When would you say Christmas officially begins? Is it straight after Thanksgiving, when we start thinking about the next turkey to land on our plate? Is it when the first decorations appear in stores (and, let’s face it, some start showing up the minute the Halloween pumpkins are put away)? Some mark it by the first sound of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” going on heavy rotation on the radio, or showings of movies such as Elf, A Muppet Christmas Carol, or Home Alone appearing on TV schedules. So, is it possible to pinpoint an actual day that feels the most like Christmas is beginning?
Travel experts, FamilyDestinationsGuide.com wanted to find out, and surveyed over 3,000 respondents. They found that Georgians typically feel December 5th is the first ‘Christmassy’ day of the holiday season – when they really start to get into the Christmas spirit. Perhaps it’s when they go out to buy a tree, start hanging decorations, or grab a red-cup coffee from Starbucks’ annual festive menu. The 5th is far enough into the month to be able to see Christmas Day at the end of the tunnel; staff Christmas parties will already start being arranged, and families will be making plans for get-togethers to celebrate.
Something that definitely makes things feel more Christmassy, at least in many US states, is the weather. There’s nothing like wrapping up warm in coats, scarves and gloves and heading out into the snow, for sledding, snowball fights, or an atmospheric walk. On that basis, FamilyDestinationsGuide.com also identified, based on data over the last 26 years, which date would feel most like Christmas in terms of the weather. In Georgia, that was December 31st, when it was most likely to be the coldest – the average temperature is just 36°F.
Interactive map showing each state’s first Christmassy day of 2022 (click on ’embed’ to host on your site)
If you live in a more northern state, these kinds of conditions will come as no surprise. In fact, you may be expecting a White Christmas, and planning to enjoy the traditional events that accompany it. In Delaware, for example, which has a large Swedish population, kids leave out milk on Christmas Eve for the mischievous and mysterious Tomte spirit – an imp-like creature who is said to leave gifts for good girls and boys. And Chicago has the best-known Christkindlmarkt – or Christmas Market – in America. Based on a classic German holiday street market, the Christkindlmarkt offers dozens of stalls selling things like artisanal crafts, gifts, tree decorations, giant pretzels and gingerbread, and, a holiday must, glühwein!
But what if you live somewhere with a warmer climate (like Arizona, Hawaii or Florida)? Well, there might not be much snow, but there are still fun ways to celebrate the season. Although many holiday traditions are the same across most states, some make the most of their sunny weather with Christmastime celebrations that are a little less ordinary. In Florida, aptly-named the Sunshine State, an event called Deck the Chairs is held on Jacksonville Beach, where volunteers decorate the famous red chairs with beautiful, festive light displays. And – where else – in California, you’ll find the Surfing Santa competition in the sunny city of Laguna Niguel in Orange County, where surfers enter wearing wearing white beards and Santa hats and proceeds go to charity. Merry 5th of December, and Merry Christmas, to all!
FamilyDestinationsGuide.com has also put together a list of the best 51 places in each state to visit during Christmas.