My top three favorite Christmas memories

I’ve  been reminiscing about memories of Christmas past and I realize how I miss having a proper Christmas celebration. You know, the kind where you have the whole clan on Christmas Eve, dressed up in red or green getting ready for grandma’s big, sumptuous dinner. The house decked out with the latest Yuletide décor complete with tiny, golden lights. The kids would be near the tree preoccupied with trying to guess the contents of carefully wrapped presents while the adults are busy cooking or catching up on gossip. In the background, you can hear Johnny Mathis or Bing Crosby sing a classic carol.

Ah, those were the days! Didn’t it seem so much more magical when we were kids and we didn’t have to worry about the expense associated with this holiday?

In more recent years, I have used Christmas as an excuse to travel. It’s a slow time and it’s the end of the year, so it makes sense to use those vacation days. I have had as much fun and “magic” celebrating Christmas in a non-traditional manner. So for this post, I’m sharing my top three favorite Christmas memories.

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6 Cool and Unique Gift Ideas for Travelers

It’s the season for giving and what better way to delight the seasoned traveler in your family or group of friends than by surprising them with gifts they can use while on the road. I’ve picked 6 cool and unique items you can purchase online at a great value. Plus, most of these sites offer expedited shipping so for last minute shoppers this is a great list to keep on hand.

A. Hints to Lady Travellers: At Home and Abroad  Combines archive material from a book of the same name first published in 1889 with anecdotes from well-known modern female travelers to offer a fascinating insight into the way that travel has changed for women over the last century. Quirky, engaging, and informative, it will appeal both to travelers themselves and to anyone interested in the history of travel and exploration. $8.76 at Amazon with Free Super Shipping

B. The Mobile Foodie Survival Kit For foodies, nothing is scarier than being in a strange place where you’re subject to sub-par food. The horror! With this handy Mobile Foodie Survival Kit, you can doctor up even the most repulsive meal. Stocked with organic herbs and spices, plus indispensable extras like wasabi. Kit includes: Sea Salt, Black Pepper, Cayenne, Onion, Basil, Conventional Wasabi, Cinnamon, Oregano, Garlic, Thyme, Curry, Ginger, Dill. $26.00 at Uncommon Goods

C. Personalized Travel Map Remember all those fabulous trips you took over the years? Now you can capture your vacations on this modern, classy world map print and make it a keepsake you can hang in your room. The Etsy shop owner can add a dot to all the cities you visited, add the flight path from your city of residence and also write the name of the city and year in the bar below. $36.00 at TexturedINK

D. Solar Gadget Charger Power up wherever you go. Capable of charging or powering almost any device with a USB port, this compact gunmetal grey wonder from Better Energy Systems is lightweight and portable. Place the Solio in sunlight, spread its wings, and once the internal battery charges you can power or charge a variety of devices. Also charges through your computer’s USB port. $99.95 at RedEnvelope

E. Grid-it Wrap for the iPad This wrap features the most intelligent organization tool ever, along with a neoprene sleeve that snugly holds your tablet and accessories in place. It even stretches to accommodate those bulkier items such as power adapters. $29.99 at Cocoon

F. Cashmere Hot Water Bottle Whisper-light and wonderfully cozy, the bottle’s insulating turtleneck “sweater” is loomed from the finest premium cashmere yarns. It’s a luxe gift that is sure to soothe any aching muscle. Reduced price of $29.99 from Restoration Hardware


I’m curious, what’s going to be on your list?

Tom Bihn Travel Bag Giveaway Winner

Two week ago we started a second travel bag giveaway sponsored by Tom Bihn.

And the lucky winner is Gerard of GQtrippin who also happens to be gearing up for an RTW trip December 2011. W00t! Congratulations =) You also win $50 worth of Kiva cards.