Photo of the Day (12/16/09)

Taken outside Tyn Church in Prague, this shot by uncorneredmarket does a lovely job of capturing an important aspect of the Czech Republic’s holiday season. Christmas markets offer visitors a variety of Czech crafts and food that are served up with twinkling lights and evergreens.

A cup of hot wine, a traditional beverage of such markets, would make a perfect accompaniment for such an evening.

If you have captured an aspect of your travels, send your best photos our way at Gadling’s Flickr photo pool. One might be chosen for a Photo of the Day.

New York City’s holiday magic

New York City during the holidays is magical. This video captures several of the highlights such as the department store window displays, the ice-skating and tree at Rockefeller Center, and the train at the Botanical Garden.

The sounds are the natural background noises of people talking and the hum of city life. The viewer, in essence, is invited into the scenery.

One of my favorite holiday things to do in the city is to pop into St. Patrick’s Cathedral across from Rockefeller Center. There’s a quietness that’s a pleasant contrast to the bustling crowds, although I love those too.

Next year, I plan to take my son to Radio City Music Hall to see the Rockettes in the Christmas Spectacular. Sure, we could have seen the traveling show, but there’s nothing like seeing the Rockettes in the theater that made them famous. I just checked. There are still tickets available. The show goes through December 30.

Honolulu Christmas Lights

So the weather outside may not be frightful, and we might not find the fire necessary, but there is plenty of holiday spirit on the Hawaiian islands — particularly if you’re traveling along King Street in Downtown Honolulu or down Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki.

Although you’ve already missed the 24th Annual Honolulu Christmas Lights Opening Ceremony and Parade, which was held on December 6, the colorful displays along the King Street block in front of the Honolulu Hale (530 South King Street) make for a great evening of family fun. This year’s city lights theme is “Ku’u Home” (Our Home), and highlights the cultural diversity of the islands as well as its special spirit of Aloha.
The Lights are on for all to see until January 6. The centerpiece of this year’s display is always the enormous Hawaiian themed Santa and Mrs. Claus, kicking back barefooted by the water. There’s something uniquely tropical and delightful about Christmas time in Honolulu even without the cold and snow. Honolulu’s 23rd Annual Holiday Wreath Contest winners, are also displayed in the interior halls of the Hale. Every year has a different theme, and this year’s is “Holiday Heroes,” which you will see is pretty much open to interpretation.

Finally, if you haven’t had your fill of palm trees and Christmas lights, Waikiki always serves up some authentic holiday events — particularly along Kalakaua Avenue. Sheila, over at Go Visit Hawaii, breaks down the plethora of activity going down in the touristic center of Hawaii. Most of the noteworthy offerings in Waikiki involve gorging on Hawaiian cuisine at the various hotel restaurants and cafés, but some interesting activities are available in the coming week, including a Santa appearance and photoshoot at the Outrigger Reef on the Beach on the 23rd. Be sure to practice your Hawaiian and wish your friends and family a warm “Mele Kalikimaka” (Merry Christmas)!

The Best Holiday Light Displays Around the World

Travel and Leisure compiled videos of the best holiday light displays around the world into one handy album right here. If you wish to feel inferior about your outdoor decorative efforts, look no further.

Actually, these displays are far too fantastic to even inspire envy. Most, like the Brussels and the Tokyo (Roppongi Hills, above) ones, will inspire awe and wonder. So get your coffee, sit back, and let other people take care of the cheer for a little while. It’s beautiful!

[via Travel and Leisure]