Christmas Crazy

Go "Christmas Crazy" with a German-style market, a gingerbread house competition and the brightest light displays, plus the coolest ice sculptures and the most extreme Santas on Earth.

Photos

Motu Teta, Tahiti

Motu Teta, Tahiti

Want to get as far away from your relatives as possible? We suggest booking Tahiti’s Motu Teta, a private island located in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean on the Rangiroa atoll. Activities include doing absolutely nothing (one of our favorite pastimes) or a more adventurous midnight lobster hunt. But don’t get too attached to Mr. Crusty because your private staff will prepare and serve him as your Thanksgiving meal beachside.  960 1280

Courtesy of Motu Teta  

Your Own Private Archipelago

Your Own Private Archipelago

Spend the day snorkeling, diving or just relaxing. Not even your Aunt Edna’s bloodhound can find you on Motu Teta. Once your family sees the vacation photos surely they won’t begrudge your escape.  960 1280

Jon Whittle  

Room for 2 or More

Room for 2 or More

Should you be guilted into bringing along any family, such as your children, you’ll have enough room for up to 10. The island’s accommodations include a private bungalow and a larger main villa, both with sweeping verandas. Otherwise, wash those relatives right out of your hair. 960 1280

Courtesy of Motu Teta  

Plymouth Rocks

Plymouth Rocks

Those looking to kick it Old School will want to plan a visit to Plymouth, MA, the town that symbolizes our national traditional of giving thanks and eating our faces off. Spend your day at Plimouth Plantation with role-playing pilgrims who reenact events from 17th-century life. The plantation is open from March to the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  960 1280

Courtesy of Plimouth Plantation  

Plantation Vacation

Plantation Vacation

For Thanksgiving there is a seated dinner as well as a serve-yourself buffet with reservations starting in June. If you can’t book a table there are a plenty of other things to do at Plimouth Plantation such as taking a ride on the Mayflower II, a reproduction of one of the ships that landed at Plymouth in 1620. Or pay a visit to the Wampanoag Homesite, a living museum where you are hosted exclusively by Native People descended from Wampanoag and other Native Nations.  960 1280

Courtesy of Plimouth Plantation  

Casa Marina, Key West

Casa Marina, Key West

As hosts of the International Sand Art CompetitionCasa Marina launched a unique Thanksgiving tradition befitting of the quirky town that Ernest Hemingway once called home. Each year artists from all over the world create breathtaking sculptures right on the sandy shores of the Waldorf Astoria property.  960 1280

Courtesy of Casa Marina  

Castles of Sand

Castles of Sand

Veteran sculptor Marianne van den Broek founded the competition, which unites artists from places such as Mexico, the Netherlands, Canada and the United States. Guests of Casa Marina with beachfront balconies can watch the sculptures take shape all weekend long.  960 1280

Courtesy of Casa Marina  

Key West’s Best

Key West’s Best

The Spa al Maré at Casa Marina will be open on Thanksgiving Day and for this we give thanks.   960 1280

Courtesy of Casa Marina  

Belle Mont Farm, St. Kitts

Belle Mont Farm, St. Kitts

The Thanksgiving Feast at the Farm is one of the coolest holiday excursions we uncovered. Located on the island of St. Kitts, Belle Mont Farm will host a farm-to-table dinner with over 90% of the meal’s ingredients sourced directly from the farm. One- to 4-bedroom cottages are available and the experience is all-inclusive.  960 1280

Courtesy from Belle Mont Farm  

Sing for Your Supper

Sing for Your Supper

The Belle Mont Farm Feast is held at a gorgeous table in the middle of the property’s organic farm. Guests are both welcome and encouraged to forage for the meal’s bounty alongside the chefs, farmers and fellow travelers.  960 1280

DEXTER FASSALE  

Chef Tell

Chef Tell

The Belle Mont Farm chefs and farmers will be on hand to help you enjoy your holiday meal and even discuss the ingredients. Expect a lesson in sustainability and organic farming as well, lessons we can all benefit from and for which to be thankful.  960 1280

Courtesy of Belle Mont Farm  

La Posada, Santa Fe

La Posada, Santa Fe

Not only do we like the idea of having someone else doing the cooking, but we also like the thought of spending our holiday in a place known for its peaceful surroundings. La Posada in Santa Fe is steps from the capital city’s Historic Square and is partly housed in a structure dating back to the 1880s. Thanksgiving visitors can expect menu offerings with a southwestern flare. 960 1280

