Top 10 places to spend Christmas(1)

Whether your ideal Christmas is about snow and magical lights or a beach and a seasonal cocktail, travel website travelandleisure.com has come up with a list of 10 of the best places to spend Christmas. This list was compiled by editors at travelandleisure (www.travelandleisure.com).

1. Taos, New Mexico, United States

This remote village on a high desert plain is especially magical at Christmas due its rich mix of cultural traditions. Don't miss historic Ledoux Street all lit up with luminarias or paper lanterns, the ceremonial re-enactments of Mary and Joseph's search for shelter, and the dramatic American Indian Christmas Eve celebration that takes over the main square in Taos Pueblo. Plus, you can ski all day on Christmas Day at Taos Ski Resort.

2. San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

The Spanish colonial gem and cultural hot spot in central Mexico is electric at Christmas, with theatrical processions around town, numerous nativity re-enactments, and fireworks, live music, and dancing in the main square, El Jardin. Don't miss a taste of ponche, a kind of Mexican hot toddy made of fruits and brandy, or the sweet bread rosca de reyes, both Christmas specialties.

3. Tromso, Norway

The snowy city island of Tromso offers unparalleled views of the Northern Lights and a chance to say you've been to the North Pole -- well, the Arctic Circle, anyway -- for Christmas. Plus, there's dogsledding, great food, and a mountaintop cable car.

4. Key West, Florida, United States

Good cheer and warm temperatures are typically Key West's winning attributes, and Christmas is no exception. The trimmed palm trees, done-up historic inns and four festooned blocks of boats along the historic waterfront amplify the town's merriment.

5. Chicago, United States

The Windy City embraces yuletide cheer to the max, with a million holiday lights along bustling Magnificent Mile, Christkindlmarket, a huge outdoor German crafts market with beer and fare like sausages to stoke your fire, a towering handmade Christmas tree, and Navy Pier's Winter WonderFest, a holiday-themed amusement park and indoor skating rink.