lobby of the Belmond Charleston Place dressed for
out these destinations for a Christmas that even Scrooge
this is the year that you decide you’ve had it with
untangling Christmas lights, fighting mall crowds to find
that "must-have" action figure or video game,
and fighting over whose turn it is to host the holiday
dinner, there is an alternative.
all of the following destinations, the lights will already
be on the tree; the holiday dinner will be handled by a
renowned chef and the angry, shoving mall crowds will be
replaced by like-minded guests who have one thing in
common — a desire for a hassle-free Christmas
the Traditionalist — The Home Ranch, Clark, Colo.
you are one who hungers for a traditional White Christmas,
where sleigh bells jingle as a horse-drawn sleigh skims
across the snow, then this Relais &
Chateaux-affiliated guest ranch 18 miles from Steamboat
Springs is just the place.
you opt for the Christmas package (Dec. 20-27) or the New
Year’s package (Dec. 27-Jan. 3), you’ll find a winter
wonderland filled with cross-country skiing, snow shoeing,
tubing and horseback riding across 15 miles of accessible
trails on both flat and rolling terrain.
it’s too cold outside, warm up inside with evening hors
d’oeuvres and live music before tucking into the Home
Ranch’s signature "haute mountain cuisine."
And if Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without a
tree, the staff will arrange to have a live one placed in
your room or cabin (with lights already untangled.)
the all-inclusive guest ranch (accommodations are in six
lodge rooms and eight cabins), all meals and activities,
as well as round-trip transportation from the airport, are
included. Take a picture of yourself in this pristine
paradise and use it as your next year’s Christmas card.
the Non-traditionalist — Belmond Charleston Place,
your idea of good Christmas weather leans more to sunshine
than snow, and where a palmetto is more appealing than a
spruce, pack your bags and head south — to South
Carolina for the Belmond Charleston Place’s Classic
Holiday Package (Nov. 27-Dec. 27).
will be no horse-drawn sleigh, but you can take a
horse-drawn carriage to colorful Cabbage and Rainbow Rows
and the Battery. Your hotel package will also include two
tickets to historic homes (Aiken-Rhett Museum and
Nathaniel Russell House) decorated in their holiday
you are in town any time through Jan. 1, head out to James
Island County Park for Charleston’s Festival of Lights,
showcasing 700 spectacular light displays.
as spectacular are Charleston Place’s own extravagant
holiday decorations. A grouping of Christmas trees adorns
the lobby; the sweeping staircase is swagged with garlands
and the 12-foot crystal chandelier sprigged with
mistletoe, while through it all runs a working miniature
replica of the Venice-Simplon Orient Express train (the
Orient Express previously owned the hotel).
if all this isn’t festive enough, you can pop into the
hotel’s Thoroughbred Club for a 21st century take on
Wassail, warm hard apple cider crafted from scratch and
accessorized with a cinnamon stick. belmond.com/charleston-place
a Northeastern Christmas — Nantucket, Mass.
small island is renowned for its annual Christmas Stroll
— this year’s 43rd annual will be held Dec. 1-4.
Carolers throng cobblestoned streets; one-of-a-kind
boutiques stay open late for shopping, and 80 trees
designed and decorated by local artists will be on display
at the Whaling Museum. To cap off the celebration, Santa
and Mrs. Claus arrive, escorted by the Coast Guard.
ashore, the couple make their first official stop at the
Jared Coffin House, a historic 18th century mansion and
now a cozy inn. You can toast them with an adult beverage
— try the boozy hot chocolate.
you book the Holiday Stroll Package at the harbor side
White Elephant Inn, you’ll receive a ceramic white
elephant tree ornament, a copy of local author Nancy Mayer’s
"A Very Nantucket Christmas," and red sangria
from Nantucket Vineyards.
you’re bringing the family, opt for the inn’s Easy
Street Loft where accommodations will be in three-bedroom,
four-bathroom luxury lofts (the package price includes
dinner for six at Brant Point Grill).
a Southwestern Christmas — The Inn on the Anasazi, Santa
a completely different perspective on Christmas
festivities, head to Santa Fe where three cultures —
Anglo, Hispanic and Indian — have contributed to a
holiday season like no other.
Thanksgiving Day to New Year’s Day, visitors marvel at
the silvery lights strung on every tree surrounding the
historic downtown plaza, and the farolitas (luminous bags
of candles and sand) that are lit nightly.
great base for taking in all the festivities is the Inn of
the Anasazi, which blends the culture of the American
Southwest with Santa Fe’s reputation as an artist
are activities galore for adults and children alike. Kids
will delight in following daily clues to discover the
location of Zazi, the hotel’s Elf on a Shelf, who just
may pop up anywhere from the concierge desk to the library’s
kiva fireplace. Zazi spotters will be presented with a
out on the patio, adults will be presented with their own
prize, courtesy of the Hot Chocolate Cart. Rest assured
— this isn’t your grandmother’s ovaltine. Try the La
Abuelita, flavored with New Mexican chile; the Ginger
Snap, with Domaine de Canton and a ginger snap cookie, or
the Kentucky Hot Tub, with Ancho Reyes and a dollop of Jim
Southern Spectacle — The Galt House, Louisville, Ky.
the 12 Days of Christmas. Now in its seventh year,
Christmas at the Galt House is a 34-day celebration, and
each year it gets bigger, better and more bodacious. All
the usual suspects will be there — from the Dancing
Bellmen to the Snow Fairy Princess presiding over her
afternoon tea to Santa himself (Nov. 17-Dec. 24).
there will be some new wrinkles as well. "Kalightoscope"
will borrow from an ancient Chinese art form to present a
larger-than-life handcrafted luminary show featuring more
than 200 luminaries made of silk wrapped around LED
new is the Galt House’s annual holiday dinner show,
which this year takes on a patriotic bent with the Ladies
of Liberty and the Soldiers of Swing. Channeling World War
II USO shows, it will combine holiday swing, boogie-woogie
melodies and Big Band music.
this, plus the Peppermint Express Kiddies’ Train,
Gingerbread House Contest, Winter Wonderlane, the Holly
Jolly Elf Show, and a Charles Dickens-inspired dinner
served by the author’s Christmas characters. Imagine
Ebenezer Scrooge filling up your coffee cup or Tiny Tim
presenting you with your plum pudding.