Plan now to make the most of the holidays. Here are five ideas to consider:
1. Big Apple holiday, New York
See the city from a different perspective while cruising with the man himself. The kids can share their wish list with Santa while seeing the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge and One World Trade Center, all visible from the Hudson River cruise.
Stay at the New York Hilton Midtown, in the heart of the city’s holiday happenings, and enjoy the famed Thanksgiving Parade, shopping on Fifth Avenue, skating at Rockefeller Center and strolling through Central Park. Don’t miss the Radio City Rockettes’ Christmas Spectacular.
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Treat yourselves to in-room spa and beauty treatments via a partnership with Priv, an online mobile app that allows guests to book services on demand. gopriv.com; spiritcruises.com; hilton.com.
2. Sweet gatherings, Palomar Hotel, Chicago
This holiday season, book the Dylan’s Candy Bar Suite or Standard Package for a tasty change of pace.
You and the gang will enjoy a personalized tour and sampling spree in the famed candy store on Michigan Avenue where you’ll have a storewide discount and your own customized chocolate bar wrapper.
Back at the hotel, Dylan’s Candy cocktails and mocktails will be available Fridays through the end of the year. Also on Fridays, the hotel will have a Dylan Candy-inspired elevator car decked out for the holidays in true Candyland style.
Santa will also be on board to spread seasonal cheer. hotelpalomar-chicago.com.
3. The Polar Express to the Grand Canyon, Williams, Ariz.
Each year, families turn back time as they power through the quiet night aboard a historic train. Destination: the North Pole.
The Polar Express, Chris Van Allsburg’s beautiful tale of Christmas magic, is read aloud as the train rumbles through the Northern Arizona wilderness. Upon arrival, families are greeted by Santa and furry reindeer and warmed by hot chocolate and cookies.
Packages are available. Book ahead, as departures fill quickly. thetrain.com.
4. Seasonal cheer in Greene County, N.Y.
Visit the northern Catskill Mountain region for family resorts, outdoor adventure and holiday happenings.
Your clan can join holiday gatherings at art galleries and take part in a traditional Victorian stroll, complete with roving carolers, horse-drawn trolley rides and ice carving in the village of Athens. Take in a performance of The Nutcracker or A Christmas Carol, shop at craft fairs and learn about the artists from the Hudson River School era.
Burn off youthful energy with snowshoeing, snowmobiling and snowtubing at Windham Mountain Adventure Park. greatnortherncatskills.com.
5. Surf with Santa, Cocoa Beach, Fla.
Who knew Santa was a surfer? Plan a beach holiday on Florida’s Space Coast, also considered the East Coast surfing capital, where deep sea fishing, eco and wildlife tours, wind and water sports, museums and golf provide plenty of engaging options for family members of all ages and interests.
Then, stick around to see Santa and more than 300 of his closest friends (all wearing the red suit) gather to ride the waves and raise money for local charities on Dec. 24. surfingsantas.com; cocoabeach.com.