3 Christmas Vacation Destinations Here, There and Out There
By Anthony Galasso
When it comes to Christmas vacation, many of us traditionally gather around with family and friends to rejoice, exchange pleasantries and devour the delicious holiday treats our taste buds have grown accustomed to all these years.
For others, Christmas vacation is a joyful escape, trading all the familiar holiday excitement for new holiday experiences. If you’ve seen Christmas with the Kranks, this is what Tim Allen’s character Luther Krank essentially tried and failed to accomplish.
Here are a few Christmas vacation destinations – here, there and out there – that you and your loved ones might want to consider if you’re trying to break the mold this holiday season.
Here: Taos, New Mexico
This tiny town in the desert is the perfect domestic destination for any American seeking to shake things up during the holidays sans an International passport.
Taos adds a bit of Native American and Hispanic flavor to Christmastime. During the season, the town celebrates by lining Ledoux Street with paper lanterns. Each lantern adds a faint glow to the street as the town’s lively people stroll in and out of shops, galleries and museums enjoying the season. The street is filled with music, food and drink, and even bonfires where people often gather and perform tribal dances.
According to TravelChannel.com, “in the days prior to Christmas, the town also celebrates the Hispanic tradition of Las Posadas, a candlelight processional at Ranchos de Taos Plaza, as well as a performance of Los Pastores, a Spanish morality play.”
If you’re a snow bunny, the Taos Ski Resort is just 18 miles away. Plus you can ski all day long on Christmas Day.
There: Reykjavik, Iceland
If you’re looking to exercise your right to get even further away for Christmas, Reykjavik, Iceland may be your best bet. But hurry…it was just named one of the world’s best Christmas destinations.
Iceland’s tourism industry has picked up a lot of steam in recent years. So, while everyone else you know yucks it up in their homeland for Christmas, why not sneak away for a taste of Icelandic Yuletide spirit?
“In this otherworldly landscape, daylight is a four-hour affair and the liquid-green aurora borealis illuminates the nighttime sky,” writes Jennifer Coogan for Travel + Leisure.
If the Northern Lights don’t already have you convinced, experience all festive fun Reykjavik has to offer. Keep your eye out for the “Holiday Lads,” 13 Santas who majestically loom throughout the city during Lent. You’ll also want to visit Reykjavik’s Christmas Market in Ingólfstorg Square where you can enjoy holiday performances, purchase unique holiday gifts and sip on delicious mulled wines.
For us, though, it’s all about those Northern Lights.
Out There: Queenstown, New Zealand
If your Christmas wish is to truly escape this holiday season, perhaps look into Queenstown, New Zealand as a landing spot for your thrilling Yuletide adventure.
While Christmastime is obviously wintertime to you, the holiday falls just at the start of summer for residents in this little resort town, making it extra enticing as a break from the norm.
There are plenty of must-do activities surrounding Queenstown for the holidays. One must-do activity is a visit to Santa’s Grotto not far away in Wanaka.
According to TheCultureTrip.com, “For the past three years, the community has hosted a charitable Santa’s Grotto event that encourages everyone to unleash their inner child. Market stalls, Santa appearances plus a number of fun-filled family events are some of the key highlights of this celebration.”
If you’re looking for somewhere to eat on Christmas Day, definitely be sure to stop by the Skyline Gondola’s Stratosfare Restaurant where you can enjoy breathtaking views of Lake Wakatipu.
If you’re a thrill seeker, you’re in luck. Perhaps the best thing about Queenstown and its surrounding areas are attractions like skydiving, bungee jumping, whitewater rafting and more – most of which are open on Christmas Day.