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Christmas Vacation Ideas

The long school break from Christmas to New Year's is peak time for travel, and planning ahead is essential for popular spots.

Christmas Vacation Packages
Twenty ideas for getaways in the U.S., from a New England Inn (where families can decorate a small tree in their room) to a dude ranch in Colorado, to an island in Florida, with plenty of Christmas spirit at all.

Holiday Events by Region
Whether spending Christmas vacation at home or away, families will find plenty of festivities.

New York City Holiday Season
As you'd expect, this city knows how to celebrate the holiday season. New York City is a great place for a family Christmas vacation.

Disney Christmas Events
The theme parks and resorts light up at Disney World and major celebrations get underway in November: Magic Kingdom festivities include a Very Merry Christmas Party on multiple nights; Epcot has Holidays Around The World, and a Candlelight Processional that retells the Christmas story; Disney's Hollywood Studios has the Osborne Family...

Orlando Events
It's the world's top family destination year-round, and Christmas means even more fun. The added dazzle of holiday lights plus many special events make all of the theme parks merrier.

Great Places to See Santa
Any family Christmas vacation probably includes seeing Santa somewhere, and some places are more special than others. How about The North Pole (NY), or Orlando, or Chocolate Town USA, Bethlehem CT, or Santa Claus Indiana? Check out some fine places to see the jolly guy in red.

Ideas in Europe
What better time to experience the Old World traditions that charm North Americans so much? Christmas in Europe will be a time of special celebrations, decorations, and seasonal warmth. Read about German Christmas markets, London at Christmas, Italy, and France... (and enjoy low-season airfares, too.)

Polar Express Train Rides
The Polar Express is a classic children's book (and movie) about a child's train ride to see Santa at the North Pole. At many tourist railroads in the US, families can ride a real-life train that re-creates the storybook experience.

Christmas Train Rides
Many scenic railroads run Christmas trains. "The Polar Express" train rides -- which recreate the classic children's story -- are the best known, but many other tourist railway companies run Christmas trains such as a "Santa Special" or "North Pole Express."

Books to Take Along
Take along some classic books to pass the time on plane trips or car rides, or to perhaps help imagine a snowy traditional Christmas while the family's in a tropical clime. The Grinch, Charlie Brown, and more seasonal favorites are also available on DVDs.

Kwanzaa Celebrations
Kwanzaa -- a name that comes from a Swahili phrase for "first fruits of the harvest"-- is an African-American celebration of culture and family that takes place from December 26th to January 1st. Many cities have public Kwanzaa events that welcome families.

More Christmas Vacation / Holiday Season Packages
A half dozen more ideas for the holiday season, at family-friendly resorts and / or destinations with special events.

Track Santa on Christmas Eve
Wherever you are on your family vacation, track Santa's flight online at the NORAD website.

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