Where To Go For Christmas

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-Metro Services photo

The beaches of Mexico offer a great getaway for folks looking for fun in the sun during their Christmas vacation.

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Courtesy photo

Branson, Mo. dresses up and dazzles at Christmas.

Christmas for many of us is considered to be a time to be with family and friends. However, there are a growing number of people who prefer to get away from the holiday traditions and relax away from home.

There are hundreds of interesting opportunities that will change your lifestyle for a short period during Christmas time.

Internationally, you might consider a break in Mexico at one of their fine resorts. Cancun and Playa del Carmen come to mind. This is the tropical part of Mexico with typical Caribbean weather. Direct flights operate from Phoenix to this area. The hotels in both locations are deluxe, and many are fully inclusive. Christmas will never be the same after a week or so in this part of the world.

Closer to home is Puerto Vallarta on the west coast of Mexico. Here again you will find deluxe hotels with plenty of ocean and beaches. And, there are also direct flights from Sky Harbor Airport.

Some of you may wish to Christmas shop in Europe. London and Paris are good choices with the Chunnel train operating frequently between the two cities taking only two hours for the transit. Both cities will be well decorated in Christmas attire with plenty of holiday attractions available. It’s hard to get more upscale than in these two cities. British Airways flies non-stop to London from Phoenix and has return flights every day of the week. Others desiring hard core shopping will venture into Germany and Austria for a real sense of Christmas with lavish décor everywhere. Special musical events are plentiful at this time of year.

Closer to home, a unique Christmas can be spent in New Orleans with many jazz events, and great Cajun food for which this city is known worldwide.

Want a real feeling of Americana? Try Branson, Mo. — with more than 36 theaters operating, you can find just the right entertainment to suit your tastes. And in this part of the country, you might have some snow tossed in as a bonus. The entertainment will be country sprinkled with old-fashioned ballads as heard in the ’50s along with clean comedy and Christmas music. Major musical stars perform on the various stages, backed up by wonderful orchestras and fine casts. Branson is set among the beautiful Ozark Mountains and Christmas here will be a treat.

How about Santa Fe, N.M.? Here is a distinctive city set in the high desert an hour north of Albuquerque. The style of homes and buildings is quite unique and reminiscent of Indian dwellings and haciendas of the past. Here you’ll find interesting hotels, shops and attractions including the Santa Fe Opera. Luminarias will be featured in many sections of the town. The food specialty is Southwest Mexican, and can be found in many restaurants.

Some of you may prefer the isolation of a mountain cabin tucked away from the busy world. Our own area is perfect for this. Or, you may choose to venture into Colorado for your getaway.

If you want action, Southern California is loaded with attractions. Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, Universal Studios and more are waiting. There are luxury accommodations, as well as economy motels and bed and breakfast establishments.

If you want to travel and at the same time wish to be with loved ones, plan to meet at a destination you all agree to visit.

Or book Christmas/New Year’s cruises. You can take the whole family with you on a ship. Aboard will be lavish Christmas decorations, special food dishes and holiday entertainment. The entire time aboard will be a memorable event for all. Santa may even be aboard for the children.

Las Vegas spins Christmas with special decorations in the various hotels and resorts, and some of the entertainment will be themed to the holidays. Vegas is easy to reach from Arizona and with gas prices going down, it isn’t such an expensive destination to reach.

If you are sports minded, perhaps a hockey-focused holiday would please you. There are games all over the United States, and the Web will find those for you. You can mix sports with shopping and other attractions in the major cities.

If you decide you don’t want to travel, decorate your home and invite the family in for a turkey or ham dinner for all to enjoy around the fire. You may even wish to sing carols and play Christmas music.

As a last resort, say, “humbug,” eat frozen dinners and watch old movies on T.V.

Merry Christmas!

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