Magazine article Sunset

Holiday Escapes: Three Families Celebrate the Holidays in Three Different, Wonderful Ways

Magazine article Sunset

Holiday Escapes: Three Families Celebrate the Holidays in Three Different, Wonderful Ways

Article excerpt

Holiday is a joyful word. Christmas, Kwanza, Hanukkah, the winter solstice, New Year's Eve--all are occasions to offer up good cheer, to imagine peace on earth for a moment. But the details of an ideal holiday mean different things to different people. How do you celebrate this candlelit season? With a family retreat to a remote cabin? A nature hike close to home? A carriage ride through the shimmering city streets at dusk?


There are as many ways to greet the season in the West as there are Westerners. Here, readers share their holiday styles, from Hawaii's beaches to a quiet patch of wilderness near Las Vegas to Seattle's lively downtown. If you're looking to create your own holiday escapades, we have suggestions for you, whether you're celebrating close to home or in a far-flung place.

So go ahead, bring out the buckets of good wishes. Breathe in the season's cool, quiet peace. And, wherever you spend them, enjoy the holidays.

A family together in Hawaii

Four generations gather to celebrate New Year's on Kauai's beaches

For her New Year's Day birthday, all Marsha Silberstein wanted was her family in one place. But taking her relatives to Kauai--her mother, in-laws, husband, children, children's spouses, and grandchildren--was no simple task. Marsha and husband Michael have always found sharing time with family to be most important at this time of year. The couple lives in Mill Valley, north of San Francisco, but their children, grandchildren, and parents are spread throughout California.

The Silbersteins dispersed into a condominium and nearby hotel rooms on lush, leafy Kauai. Their favorite experiences were simple pleasures--a beach picnic, a guided waterfall hike, and a luau on their final night on the island. It was relaxing together that made the holiday memorable.

The key to success, both Marsha and Michael agree, is planning and flexibility. They made reservations more than a year in advance, but they also adapted to last-minute upsets such as a missed flight.

Most days they scheduled one activity for the whole group, leaving plenty of free time for independent excursions. Marsha and Michael wanted to golf with Marsha's mother, Helen Hahn; Michael's father, Irv, drove the golf cart. Future son-in-law Mark Brewster had never been to the Islands, so he toured Kauai with fiancee Jessica Silberstein. And young parents Rachel Silberstein and Andy Hill spent some quality beach time with 3-year-old Ruby and 1-year-old Zeke.


In the end, it was the best gift Marsha could imagine. "Being able to sit back and say, 'There are four generations having fun on the beach together'--that was incredibly special," she says.

The Silbersteins stayed at Kaua'i Marriott Resort & Beach Club (from $259; or 800/220-2925). For information about Kauai vacation rentals and attractions, contact Kauai Visitors Bureau ( or 800/262-1400).

Making Seattle home

A young couple finds new traditions in an unfamiliar city


When David Griffith and Kate Chynoweth moved to Seattle three years ago, they knew they needed to make themselves comfortable: With David enrolling in the University of Washington's medical school, the longtime San Francisco residents were facing a protracted stay in this Northwest city.


What surprised them was how easily they fell in love with Seattle, especially this time of year when it lights up and celebrates. "It's a new place, so we went looking for new traditions," says Kate, a food and travel writer.

Now the Capitol Hill residents have their own Christmastime routine. They ride the carousel at Westlake Center, and, for a splurge, take tea at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel. "Both things are out of the ordinary--they're very holiday," Kate says. …

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