Updated: Feb 20
Are you one of those people who just love the holiday season? Do you decorate your home even before Thanksgiving begins? Do you have family traditions that you participate in every holiday season?
If you are looking for new ways to celebrate the winter festivities, then I have 3 family vacations that are the perfect trips for anyone who wants to be immersed in everything Christmas.
#1: Walt Disney World Resort
It's no surprise that the most magical place on earth goes all out for the holidays.
From the theme parks to the resorts and everything else in between, Walt Disney World is the place to be if you want to celebrate the season of the holidays.
During the months of November and December, guests at Walt Disney World will be full-immersed in holiday cheer from the moment they arrive.
Every Walt Disney World resort features holiday decorations with a themed Christmas tree in the lobby.
Some of my favorite resort decorations include:
Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa's lifesize gingerbread house (the smell takes over the moment you walk in the lobby!)
Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort's massive Christmas tree
Disney's Ft. Wilderness Resort light displays and inflatables set-up by guests staying at the campsites
Not to be outdone by its resorts, each Walt Disney World theme park is decked out in holiday decorations and it's truly hard to forget that you are celebrating the winter season with so many festivities happening all around you.
At each park, you will find Disney characters in holiday attire, seasonal treats, holiday music and nighttime light shows.
EPCOT's World Showcase features its own festivities with a Candlelight Processional, tasty holiday cuisines from around the world, entertaining cultural celebrations and scavenger hunts for the kids.
No visit to Walt Disney World during the holiday season is complete without a visit to Magic Kingdom. Every year, this park is transformed into a winter wonderland. This year, Magic Kingdom will be hosting one of the biggest theme park festivities, Disney Very Merriest After Hours.
On select nights in November and December, this park welcomes guests to a holiday party featuring complimentary treats, a holiday parade and entertainment, festive Disney characters, seasonal light displays, fireworks and the biggest highlight... "snow" on Main Street U.S.A. This magical celebration always puts everyone in the Christmas spirit.
#2: European Christmas Markets
Dating back to the middle ages, European Christmas Markets have been sharing holiday cheer with locals and visitors for centuries. It is truly one of the highlights of visiting places like Germany, Austria and Switzerland and other European countries during the holiday season.
Picture massive Christmas trees strung with thousands of lights and set against the backdrop of the most stunning architecture. Here you will learn about age-old traditions as you wander through the Christmas Markets enjoying whimsical artisanal gifts and the intoxicating aroma of roasted chestnuts, hot cocoa, mulled wine and sugar plums.
These Christmas markets occur during Advent, which runs approximately from U.S. Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve.
They are the perfect place to enjoy the seasonal festivities while doing a little bit of holiday shopping too.
Each market is unique with its own activities and entertainment including Christmas carolers, cultural dancing, ferris wheels and ice skating rinks.
Best of all, you can visit multiple Christmas markets on a family-friendly river cruise where you can spend a week traveling to different markets in grand cities like Vienna, Budapest, Strasbourg and Cologne.
#3: Disney Cruise Line
Step aboard one of Disney Cruise Line's "Very Merrytime Cruises," which sail from early November to late December and take guests on a high seas adventure with a festive theme.
During these voyages, guests can experience the holiday magic with seasonal onboard decorations that include a 24-foot Christmas tree, garlands, poinsettias and shimmering lights.
While onboard, families can partake in a plethora of seasonal activities like building gingerbread houses, decorating cookies, playing games, singing carols and other activities for the young and young at heart.
Not only are guests given opportunities to take photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, but they can join them for a grand celebration and listen to Mrs. Claus read classic Christmas stories. Plus, Disney characters make special appearances in their festive holiday attire.
For Caribbean and Bahamian cruises, guests will also experience Disney's private island, Castaway Cay which is transformed with "snow" flurries, a Christmas tree and so much more.
I hope these magical holiday vacations give you some great ideas for planning your winter festivities.
Lissa Ryan is a Senior Travel Advisor with Kingdom Destinations specializing in luxurious family vacations. Lissa helps busy parents who want to create travel memories with their families through luxury travel experiences, but are too busy or overwhelmed with all the effort and research that is required to plan that perfect vacation.