Black Friday is widely considered the busiest shopping day of the year, but another day regularly competes for the title of most register receipts: Super Saturday. The lesser-known mall mayhem takes place each year on the Saturday before Christmas, and while it might not be as wild as its post-turkey counterpart, this retail rodeo certainly gives you another reason to get the fuck outta Dodge. If you aren’t being guilted into some type of hometown family gathering, consider making your way to one of these festive events taking place around the globe.
Prohibition ended 86 years ago, and America commemorates the return of booze each year with Repeal Day. It falls on a Thursday this year, so nine-to-fivers shouldn’t celebrate too much, but Repeal Day might help justify buying that pricey whisky bottle you’ve been eyeing and discussing whether or not it’s a coincidence that December 5 is also national Bathtub Party Day. Hopefully we can soon add more Repeal Days for cannabis and psychedelics.
St. Nicholas’ Eve
This entry is, admittedly, a strained attempt at finding an excuse to visit Amsterdam, but “coffee” city does know how to celebrate the holidays with Christmas markets, the Light Festival and the centuries-old World Christmas Circus. During the first week of December, the focus is on Santa Claus’ precursor Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas), with gifts being exchanged on the evening before the Feast of St. Nicholas. The 53-day Light Festival takes place during the entire month, and this year’s art installations feature the theme Disrupt! On a side note, those visiting the Netherlands might also consider a side trip to the Ice Sculpture Festival in Zwolle (starting December 14) or to the beach (ideally in Scheveningen) on January 1 for the annual New Year’s Dive into the frigid North Sea waters.
Art Basel Miami
December 5 to 8
Art Basel Miami, which turns 18 this year, will draw 70,000 people to more than 200 international galleries presenting works by thousands of different artists. Try to score a hotel near the Convention Center to avoid the traffic nightmares, and watch for pop-ups, private parties and special exhibits. Notably, the Frost Art Museum FIU will host Art After Stonewall (1969-1989) with more than 200 works that show how the LGBTQ civil rights movement impacted visual culture. The exhibit, which previously debuted in New York City, features paintings, sculptures, photographs, film clips, historical documents and other pieces by the likes of Vito Acconci, Diane Arbus, Lyle Ashton Harris, Anita Bryant, Keith Haring, Andy Warhol and Frank Moore. Photo credit: Tseng Kwong Chi, Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat Collaboration (New York), 1985. © Muna Tseng Dance Projects, Inc.
Las Vegas, Nevada
December 6 to 7
This is going to sound weird, but the cloud platform AWS (Amazon Web Services) throws a massive after party for its annual re:Invent conference, and it’s open to the public for the first time. This convergence of art, technology and music will include Kacey Musgraves performing alongside a fleet of more than 500 Intel drones choreographed by an all-female team. The two-day fest on the Vegas Strip will also feature performances by Flying Lotus (in 3D), Beck, Brandi Carlile, Chvrches and Sudan Archives, among others, alongside other art-tech immersive experiences.
The Big Design Market
December 6 to 8
The Big Design Market is Australia’s top design show, so don’t be surprised if you see Santa stuffing his bag with the latest in fashion, furniture, home goods, art and jewelry. The event takes place twice a year with the first installment taking place last September in Sydney.
December 6 to 8
So, in 1602, the Duke of Savoy sought to take over Geneva and re-convert its citizens to Catholicism, but a mother cooking a cauldron of soup for her 14 kids supposedly helped repel the attack by pouring the boiling soup onto the invaders and ultimately killing one of them with the cauldron itself. I’m not sure how Snopes rates the historical accuracy of this tale, but the Swiss have been celebrating it ever since with a party that involves smashing chocolate cauldrons filled with candy. This one’s pretty odd, but the combination of chocolate, the Alps, French gastronomy and religious resistance makes it a winner.
Marijuana Business Conference & Expo
Las Vegas, Nevada
December 11 to 13
If already in town for Intersect, why not stay a week to hit up one of the largest B2B gatherings in the cannabis space. This year’s conference will draw about 35,000 cannabis professionals and more than 1,300 exhibitors to Sin City, and the guest speakers include CEOs like Netflix co-founder Marc Randolph, Michael Christopher (mood33), Greg Engel (Organigram), Mike Gorenstein (Cronos Group), Sara Gullickson (Strive Wellness) and former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (The Daschle Group). The schedule is packed with informative sessions that include topics like 2020 Outlook: State Elections and Legalization, Finding the Right Investor for You, and A Closer Look at the “Vaping Epidemic.”
Les Deux Alpes, France
December 14 to 21
The second-oldest ski resort in France is also home to Europe’s largest skiable glacier, but those who need added motivation to make the trek might enjoy its annual ski and snowboard music festival. Taking place nearly 10,000 feet above sea level, the self-described “party on the top of the world” takes place in the town square, an indoor arena and around the slopes. This year’s lineup includes Chase and Status, Solardo, Michael Bibi, Horse Meat Disco and others. Photo credit: Rise Festival/Facebook.
Santa Rosa, California
December 14 to 15
The Emerald Cup, named after Northern California’s Emerald Triangle (Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity counties), comes to the Sonoma County Fairgrounds with a farmer’s market, flower competitions and sessions like federal legalization, psychedelics, culinary cannabis and regenerative agriculture. Santigold, Steel Pulse and Emancipator are among the performers, while the speakers include Dr. Ethan Russo, former NBA player Matt Barnes and retired police Major Neill Franklin (LEAP). This year, the Cup will honor actor-comedian Tommy Chong with the Willie Nelson Award. Santigold photo credit: Christelle de Castro.
