Hunger Games: Catching Fire is living up to its name. This past holiday weekend, the second installment in Suzanne Collins’ post-apocalyptic saga broke Thanksgiving box-office records. Now that you’ve seen the movie, walk in the footsteps of Katniss and company — and see where the Hunger Games franchise was actually filmed.
The holiday season is officially in full swing — now that Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday have all come and gone (finally), it’s time to break the Christmas boxes out of the attic and get decorating! The National Christmas Tree in Washington, DC, will be lit this Friday, and the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony is set to take place tonight at 8 p.m. — but what about your tree?
Want to show off your decorating skills? Or know someone who goes all-out with their spirited décor? We want to see your photos! Instagram them with the hashtag #TCHolidayLights, and we’ll pick our favorites to feature on the blog.
Plus, don’t miss Sam Brown and Zak Bagans’ picks for their favorite lights displays:
In a cozy café in Reykjavik, Iceland, I was sipping my latte out of an oversized cup when a raven alit on the top of a bright red house outside the café. For the umpteenth time since I’d been in the country, I tried to pronounce the Icelandic word for Raven. Hrafn. I rolled the letters over my tongue, speaking the word aloud. As soon as I heard my voice, I knew I’d said it incorrectly. Hrafn. The fn makes a “p” sound, I reminded myself. But how do you pronounce Hr? Hrafn. Hrafn. I realized I’ve become that odd-looking traveler sitting alone at a table talking to myself.
I’d been thinking a lot about ravens. I’d come to Iceland to, among other things, work on my writing. The raven, or hrafn, is an important bird in Icelandic folklore. It is said that the Norse god Oðinn had two ravens that counseled him, Huginn (“Thought”) and Muninn (“Memory”). I’d hoped the raven outside the café would help inspire my thoughts and memories, and therefore my writing. But really, the bird was just the beginning, because so much in Iceland inspired my creativity.
What better way to welcome the holiday season than with family, festivities, and, of course, the perfect holiday portrait. Don’t just settle for mundane decorations or a white background for this year’s holiday card; head to one these locations to truly wow your loved ones – no Photoshop required.
There’s no need to scramble to deck the halls and put up the tallest Christmas tree for the perfect holiday portrait. Trade an ordinary fireplace backdrop for one of the country’s coziest hotel fireplaces – just find one near you.
Looking for something less formal … and posed? Get outside and take the kids to a nearby park for a photo shoot. For you city slickers, we’ve rounded up a list of some of our favorite urban parks. No excuses!
Capture their attention with breath-taking views of the ocean, coast, or mountains from your last vacation. If your annual ski trip or beach house rental feels like a family reunion, why not use a photo from the last time you were all together?
Looking for more Everyday Escapes during the busiest travel time of the year? See our Holiday Tips for Family Travel.
Take a photo on your phone to share your family holiday spirit in a real Hallmark card with just a few clicks. Download the Hallmark Go Cards app to send real Hallmark cards to their mailbox from wherever you are. Download it now at Hallmark.com/GoCards.
Hawaii became the 15th state to legalize gay marriage on Monday, which should draw even more happy couples to the Aloha State. The law also allows couples to register for a license and be married the same day, a move that is sure to appeal to plenty of tourists.
How much of an appeal? Sumner La Croix, an economist at the University of Hawaii -Manoa, tells NPR that the legalization of gay marriage in Hawaii could boost tourism in the state by as much $217 million over the next 3 years.
“Same-sex couples will be attracted to Hawaii for the same reasons that opposite-sex couples are attracted to Hawaii,” said La Croix. “It’s the great weather, it’s the warm water, it’s the beautiful scenery. And it’s also the aloha spirit.”
We couldn’t agree more at Travel Channel. We’ve lauded combining your wedding with your honeymoon on the Hawaiian Islands thanks to the year-round warm weather, beautiful beaches and stunning sunsets.
The vigorous sounds of beating drums, flags flying, fans singing and chanting; finally, the FIFA World Cup 2014 has come to Brazil. With the excitement of the tournament setting the scene, visitors to the 12 host cities should take the opportunity to absorb themselves in the local culture and experience the hidden gems that make each location unique.
São Paulo, the City of Paulistanos
True to its city motto of “Non ducor, duco,” which translates to “I am not led, I lead,” São Paulo will lead the celebration by hosting the first games of the World Cup. Located in the southeastern part of Brazil, between Curitiba and Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo is a major business hub, but its hospitable people, the “Paulistanos,” know how to enjoy the diverse pleasures of life through food, art and music.
Despite its name, Bryce Canyon isn’t really a “canyon” at all, but rather a collection of giant natural amphitheaters in southwestern Utah.