46. Travel At Christmas

Because Christmas is a time to be with family, loved ones and friends, it
is one of the busiest times of the year to travel. People locally, to different
regions and to international destinations to share Christmas dinners, exchange
gifts and recall fond memories they have of the season. There’s also travel for
entertainment reasons that’s done by tourists within the country or from abroad.
And even on Christmas Day, the highways are busy with vehicles as relatives and
friends travel between towns and states to spend the day together.
The massive and rapid shift away from an agrarian society to one of
commerce with the development of cities and suburbs caused family members to
move farther and farther away from each other, therefore making it necessary to
travel by land, air or rail to be together for holidays such as Christmas and
other special occasions. And with some countries being economic powerhouses in
the world, movement of peoples got even farther as they migrated to other
countries to take advantage of better opportunities to improve their lives.
Consequently, air travel has expanded in modern times to take people to
international destinations.
But travel during Christmas and the holidays is not limited to visiting
relatives and friends. Many people travel for entertainment, including families
who are interested in seeing interesting sights at Christmas and enjoying world-
renowned entertainment that are in faraway places from where they live. Travel
to a destination that is far away, within or outside a country, may only be done
once by a family and that in itself creates a special memory.
Within the United States, it is popular for families and groups of friends
to visit New York City to see the general sights of the city and to shop at
Christmas. Some of these sights are known throughout the country and are
celebrated each Christmas. The annual lighting of the Rockefeller Center
Christmas Tree is an example.
The lighting of the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, which is located
west of Fifth Avenue from 47th Street to 51st Street in New York City, has been
an tradition since the time of the Depression. The first tree was placed at the
site in 1931 but it wasn’t decorated with any Christmas ornaments. In recent
years, more than 25,000 Christmas lights and other ornaments have been placed on
the tree.
Also in New York City, it is very popular for tourists to travel at
Christmas to see the spectacular Christmas show at Radio City Music Hall with
the signature high-kicking Rockettes. The show is a favorite of both adults and
children as it is very festive, lively and filled with the spirit of Christmas.
Tourists also travel during Christmas to international destinations for
entertainment. Because the Nutcracker Ballet originated in Russia and that
country has worldwide acclaim for some of the most technical and artistic ballet
performers, it is a popular destination at Christmas. The legendary Tchaikovsky
composed the music for the Nutcracker Ballet, which was first performed in
Russia’s Mariinsky Theatre that is home to the acclaimed Kirov Ballet. The
story is about a little girl’s dream on Christmas Eve about a beloved Nutcracker
toy she received as a present.
Travel to international destinations is also popular at Christmas time to
escape the cold of a ‘White Christmas.’ For those who do not like the cold but
like to be out and about at Christmas, the alternative is to go somewhere with a
more tropical climate. Travel to destinations in the Caribbean, where Christmas
is robustly celebrated, is popular during the Christmas season.
One of the intriguing places to travel during the Christmas season is to a
place where Santa can be observed. There is such a place in Finland at a village
where Santa Claus has his workshop. Travel to see and possibly talk to Santa
Claus is a delightful adventure for children. But such a trip has to be made
before Christmas Eve when Santa, his elves and reindeers embark on a trip
themselves to every home in the world.