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Why Your Family Should Get Away During the Holidays

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It is hard to escape the sentimental Christmas song, I’ll Be Home for Christmas. In many families it isn’t just a song, it is an expectation. You will be home for the holidays. It was one I followed for many years. But let’s put aside that notion for a moment, shall we? What if you decided to travel instead? Grandma may not appreciate it but, the lessons it provides children may even have her not only endorsing the idea but insisting on joining you. Read below for holiday travel ideas of places that my family has really enjoyed.


On any given day the streets of Brooklyn hum with activity — people, traffic, urban noise — but on Halloween they come alive with ghosts, goblins, super heroes, and Elsa from Frozen. Unlike in our Northern California neighborhood where kids ring doorbells at the front steps of their classmates’ homes, kids in Brooklyn stop by restaurants and shops for treats. Neighbors also wait for little revelers on the front steps of their brownstones and homes. More people outside on the streets mean a more festive atmosphere.

Holiday travel ideas - Halloween in Brooklyn

Looking for holiday travel ideas? The streets of Brooklyn come alive for Halloween.

Brooklyn was an easy subway ride from New York Hilton Midtown. Some neighborhood streets were closed off to accommodate excess foot traffic and street parties that included different kid-friendly attractions at each participating home and numerous trick or treating stations.

My kids’ favorite experience was trick or treating in a pizzeria; although they were a little bummed it didn’t result in a large slice for each of them! “It was fun to see Halloween from another point of view,” my daughter later told me.


We have spent many a Thanksgiving Day among autumn colors walking the country roads of my hometown. So a Thanksgiving at the beach was truly a different experience for my family. Stripping away all of the noise, family politics, and football that ordinarily swirl around this holiday made room for long walks on Huntington Beach in California across from The Waterfront Beach Resort and s’mores around a bonfire. Both activities helped us get back to what this holiday is really about, sharing all we are grateful for. A distinct lack of piled high dirty dishes will have a lot of parents being thankful for a holiday away!


Travel to Hilton Waikoloa Village on Hawaii’s Big Island just after Christmas and you’ll not only still get a taste of a tropical holiday, you’ll also enjoy Hawaii’s cultural traditions for ushering the New Year. The island chain’s close proximity to Asia has brought several traditions that have originated on the continent, including making mochi, or rice cakes. Pounded into paste and molded into shape, mochi is a traditional food for the Japanese New Year.

We visited the Donkey Mill Art Center near Kona to help make mochi as well as construct a kadomatsu, a traditional Japanese decoration signifying the countdown to New Year which is made of pine sprigs, bamboo and plum blossoms tied together with cord. The matsu (pine) symbolizes constancy, vitality and longevity, and the bamboo represents strength and flexibility. Kadomatsu are placed in pairs to assure a great start to the New Year.

Holiday travel ideas - making Kadomatsu in Hawaii

We enjoyed participating in the tradition of making kadomatsu in Hawaii.


My family loves everything about the holiday season, including time with relatives we don’t see much during the year, but holidays can also become overwhelming and crazy with added demands. So take my family’s advice and pick one holiday to get away together. Removing yourselves from home for just one holiday is a great way to reconnect with your immediate family, and keeping visits on the calendar for the remaining holidays can still keep grandma happy!

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Beach Thank You photo by Gisela Giardino/ CC BY 2.0

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Kristine lives in Mountain View, California, where she is the mother of a gifted girl athlete and a special needs charmer. Like almost everything in her house,…

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