It’s time to reward yourself for working so hard all year! It’s time to allow the festive season to engulf you!
Irrespective of religion or belief the festive season brings diverse cultures together. Each country celebrates the festive season differently. Each festival or celebration has its own unique customs, rituals and culinary delights. It is not an exaggeration to say that every festival is celebrated with equal passion and excitement.
Before the festive season engulfs you, here are a few things to think about before embarking on your festive season holiday.
- Keep your home safe and sound. Inform your neighbours of your plans, if they are staying home, they could keep an eye on your house for you.
- Water your plants, and your Christmas tree if you have a real one!
- Purchase an automatic timer and leave a lamp set to come on in the evenings.
- Make sure you have all the contact details you need when you travel.
- Make sure you have packed some ‘must have’ items that you may not want to be without! Take some medical provisions, because the festive season is a horrible time to be ill; cold and flu remedies, paracetamol, and something for the children.
- Don’t forget batteries and chargers. There are so many electronic devices around, but you don’t want to get caught short with a flat battery, or a fancy new toy that can’t be used.
Let’s look at the festivities of some countries you may be interested in travelling to.
The United States of America commemorates Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
Thanksgiving takes place on the fourth Thursday of November each year. Traditionally, people come together to give thanks for a good harvest and enjoy a big meal. The main part of the meal is usually turkey, accompanied by dishes made from seasonal vegetables.
In Christianity, Christmas is the day that Jesus Christ was born; it is the most popular Christian holiday in the Western world. In the Bible, wise men brought gifts to the baby Jesus. Traditionally, a figure called Father Christmas, also known as Santa Claus or St. Nicholas is thought to bring presents to children around the world on Christmas Eve. People celebrate the festival by having a big meal with their families and sharing gifts.
New Year’s Eve, the last night of the old year and the beginning of the new one sees people having big parties with friends or family, at home or at bars and clubs. Everyone stops to count down to the start of the new year and traditionally drink champagne and kiss people around them at midnight. People also make New Year’s resolutions; a list of things they will try to do or stop doing in the coming year.
Recommended accommodation during the festive season in America is Orange Lake Country Club, Wyndham Cypress Palms or Sheraton Vistana Villages Resort Villas.
Orange Lake Country Club in Florida, next to Orlando is an award-winning resort. Orange Lake Country Club is located near to Disney Universal Studios and Sea World. This resort is spread over acres of lakes, world class golf courses, and pools. Resort fun includes tennis, water skiing, swimming in outdoor pools, a hot tub, lakes, fishing and boating.
Wyndham Cypress Palms in Orlando is in the heart of Florida’s popular attractions, putting the best of Orlando at guest’s fingertips. The magnificent resort offers a myriad of services and activities including a playground, two heated swimming pools and hot tubs, arcade games, board and card games, a book exchange, ping-pong, bingo, arts & crafts and BBQ areas. The resort features an on-site Disney planning centre, where Disney cast members assist with purchasing Walt Disney tickets and dining reservations.
Sheraton Vistana Villages in Orlando is in a wonderful setting of lush and tropical greenery with sparkling fountains. The Sheraton Vistana offers a perfect vacation environment for families to create incredible memories. The Orlando area offers non-stop fun with world-class family attractions. Exceptional golf and world-famous beaches are within easy driving distance of the resort. Each unit on the resort property features high quality special touches, like bathrooms with whirlpool tubs and screened-in patios or balconies.
Australia shares in traditional festive season practices such as decorating Christmas trees, singing carols and exchanging gifts. It is summertime during the festive season in Australia and they have a few of their own unique traditions.
In the lead up to Christmas, Australian’s count the days using an advent calendar made of chocolate. The Chocolate Calendar has a bite sized chocolate behind each window. The calendars are often printed with popular cartoons that appeal to children.
Carols by Candlelight sees crowds gather in parks and outdoor venues to listen to carols sung by candlelight. Most of these events attract thousands of spectators and feature celebrity performances and an appearance from Santa.
