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Lakeside Getaways in the Land of A Million Christmas Trees

For those interested in a Clark W. Griswold-style christmas tree hunt, there may be no better stomping grounds than California's High Sierras. Awash with millions of conifers, the mountains also serve up one of America's finest outdoor playgrounds, Lake Tahoe. Here are five of our favorites from the current crop of listings on the lake. Up first is a rustic cottage near Sugar Pine State Park with glorious views through a wall of windows and a fitting hearth for the hanging of some Christmas stockings. There's not much space for holiday revelers in the 1,248-square-foot space and the place is lacking in elbow room on its 0.8-acre lot. That makes for even more of a surprise on the price tag. Thanks to the rarity of lakefront property, this tiny sliver is asking $3.5M.

? This similar lakefront cottage is perhaps even more rustic than the first, but it's asking even more of potential buyers, $4.25M. Part of the reason is that the property has apparently been approved for a 8,855-square-foot new home, quite a bit larger than the 1,980-square-foot existing structure, which has five bedrooms, four baths, and a spacious wooden deck. To be fair, we don't think its reasonable to keep that formica kitchen at this price point, but there's something charming about this little cabin that shouldn't give way to a gargantuan log home.

? Speaking of enormous—and ugly—homes, this West Lake home puts the emphasis on views, not on architecture, with towering walls of glass seemingly the only goal. With lackluster finishing inside, it's a wonder this place, which suffers the name "Villa Lago," should sell for anything close to its $7M asking price. But that's the magic of the lake working for this five-bed, five-bath spread.

? Not all luxe lakeside homes adhere to the same aesthetic, just most of them. That's why it's so refreshing to see this modern take on the Tahoe house, even if the design isn't terribly appealing. Floor-to-ceiling walls of glass, a vertical design, and a mix of steel and stone, rather than wood and stone, make for an interesting change-up. We don't think it's interesting enough for a $9.5M price, but the owners stand to pocket a hefty profit if someone does: they paid $1.05M back in 1991.

? Unsurprisingly in this rarified company, it takes a lot of green to get a lot of greenery in these parts. This eight-acre estate, presiding over 670 feet of lake frontage, is asking an astounding $34M. Here though, the modern architecture is something to behold, with a detached guest pavilion that feels something like a glassy tree house. Thanks to that dense foliage though, there's not much more than a peek at the lake from the main house.

· National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation Griswold Christmas Tree Scene (VIDEO) [YouTube]
· 8315 Meeks Bay Ave [Zillow]
· 8797 Rubicon Dr [Zillow]
· 5100 Westlake Blvd [Zillow]
· 290 Northlake Cir [Zillow]
· 593 Lakeshore Blvd [Zillow]