Many towns big and small have a special Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony to start the holiday season, and some places -- such as Uptown Houston, left-- go all out, with musical performances and fireworks.
Below are some stand-out Christmas Tree Lighting ceremonies. If you're visiting NYC, DC, Chicago on the right date, be sure to take your kids to watch the Christmas Tree light up.
And more for the Holiday Season:
* Photo courtesy of Uptown Houston.
As a final note, I'd like to highlight a few personal favorite family trip ideas.
: every four years, our family cashed in airmiles and headed off for an underfunded but wonderful journey. Budget travel in Europe is totally respectable, and those willing to consider options such as family-friendly hostels
- with family rooms, and often in character buildings - can find Europe with kids affordable as well as rich in culture, food, and history.
: I'm not sure my family would ever have visited if I hadn't started this site, but we've done many trips and find this vast destination not only super-fun but also a place that -- as the saying goes -- truly has something for everyone. Even a culture and food snob can enjoyably tour and dine their way around Epcot's World Showcase, and ticket price includes parades, Broadway quality shows, parades, concerts, fireworks extravaganzas and more.
Club Med All Inclusive Resorts
: I've visited many excellent all inclusives, but Club Med is one-of-a-kind. Kids programs are amazing, with so many creative activities and always an emphasis on active fun; teen lounges and programs are outstanding too. Above all, Club Med has a unique ambiance thanks to its G.O.
's, the enthusiastic staff who socialize with guests -- which works so beautifully with kids, who immediately have "friends" all around the resort.
Other favorite getaways are too many to mention: ski vacations, Utah, Hawaii
, Colorado in summer... many are on this list of Twenty Top Family Vacation Spots
I hope you'll find useful suggestions for your own travels, either among these top destinations, or perhaps as an out-of-the-box idea
, or a summer
or spring break
idea... Or have a look at ideas by regions
. Wishing you happy -- and long!-- travels: there's much to be said for a getaway long enough for family members to really move into a relaxed mode.
Long ago and far away... beach in Greece
After sixteen years, my role as your Guide for Family Vacations at About.com will end May 31. All those years ago, About.com got its start as The Mining Company; the Family Vacations topic got its start as Travel With Kids; and my own traveling kids were 3, 6, and 8 years old. A lot has changed since then-- not least, the incredible evolution of travel planning on the internet. It's been a privilege to build my topic during these exciting times and to be part of About.com which -- with over 1000 topics now, each with a personal Guide like myself -- quickly became a major presence on the internet. This has been a great gig, enriched with many wonderful memories of family trips with kids at various ages and stages, including young adults, which I could never have imagined when starting the website with a three-year-old!
It's been my pleasure to offer family vacation ideas and tips to so many visitors at the website, and I hope that those of you reading this will return in coming months and welcome a new Guide for the Family Vacations topic.
For those who want to keep in touch: some of you are already connected with me via Twitter, where I have the travelwithkids
handle. (Meanwhile the official Twitter handle for the Family Vacations site is AbtFamilyTravel
.) And there's Facebook
Photo © Teresa Plowright.
One of the most beautiful destinations my family has ever visited is the little corner of northwest Corfu, in Greece, which includes the hilltop village of Afionas, and two beach destinations, Arillas and Agios Georgios. Families love this area for its beautiful beaches, affordable accommodation, and friendly tavernas (restaurants); often these small local businesses are family-run. Arillas has been popular with package holidays from the U.K., and is an easy place for English-speaking families to enjoy the beach. Be sure to do a day-trip to the beautiful village of Afionas, perched above the sea.
Photo © Teresa Plowright.