Each year, my family heads to our timeshare resort in Las Vegas for our week-long vacation. And, every few years, we schedule our time around Christmas.
The glittering lights of The Strip shine extra bright for Christmas, as the city transforms into a winter wonderland! The nearby attractions – from casinos to national state parks – always make the holiday one our family remembers.
The name of our resort is The Berkley, Las Vegas and it is nearby great local attractions, one of them being Silverton Casino. The Silverton Casino has restaurants, slots, entertainment, and a beautiful 117,000-gallon aquarium. You can see a live mermaids show at the aquarium. It’s also home to Bass Pro Shops Las Vegas & the only Cracker Barrel Old Country Store & Restaurant in Vegas.
Christmas time is extra special because the casino and the resort are decorated so nicely. There is even more to do and see!
Packing for a Christmas vacation is a little different from our traditional summer retreats. I need to pack seasonally appropriate clothing for my family as well as plan our celebration on vacation. But, all the planning is worth it when I see the smiles on my family’s faces.
Packing for a Christmas Holiday
When it comes to clothes, I pack a combination of layers. Las Vegas’ highs and lows in December range from the mid-50s during the day to low-40s in the evening, which are wildly warmer than the temperatures at home. For each family member, I pack the following:
· A pair of jeans or pants.
· Two pairs of shorts or skirts.
· Two tee-shirts and two tank tops.
· A long-sleeved shirt.
It may seem like a short list, but I dress my family in layers for travel days. While we start in jackets, hats, and long sleeves at our house, we’re down to tee-shirts and “Mom, can you hold this,” by the time we reach the resort.
Family Travel Day Packing Hack: My kids wear their school backpacks on travel days with a couple of fun things they want for the stay. When they get too hot in their coats and sweaters, I roll them up and shove them in the backpacks. This has saved me from juggling suitcases, children, and discarded clothing half a dozen times.
The in-suite washer and dryer at The Berkley, Las Vegas also cut down luggage weight since we can do a mid-stay load. I also like to wash our clothes the day before our departure so I can unpack clean clothes directly into closets and dressers.
On the first day of our Christmas vacation, we’ll relax into our suite. The kids spend about five minutes running from room to room before they are begging to go visit the Grand Canyon. It’s an easy “Yes!” since it is not too far away.
How to Keep That Christmas Feeling
The best thing about going to our vacation resort each year is that we can keep up with family traditions. The living quarters make it easy to have our celebrations without feeling cramped in a place too far from home, no matter the distance.
While my husband hangs out with the kids, I go through my holiday grocery list. I’ll pick up the usual food items we enjoy at home and while on vacation, as well as some holiday-specific ingredients. The full kitchen means I can prepare our holiday dinner as usual, and we have a dining room table to sit at as a family and enjoy it.
My family’s favorite Christmas meal is glazed ham, Grandma’s green beans, and sweet potato with apple pie for dessert. To save a bit of money, I pack some spices I like to use in our meals in resealable food bags. I also make sure to have a picture of recipes on my phone.
I also pack our Christmas stockings to hang in the resort suite. Other decorations consist of light-weight and compact paper holiday decorations, which also double as an activity to do with the kids. One year, I brought paper snowflakes and Christmas tree cutouts and we crafted decorations for the suite.
I’m one of those moms that put her family in matching sweaters for our holiday photo, and the years we go to Las Vegas to celebrate are the best ones. Some of my favorite Christmas in Vegas pictures included the family in front of:
· The Bellagio Fountains.
· Town Square.
· The Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.
· The Grand Canyon.
· The resort pool with palm trees in the background.
· The Las Vegas Dry Lake.
Where to Go on Christmas Vacation
One of the reasons we head to Las Vegas for Christmas is the range of activities, from gliding on the ice rink at the Cosmopolitan to watching the Venetian’s giant Christmas tree lighting. Since Las Vegas gets pretty busy during the holiday, I make reservations and purchase tickets in advance. Although many holiday-related sights in the entertainment capital of the world are free, it’s always a safe idea to book shows and certain activities in advance, which helps when planning the week-long stay.
Great Christmas events and shows include the following:
· The Tournament of Kings Holiday Dinner Show
· The Glittering Lights at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway
· Santa in the Shipwreck at Mandalay Bay
· Nevada Ballet Theater’s The Nutcracker
· Tour of the Grand Canyon
Free Christmas-related activities include the following:
· Underwater Santa in December at the Silverton Aquarium
· Santa’s Wonderland at Bass Pro Shops (free photo with Santa)
· Listening and watching holiday music at the Bellagio Fountains
· Walking through the Bellagio Conservatory, which is changed seasonally
· Visiting the Palazzo Waterfall Atrium at the Venetian
Whatever we end up doing, I always have my camera on hand for those great candid photos of my kids laughing and enjoying the holiday spirit. Christmas at The Berkley, Las Vegas is a refreshing way for my family to celebrate our traditions in a fun and exciting place!
- By Estrella Marquis, long time owner of Vacation Village Resorts