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Healthy Cells is a local health magazine with most of the articles written by local professionals. People love to read about healthcare from their local health professionals. Each month includes a wide variety of articles on various topics.
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Give the Gift of an Experience This Holiday Season

What do you want for Christmas?” Nearly every greeting with family and friends during the months of November and December in the days leading up to 12/25 begins with this question. Of course, the answers will vary, but the common thread that binds us all together is that our responses are something material and tangible. The latest electronics. The most coveted toys from this season’s hot list. A sparkling piece of jewelry. That backyard smoker or grill.

    Close your eyes and try to recall what you received last year. Coming up empty? What did you give your kids? Significant other? Parents? Friends? Still thinking? Yeah, me too!  
    Now ask yourself this. What is the last experience you had with family and friends that is most memorable? Where were you? Who were you with? What were you doing?
    For me, I always recall vacations with my loved ones. My mind flashes with memories and my heart swells with nostalgic feelings. The sound of laughter echoes in my ears. My heart races as I recall the exhilaration of experiencing something new. My eyes tingle when I think of how fast time passes and with each new day we all grow older — my parents age, my teenage son gets one day closer to college, my husband inches closer to retirement, and even I get older. Gasp!  
    Earlier this year, a group of 13 family and friends (ranging in age from 15 to 76) cashed in on the trip of a lifetime when we traveled together to explore Alaska — The Last Frontier, and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada onboard the Disney Wonder cruise ship. We booked the trip during the holiday season a year and a half prior to our departure with the mutual agreement that this trip would be our gift to each other. The gift of time together to explore and experience something completely new that none of us had ever experienced before. A long-time “bucket list” item for my 71-year-old father, and his 75-year-old sister.
    For 18 months, we deposited funds in our vacation accounts, shared countdown updates via text and phone calls “hey, only 120 days to go!” Snapped photos of clothing and items neatly piled and waiting to be packed in suitcases for our big trip.
    We exchanged an Alaskan tour guidebook, which many of us read (the teenagers even flipped through it). We built itineraries and selected our number-one shore excursion for all of us to enjoy together — a scenic train ride along the Klondike Trail from the gold rush in Skagway in the late 1800s. The breathtaking images of mountains, waterfalls, tunnels, and the historic charm of Skagway, Alaska are forever etched in our minds. I stood on the platform outside the railcar, inhaling the fresh air as the steam train chugged up the mountain. The best view, though? From my vantage point, I could see the other 12 people in my party peering out the windows, pointing, leaning, talking, and sharing the sights and sounds around us. That moment alone was worth every dollar.
    To this day, we still swap stories from our magical trip together. Sounds cliché, but it’s true. Relationships were repaired. New bonds were formed. The hunger to explore more and travel to other parts of the world stirred a fire in our bellies.
    This holiday season, consider giving the gift of experience to those you wish to spend your cherished time with. No need to be extravagant. An experience can be anything — it’s your choice!  A spa day? A behind-the-scenes brewery tour? A character experience? A theme park? A resort destination? Let your heart and mind wander as you dream, and ask yourself this — if you could share an experience anywhere in the world with those you love, where would it be?  
    Leta Gail Doerr is a Personal Vacation Advisor with Magical Vacation Planner, an authorized Disney Travel Agency. Contact Leta Gail via 309-824-6921, and Facebook.com/LetaGailMVP for  expert, free travel planning assistance for all of your vacation needs. Leta Gail specializes in Disney Cruise Line, Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland, Aulani, Adventures by Disney, Universal Studios Orlando, and Royal Caribbean International.


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