The Holiday Season in December is a peak time for family getaways. In the US, festivities and decorations start with Thanksgiving weekend, which occurs with the fourth Monday in November. But in any country that celebrates Christmas, by the end of November lights and decorations are up and soon the Christmas events begin. Click through to page 2 for Kwanzaa, following Christmas, and First Nights and other family-friendly New Year's Eve events.
Photo courtesy of Wildflower Inn
Over a dozen ideas at family-friendly places in the US, from a New England inn where families can decorate their own Christmas tree, to Virginia, Colorado, New Mexico...
ICE! returns to Orlando. Photo courtesy of Gaylord Palms Resort.
New York City, New England, Hershey PA, Orlando, California..
Austin Trail of Lights - photo © J. Bear
Bright lights in winter darkness are a tradition during the Holiday Season. Check out some top spots to see dazzling displays: places with literally millions of sparkles.
Many towns big and small have this special Christmas event: a Tree Lighting ceremony, either late in November or in early December. Have a look at some stand-out Tree Lighting ceremonies. If you're visiting NYC, DC, Boston, or Chicago on the right date, be sure to take your kids to watch the light-up.
Polar Express photo, courtesy of Grand Canyon Railway.
Many tourist railroads run special train rides during the holiday season. Most famous are the "The Polar Express" train rides, that recreate the experience of the classic children's book about a child's train ride to see Santa at the North Pole. Other railroads run "Santa Special" train rides, or a "North Pole Express"...
Photo courtesy of About.com's Guide for London Travel.
A fun -- and free - activity is to stroll along a sidewalk beside a big department store, looking at Christmas window displays created to delight children: tableaux of elves in Santa's Workshop, with moving parts; traditional Victorian Christmas scenes; maybe a humorous Santa Claus...
Photo courtesy of Santa's Village, NH.
The North Pole (NY), Bethlehem CT, Orlando, Chocolate Town USA... read about great places to see the jolly guy in red, with many special Christmas events.
"Grinchmas" at Universal Orlando.
It's the world's top spot year-round for family getaways, and in December and late November Orlando adds the dazzle of lights plus outstanding Christmas events in all the theme parks.
Photo © Natchitoches Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.
These festivals are great fun for families, with Christmas events such as tree-lightings, candlelight processionals, and Santa arrivals.
Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort.
It's a peak time for good reason: Disney World has dazzling decorations and wonderful Christmas events. Each of the four theme parks has major -- and many minor-- special Christmas events:the Candlelight Processional, Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, Wishes fireworks...