If the Saks Fifth Avenue windows just aren’t satisfying your Christmas-cuteness cravings, fill up on all the tree-lighting, Handel’s Messiah–singing, and gingerbread-house-building you can handle (without gagging on your eggnog) in quaint, storybook Woodstock, Vermont, which holds its annual “Wassail” celebration on the second weekend of December every year. The surrounding area averages about one Santa-on-the-roof but no flashing lights (too gauche) per block, and the weekend’s activities – think square dances and wagon rides – are mostly held in the oval-shaped town green, around which Victorian clapboard homes and B&Bs announce Christmastime by placing a single white candle in every window. There’s an excellent two-story vintage store, Who Is Sylvia?, on the town’s main street, as well as opportunities for cross-country skiing on the Woodstock Country Club golf course and a few downhill trails at Suicide Six, about twenty minutes away. The highlight of the weekend, a parade of carriages around the square followed by a cotillion dance, happens right outside the town’s best hotel, the 144-room Woodstock Inn, famous for its glassed-in formal dining room on the parlor floor.
DETAILS The Woodstock Inn & Resort (800-448-7900; double rooms start at $165; four days and three nights for Wassail Weekend, breakfast and dinner included, $438 per person); Wassail Weekend info (888-496-6378).