For most of us, Christmas is a time spent with family at home--caroling on Christmas Eve perhaps, up early the next morn for gift exchanging and a Christmas dinner. Some years, however, traditions can be a bit of a bore. Everyone needs to mix things up now and then to recharge the batteries. Here are some suggestions for an atypical family Christmas.
The Bracebridge Dinner at the Ahwahnee
Located in the heart of Yosemite National Park in California, The Ahwahnee Hotel is a national historic landmark. Designed rustically to blend with its surroundings, the lodge transforms itself into a manor from the 1600s for the Bracebridge Dinner. Inspired by a Washington Irving book, the event includes caroling, dancing and a cast of more than 100 actors who portray roles from the book. The dining area is decorated in period fabrics and the cast similarly costumed. During all this time, a well-prepared meal of several courses is served. The hotel is in the Yosemite Valley, surrounded by numerous mountains of granite, like Half Dome and El Capitan.
Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
The Walt Disney resort, in Florida, hosts Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party every holiday season. One of Disney's four theme parks, the Magic Kingdom is the host site for this event that includes Mickey's Once Upon A Christmastime Parade. Other features include a fireworks show, cocoa and cookies for free, faux snowfall on Main Street, Disney characters performing, and of course a visit from old Santa Claus himself. Guests under 18 must have a parent or guardian in tow. This event often sells out, so purchasing tickets in advance is advisable.
The island of Cozumel, located in Mexico, just off the Yucatan peninsula, is a good way to spend a tropical Christmas. A bus and ferry ride from Cancun, Cozumel has all Cancun has to offer but with a much more relaxed, small-town feel, which includes an all-out Christmas celebration. Food and lodging are cheaper in Cancun as well. Cozumel, also reachable by airport, has numerous activities available including sailing, fishing, moped rental, nature walks, snorkeling, some of the best scuba diving in the Caribbean, as well as Mayan ruins. This is a busy time of the year here for both Mexicans and foreigners, so reservations are suggested.
Claire Taylor is a health, wellness and travel writer with credits in publications such as "Woman's Day," "Marie Claire," "Adirondack Life" and "Self." Taylor is also a seasoned independent traveler, as well as a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant.