Where To Travel For Christmas
Ah, the holidays. Time for family and friends? Maybe, not! Maybe this year, things are different and it's time to go somewhere for Christmas. But where? This is the short list of some of the very best little places out there for a traveler to enjoy at Christmas time.
In Branson, Missouri Lies Silver Dollar City
This is the family friendly "Las Vegas of the Midwest" - an excellent oasis lies between the Ozarks and farmland, a mecca for the other half of the USA as a tourist destination. In the midst of Branson, you'll find Silver Dollar City, a fantastic amusement park for all ages that includes rides, fine dining and shows. In 2012, the Christmas line up includes a five-story special effects Christmas tree plus more (as on their website):
- Carol of the Bells
Steven Curtis Chapman
- Joy to the World by
Boston Pops Orchestra
Michael W. Smith
- Suite from Polar Express
- Sleigh Ride
Boston Pops Orchestra
- It's A Wonderful Life! - the musical (live adaptation of the film)
- Broadway-style stage production A Dickens' Christmas Carol
Dates and details for this Christmas destination can be found on the Silver Dollar City calendar.
San Juan, Puerto Rico - A Two-Week Christmas Party
Carved wooden saints will be the token to take home as a memory of your time in beautiful Puerto Rico. These Catholic religious pieces, known as santos ("saints") are only one symbol of the Christmas experience on the tropical island. Like in Hawaii, a visit to Puerto Rico is incomplete without the indulgence of slow cooked pig. Don't be surprised by salsa music and dancing - even on Christmas.
In Puerto Rico, the festivities begin in early December but are truly underway as of Christmas Eve, culminating in a fiesta on January 6th, two weeks later. Beginning halfway through December, each morning churches will have carols sung at day break. In addition, more singers walk the streets caroling between November and January. Christmas Eve is marked with a family feast. New Years Eve is celebrated with a mandatory eating of twelve grapes. These wonderful celebrations are finalized by Three Kings Day, on January 6th. When the children wake up on "El Dia de los Tres Reyes Magos," (Three Kings Day), it is a day filled with a gifts for them.
There will be no shortage of public celebrations for you to partake in and many of them will be present in a church setting, such as at the well-known Capilla del Cristo (Chapel of Christ). On a walking tour of San Juan, be sure to see Plaza del Colon. Along the way will be a slew of historical sights decorated for the occasion.
Christmas Tree Lighting in Rockefeller Center, New York
The majesty of Rockefeller Center Ice Skating Rink, while snowbound and with artistic ice skaters performing, is dwarfed by the size and magnitude of the Rockefeller Christmas tree. As the soldier and cherub look on, you will feel the magic of the urban man in this oasis within the city of Manhattan, New York.
The Santa Claus Village in Lapland, Finland
In the Arctic Circle, experience Santa, real reindeer, and a quintessential Santa Claus Village like no other. People visit from all over the world to see a small glimpse of the true Northern Christmas holiday. While you're there, enjoy the numerous gift shops or participate in a workshop. Visit the Roosevelt Cabin, in memory of Eleanor Roosevelt and her visit to this part of Scandanavia.
Start Planning Your Christmas Trip As Soon As Possible
Especially in the big cities, it will be necessary to secure reservations, even at budget hotels. Booking early gives you the best chance for the best rates for hotels, trains, ferries, and air travel. Many deals can be found by booking online instead of in person, if you plan ahead.
To read more about getting inexpensive travel deals, read my article called How to Compare Travel Fare.
If traditional travel planning is a challenge for you, consider ways to have a working holiday in my article: New Ways To Finance Travel.
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