Monday, January 7, 2013

Christmas 2013: Plan Your Holiday Stay in a Vacation Rental & Start a New Christmas Tradition

Christmas in Mexico, anyone? You're sure
to get some takers when you announce
that trip.

Well, we all made it through another Holiday season. And while there's both a sense of relief and nostalgia as you put away the decorations, now’s a great time to think about where you'll be spending next Christmas. While being home for the Holidays is wonderful, there's a lot to be said for traveling over Christmas. It's off season for many popular locales in North America, Europe and parts of Asia so rates will be lower. Plus, local Christmas traditions have survived the test of time. You'll truly get a real feel for how unique a culture is when you join with them in their cherished Holiday traditions. Then, when you celebrate the Holidays in your home, you can bring new ideas home and enhance your traditions. Vacation rentals are the perfect lodging choice for such a trip, as they allow you to fully immerse yourself in local culture and traditions.

For example, in Italy they just celebrated La Befana, the final festivity of their Holdiay activities (Italians celebrate Christmas on Dec. 25). Befana is an old woman or witch who brings gifts to good children and coal to bad children on the eve of the Epiphany, the Holy Day in Christian tradition that celebrates the visit of the three wise men to the infant Jesus. Of course, Befana bears strong similarities to the Santa Claus character prevalent in many cultures. This year, the Epiphany fell on January 6 and was welcomed with events and celebrations such as the Cavalcade of the Three Kings in Florence, which featured over 700 costumed characters cheering the witch as she flew across town visiting children. There was even a Miss Befana beauty pageant to show that the witch doesn't necessarily need to be unattractive.

Of course, there are lots of other parts of the world to explore over Christmas and New Year’s. You can experience a Dickens Christmas in England -- there's nothing quite as special as enjoying a glass of port in an English pub as you listen to traditional carolers. Or visit Holland or Germany and see the origins of Santa Claus and the Christmas tree firsthand. Or escape the cold for the warmth of Mexico and join in on the nine day celebration of Las Pasdas, during which people dress as Mary and Joseph going from house to house asking if Mary can stay the night. Of course, they're eventually invited in and everyone enjoys a great party filled with food, song and piƱatas for the children.

So as you reflect on the memories you made during the 2012 Holiday season, think about all the fun you can have during Christmas 2013 and New Year’s 2014, and start planning your Holiday vacation now!