While I like all the good things about Christmas like visiting family, eating sweets and junk food with reckless abandon, watching Christmas Vacation and Rudolf and so on, I pretty much abhor commercialism and everything that modern Christmas represents. As such I avoid the mall most years and order almost all of my gifts online (Amazon ftw!).

Santas Village in South Coast Plaza
Santas Village in South Coast Plaza
This year I did set foot in the mall – but only once and only to run a quick errand. We’re currently situated within 10 miles of South Coast Plaza, the largest mall in California based on square feet and the largest mall in the entire United States based on total sales. Suffice it to say that South Coast is a zoo during the holidays. It’s a challenge to walk through the place let alone buy anything. There are literally lines at the cash registers in just about every store.

Fortunately, my errand was quick and easy, and Kathy and I got in and out – but I figured I’d still share a couple photos with you, so the first few photos in the gallery at the bottom of this post are from South Coast.

Off to Visit Family

Poinsettia Tree
Poinsettia Tree
Like most people, Kathy and I visit with family over the holidays. Once upon a time that visit involved going to New England and dealing with snow, sleet, slush and all manner of cold and wet. After a rather miserable year – I think with the wind chill it was -15 degrees – I proposed to Kathy that we stop going to New England for Christmas and she agreed.

Now I visit New England in the fall when it’s still warm and the leaves are beautiful, and we visit Kathy’s daughter in Atlanta for Christmas. This works out well as even though Atlanta isn’t tropical, it’s at least moderately warm and pleasant.

And yes, living in California for 15 years has turned us both into huge wimps when it comes to the cold, and I’m not ashamed to admit it! 🙂

At any rate, we ended up flying to Atlanta on December 24th as the flights are about half the money on Christmas Eve, and we spent a pleasant week in Atlanta with family.

The Atlanta Botanical Gardens

I won’t bore you with the story of our Christmas as it’s simply not that interesting, but what I did want to share with everyone was our trip to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. I’ve never been, and during the holidays they decorate the gardens with thousands upon thousands of lights and stay open fairly late at night. Here’s a brief video I made so you can see some of the lights:


It was a really great experience, even though it started to rain toward the end. I’ve included many more photos of the gardens in the gallery below as well. If you’re in Atlanta during any time of year the Botanical Gardens are a great place to visit and highly recommended by both me and Kathy!

Heading Home

The downside to flying during the holidays is that half the people on the plane were sick – and by the time we finally landed back in California so were we. I confess that this post wasn’t delayed entirely due to illness, but we were both out of commission for the first 2 weeks of January and that put us way behind with our regular work so I’m only just getting around to this now. That will teach me to not use Airborn/Zicam etc… before, during, and after a flight!

Heading forward I’ll be making an effort to post every week. We still aren’t on the road and probably won’t be for another couple of months, so in the next few posts I’ll be talking more about our RV and going over the improvements and modifications we’ve made to get ourselves ready for the road. Until next time, happy travels!


Hi, I'm Rich - Perpetual traveler, photographer, writer, and web designer. Thanks for reading, and happy trekking!