Ahh the Holidays! From Black Friday to New Year’s Day each of us is running that treadmill for a little more than a month’s time to accomplish all the tasks and errands necessary to meet our holiday goals.
Amidst all the chaos, the season is a perfect time to enjoy celebrations with family and friends. We’re lucky that Phoenix and other locations around Arizona offer amazing opportunities to get into the spirit! Here are my favorite events that I look forward to every holiday season:
1. Holiday Tea. An indulgence that brings me back to my childhood, holiday tea is a fancy afternoon filled with scrumptious tea sandwiches, pastries and a variety of teas. In Phoenix, make your reservations now for The Ritz Carlton, the Arizona Biltmore, The Phoenician and The English Tea Room in Carefree to name a few.
2. Las Noches de las Luminarias. A magical event where more than eight thousand hand-lit luminarias are perfectly arranged to illuminate pathways and highlight the beauty of the desert. This traditional Southwest celebration at the Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden has become my favorite holiday tradition that both your spouse and children will look forward to.
3. Holiday Lights at McCormick Stillman Railroad Park. This landmark railroad park transforms into a winter wonderland with a train ride through seasonal displays, a tunnel and more!
4. Cityskate. Take a spin around an ice rink at Cityskate at Cityscape in downtown Phoenix. Open till January 11, this is a chance to show off your skating skills and savor the many nearby dining options.
5. Journey to the South Rim on the Grand Canyon Railway. There’s no better way to visit The Grand Canyon then by way of a scenic 2 hour trip on The Grand Canyon Railway. From the town of Williams, you can board the train at the depot located across from the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel. For children, the The Polar Express, features a special journey to visit Santa Claus at the “North Pole.”
6. Hotel Holidays. We are fortunate to be surrounded by some of the nation’s most luxurious resorts and during the holidays these retreats go all out to get you in the holiday mood. The traditional Southwest experience at The Camelback Inn, the historical feel of The Arizona Biltmore or the many seasonal events at The Princess all offer an escape for any member of your family. Even if you simply tour their lobbies to view their holiday displays it promises to be a memorable experience.
7. Live Performances. Christmas music, The Nutcracker, Holiday plays and more abound during this time of year. The Mesa Arts Center has a great collection of performances from traditional choirs to children’s plays. The annual Nutcracker performance by Ballet Arizona is a treat for any child and local churches and community centers feature holiday shows for every taste.
8. Holiday Cooking Class. If you’re interested in raising your culinary skills to impress your holiday guests, take a cooking class at Lon’s at The Hermosa Inn to learn how to make gingerbread houses or enroll your child in a Junior Chef’s class at Williams-Sonoma to learn how to bake the best cookies.
9. Gingerbread Display at JW Marriott. A 40-foot x 25-foot gingerbread village at JW Marriott Desert Ridge is simply a work of art. Located in the main lobby, this year’s theme is "Christmas in Who-ville." Filled with whimsical Dr. Seuss characters this display is a town with Oreo cookie streets, ornate candy cars, a Santa Shop, an abundance of candy canes, lollipops, and holiday lights in addition to numerous hand-crafted gingerbread houses.
10. Cheers at the Coach House. If you take advantage of all these events, you deserve a little cheer! A hot toddy, martini or whatever your pleasure can be had at The Coach House, an unassuming local watering hole in Old Town Scottsdale. Covered inside and out with thousands of holiday lights and decorations, here you can raise a glass to another joyful holiday season in Arizona.