Las Vegas is a thrilling, unique place to spend time during the Christmas holiday season right through New Year’s. Santa’s workshop can barely compete with this much Christmas cheer. There are so many beautiful sights and sounds to titillate your senses. The casinos, restaurants, malls and clubs always kick it up a notch over the holidays to another whole level of excitement. The over-the-top displays of glistening Christmas trees covered with sparkling lights, the elaborate use of thousands of poinsettias, the music, and sight of pretty girls walking around in their fancy holiday attire, are all enjoyed by millions every year, and almost everything will be open for your pleasure. The fabulous shops, ultra-chic bars and clubs, gourmet restaurants, world’s best casinos, sumptuous buffets and spectacular shows are at your beckon call, so you can gamble, dine, and see a spectacular show while waiting for Santa to come with an amazing gift. These are some surefire ways to enjoy the holiday season in Vegas, along with some intriguing gift ideas.
— Sights and Sounds
The Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
Over the holidays, from December 6th through January 2nd, take time to stroll through the Conservatory. It will be decorated with a 42-foot Shasta Fir tree covered with thousands of lights. There are gorgeous poinsettias and the spirit of Christmas is everywhere, with flying reindeer created from whole pecans, a polar bear family made from white carnations and a seven-foot tall rocking horse.
Las Vegas Springs Preserve
Half a million LED lights will illuminate the Springs Preserve. There are eight acres of gardens to make this a beautiful colorful display of nature. The Winter Light Festival is open Fridays through Sundays in December from 5 pm to 9 pm.
SpringsPreserve.org 333 South Valley View Blvd (702-822-7700)
Ethel M Chocolate Factory
Chocolate in the shapes of Santa, reindeer, and chocolate houses are available here, just minutes down from the Strip in Henderson. The chocolate factory is a chocolate wonderland as it turns its three-acres full of 300 different species of cacti into holiday sculptures and festive displays with a half million lights. Open 5pm to 10pm daily from November 14th through January 1st.
EthelM.com 2 Cactus Garden Drive Henderson (800-471-0352)
Fountains of Bellagio
The fountains are fabulous anytime during the year, but during the Christmas Season, it’s certain to get you “in the spirit” with the fountains choreographed to the music of the season like: Carol of the Bells, O Holy Night, It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas, Sleigh Ride, Santa Baby and more. It can put you in a very festive mood. During the week, show times are every 30 minutes from 3pm to 8pm and every 15 minutes from 8pm to 12am. On weekends and holidays, shows begin at 12-Noon.
Who would you like to meet at Madame Tussauds? Located at the Venetian, the wax creations are so lifelike, you’ll want your picture taken with practically every one of the over 100 celebrities. You can put on a wedding dress and marry George Clooney in their Vegas-style chapel, and put on bunny ears, and party with “Hef!” You can get on stage and audition for “Simon” and have your mind freaked by “Criss Angel.” Madame Tussauds opens at 10am daily and will be open until 10pm on Christmas Eve and until 5pm on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. From the 27th of December, Madame Tussauds will be hosting the MICHAEL JACKSON EXPERIENCE, which includes waxworks of Michael Jackson from different points in his career.
Christmas at The District at Green Valley Ranch
Walk around the festive outdoor setting on Main Street, enjoy the live music performed by local community schools, churches and performance groups through December 20th. Take a picture with Santa and enjoy a complimentary horse and carriage ride. A Christmas tree light show will run through December 24th. ShopTheDistrictGVR.com
Until December 22nd you can go Christmas Carolling on horseback, and it will certainly restore some good old-fashioned Christmas spirit when you’re ready for a break from the lights on the Strip. They also have horse-drawn wagon rides for the entire family, even for those with disabilities, as they have accommodations for wheelchairs. Santa is there, too, and all the Christmas music that everyone can sing along with or enjoy listening to on the ride. You can choose the time that’s best for you: 4:30pm, 6:30pm or 8:00pm.
Sagebrush-Ranch.com (702-645-9422) for reservations.
Maverick Helicopter Tour
For a unique holiday experience, take a tour by helicopter over the Grand Canyon. Maverick Helicopters was awarded as one of the Travel Channel’s 10 Best Helicopter Thrills. Both the South and West Rims are breathtaking this time of year. Call to find out where they are operating from, because on the 25th, they won’t be flying the South Rim.
