Ranch & Coast Magazine

February 2023

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P ALM SPRINGS, PRE-CHRISTMAS 2022. Five of us rendezvous in the downtown Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage for lunch at 360 Sports. Wall-to-wall TVs show college football and pro basketball action. It's sensory overload, but we focus as entrées arrive at our bar table. My Honey Walnut Shrimp bowl comes with LeBron James-sized seafood, sweet sustenance for the mission ahead. My family has just made the two-hour-plus drive from San Diego to the desert. e winter day temperature is a wholly agreeable 70 degrees. Perfect, because after lunch, we're on a double-tracked shopping mission. Secret Santa and white elephant gifts must be acquired. Fanned out on the main drag of downtown Palm Springs, we're multitasked with window shopping and looking over our shoulders for each other. It's called Secret Santa for a reason! White elephant selections are also a hush-hush operation. For the second year now — which officially makes it a tradition — my family has spent end-of-year holiday time traveling together. Last year, this same fivesome (my wife and her son, my daughter and her boyfriend, and I) did pre-Christmas on Catalina Island. In lieu of Christmas gifts, I give my family a travel experience. It's become a hit and is something anybody can do any time of the year. Destination weddings are already a thing, of course. Why not take the family on the road before a graduation, a special anniversary, or in the place of other gift-laden holidays? We start planning our Christmas trip in the summer, giving us all a chance to share in the anticipation. ese excursions also give us a chance to unwind together, create collective memories, and deepen relationships, and can even be educational. Our first-day tradition: the low-cost gift exchange. Upon arrival, we scout out local tchotchkes. ere's a time limit. It's like a mission — detour destinations AGUA CALIENTE CASINO: PHOTO COURTESY OF AGUA CALIENTE CASINOS Family Travel in Palm Springs A holiday tradition brings bonding opportunities at Agua Caliente Casino and area hot spots BY RON DONOHO Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage ranchandcoast.com 72 FEBRUARY 2023 RANCH & COAST MAGAZINE

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