Fredericksburg Parent

December 2014

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18 Fredericksburg Parent and Family • December 2014 W hen the thought of shopping and making room for more holiday gifts becomes overwhelming, maybe the best thing you can buy for your family is a holiday vacation. Travel prices are usually higher during the busy Christmas season but it's a slow time of year in many offices and both school age and college kids are home for break It may be one of the best times for the entire family to get away together. The memories you'll make will last a lot lon- ger than the latest video game or sweater. It wasn't easy choosing only five destinations but I tried to focus on a few important cri- teria for destinations that 1) Are g ood for families with kids of all ages, 2) Offer activi- ties and events that celebrate the holiday season, and 3) Are accessible. Whatever the destination, try to book early because many popular places sell out weeks or even months in advance. You may get lucky and find some last-minute deals and cancellations! Destinations New York city is a showcase of Christmas cheer. More than sparkling lights, the entire city comes alive with cre- ative genius in December. You may find a sculpture of giant Christmas balls stacked in front of an office build- ing or captivating videos and special effects pulsing from digital billboards in Times Square. Even a skyscraper atrium may glow with enormous crystal chandeliers that change colors. Scattered among these sights are store windows with elaborate, intricate, mobile dioramas: Lifelike mechanical elves building toys, a rhinestone encrusted snow queen waving amongst a magical "snow fall." Things To Do See the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, a holiday classic. Shop in the outdoor market in Bryant Park where vendors sell everything from handmade jewelry to scarves, artwork and wood crafts. Admire the decorated trees at Rockefeller Center but skip the lines and ice skate at Wollman Rink in Central Park. You can take a horse carriage ride to get there. Few ski resorts have the range of family activities that Steamboat Springs offers. Besides the pow- dery snow and spectacular Rocky Mountain scenery, even during the coldest winter, the bright sunshine and crisp, dry, mountain air warms your face as well as your soul. Things to Do Of course there's day and night skiing and snowboarding but noth- ing says Christmas like an old-fash- ioned sleigh ride. If you'd rather get a bird's eye view, catch a sce- nic gondola ride. Immerse yourself in the western tradition of a horse- back ride or try some backcountry exploration on a snowmobile. Snow bikes, snowshoes and cross country skis are available for the physically fit, or if you seek a thrill, try the Adventure Zone Slingshot Bungee Jump Trampoline or slide down Yee-Haw tubing hill. Steamboat's natural hot springs are a relaxing relief from all the physical activity and cold weather. BY DEBBY GIRVAN Top Holiday STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, COLORADO have the range NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK

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