Bound Blog

Bound’s Favorite Things: Destination Holiday Traditions

Picture of the author, Ali Nichols
By Ali Nichols
M12 11, 2019

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  Our team loves partnering with our amazing clients to see how each destination celebrates their unique holiday traditions.  We’re grateful for the opportunity to work closely with our client teams every single day!

To celebrate the season with ‘thankful hearts and endless joy’, and taking some inspiration from Oprah herself, we present our favorite holiday traditions inspired by some of our favorite DMOs:

Ali’s favorite thing:
Asheville, North Carolina: National Gingerbread House Competition

Baking has always been a favorite past time, but the need to bake greatly intensifies around the holiday season. Thanks to the holiday editions of baking shows, I’m able to spend even more time during the season thinking about holiday baking. A few years ago I discovered the show Gingerbread Giants and quickly became obsessed with the unbelievably amazing creations made by master baking and decorating artists.  These sculptures feel especially unbelievable because making a gingerbread house is SO MUCH HARDER than it seems and makes me feel like I have my own Nailed It! competition happening in my kitchen. 

While it has become a new tradition for me, The National Gingerbread House Competition has been a favorite Asheville holiday tradition for over 30 years. I hope to one day plan my own trip during the holidays to celebrate all things gingerbread, but for now, visions of sugar plums and icing sugar are dancing in my head as I plan out my next baking adventure!

Jessica’s favorite thing:
San Fransisco, California: Illuminate SF Festival of Light

I love all things bright and cheerful, which is why Christmas is one of my favorite times of year. My family used to drive around for hours checking out all the holiday lights. That’s why each year I’m excited to see all the new content for Illuminate San Francisco. This annual display of light art across the city (including installations on wheels like the “lightmobile’) looks so gorgeous and inviting in the photos, that I can’t wait to plan a trip to see in person!

Mary Clare’s favorite thing:
Franklin, Tennessee: Dickens of a Christmas

Is there anything more Christmasy than Charles Dickens and a Christmas Carol?

I’ve loved Dickens since the first time I saw Michael Caine and Kermit the Frog in The Muppet Christmas Carol (easily the best version ever made). In fact, I loved a Christmas Carol so much that every year growing up, my grandma would give me a house for my Charles Dickens Christmas village. Even now, it doesn’t fully feel like Christmas until I’ve pulled out these houses and set them all up for December. So I’m thrilled that the folks at the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County have hosted their Dickens of a Christmas in downtown Franklin for 35 years. With hundreds of actors and characters set in the most charming downtown I’ve ever seen, this is easily at the top of my Christmas bucket list.

Taylor’s favorite thing:
Austin, Texas: Mozart’s Coffee Roasters Light Show

If you were to tell me that cramming onto a deck at a coffee shop with hundreds of other Austinites would be my favorite holiday tradition, I would have scoffed, but Mozart’s Coffee Roasters light show is a sight to see. With over 1 million lights (which take 6 full time staff members weeks to assemble), Mozart’s Coffee on Lake Travis hosts a light show every hour on the hour from Thanksgiving until New Years. Sip cocoa, cuddle up with family, and sit in awe of this impressive 10-minute display. And of course, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” makes an appearance.

Adriana’s favorite thing:
Branson, Missouri: Christmas Tree City Trail

For me, the holiday season truly begins when Explore Branson switches all of their site’s Fall imagery to Christmas content. It usually happens about mid November and it tells me that it’s finally okay to start listening to Christmas music.

Though I am a definite Christmas and holiday enthusiast (on occasion I have been called “Christmas Crazy”), my appreciation pales in comparison to the Christmas fervor that takes over Branson, Missouri. The entire city is lit up with twinkling lights and there’s a Christmas or holiday related event almost every night. One of the things that I appreciate the most is Branson’s Christmas Tree Trail. The city boasts over 700 ‘colorful, unique, and creative’ trees. And better yet, Explore Branson created a multi-stop list so that you can tramp around to see all the trees that are at least 20 feet tall or are part of a multi-tree display. You may need the entire season to see all 700 trees but it’s a goal that I’d be willing to work towards!


We hope you have a wonderful holiday season and, as Tiny Tim would say, “God Bless us, every one!”

Ready to get started?

It’s easier than ever to launch personalization and start seeing results.

Contact Us