Want something different this year for the holidays? Sometimes it makes sense to get away to make the holidays feel even more special. Here are two ideas–one a 3-hour flight away from Chicago and the other a 3-hour drive.
First, how about the Big Easy’s third annual NOLA ChristmasFest? Right in the middle of New Orleans a giant indoor party will be taking place at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Holiday Festival. The event premiers an indoor ice skating rink and also features:
• An amazing life-size maze
• Kringle Carousel—a fun, festive ride for all ages
• Children’s crafts
• Holiday characters walking around to greet you, including Santa, Mrs. Claus, Frosty, Rudolph and more
• View Christmas Trees decorated by local businesses and organizations
The weather is typically around 64 degrees and relatively dry in December so you can bring your kids to march outside in the Children’s Lantern parade—it starts near the Convention Center and ends inside with a preview party for parade participants. Plus as part of Christmas New Orleans style, you’ll get “Papa Noel” discounts for rooms (25% off), Reveillon dinners (from $34) and events (many free) at participating hotels, restaurants and organizations. Get your tickets for NOLA ChristmasFest here. This festival is one more indication of the vitality of New Orleans and the commitment of the tourism industry to work together to create activities that showcase the city, stimulate the economy and bring visitors and locals alike together to share memorable experiences
Consider Blue Harbor Resort, near Sheboygan, WI (<one hour north of Milwaukee), known for scenic waterfront, sailing, boating and freshwater surfing. Reserve one of the area’s 180 suites (many with aquarium or boathouse themes) or 64 villas (2- or 4-bedroom with kitchens) with dramatic views of Lake Michigan and the beachfront. Families will love the 54,000 square-foot indoor waterpark and the area’s only indoor double-surf simulator (particularly interesting and challenging for hard-to-please teens).
Besides the full service spa and salon, eat at any of three on-site restaurants, and enjoy recreation activities like watersports and the new glow-in-the-dark indoor golf course, plus access to the Bull outdoor golf course.
Thanksgiving. Traditional Thanksgiving buffet on Thursday, Nov. 26 from 11am–3pm (kids under three eat free). Sample menu items; rosemary roasted prime rib, sage and garlic roasted turkey, side dishes aplenty, and of course desserts including pumpkin and apple pie and much more. Parents can enjoy an evening to themselves while kids of all ages enjoy enjoy arts and crafts, frozen turkey bowling, turkey duck races, tie-dye t-shirt making with dinner and a movie.
Christmas with music and Santa Claus!
- “Making Spirits Bright”! Take a drive through a 1.1-mile trail through the forested Evergreen Park and view the thousands-of-lights holiday display choreographed to music.
- December 11 – Tree lighting and decorating ceremony in the Blue Harbor hotel lobby 5:55pm. Enjoy the music of the Kohler High School Madrigals Choir, followed by an appearance of Santa Claus that includes story time.
- December 12, 18, 19 – The Sheboygan South High Northern Lights and Sharpettes perform at 6pm followed by an appearance of Santa Claus that includes story time.
Ring in the New Year! Enjoy a grand holiday buffet and music at The Beacon Restaurant. Or for an elegant sit-down dinner, Latitudes offers music, a ball-drop and a traditional champagne toast at midnight. Love to dance? Breaker Bay Waterpark offers dancing all night, with a beach ball drop and champagne toast at midnight. For more information and to make your reservations, visit Blue Harbor Resort’s website.