PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The countdown to December 25th has officially begun. For some of us, the pressure is on to find that perfect gift for your loved ones. The secret to the perfect present that will last you a lifetime? A vacation! Whether it’s a short ride away or halfway across the world a vacation is a perfect way to spend the holidays. Everyone benefits from this gift and the memories alone will have you smiling for the rest of the year.Flying solo this Christmas? Treat yourself! Take some time to escape, read that book you’ve been meaning to finish and escape to the spa. If you’re in the giving spirit try volunteering this Christmas. There are many volunteer travel programs that are dedicated to helping others. From environmental work to construction and community work, organizations, such as “Hands Up Holidays,” offer endless options that combine the best of travel and volunteerism that the whole family can enjoy.
Need a little travel inspiration? Have no fear…on the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…..six great vacation recommendations…and one gift for the entire family.
New York City, New YorkCity sidewalks, busy sidewalks, dressed in holiday style. The city is full of festive things to do and see during the holidays. What would a visit here be without a trip to Rockefeller Center to see the famous tree? Not to mention a stop at Radio City Musical Hall to witness the Rockette’s in action, as well as, a walk down 5th Avenue to see the incredible window displays, the Saks 5th Avenue light show and a visit to the ice skating rink at Bryant Park finished by a hot chocolate at Celsius.
Lapland, FinlandI’m dreaming of a white Christmas…in the European capital of Christmas! Located in the heart of the arctic circle, Lapland provides the perfect landscape for a chance to see the breath-taking Aurora Borealis at night. During the day you can occupy yourself with winter sports like cross-country skiing or dog sledding. Did I also mention that Lapland is home to the most authentic looking Santa Claus? Santa’s Village offers a variety of amusement with sleigh rides pulled by the one and only Rudolph and meet and greets with Santa himself.
Munich, GermanyO Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum…how lovely are the Christmas Markets? Dozens of stands as far as the eye can see decorate the streets of Munich during Christmas time. Come for the shopping but stay for the mulled wine, gingerbread and bratwurst. In town, stop by the Glockenspiel in Marienplatz square to see the town hall announce the time with moving figurines and 43 bells in a memorable display. Then after you’ve worked up an appetite visit the Hoffbrau house for some famous German cuisine and beer! Finally, finish your trip by taking a quick visit to the Neuschwanstein Castle. Just a quick train ride away and you can see the inspiration for the Walt Disney World’s Cinderella Castle.
Quebec City, CanadaA beautiful sight. We’re happy tonight. Walking in a winter wonderland. If it’s winter sports you seek this vacation, Quebec City is the perfect destination for you! Explore the countryside via snow mobile. Or if you’re really adventurous, try a trek in snow shoes. While you’re hitting the trails, be sure to take some time to fit in a little skiing and snowboarding as well. In addition, awe-inspiring old town offers beautiful architecture, horse-drawn carriages, singers and an open air art gallery just to name a few.
Maui, HawaiiMele Kalikimaka is the thing to say on a bright Hawaiian Christmas Day. Relax and take a break from winter the island way! Enjoy sunny days by the beach, swaying palm trees and nights dinning under the stars. There is, however, plenty of Christmas spirit in the streets of Maui with carols, lights and giant decorated Banyan Trees. You may even get to witness a Christmas miracle since December is the beginning of the endangered humpback whale migration to Hawaii for mating season. Saint Nick himself will also be making an appearance at polo beach on December 24th by canoe for a Christmas Luau. Aloha!
Disney World, FloridaHere comes Mickey Mouse, here comes Mickey Mouse, right down Disney lane! Think Disney World can’t be any more magical? Try a visit during Christmas for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. In true Disney fashion every street light, store, garden and character is dressed in holiday style. Whether you’re a kid or a kid a heart, Disney is sure to put a smile on your face.
Now that you have a destination in mind, let’s talk packaging. Just because you’ve decided to take a trip doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the experience of unwrapping a gift! Try a creative approach in surprising your family with these six suggestions.
- Elf On A Shelf – 12 days before Christmas leave clues using your elf on a shelf! On Christmas Day have your kids get into the car and reveal your surprise destination!
- Treasure Hunt – Hide clues pertaining to your vacation around the house. Wrap a few clues in small packages or make a treasure map to reveal one big treasure box.
- Box Within A Box – Have a little fun and start with a huge wrapped box! Then, like a nesting doll, wrap several other boxes until they reach a small box that inside holds plane tickets or a key chain.
- Puzzle – Under the tree, have a final present that you open last. This gift should be a puzzle that pertains to your holiday vacation. Then sit back and watch their faces as they put the puzzle together!
- Themed Gifts – Wrap gifts pertaining to your vacation. Bring out a final gift that’s labeled to everyone containing a note inside from Santa letting them in on the big surprise!
- Countdown Calendar – If you plan on taking a vacation after Christmas make one present a countdown calendar. Have envelopes for every week or month that pertain clues to your destination. Everyone will get a kick out of changing the days on the calendar and get excited when the countdown gets close to zero.
Now all that’s left to do is pack your bags! Happy holidays!