It’s the holiday season. Christmas is a few days away. New Year’s Eve is on its heels. If you aren’t on a cruise, a ship sailing to warmer climes you might want to spend the holiday closer to home. How about spending several days in a big city that’s within driving distance of your home?
Here’s what makes this idea so attractive. Imagine you are spending several days in the next two weeks in the metropolis.
11 Great Reasons In Between Sailings
- The great hotel. There are few business travelers at this stage of the pandemic. There are even fewer over the holidays. You can probably get a great room at a great hotel for a reasonable price, especially at a big hotel on short notice.
- The tree featured on TV. New York City has its tree at Rockefeller Center. Many cities do something similar. It’s fun to check out a very big tree and see how they decorated it.
- Traditional holiday plays and entertainment. The Nutcracker is performed almost everywhere each Christmas. Ditto Charles Dicken’s, A Christmas Carol.” These performances might be done by professional theater groups or amateurs in neighborhood venues.
- Checking out store windows. Most big cities have landmark department stores in the center of town. In New York City, Saks Fifth Avenue and Macy’s are two examples. Many stores put lots of effort into decorating their Christmas windows, because they draw crowds. One approach is to create dioramas with animated figures. Another is to feature room and party settings with luxuriously dressed mannequins in dining rooms or attending parties. The displays can be amazing.
- Christmas markets. European Christmas markets are so great. How great? Many cities try to recreate them in local settings. Sometimes they run for one weekend, other times every weekend up to Christmas. They are fun to explore, especially if they feature handmade gifts.
- Serious Christmas music. Religious institutions, symphonies and choral groups know Christmas is the time to put on great performances. Some are free, others are not. You can hear either popular holiday music or serious songs with medieval origins.
- Religious services. Christmas is a major, if not the major holiday in the Christian calendar. There are often several services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The music can be great and the decorations fantastic.
- Maybe you need to be lucky to come across this activity, but some online research should help. Groups of people form and sing holiday songs as a group, often in front of homes or local restaurants. It delivers that Hallmark Channel holiday movie feeling.
- Holiday menus at restaurants and hotels. Check out the onsite restaurant at your grand hotel. They may have a set menu for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. It’s usually multi course. It’s an occasion to dress up.
- New Year’s Eve festivities. This activity can be approached two ways: You’ve heard about and seen on TV those massive parties in hotel ballrooms where at the stroke of midnight, balloons drop from the ceiling and everyone shouts Happy New Year! Dinner is often involved. The second approach is the dinner that runs from 6:00 to 8:00 or 8:00 to 10:00. Everyone clears out after eating and hears to the place in the city where “the ball drops” and people celebrate New Year’s outdoors. Lots more whooping and cheering.
- The joy of the after Christmas sales. Every day is an occasion for a sale, however the “after Christmas” sales are big events? Why? Because stores have plenty of unsold stock (like Christmas cards and ornaments) needing to be marked down and sold. The other reason is many people received cash, checks or gift cards on Christmas morning and the money is burning a hole in their pockets. Nothing like an after Christmas sale to get people spending.
There are many other reasons it makes sense to turn any travel into a celebration. There should be several ideas on this list that grab your attention.
Cover photo: NYC Cartier flagship store, credit Bryce Sanders