Tropical HolidaysIf the blustery weather and gray skies of winter have you down, perhaps it's time to consider escaping to the tropics for the holidays. Can't you just picture it? The golden sands, the waving palms, the trees filled with colorful parakeets and songbirds -- all this and more can be yours when you head to the tropics for a winter getaway.
We all know that winter weather can get a person down. If you live in a place with short daylight hours, biting winds, or a climate that requires you to scrape your windshield every morning, you're probably ready for a change. Studies have shown that exposure to sunlight dramatically lifts a person's mood and can wipe away the famous winter blues. Sunshine not only provides vitamin D, but it's also good at cheering people up. There's nothing like shedding all the winter parkas, hats, boots, and gloves to make a person feel liberated.
Aside from the benefits of a little sun, the tropics are a fun place to spend the holidays. You and your family can learn about new traditions, like Hawaiian Christmas luaus and the Japanese gift-giving traditions. You can try new holiday foods like jerked pork, mango ice cream, and pineapple chutney. In Hawaii, you might see a surfing Santa or holiday elf. Talk about a holiday trip your kids will never forget!
The best thing about a tropical holiday is that it's a break from routine. Even if you love your traditional Christmas, you might find that trying something new puts a little spring in your step. And of course you can always take your traditions with you. Your family gift giving doesn't need to change, for instance, and while it might be hard to get a Douglas fir tree, you can always decorate a small palm or monkey-puzzle tree as a substitute. The family can sing carols and bake cookies the way it always does, but with the added bonus that when the meal is done, the whole group can head to the beach to try surfing or to go swimming.
If you're looking for a way to connect with nature, a tropical vacation is ideal. While most animals are tucked away in their snug nests in the colder parts of the country, the warmer spots are full of migratory birds that are wintering over for the season. All across the south, from Texas to Florida, you'll find incredible bird watching. These areas (and the Caribbean islands and Hawaii) are also great places to watch for marine life like whales, seals, sea lions, otters, and manatees.
Wild mammals are also more active in warmer climates. In the colder areas, winter is a time for hibernation and migration, but in balmy places like Southern Florida, it's actually late summer that's considered the dormant season. Winter, on the other hand, brings rain and cooler temperatures that help plants grown and are, in turn, great for wildlife.
If you're feeling like your holiday traditions are in a rut, then a warm-weather trip is the perfect antidote. You'll come home feeling refreshed and restored, ready to tackle the challenges of winter with good humor and a light heart. After all, no one can laugh at snow like someone who's just spent a week at the beach! And with memories of blue skies and shorts-and-sandals weather to keep you warm, you'll be well fueled to power on until spring.