Courtesy of La Posada  

Inn & Spa at Loretto, Santa Fe

Inn & Spa at Loretto, Santa Fe

Chef Marc Quiñones creates incredibly tasty dishes for his guests at Luminaria all year using the freshest ingredients from Santa Fe’s local farmers markets. Holiday guests can choose to indulge in brunch or a prix-fixe dinner in the inn’s peaceful and serene dining room. With temperatures dropping, there could be snow on the ground just in time for your arrival.  960 1280

Courtesy of Inn & Spa at Loretto  

New York’s Midtown Hilton

New York’s Midtown Hilton

Forget sitting out in the cold! The New York Hilton Midtown has your ringside seat for all the action of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  960 1280

Courtesy of New York Hilton Midtown  

A Suite of Sweets

A Suite of Sweets

This Manhattan hotel, located directly on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade route, is creating an all-chocolate suite featuring delicacies from truffles and beignets to macaroons by the hotel’s pastry chef as well as master chocolatier, Jacques Torres. They’re also hosting classic, holiday movie screenings in the ballroom and a photo booth complete with holiday-themed props. 960 1280

Courtesy of New York Hilton Midtown  

Bell Book & Candle

Bell Book & Candle

More than ever, people want to know where their food is sourced. Diners at the Bell Book & Candle need only to look up. Many of the vegetables, fruits and herbs served by Chef John Mooney are grown in hydroponic towers 6 stories up, on the rooftop of the West Village eatery. Not only will BBC be open on Thanksgiving, but locals can also order to-go meals.  960 1280

Courtesy of Bell, Book & Candle  

Tower of Power

Tower of Power

The food at Manhattan’s Bell Book & Candle is so fresh you might want to slap it. We recommend eating it. And in glorious New York tradition, you can order takeaway and tell everyone you made it yourself.  960 1280

Courtesy of Bell, Book & Candle  

Minton’s

Minton’s

Talk about soul food. We love the idea of a collard green salad and roasted turkey marinated in sugar brine, served up with a side of live music. Located in Harlem, legendary Minton’s recently experienced a rebirth and the venue was restored to its former glory.  960 1280

Evan Sung  

Jazz Hands

Jazz Hands

For Thanksgiving, Minton’s Harlem will host 3 seatings, all accompanied by live music. If you can’t make the trek for Turkey Day we highly recommend adding this legendary spot to your New York must-see list.  960 1280

Evan Sung  

Wynn Las Vegas

Wynn Las Vegas

The City of Sin is better known for over-the-top decadence, so it may come as a surprise that Steve Wynn, proprietor of the Wynn Las Vegas, takes a special interest in vegetarian and vegan options on all of his menus. He also has included a low-calorie menu at all of his restaurants as well.  960 1280

Courtesy of Wynn Las Vegas  

Win-Wynn

Win-Wynn

We have it on good authority that Costa di Mare in the Wynn is the place to eat. The menu boasts fresh, flown-in seafood as well as tasty vegan options. It all sounds like a win-win to us. 960 1280

Courtesy of Wynn Las Vegas  

Hotel Zamora

Hotel Zamora

The Hotel Zamora is the first brand-spanking-new hotel to be built in St. Pete Beach, FL, in 20 years.  The Mediterranean-inspired property features a private marina and new 360-degree rooftop lounge with stunning oceanfront views. We suggest ordering up a Thanksgiving picnic basket from the resort’s award-winning restaurant Castile and have it served poolside.  960 1280

Raif Fluker  

Sandwiches by the Seashore

Sandwiches by the Seashore

Want a turkey waffle sandwich served to you on the beach? So do we! How about one with fresh oven-roasted turkey breast topped with Grand Marnier cranberry compote? The meal also comes with roasted butternut squash, a Neuske-bacon-and-brussels-sprout salad, a bottle of wine and chocolate, sea-salt truffles. If the tryptophan hasn’t taken over, take a sunset dolphin-watching cruise, which departs from the property’s private marina or have cocktails on the rooftop bar. Put the fun back in dysfunctional.  960 1280

Courtesy of Hotel Zamora  

Leicester, England

Leicester, England

The Festival of Lights, as Diwali is known, celebrates the victory of good over evil, and is India's biggest and most important holiday of the year. Hindus, Sikhs and Jains celebrate the 5-day festival worldwide as well. The largest Diwali celebration outside of India takes place in Leicester, England’s Golden Mile section. 960 1280

