If you’re a Hallmark movie fanatic, you’re naturally drawn to lists like the one that Country Living Magazine put together titled “40 of the Prettiest American Towns to Visit During the Winter.” It shouldn’t surprise you that Idaho put at least one city on that list! 

What will shock you is the city they chose. While introducing their picks, Country Living laid out some of the things they looked for: light dustings of snow, historic architecture, dramatic landscapes, ski resorts, holiday festivities and cozy cabins. That sounds like at least half the towns that made our list of the 5 Most Charming Christmas Towns in Idaho. It also sounds like McCall, home of Idaho’s most famous winter carnival. 

McCall Chamber of Commerce
McCall Chamber of Commerce
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We were expecting one (or more) of those cities to end up on the list, but Country Living threw a curve ball at all of us! Sitting at #20 is good old Nampa, Idaho. That’s right. Nampa. Country Living said: 

Nampa, a suburb of Boise, is renowned for its residents' Christmas light displays. It's not necessarily an organized event—the residents simply feel the festive spirit. There are, however, organized tours hosted by the town that take visitors to the most impressive displays.

Everything about that statement is true. Nampa always puts an impressive amount of home Christmas lights displays on the Boise Christmas Lights map. The tours they’re talking about are hosted by Nampa Parks and Recreation. They leave from the Harward Rec Center and take you to all of the must-see homes and neighborhoods in the city. They’ve already posted the details for the 2023 tours.

Facebook/Nampa Parks & Recreation/Harward Rec Center
Facebook/Nampa Parks & Recreation/Harward Rec Center
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But we’re scratching our heads because we’re not sure if they meant to pick Nampa. The image they used for their list sure does look a lot like Caldwell’s Winter Wonderland lights along Indian Creek. Just to make sure we weren’t crazy, we looked through the photographer’s work on Getty Images. Sure enough, the entire collection is full of images from Winter Wonderland and every single one of them is incorrectly labeled “Nampa, Idaho.” 

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Each year, the City of Caldwell’s Streets Department spends hours stringing over 1,000,000 lights along the creek. They also come up with some cute displays for people to discover. Every year you’ll see Penguin Island, a teddy bear swing and fire-breathing dragon. At heart of it all, you’ll find Indian Creek Plaza’s ice ribbon. 

Destination Caldwell
Destination Caldwell
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So, did Country Living mean to choose Nampa? Or did they mean to give Caldwell the nod for being one of the prettiest cities to visit in winter? We may never know, but the overarching message is that the holidays and winter months are a special experience in the 2C!

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