with 7 parade units on display. 960 1280

Harshlight, flickr  

Children's Christmas Parade (Atlanta)

Children's Christmas Parade (Atlanta)

The Grinch balloon makes his way down Atlanta's streets as part of the Children's Christmas Parade. The parade, now more than 30 years strong, benefits Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. Held the first Saturday in December, the parade typically draws crowds in excess of 500,000, making it the largest holiday parade in the Southeast. 960 1280

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta   

Reston Holiday Parade (Virginia)

Reston Holiday Parade (Virginia)

Everyone’s always talking about Santa, but what about the missus? The 23rd annual Reston Holiday Parade sees Mrs. Claus make the rounds in a horse-drawn carriage. This year's parade in northern Virginia has a "Destination: Reston" theme, featuring balloons, costumes and floats all inspired by various modes of transportation -- start walking! 960 1280

Jim Kirby  

Target Holidazzle (Minneapolis)

Target Holidazzle (Minneapolis)

Held in Andrew Zimmern’s hometown of Minneapolis, the Target Holidazzle parade features a hi-tech show with colorful special-effects. A fixture of downtown Minneapolis’ shopping district, Nicollet Mall, the parade has been an annual tradition since 1992, drawing crowds upwards of 300,000 people. 960 1280

Richard Westley Wong  

Sparks Hometowne Christmas (Nevada)

Sparks Hometowne Christmas (Nevada)

Any parade that’s 150 years old had to make our list. Sparks Hometowne Christmas in Sparks, NV, kicks off with a ceremonial tree lighting, carollers and some pretty rocking entertainment -- ever seen dancing horses? And since you’re in the Silver State, it’s just a 6-hour drive to Las Vegas for a Christmas Miracle, Vegas-style. 960 1280

Kevin Sawyer  

Holiday Boat Parade (Honolulu)

Holiday Boat Parade (Honolulu)

Christmas season just got a little more magical with the “Festival of Lights” Christmas Boat Parade in happening Honolulu. For nearly 20 years, this annual parade has showcased boats decked out with lights as they glide down the Hawaii Kai Marina waterway. Arrive early to see Hawaii’s own liberty belles. 960 1280

Brad Goda Photography  

Winter in Venice, Vegas Style

Winter in Venice, Vegas Style

Enjoy a Venice winter -- in Vegas. The third-annual Winter in Venice celebration will showcase an outdoor skating rink, a 3-D light projection show, 2 Italian-inspired food festivals and a fantasy scene in The Palazzo Waterfall Atrium and Gardens -- think lots of crystal ice ponds, a 20-foot frosted birch … and plenty of wow. 960 1280

The Venetian  

Hollywood Christmas Parade

Hollywood Christmas Parade

An annual tradition for more than 80 years, the Hollywood Christmas Parade takes place on the Sunday after Thanksgiving in iconic Hollywood. The parade stretches 3.5 miles, along famed Hollywood Boulevard; this year’s Grand Marshal is astronaut Buzz Aldrin. 960 1280

Reuters  

Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade (Orlando)

Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade (Orlando)

Christmas in Orlando kicks off with the Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade. Disney’s entourage of stars, from Mickey and Minnie, to Donald Duck and Scrooge McDuck, parade down Main Street, U.S.A. Celebrity appearances in 2013 include Demi Lovato and Mary J. Blige, at the Magic Kingdom Park. 960 1280

Disney  

12 Photos
Blowing Rock Winterfest

Blowing Rock Winterfest

Head to the mountains of North Carolina for the annual Blowing Rock Winterfest. This lively winterfest features a plunge into the icy waters of Lake Chetola, followed by the chance to warm up with hot chocolate and chili in downtown Blowing Rock. When: Late January 960 1280

Todd Bush Photography  

Vancouver Polar Bear Swim

Vancouver Polar Bear Swim

Run for your life! This group of New Year’s revelers rushes from the freezing waters of Vancouver’s English Bay. 2014 marks the Vancouver Polar Bear Swim’s 94th year, making it one of the largest and oldest clubs of its kind in the world. When: New Year's Day 960 1280

