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The Time Of Year For Public Celebrations In America

If you're dreaming of a white Christmas, consider heading to a ski resort. Colorado's Vail Mountain is planning a winter full of events to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Daily holiday festivities start with a tree lighting on Dec. 16 and end with a torchlight parade and fireworks on New Year's Eve.

Leavenworth, Washington, offers carols and tree-lightings in the Bavarian-style town's square on three weekends in December, along with Bavarian food, holiday sweets and roasting chestnuts.

Taos, New Mexico, incorporates Hispanic and Native American traditions in its celebrations of Christmas, Hanukkah and the Winter Solstice. Las Posadas, a candlelight procession re-enacting the journey of Mary and Joseph, takes place for the nine days preceding Christmas.

In Southern California, parades are a big part of the season, from the Hollywood Christmas parade on the Sunday after Thanksgiving to the Tournament of Roses parade on New Year's Day. There's also the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade, featuring hundreds of yachts, cruise ships and water craft of all kinds sailing past Newport Harbor's decked-out waterfront.

To many, Christmastime in the city means New York with its window displays, Rockefeller Center tree and the Rockettes. But Chicago also sparkles in December, with lights strung along its Magnificent Mile and an outdoor German crafts market. San Antonio wraps the trees along its River Walk in colored lights. New Orleans has "Miracle on Fulton Street," an illuminated pedestrian walkway featuring bursts of synthetic snow.

For a country Christmas experience, Nashville offers tours of antebellum mansions, a residential holiday lights competition and a Christmas parade. And, of course, country music.

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