Three-time Emmy Award-winning storyteller Karen Schaler says that her heart is here in Arizona, and because of that, she’s exclusively trusting The Phoenician with her pride and joy—the Christmas Camp experience. The experience, which takes place in December, brings to life her Christmas Camp Hallmark movie, and the novels Christmas Camp and sequel Christmas Camp Wedding, published by HarperCollins.
“Without doing a spoiler alert, there’s a scene in the Christmas Camp movie I was writing that I wanted to make sure would actually be realistic for a resort property to do. I was already thinking about places I would want to bring Christmas Camp to life, and The Phoenician was top on my list because it’s a property I knew and loved and had featured in my Travel Therapy TV segments over the years,” Karen explains. “I called my contact there, Denise Seomin, and first asked about my movie scene and then asked what she thought of the overall idea of a Christmas Camp like I was writing about. Denise told me she thought the idea of what I was creating in the movie was really special and if I really wanted to bring the movie to life, sometime down the road, that we should talk."
“That talk happened a lot quicker than either of us thought,” she continues. “Once the movie was done and I also decided to write the novels, I wanted to have the first Christmas Camp come out with the movie and novels. So, using a little Christmas magic, we made it happen last year.”
“It is truly a wonderful time of year to be partnering with Karen, sharing the joy from her Christmas Camp Hallmark movie and books with our guests, while showcasing our premier resort and talented staff,” says Denise Seomin, The Phoenician’s director of public relations. “Karen’s passion for Christmas is truly inspiring, and we are thrilled that she will be hosting all of our Christmas Camp events. We look forward to bringing her Christmas Camp to life as a one-of-a-kind Phoenician holiday tradition.”
The Christmas Camp experiences are Dec. 5-9 and Dec. 12-16. This is an adults-only camp that features Christmas Camp-themed events, including chats with Karen and holiday hosting classes. Some examples include Christmas Camp baking and culinary classes with award-winning chefs; Christmas Camp mixology, wine and cocktail tasting classes; and Christmas Camp decorating, floral and craft classes; and more.
The experience also includes specially priced rooms, breakfast, champagne and other special touches.
“I created Christmas Camp to help share with people the power of taking a break, going somewhere special, relaxing, rebooting and disconnecting to reconnect with what matters most at Christmas,” Karen says. “In the movie and novel, one of my favorite lines I wrote is when Haley’s boss tells her she needs a ‘holiday attitude adjustment’ and to find her Christmas spirit, and that’s why she’s sent to Christmas Camp."
“I think we can all get up in the hectic holiday season and lose sight of what matters most, and that’s why I’ve created a real-life Christmas Camp so people can come to The Phoenician and take part in the holiday activities we’ve created that they’re inspired by, and hopefully return home more relaxed and a better version of themselves,” she adds.