Favorite December Travel Destinations

by Alecia Stevens, Tastemaker in Residence

I’m supposed to write a piece about a favorite December travel destination. I could easily start with my three favorite places and say just pick one:  Florence, Italy, Charleston, South Carolina and New York City. But, you see, I’ve never been to Mexico or Napa or the South of France or London or Morocco or Lake Como, where I would very much like to go, so I don’t have a travel trove from which to pick my absolute favorite for a December getaway. I don’t know what I don’t know.

I could say try spending it on a small family farm in Iowa because it really was quite nice there when it snowed in December. I recall this as a child. We would go out to sled or play Fox and Goose in the fresh snow and make “snow cones” with fresh vanilla and milk. This, of course, was before anyone worried about contaminated snow. I also recall a Christmas I spent alone in Charleston, away from my family, walking on the deserted Isle of Palms beach in the 70-degree mid-morning sun, knocked sideways by the contrast of every other Christmas I’d spent in my life in Iowa, pine boughs heavy with snow and flannel sheets wrapping me warm in a cocoon of a bed. Or you could try Key West in December, like the week I spent with Lee, mind-numbingly in love in that first year together, physically connecting the potent vibrations between us at every opportunity, at dinner under the table or in the heated pool at our B & B. But this was probably more about the heat of passion than the temperature of the salty air. All of these are pleasant December memories.  

But, what I’ve been thinking about lately in light of the seismic psychic, spiritual, and political shifts on the planet is we have to forget about making it about a place. My mantra goes something like this: My happiness is not tied to a person, place, or thing. It is not tied to a condition. My happiness does not depend on being in the perfect “vacation spot for December”.  It does not depend on having the perfect president. It does not depend on being the perfect weight or having the perfect table setting. My happiness is my job apart from any and all conditions. 

Trust me, this is not always easy. But it is freedom. And a freedom that matters more to me than showing the world on my Instagram that I am at Lake Como or on a private sailboat off the coast of Cuba in December. (But I promise I will post it if I am there!)

It reminds me of the quote attributed to the model Kate Moss, “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” Well, no place can make you happier than you can make yourself. Exactly where you are, with whomever you are with, under whatever conditions present themselves. So wherever you are in December make it the perfect place to be at the time. And happy travels. Even if you go no further than to that beautiful inner space.