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Five ways holiday travel will absolutely change your life

Updated: Oct 14, 2022

London's Natural History Museum Ice Rink. Photo courtesy of the National History Museum.

Tell me if this sounds familiar. There you are in your favorite fuzzy socks with steam curling from your favorite mug, your fireplace is crackling, Bing Crosby is crooning and there is pure magic in the air. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, or so you thought. Pretty soon, you’re buried in thoughts of turkey shortages, shipping delays, Secret Santa gifts, burnt soufflés, what to serve your vegan uncle, school musical schedules and wondering if pumpkin pie really is an aphrodisiac. You just want a festive, joyful and fulfilling holiday season where you spend quality time with the ones you love, without getting elbowed in the checkout line at Kohls. And you know what? You can have that and so much more. So let me tell you why the holidays are the best time to travel, because in all honesty, it will absolutely change your life.

European Christmas markets are some of the oldest in the world. Photo courtesy of Wix.

1. Christmas vacations are all the joy with none of the pressure

You know why the holidays were so magical when you were a kid? Because you didn’t have to do anything to make them that way. You just showed up and someone else saw to all the glistening little details so that everything was merry and bright. Now, it’s YOU who must see to the details, and the pressure becomes so great, people dread the season altogether.

But when you travel to places like Strasbourg, which is basically the capital of Christmas and the site of one of the oldest Christmas markets in Europe dating back to 1570, they roll out Santa’s red velvet carpet for you. The air is filled with cinnamon and cloves with just a hint of evergreen, each half-timbered house is carefully decorated, there are more than 300 chalets with artisan gifts, mulled wines and sweet treats, and there’s a soaring Christmas tree that stands nearly 100 ft. (30 meters) tall. It’s hard not to feel the holiday spirit when each corner is prettier and more twinkling than the last. And let’s not forget about restaurants during the holiday season. It’s much easier to find an extravagant holiday meal than you might think, most even go through the trouble of putting together special menus for the occasion. Plus, you don’t have to do all the shopping or preparation (where do you even find those little poultry booties anyway?) just to have your mother-in-law tell you for the millionth time that she puts marshmallows in the sweet potato casserole. Bonus, you don’t have to clean up.

2. Holiday travel helps you eliminate the capitalistic monster that has become Christmas

Yes, you could buy your ungrateful (albeit adorable) pre-teens the latest gaming console, or give them even more money for Roblox, although you’ve lost track of how much you’ve spent this month alone. Or…and this is a big or…you could take that money and invest in experiences that create meaningful and lasting memories for the rest of their lives. Think about it this way, do you remember what you got for Christmas when you were 8? How about 11? How about 14? I bet if your family spent time together learning to ski and then hiked through a glacier in Chamonix over winter break, you’d remember that.

Gifts are a wonderful way to show people how much you love them, but they don’t have to come in a dozen packages you squeeze under the tree. As a society, we are buried under so much junk that we’re all suffocating from the clutter. Showing your love means dedicating your time to the special people in your life, not maxing out your credit cards to give people gifts they’ll probably exchange anyway. New “stuff” gives us warm and fuzzy feelings for all of about 10 minutes before they fade away. New experiences give us years of laughter and memories. Speaking of memories…