By Jason Heidemann for the Orbitz Travel Blog
December 1: Choirs in the City in Sydney, Australia
Imagine a sun-drenched holiday with days spent mostly at the beach. That's how the Aussies do it, but that doesn't mean they scrimp on being festive. Beginning December 1, various choral groups belt out holiday hymns nightly in Martin Place in downtown Sydney.
December 2: Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremburg, Germany
If you love outdoor holiday markets, this legendary German bazaar is basically the best of bunch. Enjoy nearly 200 arts and crafts vendors plus mulled spiced wine, gingerbread cookies, sausages and stagecoach tours all season long.
December 3: World of Chocolate in Chicago, IL
The most decadent event of the season, this annual fundraiser for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago is a night of schmoozing, boozing and sampling dozens of chocolate goodies created by the city's most prestigious chocolatiers.
December 4: WinterFest in Hong Kong, China Named one of the top 10 places to spend Christmas on earth by CNN, WinterFest in Hong Kong goes all out beginning December 4 with a dazzling light display in Victoria Harbor, evening night strolls, holiday menus and shop discounts all counting down to a New Year's Eve fireworks spectacular.
December 5: Elf the Broadway Musical in Boston, MA
Remember the movie starring Bob Newhart, Zooey Deschanel and Will Farrell as orphaned elf Buddy? This musical version spreads holiday cheer all over Beantown for a limited engagement running through Sunday, December 6.
December 6: Santa Claus Land of Lights in Santa Claus, IN
Yes, there really is a tiny town in the Hoosier State called Santa Claus and yes they go all out this time of year with numerous activities including this 1.2-mile nighttime driving tour which tells the story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer through thousands of lit up LED lights.
December 7: Skating by the Sea in San Diego, CA
Wait a minute, ice skating with the sounds of ocean waves crashing just steps from the rink? Yep, this is the holiday season San Diego style so lace up and enjoy this 10th annual tradition while palm trees sway gently in the breeze.
December 8: Santa Park in Lapland, Finland
Hang with elves, visit Santa's underground lair, snag some souvenirs in the Holiday Village or get a selfie with Santa himself in this actual North Pole location. Santa Park is open year round, but naturally it doesn't get much better than a December visit.
December 9: Christmas at the Ryman in Nashville, TN
Music City busts out heavyweight country star Vince Gill and Christian music singer turned secular performer Amy Grant for multiple nights of performance in which each star will turn their attention toward classic holiday tunes.
December 10: Holiday Cactus Garden in Las Vegas, NV
Beyond the casinos, nightclubs and glittery lights of the Las Vegas Strip, actual nature does exist and all-month long visitors can view more than a half-million twinkling light at this 20th anniversary event at the Cactus Garden at Ethel M Chocolates Factory in nearby Henderson.
December 11: Trail of Lights in Austin, TX
What began in 1965 with the lighting of a single Yule Log has blossomed into a 1-mile trek through a trail of spectacular lights and a holiday tradition that now attracts more than 400,000 visitors over the course of two weeks to Austin's lovely Zilker Park.
December 12: Toronto Christmas Festival in Toronto, ON
For ten nights, Canada's biggest metropolis turns Yonge-Dundas Sqaure into a hub of Yuletide activities including live music, food, beverages, visits with Santa and a nightly laser show. Don't worry about keeping warm, hot cocoa and marshmallows are complimentary.