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"Yes, Lake Superior freezes. Many people are surprised to find this out, but in the winter the lake does partially freeze over and the harbor is closed. This photo was taken at the Canal Park entrance to the harbor, Duluth, Minn., in February 2010." (Courtesy megstanton/myBudgetTravel)

Sunrise over Lake Superior, Duluth MN

Best Places to Spend Christmas: Quebec City. Why Go: Lit-up cobblestone streets, 16th- and 17th-century stone houses, and lots and lots of snow make Quebec’s 400-year-old walled city an atmospheric and European-like place to be at Christmas. Quebec’s good cheer and great food could make you remember you love winter after all. Where to Stay: Housed in former 19th-century stone warehouse in Vieux-Port, Auberge St. Antoine stands out for the perfection with which it juxtaposes old and new. Soaring ceilings and cast-iron beams are complemented with such amenities as heated stone floors, and artifacts unearthed during its renovation are on display throughout. Doubles from $209. Holiday Dinner: Serving traditional Québécois cuisine based on 17th-century French recipes, Aux Anciens Canadiens is offering its main menu on Christmas Day from 5 p.m. Appetizer highlights include foie gras au torchon on a baguette and scallops and prawns in a white-wine sauce, while entrées run the gamut from a vegetable terrine to filet mignon of wild caribou. (Prix fixe $36-$79, depending on the main course, or à la carte.) Stocking Stuffers: Step back in time with a visit to Maison Jean-Alfred Moisan grocery, a 140-year-old Vieille Quebec mainstay. For Québécois clothes, try La Maison Simons department store, and for hand-wrought ceramics, Boutique Pauline Pelletier is a good bet.

Best Places to Spend Christmas:  Castleton, England. Why Go: A tiny stone English village dotted with cheerfully lit Christmas trees would be enough of an allure, but caroling by candlelight inside caves seals this southern town’s place on a list of special yuletide travel destinations. Where to Stay: Just up the road in Hope, the secluded Losehill House Hotel and Spa offers a Christmas package that includes three nights’ accommodation (beginning Christmas Eve), meals (including a Christmas feast), and a spa treatment; $820 per person. Holiday Dinner: The eight-course Christmas Day dinner kicks off with champagne at 1 p.m. and continues with an appetizer of partridge-mushroom soup, langoustine cocktail, or roasted shallot tarte Tatin. Entrée choices include roasted turkey; fillet of John Dory with a Shiraz-hibiscus emulsion, terrine of winter vegetables; and venison loin with celeriac fondant and roasted figs. Stocking Stuffers: The Blue John Original Craft Shop is a must for snagging a “Blue John” gem—a luminescent purple-orange stone—found only in two of Castleton’s famed caverns.