If you are hoping to go away over the holidays but haven't decided where yet, here are some last minute ideas.
We stayed at Jake's years ago before we had kids and it was fantastic. Located on the southwest coast of Jamaica about 2 hours drive from Montego Bay Airport, it is miles away from the typical Jamaican vacation at an all-inclusive resort. I've read in recent years how kid-friendly it has become and we are dying to go back with Jack and Ava. They offer cottages and villas perfect for a family, two on-site restaurants, a spa and yoga classes. I see they also offer nanny services with 24-hour advance notice.
Besides the saltwater pool, you can take many excursions. We hired a local fisherman to take us through the nearby Black River, home to saltwater crocodiles! We also took a trip to YS Falls with a stop for lunch at a local spot along the way.
This was our room when we stayed at Jake's which is perfect if you are looking for a cozy couples getaway.
Chicago is a great choice for families anytime of the year. There are plenty of museums to keep the kids happy (and warm) such as the Adler Planetarium, the Field Museum, and the Museum of Science and Industry just to name a few. Alan and Jack visited Chicago last December and Jack came home raving about how great the Museum of Science and Industry was.
In addition, the city has fantastic restaurant choices to suit both grown-up and children's palates. For great Chicago style pizza, check out Pizzeria Due. One of the original two restaurants of the Pizzeria Uno chain, either arrive early or be prepared to wait for their delicious deep-dish pies.
To get in the holiday spirit the city has lots to offer. The Magnificent Mile has plenty of holiday lights and store windows to take in and the Christlkindlmarket is a huge outdoor German-American Christmas market with beer and sausages to munch on as you shop. There is a large Christmas tree on display and the Winter WonderFest at the Navy Pier features an ice skating rink and amusement park.
If you want to stay in an apartment (which would be my choice), this one looks great and has availability over the Christmas break. For a hotel, the Hotel Monaco Chicago is a good option. The Hotel Monaco is part of the Kimpton chain of hotels and we stayed in one of their hotels in Virginia and found them to be incredibly kid-friendly. They have a KimptonKids program that includes having a goldfish delivered to your room to keep the kids company during your stay, a kids happy-hour complete with cookies, candies and lemonade and animal-print kids' bathrobes.
We haven't taken the kids on a skiing vacation yet (mostly because I don't ski) but Durango, Colorado will be my choice when we do finally decide to book that trip. There is plenty to do when you are not on the slopes, such as exploring Pueblo dwellings in nearby Mesa Verde National Park or taking a ride on the Durango & Silverton Narrow-Gauge Railroad.
The Blue Lake Ranch looks like a great place to stay with a family in tow, as it has many suites available that sleep 4 or more persons and many units come with a kitchenette and whirlpool tubs. The inn has cross-country skiing trails on the property as well as a lake for ice skating and downhill skiing is only a short drive away.