The Hanover Inn in New Hampshire is inviting guests to spend the holiday with them, promising the most homelike Christmas celebration one can find away from home. The Inn, which just celebrated its 200th birthday, fronts on the Dartmouth Green. On winter nights at Christmastime a large Christmas tree gleams before the brightly lighted bell tower of Baker Library.

Special Christmas package-plan rates will be available for guests heading for Hanover and the Inn at Christmas. The holidays begin on Tuesday, December 23 with a Wassailing party in the lounge at 5:30 p.m. A Yule Log ceremony will be held on the green at 6:00 with members of the North Country Community Theatre players in period costume leading the ceremonial lighting of the log. Everyone will have sprigs of green to toss into the fire.

On Wednesday, December 24, Inn-keeper Merrow will show everyone how to make stained glass cookies. Design your own and the bakery chef will bake and deliver them to your room. The Inn kitchens will be baking more than 25,000 cookies for guests and townspeople alike.

Recommended: How well do you know global Christmas traditions? Take our quiz!

Tobagganing and snow-tubing are planned for the afternoon that ends with tea in Webster Cottage, where Daniel Webster lived during his years at Dartmouth. Christmas eve holds a candlelight dinner and carol sing around the piano. In the wee hours, Santa is expected to leave a small gift at guests' doors. Christmas Day at the Inn starts with a continental breakfast at 10 a.m. Dinner with all the trimmings, and the turkey passed so guests can select their favorite parts, is set for 12:30. On Christmas evening at 8:00 the turkey and fixings will be put out so guests can make sandwiches or nibble just as they would at home.

A variety of sports -- downhill and cross-country skiing, skating, sledding are minutes from the Inn's door. A display of old toys is scheduled for the Hopkins Center, and Paul Revere silver is also on display. For more information or reservations write The Hanover Inn, Box 8, Hanover, New Hampshire 03755, or call 603-646-4300.

Christmas in Newport is well-known to New Englanders and visitors to this charming seaport. The city's tenth annual celebration will include bazaars, choral programs, tree trimming parties, bell ringers, candlelight house tours, and a holly ball.

Chateau-sur-mer, one of the Newport mansions, and a fine example of lavish Victorian architecture, will be decorated for the holiday season with fresh-cut greens and poinsettias. In the ballroom a 16-foot evergreen tree will be traditionally adorned with candles, candy, christmas cards, and ribbons and bows. Beneath the tree, Victorian toys will be displayed. Arrangements of greens will decorate the mantels, with laurel roping and ribbons winding up the stairways. Eggnog and Christmas cookies will be served in the marble hall on December 14 from 11 a.m to 4 p.m., but the house will be open daily from December 13 to 21, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

In the ballroom of the Elms, another mansion, a ceiling-high tree decorated with satin balls, garlands, and lights all of gold will be on display. The ballroom at Marble House will feature a tree with red satin balls and gold garlands and lights. On the lawn of the latter mansion, a 25-foot evergreen will be lit by hundreds of white lights. To receive the 1980 Christmas in Newport calendar and more information on the Newport mansions, write the Preservation Society of Newport County, 118 Mill Street, Newport, Rhode Island 02840.

For thousands of holiday visitors, one of the great pleasures of Christmas is shopping in bustling, tingling, glittering and often snow-capped New York City. New York is enchanting during the holidays, and many of its attractions are free. The season officially began in early December when the giant Christmas tree goes up above the Rockefeller Center skating rink and the stores unveil lavish show windows and tree lights begin to twinkle all over town. Many New Yorkers feel that Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without seeing some of the following: the Christmas show at Radio City Music Hall; "The Nutcracker" danced by the City Ballet at Lincoln Center or the Metropolitan Opera's "Hansel and Gretel"; the Metropolitan Museum's tree trimmed in 18th-century Neapolitan ornaments and this year the new American wing will be tastefully decorated for the holidays; viewing the Christmas sky at the Hayden Planetarium; shopping the museums -- Brooklyn Museum for arts and crafts from all over the world, the Modern for this year's hottest gift, the paperback Picasso catalog, the Morgan Library for a rare selection of Christmas cards; strolling up Fifth Avenue on a holiday Sunday when cars are banned and puppets, steel bands, and Polish singers lead the way; reading of "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" and carols at the grave of its author, Clement Moore, on the Sunday before Christmas by the Church of the Intercession; and a choral recital at St. Thomas Episcopal Church at noon on Wednesday and at regular church services.

For many families and friends, gathering at The Greenbrier has become a tradition and a joyful way to enjoy the best of the holidays. During the 12 days of Christmas, from Dec. 23 to Jan. 4, The Greenbrier has planned a schedule of festivities including musical programs, lighting the great Yule log, caroling , culinary demonstrations, sports events and outings, and nightly entertainment for children and adults.

The Greenbrier glows with twinkling lights, crackling fires, and hundreds of bright poinsettias. Outside, shimmering ice sculptures of Santa Claus and his reindeer and a giant glittering Christmas tree kindle holiday spirits. The Greenbrier has put together a three-day minimum holiday package for both Christmas and the new year; all rates are $67.50 per person, double occupancy, including breakfast and dinner daily.

The special New Year's package features a gala dinner-dance with a filet mignon dinner and dancing to the big band sounds of the Freddie Lee orchestra. The Greenbrier is nestled in the Allegheny Mountains in West Virginia on a rolling 6,500-acre estate. More information may be obtained by writing The Greenbrier, White Sulphur Springs, w.Va. 24986, or by calling (800) 624-6070.

Poinsettias, holly, mistletoe, and candlelight will accent many of North Carolina's historic houses during this Christmas season to celebrate a "Carolina Christmas."

Biltmore Estate in Asheville plans a series of special events. More than 20 Christmas trees, including a 40-foot tree in the banquet hall, will be among its decorations.

The restored area of Old Salem in Winston-Salem will have the sights, sounds, and smells of the early 1800s as the Moravian traditions are celebrated. Cooking will be done in the old fireplaces, and craftsmen will be at work in their shops throughout the town.

In Charlotte's Fourth Ward several 19th-century homes will be decorated in Victorian Christmas fashion when they are open to the public.

Several turn-of-the-century homes will be open to the public for a candlelight tour in Raleigh's Historic Oakwood area. In Wilmington, homes will be adorned in traditional Christmas decorations Dec. 12 to 23. Just north of Wilmington, Poplar Grove Plantation will re-create an 1850s Christmas style with both decorations and foods.

For more information on Christmas events in North Carolina, contact the North Carolina Travel and Tourism Division, 430 North Salisbury Street, Raleigh, N.C. 27611.

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