Top 5 Tuesday: Holiday Celebrations!

Posted by Eric Helms in Holiday, Top 5


I think we’ve got it all wrong when it comes to celebrating the holidays. Maybe it isn’t about some red paper cup from Starbucks, or what we imagine we can or can’t say to each other anymore. Maybe it isn’t even about having car with a giant red ribbon waiting in our driveway, or trading a sit down meal for turkey leftovers just so we can get the deal of a lifetime, or at least of the moment. Wow, that got serious quickly–sorry. I guess having a couple of kids changes you, or at least covers your house in a thin layer of peanut butter and jelly. Either way, it’s for the better I suppose. Now that I see the Christmas season through the eyes of my children, I think I finally get it, and maybe, just maybe, the holidays are about the memories we make with the people we love the most in this world. And what a better way to make those memories than by taking a holiday trip you will reminisce on for years to come. Whether you travel to the mountains, a tropical island, or the big city, great holiday celebrations are only a plane ticket away. This week join me as I take a look at five of the best holiday destinations around.


Maui, HI

“Mele Kalikimaka” loosely (very loosely) translates as “Merry Christmas You Touristy Mainlander” in Hawaiian, or so I’ve been told. But one thing is for sure; Hawaii knows how to celebrate the holidays the right way–no snow! It may seem a little odd to enjoy Christmas or ring in the New Year without the cold, but trust me, after you check out your first beachfront sunset, you’ll be glad you traded out those pine trees for pineapples. And among the Hawaiian Islands, Maui has been a holiday hotspot for generations. This year it makes its case once again. Every holiday celebration has to have Christmas lights–it’s a given. But the folks on Maui put their own unique spin on this tradition by lighting up Lahaina’s world famous banyan tree. In fact, this light spectacular highlights one of the largest banyan trees in the world, measuring over 60-feet tall and covering over two thirds of an acre in lovely Lahaina Harbor. Santa’s sleigh also makes a couple of layovers in Maui before hitting the mainland. Santa and his shell necklace wearing elves paddle up to Ka’anapali Beach in a Christmas outrigger canoe to usher in some holiday cheer on Dec. 20th. The Hula Grill hosts this event and even has free cookie decorating and ornament making for children. And of course what holiday celebration is complete without eating an insane amount of food. Staying in Lahaina, head over to Pacific’O or Mala Ocean Tavern. If you end up in Kapalua, make sure to check out the holiday spreads at The Plantation House or Pineapple Grill. Don’t ruin Christmas, make a reservation first please.

Tripbound Featured Resorts on Maui:

Outrigger Maui Eldorado

Outrigger Royal Kahana


Washington D.C.

Democrat. Republican. Ardent supporter of the eminent Constitutional Robocracy. No matter where you stand politically, Washington D.C. is a still a truly amazing place to celebrate all things Christmas. I know it’s never good to bring up politics with people, but if your asking, I’d hear out a reasoned argument for the Robocracy when our machines finally turn on us. Until those steely-handed overlords rule us, we should probably just enjoy the holidays as normal. So cheers–I guess. Our nation’s capital is home to some of the best holiday celebrations around, all on the grandest of scales. Case in point, The National Christmas Tree. Imagine taking that Douglas Fir sitting in your living room, then doubling it, then doubling it again, now again, and again… Ok, I tricked you, because now there’s a hole in your roof. But you get the idea–the thing is truly massive. Every night the tree is light from dusk (~4:30 PM) till 10 PM all the way through New Years Day. Nightly music and entertainment for all ages completes the celebration, so be sure to check out the schedule. The Pathway of Peace surrounds the National Christmas Tree, and showcases trees from each state and territory decorated with unique ornaments and local flair. This attraction is open from 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM and is sure to capture the whole family’s imagination as well.

Explore Washington DC in style and comfort at the Wyndham National Harbor or the Wyndham Old Town Alexandria


Branson, MO

Come out to Branson and you’ll experience a traditional Christmas like no other. This iconic Midwestern vacation spot is as classic as your favorite Christmas carol. Well, unless your favorite carol is Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. No one is saying it, but I’ll will, those kids picking on Rudy were first-class jerks. But mean kids aside, Branson captures the holidays of your childhood. Extravagant Christmas light displays, an endless selection of live shows, and unique area attractions bring all those great memories back to life. When I say Christmas Lights, I’m not talking about a little scene from Frozen on your front lawn. I’m talking about power grid jeopardizing, viewable from outer space, retina burning Christmas Lights. Silver City boasts over 5 million lights, yes that’s the number “5” with the world “million” after it. The Trail of Lights at the Shepard of the Hills offers a few less lights, but gives you the option of viewing the festive display from the comfort of your car. The holiday season also is played out on the many live performance stages throughout the city. So whether you are looking for a traditional Christmas play, or modernly updated holiday musical, you can’t go wrong with these shows. Your kids will clamor to get a ticket on board the ever-popular Polar Express, put on by the Branson Scenic Railroad.

Visit Tripbound to check out their great Branson Area Resorts today!


Sevierville, TN (Great Smoky Mountains)

The Great Smoky Mountains are just as comforting as that second heaping helping of Aunt Ruthie’s sweet potato casserole, but without all the guilt of eating your third serving out in the garage by yourself. Down home southern hospitality meets the rustic charm of our nation’s most popular national park, because Sevierville is known as the gateway to the Smokies. Sure the area can be a little kitsch–I mean it’s Dolly Parton’s hometown after all. But what it lacks in fine linen refinement, it more than makes up with family friendly atmosphere. The holidays are a truly magical time of year in Sevierville, and from early December to the end of February this magic is fully on display at the 26th annual Smoky Mountain Winterfest. The 15 million lights (Branson x 3!!!) are strung along a 25-mile stretch, giving families endless opportunities for holiday viewing. For hands on fun, be sure to check out the Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland at Smokies Stadium. This Winterfest attraction adds another 1.5 miles of lights, and I don’t know, probably a few more million lights for good measure. Kids will also be treated to a petting zoo, pony & camel rides, and Santa pictures. Do you love Thomas Kinkade paintings, but have always wished they were somehow incorporated into a live stage show, backed with a talented cast of singers and musicians? Well your wait is over! The painter of light now brings you the Christmas of Light this holiday season. I’m serious, that’s a real thing.


When visiting Sevierville for the holidays, Tripbound has you covered with The Margaritaville Hotel at Pigeon Forge, Wyndham Smoky Mountain, or Wyndham Vacation Resorts Great Smokies Lodge.


Vail, CO

What says Happy Holidays more than the wintertime magic found in Vail. Epic mountains, world-class skiing, and enough hot chocolate to keep your kids bouncing off the walls until New Years! Whether your looking to add some high velocity thrills to your holiday celebration, or enjoy a Christmas vacation among the alpine scenery, Vail brings it all home. Beginning Dec. 18th and running through New Year’s Eve, Vail HoliDaze (Like Holidays, but misspelled) turns the alpine town of Vail into a veritable winter wonderland. Vail’s Village and Lionshead area is transformed with festive decorations, an ice-skating rink, and even an alpine chalet. Enjoy the yuletide with family friendly activities that include cooking decoration, skating performances, paper lantern workshops and launch, and appearances by Santa and his helpers. Ring in the New Year while you watch the famed annual Torchlight Parade and fireworks at Golden Peak. Glow stick clad skiers fly down the slope, creating a truly one of kind holiday showcase.

A high-country holiday awaits you at the Wyndham Resorts at Avon.

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