Last weekend, I hung out with an Imperial Stormtrooper from Star Wars, lost my shirt in poker and played photographer for Asian tourists on the Strip. That is to say, I spent Christmas away from my Hoosier kin, in Las Vegas. But before you send out the pity committee, I should tell you, I loved every minute of it. (Sorry, Mom.) By my scientific analysis, Vegas is easily the best North American locale for spending a family-oriented holiday away from family. Not that I had a choice in the matter. On the 24th, while relatives back home were exchanging gift sets purchased at Walgreens and watching A Christmas Story for the 43rd time, I was wandering the buzzing, perfumed maw of the Cosmopolitan and lounging inside its vast chandelier. Temperature outdoors: just shy of 60 degrees. And with an estimated 250,000 visitors in town for the holiday weekend, nearly everything—restaurants, bars, shopping centers—was open. If I had been so inclined, I could have done body shots or ordered bottle service at 27 parties on Christmas Day itself, according to the Weekly’s club grid. So next year, I’m telling my whole family, even the little ones, to come to Vegas for the holidays. Santa delivers here, too.
Wed, Dec 29, 2010 (4:10 p.m.)