A Charleston Christmas

Christmas is a wonderful time to be with friends and family. Every year, our family comes together to have a big, traditional holiday celebration that is jam-packed with family activities. However, after hosting a hectic holiday season last year, we decided to take a break this coming season and go on a much needed family vacation. Wanting a coastal vacation in a smaller city, we settled on Charleston, South Carolina.

A delightful little seaside town, Charleston boasts a rich history and Southern charm that is just irresistible.

Looking for Holiday Meal Ideas?

It can be difficult (especially for kids) not to be home for the holidays. Sure, there’s the excitement of exploring a different location, be it Grandma and Grandpa’s house in Phoenix or a ski resort in the Alps, but on Christmas morning, you sometimes can’t help but crave the comfort of home.

That’s where the power of food comes in. While there are many things you can’t bring with you when you travel, recipes actually travel quite well!

2010 Holiday Happenings

For many, the holidays mean travel. Making the trek to family on the other side of the country, escaping to a beach in Mexico, or skiing. Spending the holiday somewhere special has its perks, but my family does an amazing amount of excursions over the weekends leading up to (and after) Christmas and New Year’s.

We may not be hopping on and off of planes, but we’re definitely hitting the road to take advantage of the whirlwind of great “holiday things” on the calendar.

Christmas in Paris

I asked two Paris local travel experts for suggestions on the best holiday activities in the City of Lights. The first selection of ideas is from from Marlys and Michael Schuermann, the team behind @ParisBuff. Parisians by adoption, they offer budget tips to Paris and beyond. Michael is the author of the book Paris Movie Walks.

The second selection is from ParisKid, a family-focused tour company offering guided walks for non-French speaking children ages 6-12 and their families.

Five Less Obvious, Less Costly, and Less Crowded Ways to See NYC in December

I’m not a big fan of mingling with camera-clicking tourists in the shadow of the blazing Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, but traditionally I like to get a quiet look at it before it’s gussied up and lit, which was my plan on the Monday after Thanksgiving.

But had I not been approaching the Rockefeller Plaza tree area from Sixth Avenue—rather than heading there directly from 5th Avenue, which thousands of visitors do every day—I would have missed entirely …

Christmas in London

There is something so magical about being on holiday in a big city at Christmas time. And if you have kids with you London is particularly enchanting.

The streets are sparkling with fairy lights, the store windows are alive with mechanical elves, dancing dolls and miniature trains whizzing around tracks and Santa is waiting for you to visit him in his Grotto.

But where do you start?

Exploring Christmas Markets in Europe: Montreux, Switzerland

This is my first Christmas in Central Europe and I have to admit, I’m excited! We live near all the wonderful European Christmas markets—it doesn’t get more festive than that. We checked out the one closest to our house in Montreux last weekend. I wasn’t sure what to expect … with 146 “chalets” featuring local crafts and food, I knew it was going to be big and busy.

Photo Friday: Christmas on the Great Barrier Reef

Two long-haul flights, two short-haul flights, and one beautiful ferry ride finally got us to Heron Island on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The first thing I noticed was the unmistakeable smell of birds—thousands and thousands of them—within seconds my ears caught up to my nose and I was hit by the din of what I later learned was a staggering 70,000 birds!

Heron Island is a sanctuary for the Black Noddy (not the Heron as you might think).