Why are we all freaking out about Holiday Travel?
Is it because of headlines? Fears of weather? Strikes and Cancellations? Maskless Covid carrier demons? Put all this behind you and make your holiday travels the happiest memories of 2022.
Where to go? Thanksgiving is not celebrated outside of the U.S. so flights overseas are not impacted by holiday crush. Want a truly unusual Thanksgiving for this year or next? Try London and track down US history. Connect what you see to what you learned in Grade School.
Westminster Abbey: in 1942 Westminster Abbey held a Thanksgiving service for over 3,000 American servicemen. They sang The Star-Spangled Banner in a place from which Pilgrims fled for religious persecution. This was the only time foreign soldiers were invited to the Abbey. Here is a video of the service:
Take the Thames River cruise. In 1620, The Mayflower left from Wapping on the Thames, to sail to America. Inhale a few breathes of your history while on the boat.
Christmas overseas is not celebrated as we do in the US. In Paris, families gather very late on Dec 24 for a meal to include champagne, foie gras, bouche de noel cake. The midnight meal is always late; it is expected one would go to midnight Mass. If you are a music lover, many churches hold mass with concert-type music, a must enjoy whatever your religion. The major department stores: Galeries Lafayette and Printemps have gigantic fabulously covered ceiling height trees. Paris holiday markets tempt you from late November thru Dec 24.
Caribbean area and Mexico are mobbed during Christmas, not like the 2 above cities. Caribbean islands have their own traditions, some Spanish, some indigenous like bamboo fireworks in St. Lucia or sorrel-ginger drinks in Jamaica. Mexico has candlelight parades, colorful processions which represent Mary and Joseph’s wanderings. Nativity scenes are intricate, and figures are carried to churches for blessings. You can comfortably attend church services to observe, by the way. You will find yourself midway between 2022 and pre-Colombian times. Look around at the walls and see indigenous images like the sun, corn stalks, flowers and feathers. If you avoid the tourist spots, you might see indigenous worshippers with candles on the floor of churches, chanting in un-recognizable languages. In Mexico, you feast on local specialties: pozole is a favorite: soup with hominy balls, chicken based and of course some avocado and sour cream.
I once spent Christmas in Bangkok, thinking it would be different. Thailand is a Buddhist country, but also a shopping mecca. There are Christmas lights everywhere and a Times Square type ball. From https://www.thaizer.com/ is this quote: “In Ayutthaya, elephants have been dressed up in Santa Claus costumes before being taken to local schools and distributing presents with their trunks. At the Sri Racha tiger zoo just outside of Pattaya, some of the tigers have also been wearing Santa hats”. It doesn’t get more celebratory than that.
Finally Christmas in Egypt? It is celebrated on January 7. The 15% Christian population feast at home with great dinners and sweets. Egypt has commercialized Christmas like Thailand with lights, trees and decorations in parks. When you cruise down the Nile, remind yourself that it is believed Mary and Joseph walked here.
Combine your traditions with those of other countries. It is a bit like adding spice to your pumpkin pies.
The Women’s Travel Group