Start Planning Your Next Holiday Family Getaway
Now is a great time to start planning your next holiday family getaway, especially for larger families and multigenerational groups. It’s easier to get the best rooms and airfares with plenty of advance notice. In addition, planning your trip when everyone is together helps to firm up dates, surface vacation expectations and create buy-in. Even if you're off to a late start though, last minute space can often be available.
Holiday cruises to tropical destinations can be a great choice for family and multigenerational getaways. These December sailings feature special holiday activities and gala events, festive decorations, delectable meals and much more. During the December holiday season, cruises are available from more than fifteen conveniently located home ports around the United States. Holiday cruises depart from a variety of European ports, too. Parking can be found near all of the cruise terminals and there’s no limit to the amount of luggage and presents you can bring onboard, other than what can comfortably fit in your cabin.
Cruises during Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s are a great way to celebrate the holiday season. Ships are decked out with evergreen wreaths, colorful poinsettias, elaborate gingerbread villages and oversized twinkling Christmas trees. Santa generally makes an appearance during holiday cruises, often bringing along gifts for the kids. There are a wide variety of holiday parties and celebrations offered onboard, sometimes including Christmas-themed cooking classes and special holiday shows put on by younger guests. Ships offer festive events and activities such as caroling and sing-alongs, tree lighting ceremonies, Christmas parades, High Teas, New Year’s Eve Holiday Balls and dance parties. In addition, cruise ships cater to kids and teens with extensive age-specific holiday programming, special kids’ and teens’ clubs, kids’ menu items and much more.
Family holiday cruise vacations aren’t confined to ocean-going vessels, though. European Christmas markets river cruises are another great way for families to celebrate the holidays as well. These cruises provide guests with the opportunity to experience Christmas markets in a number of Europe’s most historic cities and towns. For multigenerational families, these cruises can also provide a way to rediscover family roots and traditions, too. Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, AmaWaterways and Tauck offer a variety of family-friendly European river cruise itineraries during November and December’s festive holiday season.
The start of Advent marks the beginning of Europe’s Christmas markets season. Many of these Yuletide markets have taken place for centuries, so there is considerable tradition involved. Each town’s Christmas market is unique with different offerings to explore. Stalls are filled with vendors selling handmade crafts, ornaments, candles, steaming hot drinks, delicious gingerbread and pastries, roasted chestnuts, savory sausages, handcrafted chocolates and a variety of other treats. Experienced Christmas markets river cruisers know to bring an extra bag for all of the unique gifts they’ll purchase on their vacations. Most Christmas markets stay open until December 23rd while a few stretch into early January.
During the Christmas markets season, historic European cities and towns turn into enchanting winter wonderlands filled with festive holiday decorations. Many markets feature unique decorations and products, such as Nuremberg’s Zwetchgenmannle (plum people) and Christmas angels. Holiday decorations on river cruise ships tend to be lavish as well. A variety of onboard holiday activities including tree decorating contests, caroling, storytelling and gingerbread-making also add to the festive nature of these Christmas markets river cruises.
Historic resorts are also popular choices for family and multigenerational holiday vacations, particularly when they’re decked out for Christmas. Located just a short 90-minutes from New York City, Mohonk Mountain House’s Victorian castle provides a fairytale-like setting complete with handmade wreaths, kissing balls and over 15 beautifully decorated Christmas trees. During the all-inclusive resort’s Victorian-style Christmas celebrations, families can enjoy a wide variety of activities including a family Yule Log hunt, Christmas caroling, gingerbread house decorating, reindeer tracking and more.
Amenity-filled resorts cater to multigenerational families with an extensive variety of holiday programs for all ages. This allows all family members to have fun, both together and apart. In western Virginia, the Omni Homestead Resort's holiday season calendar is filled with hundreds of entries including the Homestead Holiday Express Hayride, Photos with Santa, Goodnight Elf Tuck-In, Holiday Cookie & Gingerbread House Decorating, Artisan Craft Classes and more. The resort offers multiple ways for families to celebrate New Year’s Eve, including a black-tie Celebration Gala, a Family Merry Masquerade and a black tie formal evening in The Omni Homestead’s historic dining room. A New Year’s Eve party just for kids is offered as well.
Holiday celebrations are festive occasions at The Broadmoor, Colorado’s legendary family-friendly resort. The historic property is decorated with a million lights, an amazing 12-foot tall gingerbread chapel and beautiful Christmas trees. Events include elaborate holiday dinner shows, breakfasts with Santa, cookie decorating with the resort’s pastry chefs, and an impressive Winter Lights display at Seven Falls - where Santa arrives by zip line. Families can even soar across the frozen falls on The Broadmoor’s Soaring Adventure. The Broadmoor also features its celebrated “12 Days of Christmas” filled with holiday-themed activities, cooking lessons and culinary delights.
Resorts at theme parks like Walt Disney World are another popular choice for December family vacations and mini-reunions, allowing parents and grandparents to make holiday wishes come true with their children and grandchildren. Walt Disney World’s resorts are festively decorated for the holidays and the parks feature special activities such as Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, International Festival of the Holidays at Epcot, Flurry of Fun at Disney's Hollywood Studios, spectacular fireworks shows and more. In addition, personalized packages can be arranged including special holiday in-room celebrations and private holiday dessert parties.
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