Here’s proof that “ho ho ho” in Atlanta is more than a reference to classic Ludacris lyrics.

According to a new analysis by personal-finance company WalletHub, the ATL sits atop the jolly heap of American cities when it comes to 2023’s Best Places for Christmas Celebrations.

That’s despite the fact Atlanta has had just one white Christmas since the 1880s, the hallowed Pink Pig tradition is no more, and more than one Grinch is displeased the annual German Christmas Market uprooted from downtown to Buckhead.

WalletHub analysts considered more than that in coming up with their 2023 nice list.

In this era still weary of (and worn out by) inflation, they studied the 100 largest U.S. cities to determine the most festive and affordable places based on 28 key indicators such as shopping, costs, and traditions. Despite continued financial headwinds, Americans are expected to spend a record amount once again on holiday purchases this year.

The study’s intent, per WalletHub, was to help consumers pinpoint the best cities for maximizing enjoyment with minimal budgets. “The best Christmas destinations,” analysts wrote, “provide a variety of opportunities to get into the holiday spirit without a hefty price tag.” 

A colorful holiday scene along Peachtree Street in Midtown. Shutterstock

Broadly speaking, Atlanta ranked fifth among all cities for both “Shopping” and “Generosity,” while it also finished strong in the “Traditions and Fun” category at No. 8. Drilling down further into specific topics, here’s how ATL fared:

Celebrating Christmas in Atlanta (1=Best; 50=Avg.):

  • Overall rank for Atlanta: 1st
  • 10th – Christmas Tree Farms per Capita
  • 1st – Number of Affordable, High-Quality Restaurants 
  • 54th – Restaurant Meal Costs
  • 1st – Food Banks per Capita
  • 30th – % of Christian Population
  • 13th – Online Giving per Capita
  • 16th – Share of Income Donated to Charity

“Atlanta features the third-most bakeries as well as the sixth-most shopping centers and holiday decoration options, giving Atlantans more opportunities to find the best deals for their holiday celebration needs,” wrote WalletHub analyst Cassandra Happe in a summary.

As the runner-up, Pittsburgh features some of the lowest hotel room prices in the nation for holiday travels, in addition to an abundance of affordable restaurant choices.

Coming in third place was Orlando, which WalletHub found to have a plethora of attractions, churches, and restaurants for people looking to be anywhere but home for the holidays. Like at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Walt Disney World or the Grinchmas hoedown in Who-ville at Universal Orlando Resort.



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