Festive Season Food is a huge part of celebrations. Families gather to enjoy Christmas lunch outdoors. No Christmas table setting would be complete without Christmas crackers, which hold miniature items including a joke or plastic toy. Australians prepare a turkey or ham in advance to carve and serve cold. Taking precedence at Christmas is seafood, specifically prawn cocktails and barbequed tiger prawns. After the main meal, a fruit platter of golden mangoes and ruby cherries is served.
In Australia thousands of people spend Christmas at the Beach. They take to surfing at beaches to escape the heat wave and their typical dress includes flip-flops and Santa hats. It is easier and more relaxing to not have to dress up if you are staying at a seaside resort such as Beach House Seaside or Tiki Hotel Surfers Paradise.
Beach House Seaside Resort is total bliss, positioned opposite one of the Gold Coast’s best family beaches on Marine Parade, Coolangatta. The iconic Coolangatta property is steeped in local history. Beach House offers uninterrupted views of the Pacific Ocean and sprawling facilities that bask in the warm Gold Coast sun year-round.
You can hire a bike and ride along the dedicated ocean path to the famous surf break at Snapper Rocks or take advantage of the BBQ facilities and relax by the heated outdoor pool and spa. Enjoyable Beach House activities happen daily; adults and children of all ages love the resort’s Kids Club and children’s pool.
On the banks of the Nerang River, the contemporary Tiki Hotel Surfers Paradise is a three-minute walk from the beach. The bright one-bedroom apartments have kitchenettes and open-plan living areas with sofa beds, flat-screen TVs, and the upgraded apartments have whirlpool baths. There’s an outdoor pool with a waterslide and a poolside bar, a rooftop sundeck with a hot tub and sauna.
China participates in colourful festive season traditions; they call Christmas Sheng Dan Jieh, which means Holy Birth Festival. They decorate their homes with evergreens, posters, and bright paper chains. Their Christmas tree, called tree of light is decorated with lanterns, flowers, and red paper chains that symbolize happiness.
Shops sell plastic trees and decorations and Santa Claus is a popular good-luck figure. Many people have parties on Christmas Eve, and enjoy dinner at a restaurant. The season is ushered in with fireworks, entertainment from jugglers and acrobats and lots of merriment.
On Christmas Eve, Christian children hang up their gift stockings that are specially made so that Dun Che Lao Ren, or ‘Christmas Old Man’ can fill them with gifts. Santa Claus may also be called Lan Khoong-Khoong, ‘Nice Old Father.’
Perfect accommodation in China is the five-star hotel type Jinqiao International Garden in Beijing. Western restaurants and coffee shops are available as is a Chinese restaurant. There is a shopping mall in the sunny corridor which is lined with 24-hour self-help bank, laundry, beauty salon, gym and a shop.
There are two types of suites, standard and deluxe. The standard suite is one room and one hall. The deluxe suite is two rooms and one hall. All suites are equipped with a computer, icebox, microwave oven, modern furniture, air conditioner, satellite TV and internet access.
The favourite part of the festive season in Kilifi, Kenya is the annual New Year Festival. This year everyone is looking forward to Beneath the Baobabs. It is a modern African alternative and electronic music commemoration held under the stars and in the shade of thousand-year-old Baobab trees from 30th December 2019 to 2nd January 2020.
The New Year Festival blends creativity with nature, to convey connections with each other and the environment. The festival culminates with the burning of a large wooden sculpture symbolizing new beginnings and a shared optimism for a brighter future.
Perfect accommodation in Kenya is Mnarani Club & Spa set in acres of landscaped tropical garden, fragranced by frangipani blossoms and balmy ocean breezes. Paths through the enticing gardens lead you down to the soft white sand of Mnarani’s private bay.
This beautiful, sheltered little beach offers water sports, from sailing to exhilarating water-ski and wake boarding, or for simply enjoying a refreshing swim, or relaxing on a lounger under a thatched parasol. With breath-taking surroundings and recreational facilities that cater for every taste, Mnarani is the ultimate destination for your family holiday.