Santa Fe may be one of the best-kept Christmas secrets in America.

The city quite literally is aglow during the holiday season, with thousands of farolitos, candles in sand-filled paper bags, lining buildings throughout the city. The candles illuminate Santa Fe Plaza on Christmas Eve, providing the perfect backdrop for the cider and caroling you will also find there.

Visitors will also find art galleries along Canyon Road, Native American dances at nearby pueblos and great food everywhere, including the option of having your meal served red, green or "Christmas" style, with both red and green chile sauces.

The city is also unique in providing a winter fix for both golfers and skiers. The weather is mild enough that nearly year-round golfing is possible while the nearby mountains, including the Ski Santa Fe area 16 miles from -- and 3,000 feet higher than -- downtown, offer great skiing.

Walt Disney World characters

No. 2: Orlando, Florida

Walt Disney World offers all kinds of Christmas attractions, ranging from the four-story Christmas tree decorated with bird cages and mirrors in the lobby of the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa to Epcot Center's "Holidays Around the World," showing how other cultures celebrate the season.

The Magic Kingdom offers "Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party," a special ticketed event on select nights in December that features parades, fireworks, music and more.

Disney's Hollywood Studios, formerly known as Universal Studios, features a breathtaking seasonal display of millions of glittering lights synchronized to holiday music through Jan. 7, 2012, and what better place to get your holiday shopping done than in Downtown Disney, where the shops embrace holiday decorations and music like only Disney can.

But the true highlight is just a 15-minute drive east of downtown Orlando, where the tiny town of Christmas, Fla., gives you the chance to send out your holiday greetings with an official "Christmas" postmark.

New York City Rockefeller Center ice skating

No. 1: New York City

Perhaps no U.S. city is as associated with Christmas as New York City. Think of the Christmas movies set in the city, not to mention Rockefeller Center with its enormous Christmas tree and skating rink.

Take a walk through the bustling city to gaze at the Christmas window displays at Macy's and Saks Fifth Avenue. Since you're already out shopping, what Christmas visit to New York is complete without a stop at the huge kids' toy stores FAO Schwarz and Toys 'R Us in Times Square?

The Big Apple will be bustling with the usual Christmas hotel specials to accommodate the holiday shows, shopping and tourism that go along with the season, so be sure to make your reservations early.

Of course the fun doesn't stop once Christmas is over. If you've ever found yourself glued to the TV as the ball drops in Times Square, you know that New York City does up New Year's Eve right. Maybe this is the year to take in the festivities in person?

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