I’m Dreaming of a Scottsdale Christmas

Six Reasons to Go South This Holiday Season

A snow-laden white Christmas is very much the ideal for most Coloradans. Yet a green, Saguaro Desert-infused holiday in Scottsdale is perhaps even more compelling, especially when rewards include sumptuous short-sleeve weather, spectacular holiday festivals and—oh yes—nearly 200 immediate-vicinity golf courses designed by the best names in the business.

Tempting as freshly baked gingerbread cookies? Absolutely. Here are six jingle-bell suggestions why you should celebrate with Santa in sunny Scottsdale:

1. Christmas at The Princess: Perennially awarded AAA’s highest five-diamond honor, the luxurious Fairmont Scottsdale Princess (pictured above) resort additionally enchants with a four-story-high musical Christmas tree, Princess Express Train, Christmas Carousel, animated light shows, ice skating, petting zoo and more.

2. ZooLights at the Phoenix Zoo: Four million lights and 700 sparkling displays make ZooLights one of the biggest and brightest holiday events in the Southwest. Festivities include an hourly orchestrated light show, carousel, stingray touch tank, ice sculpting, and camel and wagon rides.

3. Boccieri Golf Game Makeover: Treat yourself or your favorite player to a golf swing that really works, courtesy of Boccieri Golf. Led by golf innovator Stephen Boccieri, this expansive “golf experience” studio is underscored by a $150,000 robot swing teacher, PGA instruction and a super-stocked showroom featuring Boccieri’s own ingenious line of heavyweight grips, shafts and putter heads.

4. The Boulders Debuts Major Changes: In nearby Carefree, The Boulders Resort & Spa has just completed an eight-month, multi-million-dollar renovation that includes total bed-to-bath transformations to its 160 guest casitas, plus a fully revamped main lodge that offers new restaurant dining, enhanced group facilities and a revamped waterfall-over-boulders pool complex.

5. Desert Botanical Garden Glow: Few destinations are more magical than the 50-acre Desert Botanical Garden and its world-renowned collection of cacti, trees and flowers. During the holiday the park really shines during “Las Noches de Las Luminarias,” which transforms the Garden with 8,000 hand-lit luminaria bags, thousands of twinkling lights and vibrant works from acclaimed artist Bruce Munro.

6. It’s a Golfer’s Smorgasbord: Legends like Pete Dye, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Weiskopf, Coore/Crenshaw and other top architects singularly define Scottsdale’s desert golf celebrity. Their heralded artistry is splashed on a lush and effervescent pallet of saguaros, arroyos, peaks and Kodacolor sunsets.


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Chris Duthie is a Durango-based contributor to Colorado AvidGolfer, the state’s leading resource for golf and the lifestyle that surrounds it. It publishes eight issues annually and proudly delivers daily content via www.coloradoavidgolfer.com.