If you find that the sprawl and hustle of LA just doesn’t quite capture the nostalgic holiday magic you’re looking for, consider taking a road trip into the Santa Barbara countryside this season. Just a short two-hour drive up the 101, you’ll find Solvang -- a picturesque Danish town torn from the pages of a storybook -- where they really know how to do Christmas. Every December, the town celebrates Julefest -- a month of Noel merriment for which Time Magazine named Solvang one of The 10 Most “Christmassy” Towns in the US.
All the Christmas decorations, carolers, and parades you can handle; a two-day wine and beer walk; and the largest legal bonfire in the US made from burning Christmas trees make Julefest a singularly unique experience. Forget the Nutcracker, this is some full-immersion holiday fun. Here’s why you should set aside the first two weekends in December to let Solvang jingle your bells -- and if you can’t make it in the next couple weeks, there are plenty of things to do in Solvang year-round as well: