The holidays are fast approaching. I’m always amazed at how time seems to fly by faster the wiser I get with each year. The nights begin to cool down everywhere. Twinkling lights give every room a warm glow from their strung garland draped around the house. The air has the sweet smell of fresh cookies from the oven mixed with the earthy pine needle scent from the Christmas tree.
Along with the warmth that the holidays bestow upon each of us, we also have that crazed feeling each day as the end of the year approaches. Huge family meals are to be made, presents need to be shopped for and wrapped. The stores are busting at the seams, there isn’t a sane driver to be found in the parking lots, nor a decent spot. It is that time of year again, the holidays are upon us.
Christmas was always my favorite growing up. Even though we had the hustle and bustle of every holiday with our rather large family, we would always head for the mountains of Lake Tahoe around the 27th for a week of skiing. We would ring in the New Year with friends, fresh powder and a great feeling of being away. While I do enjoy my home around the holidays, I also love escaping to spend the holidays somewhere where I don’t have to cook, clean and I can just enjoy the company of my friends and family.
This year we decided to pack the bags and give each other the gift of travel. We want to spend time in the Christmas markets in Germany, have a piece of real Dresdner Stolen, and enjoy the warmth and charm of a foreign land. I have to admit, I’m no stranger to spending this glorious time away. And since we do not travel every holiday, when we do – those memories burn even brighter for me. Here are my top five holiday escapes I’ve enjoyed over the years.
1) New Year’s in Vienna, Austria – we loved spending the week in Vienna. This city is so rich in culture and history. We loved taking in the sights, palaces and markets, enjoyed a glass of Gluhwein at a street stand, or even just warming up at the Cafe Mozart while enjoying a piece of Sachertorte and hot chocolate. We took in several of the many traditional classical concerts in halls that were older than we could fathom. We celebrated a milestone birthday by dinning at the Rote Bar in the famous Hotel Sacher, and finished our trip by ringing in the New Year at one of Vienna’s famous gala balls. This is a special trip – we enjoyed it on the Millennium. Ein glückliches neues Jahr!
2.) Hawaii for Christmas – Nothing is like the lush tropical islands of Hawaii for Christmas. You will see the traditional decorations of Christmas, but with a definite Hawaiian twist. Experience something new – we spent the day at the beach enjoying all the tropical richness that the Hawaiian islands have to offer before dining on Abalone and spending quality time with family. Or take in a luau with a roast pig instead of the traditional turkey of this holiday. Mele Kalikimaka!
3.) Skiing in Kitzbühel, Austria – I grew up skiing and nothing was better than enjoying a week in Kitzbühel, the resort known for its famous tough downhill run – the Hahnenkahm. We skied each day, went ice skating, and enjoyed a horse drawn sleigh ride. We enjoyed a five star meal on Christmas and then celebrated the New Year with guests from all over at a private party. The air was crisp, the slopes were a challenge, and we enjoyed all that this quaint Austrian village had to offer. Fröhliche Weihnachten!
4.) Orlando, Florida – My first Christmas in Florida was spent at Walt Disney World, I mean who better to spend Christmas with than Mickey Mouse and friends? The parks in the Orlando area really do the holidays right. You haven not been to this area until you have seen it decorated for the holidays! My favorite thing is being at Epcot and listening to the story about Santa Claus for each country – he’s different in each one as are the traditions. New Year’s is a ton of fun at Universal Theme Parks – we personally love Islands of Adventure for the Fireworks display. Enjoy a special meal at one of the many hotel restaurants – many have a special New Year’s reservation only menu and party. But it’s City Walk that really comes alive this great night.
5.) Caribbean Cruise – Spend your holidays – especially New Year’s Eve at sea. Even better – cruise with a small group of friends or family. There’s something for everyone to make them happy. The ship is decked in all it’s glory and the nightlife is filled with shows, lounges of all types, discos and tons of extra fun activities. We’ve cruised the Caribbean and enjoyed the holidays on island time with friends and guests from all over the world at sea. No one does New Year’s like a cruise ship – best of all, no one has to drive (except the Captain)!
So no matter where you choose to spend the holidays this year, maybe think of traveling somewhere you haven’t been before. We all need that little escape from the craziness, and who’s to say we shouldn’t indulge a little. Give the gift of travel – it’s one that you are sure to enjoy and remember for years after!
It’s never too late to plan an Escape. Need help coming up with the perfect place or want to hear more about one of our Holiday Escapes, click here!