Art Collector Starter Kit VI
Los Angeles, California
Do you love art but typically can’t afford original pieces? Here’s your opportunity to start your collection. The sixth annual Art Collector Starter Kit returns to Corey Helford with more than 100 artists offering new 12″ x 12″ pieces at more affordable price points. The list of participating artists is literally a Who’s Who of PRØHBTD faves like Anthony Ausgang, HERAKUT, Ben Frost, HUSH, Redd Walitzki, Okuda San Miguel, Brandi Milne, Hikari Shimoda, Travis Lampe, Kristen Liu-Wong, Jasmine Becket-Griffith, Junko Mizuno, Soey Milk, Zoé Byland and SHAG. Artwork by Dosshaus.
Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
December 15 to 20
Le Bernardin chef Eric Ripert will host this interactive culinary bash at the Ritz-Carlton on Seven Mile Beach. Guest chefs headed to the western Caribbean island include Clare Smyth, Stephanie Izard, Niki Nakayama, José Andrés, Dominique Crenn and Daniel Boulud, among others, along with cocktail gods like Lauren Mote, Kaitlyn Stewart, Julie Reiner and Global Bartender Champion Charles Joly.
The Paradise Music & Arts Festival
Cap Cana, Dominican Republic
December 20 to 21
Those interested in a Caribbean adventure but who prefer music to food can head to the Dominican Republic for the two-day Paradise Festival with artists like Bad Bunny, Maluma, Alesso, Bob Moses, Martin Garrix, Anuel AA, Marshmello, Tyga and Steve Aoki performing across three stages. The artist curation clearly caters to those who like to dance, but table reservations are available, and several large-scale art installations will be set up to help spread jealousy across your Instagram following.
Have you ever seen Boxing Day on a calendar and wondered WTF it was? Well, all you need to know is that it takes place on December 26 and coincides with an event that many call the Bahamian answer to Carnival. This annual cultural celebration encompasses floats, costumes, masks, parades, street dancing and thousands of participants who may or may not be banging on cowbells. Junkanoo takes place on several English-speaking Caribbean islands, but the Nassau party is among the most famous. Film and television fans might recognize the centuries-old festival from appearances in Miami Vice, Jaws: The Revenge, After the Sunset and in a pair of James Bond classics, Thunderball and Moonraker. Photo credit: Cathy T/Flickr.
December 27 to 29
India’s premiere electronic music festival hits the Goa coast with a lineup that includes the Chainsmokers, DJ Snake, Flume, Martin Garrix and others. The 13th annual festival bounces between Goa and hilltop Pune in different years, and the location of the 2019 festival means guests can visit Vagator Beach, a backpackers’ fave famous for rave culture, dramatic sunsets, red cliffs and seaside fresh water springs. Photo credit: Tumbbadteranaamhai/Sunburn/Wikimedia.
Praia de Pratigi, Brazil
December 27 to January 3
Parallel Universe is the perfect name to describe this music festival on a remote coconut farm pressed against the jungle-clad waters of Pratigi Beach. The trek through the Brazilian highlands in Bahia state is worth the effort for a psychedelic beachfront party with dozens of trance DJs and pop-up facilities that include showers, massages, yoga, medical care and a 24-hour food court. In the past, the festival described itself as a celebration of “music, history, union and psychedelics” and said its guests are “planetary citizens” who care about community and view dancing as sacred. That’s one hell of a way to welcome in the New Year. Photo credit: Daniel Jorjin.
The Taste of Tasmania
December 28 to January 3
If you want to go all out this New Year’s Eve, head to “must-visit” Tasmania for what’s billed as “Australia’s biggest and longest running food and wine festival.” The weeklong fest takes place on the island state located 150 miles south of the mainland, and the festivities are all about eating, drinking, live music, theater and fireworks on the waterfront. Expect an older crowd⎯the New Year’s Eve band will play cover songs from the 1970s to 1990s⎯but the local food purveyors are the star on an island that’s more than 40 percent protected lands. And in case you are wondering, Tasmanian devils are real, and National Geographic says “the familiar Looney Tunes portrayal… as a seething, snarling, insatiable lunatic is, at times, not all that far from the truth.”
MTV SnowGlobe Music Festival
South Lake Tahoe, California
December 29 to 31
MTV reminds everyone that the “M” stands for “Music” with a three-day music experience in Lake Tahoe that culminates in a grand New Year’s Eve party. Located near world-class resorts for skiing and snowboarding, SnowGlobe will feature art installations, professional snow sports demos and musical performances by the likes of Skrillex, Fisher, E-40, Griz, Doja Cat, Gigantic NGHTMRE, Vince Staples and others. Main and inline photo credit: SnowGlobe Music Festival.
New Year’s Eve Full Moon Party
Koh Phangan, Thailand
The world’s best full moon parties happen on Haad Rin beach, but that’s not Koh Phangan island’s best bash. That honor belongs to the New Year’s Eve party! As part of the Samui Archipelago in the Gulf of Thailand, the island has become a yearlong party place that attracts the biggest crowds on December 31. Those who come early can celebrate Christmas with one of the island’s legendary Black Moon parties, with a jungle party taking place on Christmas Eve and a waterfall party on December 30. Hotels often require a minimum stay of 3 to 10 nights, and even at that, the vacancies fill up fast.