Twinkly lights, evergreen wreaths, and your own foggy breath suspended in the crisp, cold air each play an essential role in why Durango is consistently voted one of the most Christmas-y towns in America. This holiday season, bring your family to the heart of the magic and take home the gift to outlive them all: memories that’ll last a lifetime! 

If you’re torn between the best weekend to plan your Durango Christmas vacation around, here’s our list of six holiday showstoppers marking this season’s calendar:

1. The Polar Express: Whether you’re a fan of the book or the movie or both, you won’t be alone donning pajamas and rosy cheeks during this Durango holiday tradition that involves cocoa and cookies, elves and Santa, and a train ride through a wintry wonderland. Ensure your family gets these warm fuzzies by booking today! Dates: November 15 – January 2

2. Lighting of the Community Christmas Tree: Grab a steaming cup of free hot chocolate and a photo op with the Big Man Himself at the Singing with Santa event on November 29. Join in as Santa starts the festivities at TBK Bank and ends at Buckley Park in downtown Durango. You’ll feel like a local as you join fellow carolers for the official kick-off to the holiday season. Date: November 29, 6 p.m. sharp

3. Durango’s Biggest Christmas Party: Downtown Durango turns into a Hallmark movie backdrop for the 16th Annual Noel Night when Durango locals flood Main Avenue for an all-day, all-evening holiday soiree featuring more than 100 local businesses, discounts, raffles and refreshments. Live music, parties, art gallery openings, and more set the tone for a shopping spree Durango-style! Date: December 6

4. But do you have the Nutcracker? Why, of course Durango hosts this timeless Christmas classic! If your holidays aren’t complete without Tchaikovsky’s Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, book your Durango getaway around the State Street Ballet of Santa Barbara’s Nutcracker performance held at the Community Concert Hall. Dates: December 13-15

5. Christmastown, USA Headquarters: With the halls decked, a carefully trimmed tree, and garlands hung by the chimney with care, the Strater Hotel beckons weary travelers to come in out of the cold and cozy up in the comfort of a historical hotel. With free holiday gift wrapping throughout the month of December (1st, 14th, 15th, 21st & 22nd) and the annual Christmas Buffet, your home-away-from-home awaits. 

6. NYE on skis: If the slopes are calling, then post up at Purgatory Resort 25-miles north of Durango. While you can ski here during any of the dates you choose for a Durango visit, New Year’s Eve at Purgatory is particularly memorable, with the torchlight parade, fireworks, and child care so you and your partner can sneak away in a Snowcat for champagne and dinner on the mountain. Date: December 31