Experience a traditional Victorian Christmas or ring in the new year on Edinburgh's Royal Mile — no matter how you wish to celebrate the holidays, we've got a special event you'll enjoy! We've rounded up a dozen festivals, parades, tree lighting ceremonies and other seasonal events from around the U.S. and Europe, and we'll be adding to this list throughout the holiday season.
Got one of your own to share? E-mail it to us! Be sure to include a name, location and Web site if available, and tell us why we should include this event.
Why go: Boston celebrates the coming of the new year with a city-wide party, beginning at 1 p.m. and ending at midnight when 2008 is welcomed with a massive fireworks show. Events during the day include film festivals, musical performances, dance shows and a wide variety of other cultural offerings in venues across the city. The whole family will love the ice sculptures on Copley Square and the Boston Common, and the Grand Procession is the highlight of the day. Admission to all events is granted with the purchase of a First Night button ($15 per person, free for children under 4).
Why go: Cape May's elegant Victorian buildings are bedecked with garlands, wreaths, lights and other holiday finery throughout the month of December. Take a candlelight tour of this charming seaside town and experience the warmth and traditions of a Victorian Christmas, including caroling, strolling musicians, hot beverages and homemade treats. Self-guided tours include admission to the historic Physick Estate and to the holiday exhibit in the Carriage House Gallery. Tours are $24 for adults and $12 for children age 3 - 12.
Why go: The Norfolk Botanical Garden glows after dark with nearly one million twinkling lights of all colors and sizes, creating a winter fantasy land that will captivate the whole family. In addition to a 2.5-mile driving tour, the Garden of Lights also features tram rides and nightly entertainment. Admission is $10 per car. Print this coupon to get $1 off admission.
What: A NOLA New Year's Eve
Where: New Orleans, La.When: December 31
Why go: If any city knows how to party, it's New Orleans! Count down the seconds to 2008 in the inimitable French Quarter and enjoy fireworks, live music and a gumbo pot drop. Festivities kick off at 9 p.m., and admission is free.
What: Las Posadas
Where: Los Angeles, Calif.
When: December 16 - 24
Why go: For a taste of traditional Mexican culture, head to Olvera Street in Los Angeles, where the local community celebrates Las Posadas (Spanish for "The Inns"). This nine-day Mexican festival commemorates Mary and Joseph's journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem in search of a place for Mary to give birth. During the festival, a colorful parade is held each night. Participants dressed as pilgrims proceed from one home to the next until they reach a designated posada that will grant them entrance. There, the evening's party is held, featuring singing, religious ceremonies and the breaking of a pinata. Admission is free.
Why go: The Festival of Lights is a celebration of one of Kauai's most unique local artists. "Auntie" Josie Chansky is known for her incredible holiday decorations, such as egg carton wreaths, a chandelier of wire hangers and a Christmas tree made from 7,500 green toothpicks. Her creations will appear in a dramatic illuminated display at the Historic County Building in Lihue, Kauai from December 7 through December 31. Don't miss the special festivities on Opening Night, which will feature caroling, a parade, a visit from Santa and the illumination of thousands of lights throughout the Historic Park. Admission is free.
Why go: One of the world's biggest New Year's celebrations, Hogmanay is a four-day party that takes over the city of Edinburgh, Scotland starting on December 29. Events include concerts, ceilidhs (traditional Scottish dances), street parties and a torchlight procession up the historic Royal Mile, capped off with a bonfire and fireworks. Ticket prices vary by event.