MaverickHelicopter.com 6075 South Las Vegas Blvd. (702-261-0007)
Crystals at CityCenter for Luxury Shopping
Crystals, just outside Aria Hotel and Resort, will be a magical holiday destination with white crystal-embossed LED trees from 8-feet to 24-feet scattered around the center. There are over 4,000 white and red poinsettias and 16 live trees from Oregon to complete the winter wonderland. Crystals has an astonishing array of the world’s elite high-end couture and luxury brand retailers. Louis Vuitton, Prada, Tiffany & Co, Christian Dior, Van Cleef & Arpels are just a few of the elite shops. There are fun restaurants to add pleasure to your visit, including Mastro’s Ocean Club by Todd English, Eva Longoria Parker’s BESO, and Brasserie Puck by Wolfgang Puck. There will be music playing from noon to 5pm Thursdays through Sundays, and it’s all open 10am to 11pm; and to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
Town Square Las Vegas
Located south of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, this outdoor shopping Mecca includes 1.5 million square feet of shopping, dining and entertainment. It was built to feel like an ancient European city with cobblestone walkways and stunning architecture. Stop in at Blue Martini’s happy hour and enjoy half-off the entire menu from 4-8pm daily. See a movie at the 18-screen RAVE movie theater, and don’t forget shopping for those exquisite gifts.
MyTownSquareLasVegas.com 6605 Las Vegas Blvd. S. (702-269-5000)
Shopping the Malls of Vegas
Las Vegas is always a fun place to shop, and especially so during the holidays. There are an abundance of malls to choose from, and they’ll be bustling with holiday cheer, restaurants, art galleries, bars, and places of fun. On the Strip you can visit The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, Fashion Show Mall, the Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian, Via Bellagio, and the Miracle Mile Shoppes at Planet Hollywood.
Venetian and The Palazzo’s Winter in Venice
Winter in Venice is here in Vegas. You can take a trip in an outdoor Gondola Ride that brings you into the lagoon outside the Venetian, right through the gorgeous festival of lights, holiday characters and romantic couples ice-skating on the ice rink. Ice-skating at the Venetian? Yes, they’ve put in a 35 x 85-foot ice skating rink above the outdoor Grand Canal. The rink is completely synthetic and made up of recyclable polymer that doesn’t require electricity or refrigeration. You can ice-skate while enjoying a hot chocolate and an eggnog cupcake between 11:00 am and 11:00 pm. The Gondola Ride will be open on Christmas Day during normal business hours.
Chip Davis, the group’s founder, brings the Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Vegas to the Palazzo Theater from November 20th through December 30th. This production will be pure Las Vegas, with the vivid addition of choreography, aerial displays, and state-of-the-art multimedia effects. Hear some great music with an amped-up production you can only find in Vegas at 7pm nightly.
— Luxury Gifts
1494 Fine Whiskey
If your preference leans to Single Malt Scotch and you would like to start a strong collection to savor for a lifetime, 1494 might be for you. With the debut of private whiskey collector’s club, 1494, founder David Clelland has built a bridge between collector and distiller, making your hunt for mind-blowing malts just a little bit easier. 1494’s knowledge, buying power, and top-shelf selection combine to provide members with one of North America’s most comprehensive and convenient single-malt collections. The club opened this fall, and offers an exclusive membership plan suited to make any whiskey lover’s dream a reality. There are three levels of participation: Founding Members, Collectors, and Connoisseurs – with memberships starting at $15,000 a year to $175,000 for a lifetime membership. Membership has its perks: “Meet the Master” dinners with distillers, Nat Sherman Cigars, pricing information from Bonham’s, (the world’s largest whiskey auctioneer,) private car service from Range Rover, and an annual golf and distillery trip to Scotland. Named in honor of the year Scotland’s King James IV first ordered the distillation of single-malt Scotch whiskey—the purest, most host-highly sought whiskey on earth.
Sky Combat Ace
Ever wonder what it’s like to be a fighter pilot? “You Fly the Plane” is a gift they’ll never forget in this #1-Las Vegas thrill ride. Their expert pilots are trained to teach you, and they’ll be right there to have your back. Try one of the thrill-seeking packages – each offers different experiences, with a variety of price ranges. “The Afterburner” is $399; “The Top Gun” is $599, and there are different packages that go all the way up to “The Adrenaline Rush”, which is $1,799.
