Thursday, December 21, 2023

Holiday time around the world is celebrated with lights, parades, fun

The Wynn in Las Vegas goes in for the holidays in a big way. Like everything in this exciting,
colorful city, it's larger than life and attracts lots of attention outside the theater. 



The historic Mission Inn in Riverside, Calif., is famous for its
elaborate holiday displays. They attract thousands each season.

Dubai, UAE, features a Riverland Christmas Parade
each holiday, with a Christmas market and afternoon teas.
WHEN WE STARTED DATING nearly 18 years ago,  Bruce Keller and I decided to create
new holiday traditions.
That meant traveling, something we both love.  So what destinations have been our favorites over these past 17 holidays?
WE LIKE being around people of all ages -- no dreary "seniors only" haunts for us.  We enjoy the mix of young and old, the gathering of families and watching how other cultures celebrate and connect.  
It's exciting to use snippets of a language we're learning, to try it out as we order local foods and beverage specialties. Even a few phrases in the tongue of your host country opens doors, makes friends.

"Cookie and Keller" enjoy San Francisco's famous Fire
Engine Tour, fun anytime, especially during the yuletide.
What determines where we go? First, the place must have holiday lights. We're sentimental about that.
Sao Paulo's "Ponte Estaiada", is a cable-stayed bridge, lit up
each holiday, a beautiful sight over Brazil's Pinheiros River.
Its official name is the
 Octavio Frias de Oliveira bridge. 
Then, it must offer fun photographic possibilities. It doesn't have to be "warm" but if  it's in snow country, there must be easy access to a "warming hut" and toddy.  There needs to be theater, museums -- culture -- so we can see a play, gallery or concert and learn something.
WE'VE CELEBRATED the holidays in both the northern and southern hemispheres.  We've seen Santa dive in the Great Barrier Reef and load up presents in a helicopter in Cabo, Mexico. We've sipped mulled wine with Swedes and munched on tasty gingerbread "pepparkakor." 
We've celebrated Hanukkah and Christmas simultaneously with friends, admiring the menorah as well as their Christmas tree.
A menorah and Christmas lights accent the holidays in
a friend's home. He believes in honoring both celebrations.
WE'VE GAMBLED happily in Las Vegas, and once saw a spectacular Cher show on Christmas Eve in Caesar's Colosseum. She wore a sexy "Mrs. Santa" costume for one number and a dozen other costumes, all seasonally apropos.
Seattle's Space Needle and Christmas tree
complement one another's lights.

We’re all in favor of doing the traditional thing -- spending the time with loved ones at home which we do occasionally.  But we also love seeing how cities around the world transform in December. Europe, South America, Australia and the Pacific Islands are  exciting places to spend the year-end holidays. Shortly after Halloween, and into the New Year, villages and cities offer sights to please from small, storybook Christmas markets to over the top light displays.  
 Celebrity Cruise decorates
 each ship's Centrum with trees
 and baubles during the holidays.
One resort in Bora Bora created a wonderland around the pool, encouraging us to bask with a cocktail, and admire palms festooned with lights. Santa appeared in a swimsuit with bikini clad elves in tow.
Here in the U.S., hundreds of cities jazz it up with lights and imaginative displays. Las Vegas can't be topped for spectacle. In Paris, the streets are a dream, from Moulin Rouge to tiny squares tucked away between the Louvre and Eifel Tower.

Always showy, Moulin Rouge goes over the top with holiday
. The food is classic French fare, and dining at the Moulin
Rouge in Paris on New Year's Eve is memorable and great fun
 UP NEXT: If you're still celebrating -- and we hope the answer is "yes" -- we invite you to continue globetrotting with us to see what the world eats as we usher in the new year. We'll toss in an easy recipe from Vietnam.  From one holiday to the next, keep the buzz going, remembering to explore, learn and live and catch us weekly for a fresh spin on the arts, travel, nature, family and more.


  1. Lots of ideas for us to contemplate.

  2. Always fun to see where Cookie is!

  3. We're reading this at the beautiful Mission Inn. So nice to see it featured.

  4. Reading this at Mission Inn for the holiday. So nice to see it featured.

  5. Key West Trolley FansDecember 26, 2023 at 12:42 PM

    Fun times on any trolley.