Reuters   

Courage Polar Bear Dip

Courage Polar Bear Dip

Courage, lads! Since its start in 1985, the annual Courage Polar Bear Dip in Oakville, Ontario, has become the largest polar bear dip for charity in Canada. Money raised supports clean water projects organized by the advocacy organization World Vision Canada. When: New Year’s Day 960 1280

Courage Polar Bear Dip  

Seattle Polar Bear Plunge

Seattle Polar Bear Plunge

They’re freezin’ for a reason. Plungers take to the waters off Seattle’s Matthews Beach for the city’s annual polar bear plunge. Now in its 12th year, the Seattle Polar Bear Plunge is one of 8 statewide plunges to benefit Special Olympics Washington. When: New Year’s Day 960 1280

mordac, flickr   

Aruba New Year's Plunge

Aruba New Year's Plunge

In search of warmer climes to take the plunge? Head to Aruba for the Caribbean island’s annual Aruba New Year's Plunge. Hundreds of people gather at MooMba Beach for the “Unox Nieuwjaarsduik” (New Year’s plunge), which takes place at noon sharp. The event is open to everyone; no charge. When: New Year’s Day 960 1280

Aruba Daily Newspaper  

Coney Island Plunge

Coney Island Plunge

Cold enough for you? These 2 brave guys take part in the annual Coney Island Plunge organized by the Coney Island Polar Bear Club, the oldest ice swimming club in the US. The yearly dip into the Atlantic begins at 1 p.m. sharp; afterward, if you’re still breathing, check out the famous Coney Island boardwalk. When: Jan. 1 960 1280

Getty Images  

Russian Orthodox Epiphany

Russian Orthodox Epiphany

In the name of the …wow, this water is cold! A Russian man celebrates the Russian Orthodox Epiphany with a dip in frigid waters. The age-old ritual commemorates Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River, but we have a feeling the Jordan’s waters were a lot less cold. When: Mid-January 960 1280

Reuters  

Tybee Polar Plunge

Tybee Polar Plunge

Thousands of people flock to Tybee Island, near Savannah, GA, for the annual Tybee Polar Plunge plunge into the brisk waters of the Atlantic. Plungers register for a nominal fee, with proceeds going toward the historic Tybee Post Theater, built in 1930. When: New Year’s Day 960 1280

Tybee Polar Plunge   

Scotland's Loony Dook

Scotland's Loony Dook

Showing their white-and-blue Scottish pride, these 2 “loony dookers” take a dip in Scotland’s River Forth. The annual Loony Dook event in Scotland began in 1987 with a handful of participants; the event has since grown into a New Year’s rite of passage for thousands. When: New Year’s Day 960 1280

Lee Carson, flickr  

Baltimore PlungeFest

Baltimore PlungeFest

Holy moly, ma, Darth Vader’s not wearing any clothes under that cape! This wickedly cool plunger takes a dip in the Chesapeake Bay’s cold waters near Baltimore. The annual Baltimore PlungeFest kicks off in Annapolis, MD’s Sandy Point State Park, with proceeds going to Special Olympics Maryland. When: Late January 960 1280

Steve Ruark Photography  

Chicago Polar Plunge

Chicago Polar Plunge

Skip the clothes, grab a wig! Celebrate the New Year (and a good cause) with hundreds of revelers who dive into the icy waters of Chicago’s Lake Michigan in early spring. 2014 marks Chicago Polar Plunge’s 14th year, with proceeds going toward Special Olympics Chicago. When: Early March 960 1280

Grace Trivino, flickr   

Netherlands New Year's

Netherlands New Year's

Wearing colorful vestments, this man takes a dip in the waters off Scheveningen, a beachside resort town in the Netherlands. The annual event began in 1960, and attracts more than 10,000 people, who plunge into the icy North Sea on New Year’s Day. When: Jan. 1 960 1280

Reuters  

Leicester, England

Leicester, England

The Festival of Lights, as Diwali is known, celebrates the victory of good over evil, and is India's biggest and most important holiday of the year. Hindus, Sikhs and Jains celebrate the 5-day festival worldwide as well. The largest Diwali celebration outside of India takes place in Leicester, England’s Golden Mile section. 960 1280