Exotics Racing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
For a car buff, the gift of driving one of the world’s most exotic cars is a perfect choice. The most diverse motorsports facility in the world is located just 20 minutes from the Strip. The Exotics Racing playground has a new road course track. It was specially designed for high performance vehicles, and designed with a variety of configurations, including a straight away, as well as the very high speed banked bowl turns. You can choose from 14 exotic cars to experience, at speeds well above the legal limits on any U.S. road. Some of the world’s most exclusive cars you can drive here are: Lamborghini 2012 Aventador that has a top speed of 217 mph and has a vicious acceleration of 0-60 in 2.6 seconds. They call it simply the best superior car in the world with a market value of $440,000. Or you might choose the Ferrari 458 Italia, with a top speed of 202 mph, going from 0-60 in 3.3 seconds, with a market value of $300,000. The McLaren MP4 is another high-speed choice with 205 mph top speed and 0-60 in 3.2 seconds, and a market value of $250,000. Racing prices range from $299, to picking a 14-car combination from $3,699.
The Gun Store – gift certificate
Give the gift of thrill; the thrill of shooting a vast selection of guns at The Gun Store on East Tropicana. You can go for the “Ladies” package for $50, which buys you 20 shots on a Glock 19 with your choice of 10 shots on a Beretta CX4, an AP15 or AK47. Packages are offered in a great selection of different prices, depending what firearm is on your wish list. The supreme package is “Shoot The Wall” for $399.95, which gets you 25 shots each on 11 different full automatics.
TheGunStoreLasVegas.com 2900 E. Tropicana Las Vegas, NV 89121 (702-454-1110)
St. Barth’s for New Year’s Eve
The tradition in St. Barth’s is to ring in the New Year on the Quai Général de Gaulle in Gustavia, the capital of the island. Jetsetters, celebrities, and lovers of St. Barth’s all congregate on this small island to experience the legendary parties and events that welcome in the New Year. With luxury yachts filling the harbor, the annual New Year’s Eve Regatta starts at 10am on December 31, 2012, and yacht owners from around the world are drawn here to participate in a “just-for-fun” sailing event around the island. The evening offers live music, dancing and eating. The yachts lined up at the dock toot their horns on the stroke of midnight under a fireworks display, lighting up the sky.
Rio Spa Series
The gift of health and wellness is a terrific idea for a loved one, or even for yourself. Rio Spa & Salon is offering a monthly spa series to encourage relaxation and enhance overall well-being. For one low monthly introductory rate of $55, you can choose a six-month or one-year term, providing members with a choice of one spa service each month along with unlimited access to spa and fitness facilities. Members can enjoy access to whirlpools, saunas, steam rooms, state-of-the-art cardio, weightlifting and exercise equipment as often as they choose. Open daily from 6am until 7pm.
NOBU Hotel at Caesars Palace
Not quite ready for Christmas, but this distinct hotel will be ready for an extraordinary stay a couple of months from now as a gift package. Nobuyuki Matsuhisa – known to the world simply as “Nobu” – is the acclaimed and highly influential chef proprietor of Nobu and Matsuhisa restaurants all over the globe. Chef Nobu partnered with the highly acclaimed actor, and two-time Academy Award-winner Robert De Niro, and their vision for this hotel is reflected in the overall experience that embraces the fusion of Japanese and Asian tradition. It will feature the largest of Matsuhisa’s 29 restaurants and 18 suites to choose from. Prices range from $700 to $4,000 per night. The smallest suite is 1,000 square feet, while larger suites are available in a two-story, 5 bedroom vacation house. Using comfortable simplicity and natural materials and textures, every subtlety, every detail, from their signature green tea welcome gift to the impeccable Italian sheets to the feng shui within every room will impress. The bathrooms have teak fittings and stone tile. The oversized walk-in shower is made with traditional black Umi tiles and offers multiple showerheads and a teak bathing stool, a fixture of traditional Japanese bathhouses. Natura Bisse supplies Bath amenities, with a blended rosemary and white tea scent that was created exclusively for Nobu Hotel. The in-room mini-bar has such selections as organic Wild Poppy blood orange chili juice, chocolate-dipped Pocky pretzels, Japanese beer and Nobu’s signature brands of chilled sake and Genmai-Cha brown rice green tea. Nobu Hotel guests have private access to the restaurant and lounge with priority seating and 24-hour access to Nobu cuisine through a specialized in-room dining menu, which includes sushi, and a selection of bento boxes for a customary Japanese breakfast.