Reuters/Darren Staples   

Paramaribo, Suriname

Paramaribo, Suriname

Young boys chant prayers in celebration of Diwali at a children’s orphanage in Suriname’s capital city of Paramaribo. The South American country is home to a sizable population of Indian origin; nearly 40% of Suriname’s population descend from 19th-century contract workers from India. 960 1280

Reuters/Ranu Abhelakh  

Paramaribo, Suriname

Paramaribo, Suriname

Children in Suriname dress up as Hindu goddesses on the eve of Diwali. On the left is Parvati, the goddess of power who gives life energy to all. She's also said to engage in an eternal game of winning and losing with her husband Lord Shiva. In recognition of that cosmic roughhousing, gambling (or playing cards) during Diwali is considered auspicious. Or maybe just a good excuse to gamble. 960 1280

Reuters/Ranu Abhelakh   

Ahmedabad, Gujarat

Ahmedabad, Gujarat

Young women put the finishing touches on a rangoli in a neighborhood courtyard. The decorative design, created with materials such as colored rice, flour and sand, as well as flower petals, symbolizes a sacred welcoming area for Hindu deities -- and is a common sight during Diwali. In the western Indian state of Gujarat, the day following Diwali also marks the New Year. 960 1280

Reuters/Amit Dave   

Ahmedabad, Gujarat

Ahmedabad, Gujarat

Different regions and faiths of India incorporate various narratives into the celebration. In Gujarat, the festival honors Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. In North India, Lord Rama, after a 14-year exile. In South India, Lord Krishna, after his defeat of the demon Narakasura. In Jainism, the nirvana of Lord Mahavira. In Sikhism, the sixth Sikh guru's release from prison. The unifying theme: the victory of good over evil. 960 1280

Reuters/Amit Dave  

Amritsar, Punjab

Amritsar, Punjab

Indian Sikhs light candles at their spiritual center, the Golden Temple, in Amritsar, India, for Diwali. Sikhs celebrate Diwali to mark the release from prison of their sixth guru, Guru Hargobind, along with 52 other political prisoners, by the Mughal Emperor Jahangir in 1619. Sikhs celebrated the return of Guru Hargobind by lighting diyas around the Golden Temple. The tradition continues today. 960 1280

Narinder Nanu/AFP/Getty Images  

The White House

The White House

President Obama extends greetings to Sri Narayanachar Digalakote, a Hindu priest and Sanskrit scholar, after lighting an oil lamp for Diwali at the White House. The holiday was first celebrated at the White House in 2003, with a public liaison officer hosting Indian Americans. Six years later, Barack Obama became the first US president to serve as Diwali host. 960 1280

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images  

Felicity, Trinidad

Felicity, Trinidad

Handmade diyas, or earthen oil lamps, add a personal touch to households celebrating Diwali. Here, a boy prepares a lamp at his family home in Trinidad-Tobago. The largest Hindu festival in the Caribbean nation, Diwali is celebrated with the symbolic lighting of diyas, each meant to dispel darkness. 960 1280

Reuters/Andrea De Silva  

Varanasi, India

Varanasi, India

A young woman lights an earthen lamp on the steps leading to the Ganges River. Every year, 15 days after Diwali, the steps leading to “Ganga” are adorned with more than 1 million lights in tribute to Hinduism’s most sacred river. The celebration, known as Dev Deepavali (meaning “light festival of gods”), is led by Hindu devotees in the city by its banks, Varanasi. 960 1280

Reuters/Jitendra Prakas  

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

A Hindu devotee's baby is placed on a temple floor for good luck during Diwali celebrations in the small town of Bangi, near Maylaysia’s capital of Kuala Lumpur. Hindus make up roughly 7% of Malaysia’s population of 25 million. However, Diwali is recognized in the predominantly Muslim country as an official holiday. 960 1280

Reuters/Bazuki Muhammad   

Colombo, Sri Lanka

Colombo, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is home to a sizable Hindu community, as much as 12% of the population. Here, Hindu devotees pray during Diwali at the Shivm Kovi temple in Sri Lanka’s cultural capital of Colombo. Alongside India, the island country recognizes Diwali as an official holiday. 960 1280

