Originally locked because, well, travel plans -- I'm not in the habit of telling the whole Internet when my house will be sitting empty.
Dani has some use-it-soon-or-lose-it vacation time built up and we don't have a vacation habit, so he suggested that we sort of try out the idea by finding someplace within a few hundred miles that we could drive to in December or January. We looked around and weren't impressed (in another season would be different).
So I countered with: as long as we're going to get on a plane anyway (planes are not my favorite places, but what can you do?) we needn't feel restricted, and the Aurora Borealis is supposed to be lovely this year. Let's go to Finland (or maybe Norway) and see it. It'd be cool!
We actually entertained that idea for a couple weeks (I had no idea there were so many Aurora packages!), and I'd like to thank the LJ friend who helped me think that through (feel free to identify yourself if you like). But in the end he said that maybe as a first-time-out vacation that was a little too ambitious. So we went with his counter-proposal.
We've just booked flights and a hotel for London at the end of January. We've scoped out some theatre and museums and first-timer city tours (recommendations welcome on all that). And we've had it pointed out that Paris is a 2-hour train ride (my mental map of European travel does not account sufficiently for the Chunnel), so maybe we'll do a day-trip and find out if Dani's vestigial Canadian French helps or hurts. :-) We'll see what happens, but whatever we do, it'll be fun!
Implementation note: we used Travelocity and Expedia to find flights and hotels, but booked directly with the providers to eliminate the middleman chaos factor. We did not pay more doing it this way.