Magellan Jets is offering a variety of holiday gifts to turn everyone into a jetsetter. The Limited Edition 10 Hour G550 Card starts at $10,000, and is being offered exclusively for the holidays. Give your friends and family the access to a private jet anywhere in the U.S. with as little as 10 hours notice. Magellan Jets is distinguished in both the domestic and international private jet travel for its commitment to meeting clients’ demands, providing superior safety and security. The cabin is 7.3 feet by 50.1 feet, will hold 10-16 passengers and flies at 490 mph with a range of 6700 miles. It will accommodate up to 14 suitcases, 12-14 golf bags and 12-14 pairs of skis. Magellan offers a luxurious array of services and amenities that can’t be found anywhere else in the industry. You can choose in advance the in-flight amenities that you’ll want, including gourmet catering. Whether it’s a two-hour jaunt with a few simple sandwiches, gourmet pizza or sushi, or a longer European trip with multi-course meals on board, from steak to fresh seafood or pasta, your requests will be accommodated.
MagellanJets.com (877-550-JETS) (617-328-5387)
— Naughty Gifts
Be the first to circle the board to reach the Climax Finish Space by answering questions about sex, romance, and relationships for 2 players. Includes: 55 “Male Entice” cards, 55 “Female Entice” cards, 25 “Get Hot” cards, game board, 2 pawns, 1 six-sided die, and instructions.
Foreplay Ice Frost Massagers
Foreplay Ice…. it’s a whole new way to play! The cooling caress of ice creates sensual sensations that can only be described as incredible! Tease your lover to new heights of ecstasy with this enticing new massager. The vibrating, self-contained ice massager for sensual cooling sensations, has a removable 3-speed stimulator. Easy to use, uses 3 watch batteries, (6 batteries included). 2.25” x 3”.
Dr. Laura Berman – Shades of Purple Playroom Kit
Create a variety of erotic and sensual experiences with your partner, either on your own, or duplicate a scene from a popular steamy novel. This is the perfect assortment of pleasure enhancing products to introduce light bondage, discipline, submission, and restraint into the bedroom as part of sexual play. Kit includes: Mask (to heighten senses), Cuffs (establishing trust in your partner), Feather Tickler (to awaken senses), and Weighted Orgasm Balls with Designer Pouch (for strengthening kegels, and hold in place on command). $47.99
Tantric Enriched Massage Oil with Pheromones
Tantric...The art of sensuality! Heat up your intimate pleasures and reach new heights of intimacy with these outstanding products infused with nature’s own attractant, pheromones. For total relaxation, use these aromatic hydrating massage oils infused with pheromones, vitamins A, C, E, and green tea extracts. They’re rich in antioxidants to rejuvenate and moisturize skin. 4-fluid oz.
Phil Varone – Rock Hard Nipple Clamps
Phil Varone is the former drummer for iconic rock bands Skid Row and Saigon Kick, and also toured with Vince Neil of Mötley Crüe. A legendary rock star and ladies’ man, Varone has rocked the world of thousands of women while touring. Now he offers a variety of naughty gifts in his “Sex Toys & Rock ‘n Roll Collection” of toys to rock your world. For the perfect hard-core Christmas, try the Red or Black Nipple Clamps – sturdy, heavy-duty, non-piercing nipple clamps with padded tips. They are totally adjustable, comfortable and non-tarnishing. Clamps: 2”, Chain: 10.5”.
— Gifts from the Heart
This organization is dedicated to helping people with severe intellectual and related disabilities become the very best they can be, serving more than 3,000 people annually through vocational training, community employment, day services and arts and social recreation programs. They host the Las Vegas Great Santa Run. Last year 8,200 people dressed in Santa outfits and did the 5K run and 1-mile walk around Town Square. Registration fee is $40 for adults and $25 for 12 & under, includes a 5-piece Santa Suit (to keep) on Saturday, December 1, 2012. You can also attend the Magical Forest with Santa, sparkling lights, and a train ride on the Forest Express. Open nightly in December from 5:30pm to 10pm. Admission is $10 for adults and $8 for children. Cash gifts or donated vehicles are also welcome. Last season on “The Celebrity Apprentice”, Penn Jillette of Penn & Teller earned $40,000 for the charity.
OpportunityVillage.org 6300 West Oakey Blvd. Las Vegas, NV 89146 (702-259-3741)
St. Jude’s Ranch for Children
St. Jude’s Ranch rescues abused, abandoned, and neglected children of all races and faiths who have been taken from their natural parents. The safe haven lies thirty miles outside of Las Vegas on forty acres of land. On the property, a family structure is created by having ten houses that are supervised by full-time Family Teachers along with 6-8 kids in each house. These are children old enough to attend public schools. The “parents” (teachers) provide role-modeling, academic support, mentoring and discipline, as each child is required to take care of their room and help with household chores. There is also a Social Worker and Child Psychiatrist on staff who, along with the Family Teachers, help the children learn social and life skills to start new, productive lives as adults. Contributions can be made to:
StJudesRanch.org 100 St. Jude’s Street, Boulder City, NV 89005 (877-977-7572) (702-294-7100)
— Ring in the New Year!