Reuters/Dinuka Liyanawatt   

Israel: Sukkot

Israel: Sukkot

Sukkot (Feast of Booths or Feast of Tabernacles) is a biblical holiday celebrated on the 15th day of the month of Tishrei, which is between late September and late October. On this special occasion, Jewish people reflect on how the Israelites felt during their 40 years of travel in the desert after the exodus from slavery in Egypt, as referenced in the Bible. The 7-day tradition includes special prayer services and holiday meals. 960 1280

Reuters  

Canada: Jour de l'Action de Grâce

Canada: Jour de l'Action de Grâce

Canadians celebrate Jour de l'Action de Grâce, aka Thanksgiving Day, on the second Monday in October. Similar to the American Thanksgiving, people in Canada reserve this time to celebrate the harvest and other blessing of the past year. And Canucks enjoy a good feast, too. During the holiday weekend, most families have the big Thanksgiving meal on Sunday or on Monday. 960 1280

Monkey Business Images  

Korea: Chuseok

Korea: Chuseok

Chuseok, a major harvest festival and 3-day holiday in Korea, is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar. Koreans return to their hometowns to perform traditional rituals in the morning to remember their ancestors. Family members also visit and clean up the area around the tombs of their immediate ancestors, before offering food, drink and crops to their lost loved ones.  Japchae, bulgogi and songpyeon (a crescent-shaped rice cake) are popular foods prepared during the holiday. 960 1280

riNux, Flickr  

Vietnam: Tết Trung Thu Festival

Vietnam: Tết Trung Thu Festival

In Vietnam, people celebrate the Tết Trung Thu Festival (Mid-Autumn Festival) in September or in early October. This fall celebration is also known as the Children’s Festival. The Vietnamese believe children are symbols of innocence and purity -- the closest connection to the sacred and natural world. Children light lanterns and perform lion dances as part of the celebration. This is the second most important holiday tradition in Vietnam. 960 1280

Viethavvh, Wikimedia Commons  

UK: London's Harvest Festival

UK: London's Harvest Festival

Locals and tourists with “green thumbs” converge on London to stroll through the city’s Harvest Festival in October. Organized by the Royal Horticultural Society, this festival has several fun activities including the Fruit & Vegetable Competition, which highlights the UK’s best growers and their best produce. Gardening tips, apple tasting and a giant pumpkin contest are other featured events held during the 2-day festival. 960 1280

Reuters  

Ghana: Homowo Festival

Ghana: Homowo Festival

Ga people celebrate Homowo, a festival to commemorate the pre-colonial famine that occurred in Ghana. The festival starts in May during the planting of the crops -- just before the rainy season begins. The celebration includes marching in the streets with drums, face painting, singing and performing traditional dances, like the Kpanlogo. 960 1280

Reuters  

Germany: Erntedankfest

Germany: Erntedankfest

Although it’s not an official holiday, Germans celebrate Erntedankfest (The Harvest of Thanks) on the first Sunday in October. Usually a church-organized celebration, this harvest festival includes several fun activities including a Thanksgiving parade and carnival with elaborate decorations made from harvested fruits and vegetables. 960 1280

madle-fotowelt.de, flickr  

China: August Moon Festival

China: August Moon Festival

Celebrated in China, the August Moon Festival is a 1,000-year-old tradition for the Chinese to reflect on the bounty of the summer harvest, the fullness of the moon and the myth of the immortal goddess, Chang O, who lives in the moon. Millions of Mooncakes -- flaky, round, semi-sweet pastries -- are given as gifts during this celebration. The festival is often thought of as “Chinese Thanksgiving” because of its spirit of gratitude and abundant food. 960 1280

Shizhao, Wikimedia Commons  

India: Pongal

India: Pongal

Pongal is a 4-day festival celebrated January 12th through the 15th, to mark the beginning of the end of the winter season in India. The second day, Surya Pongal, is the most important day of the festival. On this day, people throw their old clothes into the fire, have an oil massage and then wear new clothes, to worship Surya, the sun god. During the festival, cattle are bathed, dressed and served pongal (rice boiled in milk), women of the house perform puja for the prosperity of their brothers, and families decorate their floor with decorative patterns using rice flour. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Barbados: Crop Over

Barbados: Crop Over

The Crop Over, a traditional harvest festival in Barbados, features singing, dancing, climbing a greased pole, feasting, drinking competitions and a calypso music competition. The celebration starts in June and ends on the first Monday in August. With street parties, craft markets, food tents, Crop Over has evolved into Barbados’ biggest national festival -- similar to Carnival in Brazil and Trinidad. 960 1280

Getty Images  

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