Reuters/Darren Staples   

Paramaribo, Suriname

Paramaribo, Suriname

Young boys chant prayers in celebration of Diwali at a children’s orphanage in Suriname’s capital city of Paramaribo. The South American country is home to a sizable population of Indian origin; nearly 40% of Suriname’s population descend from 19th-century contract workers from India. 960 1280

Reuters/Ranu Abhelakh  

Paramaribo, Suriname

Paramaribo, Suriname

Children in Suriname dress up as Hindu goddesses on the eve of Diwali. On the left is Parvati, the goddess of power who gives life energy to all. She's also said to engage in an eternal game of winning and losing with her husband Lord Shiva. In recognition of that cosmic roughhousing, gambling (or playing cards) during Diwali is considered auspicious. Or maybe just a good excuse to gamble. 960 1280

Reuters/Ranu Abhelakh   

Ahmedabad, Gujarat

Ahmedabad, Gujarat

Young women put the finishing touches on a rangoli in a neighborhood courtyard. The decorative design, created with materials such as colored rice, flour and sand, as well as flower petals, symbolizes a sacred welcoming area for Hindu deities -- and is a common sight during Diwali. In the western Indian state of Gujarat, the day following Diwali also marks the New Year. 960 1280

Reuters/Amit Dave   

Ahmedabad, Gujarat

Ahmedabad, Gujarat

Different regions and faiths of India incorporate various narratives into the celebration. In Gujarat, the festival honors Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. In North India, Lord Rama, after a 14-year exile. In South India, Lord Krishna, after his defeat of the demon Narakasura. In Jainism, the nirvana of Lord Mahavira. In Sikhism, the sixth Sikh guru's release from prison. The unifying theme: the victory of good over evil. 960 1280

Reuters/Amit Dave  

Amritsar, Punjab

Amritsar, Punjab

Indian Sikhs light candles at their spiritual center, the Golden Temple, in Amritsar, India, for Diwali. Sikhs celebrate Diwali to mark the release from prison of their sixth guru, Guru Hargobind, along with 52 other political prisoners, by the Mughal Emperor Jahangir in 1619. Sikhs celebrated the return of Guru Hargobind by lighting diyas around the Golden Temple. The tradition continues today. 960 1280

Narinder Nanu/AFP/Getty Images  

The White House

The White House

President Obama extends greetings to Sri Narayanachar Digalakote, a Hindu priest and Sanskrit scholar, after lighting an oil lamp for Diwali at the White House. The holiday was first celebrated at the White House in 2003, with a public liaison officer hosting Indian Americans. Six years later, Barack Obama became the first US president to serve as Diwali host. 960 1280

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images  

Felicity, Trinidad

Felicity, Trinidad

Handmade diyas, or earthen oil lamps, add a personal touch to households celebrating Diwali. Here, a boy prepares a lamp at his family home in Trinidad-Tobago. The largest Hindu festival in the Caribbean nation, Diwali is celebrated with the symbolic lighting of diyas, each meant to dispel darkness. 960 1280

Reuters/Andrea De Silva  

Varanasi, India

Varanasi, India

A young woman lights an earthen lamp on the steps leading to the Ganges River. Every year, 15 days after Diwali, the steps leading to “Ganga” are adorned with more than 1 million lights in tribute to Hinduism’s most sacred river. The celebration, known as Dev Deepavali (meaning “light festival of gods”), is led by Hindu devotees in the city by its banks, Varanasi. 960 1280

Reuters/Jitendra Prakas  

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

A Hindu devotee's baby is placed on a temple floor for good luck during Diwali celebrations in the small town of Bangi, near Maylaysia’s capital of Kuala Lumpur. Hindus make up roughly 7% of Malaysia’s population of 25 million. However, Diwali is recognized in the predominantly Muslim country as an official holiday. 960 1280

Reuters/Bazuki Muhammad   

Colombo, Sri Lanka

Colombo, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is home to a sizable Hindu community, as much as 12% of the population. Here, Hindu devotees pray during Diwali at the Shivm Kovi temple in Sri Lanka’s cultural capital of Colombo. Alongside India, the island country recognizes Diwali as an official holiday. 960 1280

Reuters/Dinuka Liyanawatt   

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