Editors' Picks: $10,000 Gift of Travel

'Tis the season for gift giving! And we're handing out a $10,000 gift to travel anywhere in the world. See how the TravelChannel.com staff would splurge on significant others, relatives and friends.

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Santa and His Elves
Santa and His Elves

Santa and His Elves

For kids from ages 1 to 92, Santa is the main attraction of the holidays, and it's the only time of the year that you don't have to go all the way to the North Pole to get a glimpse of the man in the bright red suit. You know he's checking his list twice, so add some travel goodies to yours to make sure there's something special under the tree for your next vacation. 960 1280

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Holiday Decor

Holiday Decor

There's no such thing as too many white lights, bright red bows, angels or snowmen when you're decorating your home for the holidays. There's always one house in the neighborhood that looks like Clark Griswold's -- it must come with an excessive electric bill. 960 1280

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Christmas Cookies

Christmas Cookies

Cookies with your coffee, cookies in the evening, cookies at suppertime -- during the holidays, you can have cookies anytime. Who could refuse a sugar cookie, macaroon, or gingerbread man? They're all an excuse to indulge. 960 1280

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Extravagant Gifts

Extravagant Gifts

A Gizmon? A Sholdit? A Whatzit? A Whoozit? As long as you're giving gifts, you might as well spoil your loved ones completely rotten with something from our gift guides for every type of traveler. 960 1280

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Ski Chalet

Ski Chalet

Over the top? Absolutely. But what better way to ring in the New Year with the entire family than to rent out a ski chalet perched on top of a snowy mountain? The slopes will literally be in your backyard. 960 1280

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Rolling Stones Play Barclays

Rolling Stones Play Barclays

In the ultimate form of satisfaction, the Rolling Stones added a concert date for Dec. 8 at Brooklyn's brand-new Barclays Center. They'll be the biggest act to take over Barclays, since Jay-Z christened it with 8 sold-out shows. 960 1280

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Eggnog

Eggnog

There's no shortage of spirits to get you into the holiday spirit, but to truly indulge in the season, make sure to sip on some eggnog. After all, you can have champagne or a hot toddy any old time. 960 1280

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Window Shopping

Window Shopping

Walking down 5th Avenue in NYC, it's hard not to get lost in the window displays. The larger-than-life settings may make you temporarily forget about the sidewalks overrun with tourists, but do they make you want to buy something? 960 1280

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National Christmas Tree

National Christmas Tree

On its 90th anniversary, the nation's Christmas tree will be lit on Dec. 6 with the help of some famous friends, including host Neil Patrick Harris and guests Colbie Caillat, Jason Mraz, Phillip Phillips, James Taylor and more. 960 1280

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Gingerbread House

Gingerbread House

Sneaky children fill their hollow houses with extra candy, but we think the universal rule of thumb when building gingerbread houses is the bigger the better! 960 1280

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NYE Celebrations

NYE Celebrations

The ultimate night of indulgence? One where the party doesn't really get started until midnight. Champagne, crystal balls, confetti and fireworks -- there's no better way to ring in the New Year than with a little glitz and glam. 960 1280

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Christmas Village in Philadelphia

Christmas Village in Philadelphia

For its fifth year, over 500,000 people are expected to descend on the LOVE Park holiday market in Center City Philadelphia will have more than 90 wooden booths, 2 tents of European food, sweets and drinks, as well as a life-size Advent calendar. 960 1280

Christmas Village Philadelphia   

AKC National Championship

AKC National Championship

Don't forget to treat your 4-legged family members during the holidays. You'll find the ultimate pampered pooches at the 12th annual American Kennel Club/Eukanuba National Championship in Orlando, FL, on Dec. 15-16. 960 1280

  

National Christmas Tree
National Christmas Tree

National Christmas Tree

Looking for ideas on where to travel in December? Kick off the month with a tour of the National Christmas Tree. Located on the White House’s South Lawn, a towering 40-foot evergreen spruce has been a seasonal fixture of the nation’s capital since 1923. 960 1280

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San Antonio River Walk

San Antonio River Walk

Keep the Christmas spirit going in San Antonio. Every December, more than a mile of the San Antonio River Walk comes alive with over 100 underwater lights, as well as LED rope lighting crossing from one side of the river to the other. 960 1280