New Year’s Eve on the Strip
You can party on the Strip from Mandalay Bay to the Stratosphere at America’s Party 2013. At about 6pm, the Strip will be closed down to traffic from Russell Road to Sahara. You can walk around with your drinks and noisemakers with no fear of cars. The casinos will stop letting people in at 11pm and reopen their doors at 12:30am, so make sure you don’t get stuck outside needing to use a bathroom. People from all over the world come to celebrate here in Vegas, so it will get crowded, loud, and then there are the “mystery kissers” who like to kiss someone at random at Midnight. When the clock strikes 12, there will be music and fireworks will be shot from the rooftops of the following casinos: The Venetian, Treasure Island, Planet Hollywood, Caesars Palace, Tropicana, MGM Grand, and the ARIA. The accompanying music soundtrack will include: Sal Soul Orchestra, LMFAO, Lady Gaga, Ne-Yo, Afrojack, Nayer, Pitbull, Jennifer Lopez, Adele, and a finale from ZZ Top’s version of “Viva Las Vegas.”
— How Celebrities Spend their Holidays
MAGICIAN/COMIC at LAUGH FACTORY INSIDE TROPICANA:
“ I LOVE Christmas!!! My favorite time of the year! I usually am on the road touring, but this year I will be home and my parents John and Arlene Sawchuck who have been married51 years will be flying down to Las Vegas for Christmas, as well as my wife Chloe’s parents from England (Jim and Jane)! I love putting up decorations and usually do the front of my house up with over 10,000 lights, full size reindeer and sleigh, Santa Claus on the roof, etc. Christmas Eve my Dad likes to go to a Christmas Eve Church Service, so we’ll probably do that, then drinks that evening at home by the fire, and of course, ‘Always’ a real Christmas Tree... Then Christmas Day we’ll wake up earlier, put the coffee on and open our Christmas Stockings... Then presents, and have a nice Turkey dinner that night with all the trimmings!!! Also around Christmas time I love doing charities and one of my favorites is hosting Alice Cooper’s Christmas Pudding Concert in Phoenix, AZ, which is December 8th, 2012 and supports his Solid Rock Foundation. ”
COMEDIAN, STRIPLV MONTHLY COLUMNIST:
“FUCKIN’ NAKED, RAW AND UNCENSORED”:
“ Christmas, I try to surround myself with good food, loving family and supportive friends. But if it’s the year they are being annoying, I still surround myself with good food, but stay in bed all day with a stack of movies....and a copy of the December issue of Strip Las Vegas, of course! I’m pretty sure that’s the way Jesus would’ve wanted me to celebrate his birthday. Merry Christmas! ” XOXO
ORIGINATOR AND LEADER OF THE FOUR SEASONS:
“ I live in Vegas and spend Christmas and New Year’s Eve quietly with my family at home. ”
COMEDIAN (making us laugh all the time):
“ I spend it with somebody else’s family….
and someone else’s friend. ”
“ The holiday season around my house is not too much different than the rest of the year, except that instead of just having friends and family over for “cool and refreshing adult beverages”, we have lights on the house and a tree in the living room! I feel like everyday should be treated like a holiday....I mean, life is short, so let’s “get this party started!!” New Year’s Eve is by far my favorite time to be with friends and family, because we always party at my house and it’s an all-nighter...and everybody stays over...so no drunk drivers!!! ”
PRODUCER “CRAZY GIRLS”:
“ I always go home to be with my family at Christmas. Then I come back to Vegas for New Year’s Eve. It’s the best place to get dressed up and bring in the New Year! ”
MONTI ROCK III
THE ORIGINAL “DISCO TEX AND THE SEX-O-LETTES”
“ I always have a Monti Rock III White Christmas Party. It’s a time to give back, so I give a lot of things to charities. It’s all about the “power of giving and kindness. ”
“ASH” FROM “EVIL DEAD: THE MUSICAL”
—played by BEN STOBBER:
“ When I’m not slaying deadites or preparing for the zombie apocalypse, I’m still hard at work with 2-3 jobs. Hey! Those 12 gauge, double-barreled Remingtons don’t come cheap. "