Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas in Las Vegas

I'm a Jewish dude, but Christmas in Vegas is a catchier headline than Holidays in Vegas. I also don't want to be accused of waging a war on Christmas by Bill O'Reilly (because that wily bastard is on to us... the truth is that the Jews, Atheists, Agnostics, Muslims, Secular Humanists, and Jehova's Witnesses have all indeed come together to wage an all out secret war on Christmas. We meet in dark basement in bad parts of town in the twilight hours, and it turns out those Fox News Anchors most people find so silly are the only journalists crusading for the truth).

Also, the title will get picked up easier by Google and help in my quest to collect more followers whose loyal readership I can eventually convert into extremely lucrative monetary gain.

Las Vegas does not come to mind when one thinks of holiday destinations. When conjuring images of a nice holiday, one usually imagines huddling by a fire as snow piles outside in a idyllic Vermont cabin while the family opens presents under a glowing tree as Bing Crosby gently sings on the radio. I've never had this experience (I have lived in California my entire life and, as I previously stated, am very much Jew) but somehow this is the image that comes to mind when I imagine the holidays. 

Images not usually associated with dreams of Christmas morn' include blindingly bright desert sun reflected off a crazy jungle of glass edifices mimicking famous international landmarks packed together along one long street, where people sit in casinos gambling away their savings, day drinking and contemplating hitting bottom with one of the hookers trolling the gaming floors.

So, yes, Las Vegas doesn't exactly scream "Christmas spirit" in a stereotypical way, but it's actually a fun place to spend the holidays if you're not married to the Normal Rockwell version... and here's why:

-The Food: Even if you think your mother (bless her heart) is your favorite cook, be honest: she's got nothing on the kitchen skills of Thomas Keller, Hubert Keller, Julian Serrano, Joel Robuchon, Guy Savoy, Pierre Gagnaire, Mario Batali, Charlie Palmer, Tom Colicchio, or the countless other master chefs who own signature restaurants in Las Vegas. Enjoy an epic meal at one of the many foodie-centric fine dining restaurants on The Strip that will be so amazing your family will be too busy stuffing their faces to fight about your deadbeat brother's future or why your closeted uncle isn't married yet.

-The Whole City Lights Up Like a Christmas Tree (Even More than Usual): New York's famous Rockefeller Center Tree has got nothing on the Las Vegas skyline, which is lit up like a Christmas Tree 365 days a year. But particularly for Christmas, Vegas does it up. Check out the decked out for the season Botanical Gardens and The Fountain Show set to Christmas tunes at The Bellagio, the Christmas themeing on The Fremont Street Experience, the Scuba Diving Santa at The Silverton Casino Aquarium, the eco-friendly Winter Lights Festival (a beautiful display of green friendly LED lights powered by solar energy) at Springs Preserve, the ice rink at The Grand Canals in The Venetian, the 20 foot tall snow covered trees at The Palazzo, the massive LED lit tree at Caesars, and Christmas music piped in everywhere you turn. Maybe that last part is not appealing to you, but that's pretty much par for the course starting after Thanksgiving in any public space. Don't be a Grinch. Get in the spirit. (Bonus note... I got a Groupon offer for Horse-Drawn Chrismas Caroling in Vegas. Does this mean you participate in the Caroling or do you watch people do it? And do they take the horse drawn carriage onto The Strip? Because that just seems so awesomely stupid that I almost made it its own bullet point.)

-Everything's Open: Almost every business, except for bars, movie theaters and Chinese restaurants (which are all you really need in the end, I know) close on Christmas day in most cities, even major metropoli (proper plural form of metropolis? Probably not, but I like it) like Los Angeles. But not in Vegas... the casinos never close their doors for anything short of a controlled demolition, and Christmas day is no exception. Sure everyone enjoys spending the morning opening presents with their family, but aren't you ready to go out and do something by noon? We non-XMas celebrating heathens tend to get bored when there is nothing to do in the outside world, and Vegas negates that problem by keeping their 24 hour party rocking 365 days a year, even on Jesus's birthday.

 -Hotels are Cheap: The smoking wreckage known as the American economy has hit Vegas particularly hard, but that's something you can take advantage of financially (just like the greedy Wall Streeters who caused the initial recession, you know what I mean, man? #Occupy!) by booking a hotel room at a low rate for the Christmas weekend. Take your pick of some of the nicest hotels on The Strip for low nightly rates... and call the hotels directly to see if you can haggle them down to get a good deal on what will be an otherwise un-occopied (#Occupy!) room for less (yes, that advice comes directly from the stereotypical Jewish side of me).

-It'll Make for a Good Story: Why live your life by cliches when you can have a unique experience? Las Vegas is not the typical place to spend Christmas, but you're an individual damnit! Don't be another preditable statistic who becomes part of the faceless zombie masses... go have a Christmas adventure filled with sexy girls in skimpy Santa outfits, gambling, binge-drinking, sad eyed hookers working on a holiday, over-priced buffets, and more in the City of Sin.


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