Julefest! Christmas in Solvang

Tucked away in the picturesque Santa Ynez Valley, about 30 miles north of Santa Barbara, is the charming village of Solvang, founded by Danish immigrants early in the 20th century.  It is known for windmills and wineries amidst authentic Danish architecture such as thatched roofs and old-world craftsmanship, and presents Danish culture in dozens of […]

A Festival of Lights in Riverside, California

The city of Riverside, California, nestles along the Santa Ana River. A large metro area, Riverside is situated 50 miles south of Los Angeles in the area known as the Inland Empire. Founded in the 1870s, this vibrant community is a destination for arts and culture and particularly sparkles at holiday time.  The temperatures may […]

Christmas at the Hotel Del Coronado

Hotel Del Coronado Sign

Few people think of San Diego as a winter holiday destination. But, for me, there is no place more magical during the holidays than San Diego’s Coronado Island.  Coronado sits directly across San Diego Bay from Downtown San Diego. As my local friend and I drive across iconic blue Coronado Bay Bridge, we find the […]

Christmas in the City of Lights

Night time in Paris, France, with a lit Christmas tree in the foreground.

Paris is a most magical place. There are always new sights. There are always stories. On this trip, we were with friends with small children, and we had only a few hours left in which to capture and consume some of that magic. Time to get moving. On the early December afternoon we had together, […]

Christmas Crafts from the Village of Lauscha

The age-old art of handmade, glass-blown, and paper mache Christmas ornaments lives on in the village of Lauscha, in Germany’s ancient Thuringian Forest. One of my favorite Christmas memories as a child was unspooling the tissue paper-wrapped silvered Christmas ornaments compartmentalized in cardboard boxes. The entire sensory experience still stirs my soul, starting with the […]

Traditions Change

I grew up in a dual-ethnic household. My maternal grandparents emigrated from Italy while my paternal grandparents came from Austria. At Christmas, we spent half of the time celebrating the Italian traditions, and the other half of the time, we celebrated the Eastern European traditions. Christmas Eve started with a dinner with my father’s small […]

Christmas Cheer in New York

As I sit here in my New York City apartment and write this on November 9th of 2020, I don’t have clear holiday plans this year. Covid-19 has thrown off any set plans and traditions not only for me, but for people around the world. Annually, the routine has been my in-laws for Thanksgiving in Washington D.C, my family […]

Trimming the Tree with Travel Treasures

I’ve been collecting Christmas ornaments from around the world for some time now. They make great personal souvenirs because they serve a higher purpose than merely contributing to clutter that amasses in my home. Once the holiday season is upon us, I pull several dusty plastic storage bins out of the crawl space and begin […]

Our Christmas Sing

When we had a blended family of five teenagers, we treated them to travel at Christmastime:  to ski in Sun Valley or the French Alps, or to Mexico and the beaches to swim.  Fun times all, but as the children left to make their own households at holiday time, I decided to stay home and […]

Continuing a Family Tradition at Longwood Gardens

As my husband and I started our family many years ago, we melded the traditions that we had each gown up with and established our own set of holiday rituals. Today our children are grown with lives of their own and our son and daughter-in-law are now going through the same process as they develop their family […]