This year I have been re-gifted the spirit of Christmas, finding joy in the simplest things. Prior to Thanksgiving I flew to Chicago for a business meeting, where my excitement for the holiday season kicked in.
The past few years I have not carried my traditional holiday joy. As a child I loved this time of year. The lights, the scent of the trees and cinnamon, and the giving attitude most displayed. It always seemed magical to me. Naturally, as a hopeful romantic, I fell hard for the feeling of the holidays.
Arriving in Chicago and seeing a ginormous tree at Waldorf Astoria, Miracle Mile lit up in white lights, and store windows decorated with cheer sparked the magic inside of me this year.
My own joy reflected in the things I viewed, becoming invigorated with holiday cheer. Vowing to make this a season to remember, my love for travel and need for more lights led me on a quest to discover the magic of Christmas in every city I visited.
Nashville’s Holiday spirit was felt at The Rockette’s Christmas show at Opryland, watching children ice skate and sip hot cocoa at the Winter Wonderland, and walking through the shops.
Asheville’s Holiday elegance is felt in Biltmore Village with simple lights lining the shops, a large outdoor tree, and spirits at the Red Stagg Grill inside the Grand Bohemian Hotel.
Salt Lake City’s Temple Square and City Creek Center are one of the most beautiful sites during this time of year. Dragging my family through opening weekend crowds, I was grateful for the opportunity to feel the peace and beauty of the city I once called home.
Las Vegas, always lit up and full of glitz, brightens when snow globes and fake snow line the Bellagio and other casinos and shops. The shopping deals are ridiculously great and an undiscovered respect for sin city was born.
The most meaningful portion of my travels were the memories created with family and friends. The lights and decorations remind us that this season is special, but it is the love and laughter that warm my soul.
My favorite New York memory, and quite possibly my favorite holiday memory took place December 24, 2001. The opportunity to travel and work for the 2002 Olympic Torch Relay, afforded me to be in the city for 3 nights. My friends and I ate dinner at Carmine’s in Times Square, where my friend Jeremy got the whole restaurant to participate in singing ‘White Christmas’. It was more magical than I can even describe and will most likely never be repeated.
New York is still on my list to visit this holiday season, as there really is nothing more peaceful than walking the city on Christmas Day and browsing quiet architecture, shop windows, and Central Park.
What I’ve come to realize, it is not the destination for the Christmas spirit, it is the journey. Allowing yourself to feel the joy, cheer, giggles, and love and remembering what the season truly means.
Happy Holidays to you all near and far. Safe travels and joy I wish to you and your loved ones, and may you remember the spirit and savor the moments this year.