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.
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