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Hobbit Tour

Hobbit Tour

Hobbit fans, rejoice! With this month's release of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Tolkien fans have a reason to follow the Hobbit trail to New Zealand. Besides being a great time to visit (December is the start of New Zealand’s summer season), the country has a Hobbit movie set tour on upper North Island. 960 1280

Jeff Hitchcock, flickr  

Ice Fishing, Colorado Style

Ice Fishing, Colorado Style

This December, put Colorado on your outdoors adventure map: Colorado's robust winters lure ice-fishing enthusiasts to gear up and head out for the thrill of the catch. Prime spots include Wolford Mountain Reservoir, a 1,550- acre reservoir, about 100 miles west of Denver. 960 1280

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Caribbean Cruise: Early December

Caribbean Cruise: Early December

For an impromptu December getaway, set sail for the Caribbean. The first 2 weeks of December are your best bet for bargain prices on cruises and hotels, before fares rise come Christmas and New Year’s. Combine your warm winter escape with cool events, like the Bahamas International Film Festival. 960 1280

Royal Caribbean International  

San Francisco Ballet's The Nutcracker

San Francisco Ballet's The Nutcracker

The holiday season wouldn’t be quite the same without catching a performance of The Nutcracker. We suggest heading to the City by the Bay to see the sparkling 2-act ballet performed by the San Francisco Ballet, which first introduced Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece to American audiences in 1944. 960 1280

Erik Tomasson  

Rockefeller Center Ice Skating

Rockefeller Center Ice Skating

For the quintessential NYC Christmas experience, take a whirl on the ice at Rockefeller Center. The world-famous ice-skating rink at the famed commercial complex, in the heart of Manhattan, has been a fixture of Rockefeller Center since 1936. 960 1280

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Stonehenge Winter Solstice

Stonehenge Winter Solstice

Take in the winter solstice at Stonehenge. Every year, more than 5,000 people gather at the prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England, to mark the time when the sun appears at noon at its lowest altitude above the horizon. And good news in 2013: Visitors can explore a new visitor center close to the ancient site that's set to open this month. 960 1280

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Santa Claus House in North Pole

Santa Claus House in North Pole

Just where does Santa Claus live? North Pole, AK, of course. Head to this small, wintery city in the heart of Alaska to see Santa Claus House: A storefront, built in the early 1950s, it’s the spot from which the Original Letter From Santa is mailed out, proclaiming the bearer to be “on Santa’s Good List.” 960 1280

Rosie Rosenberger, flickr  

Hit the Slopes

Hit the Slopes

Hit the slopes this month at North America’s most popular ski resort. In addition to being home to more groomed terrain than any other resort in the world, Vail, CO, boasts the country’s largest ski school for all skill levels. For the more seasoned skier, head to Jackson Hole, where over 90% of the trails fall into intermediate to expert categories. 960 1280

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NOLA Christmas Bonfires

NOLA Christmas Bonfires

Add a little spice to the holiday season with a trip to The Big Easy. Come Christmas Eve, dozens of bonfires light up along the Mississippi River levee to make way for Papa Noel, as locals in bayou country call Santa. Arrive by 7 p.m. to watch the fiery feu de joie (“fires of joy”)! 960 1280

Douglas and Charlene Guilliams of Baton Rouge, LA: A Father and Daughter Photography Team  

Christmas Village in Philadelphia

Christmas Village in Philadelphia

Come December, the City of Brotherly Love transforms itself into a Christmas Village. This annual holiday market in Philadelphia’s LOVE Park features traditional German Christmas market items, displayed by more than 60 vendors in decorated booths and tents. Get your fill of holiday goodies like gingerbread cookies and mulled wine. 960 1280

Christmas Village in Philadelphia  

Chicago's Polar Adventure Days

Chicago's Polar Adventure Days

Learn dog sledding in … Chicago? Yep, for outdoor winter adventure, head to the Windy City’s Northerly Island, site of the 9th annual Polar Adventure Days. Beginning in early December, the family-friendly event includes a toddler zone with outdoor “ice fishing,” an REI winter activity station and a dog-sledding demo with huskies. 960 1280

Chicago's Polar Adventure Days  

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