For some, the holidays can be joyous, delicious, and restful. For everyone else, there’s Contest Watch! If you need something to look forward to during these short days and cold nights, hit up these contests for solace and excitement. Can’t get far enough away from Aunt Milly? How about the Galapagos (above)? Need a daily fix to get you through a long stay with prying in-laws? Click on ever-changing giveaways from Design Hotels. Of course, if you love your family and need more quality time, there’s always the kid-friendly ski vacation from Virginia Tourism.

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador: Win a 5-day trip for two
Enter now – February 12th, 2012

Ecuador annexed the Galapagos Island on February 12th, 1832. To commemorate the 180th anniversary, tour operator Red Mangrove is offering a contest for a five-day trip for two to this striking UNESCO World Heritage Site. The winner will receive airfare, accommodations in Red Mangrove’s lodges on Santa Cruz, Isabela, and Floreana and as well as activities like wildlife excursions, snorkeling, and scuba diving. The prize is worth $3,250. To enter, visit and sign up for the company newsletter.

Design Hotels: Advent Calendar Giveaway
Enter now – December 24th, 2011

Add this to your daily routine: visit to enter 24-hour raffles for a slew of prizes – hotel stays in Thailand, Athens, Austria, and Berlin; Molton Brown products; Sixt Rental Car credit; Leica cameras. Make sure to register for each individual prize.

Ford Motors: Win a “Hands Free Holiday”
Enter now – December 24th, 2011

Need a yuletide break from stress? Get a handle on you harrowing holiday by sharing (and reading) anti-stress tips on the Ford Escape Facebook page. You could win a $25 gift card or the grand prize: $500 shopping spree along with a Ford Holiday Helper—a bag-schlepping, line-waiting, car-loading minion. Simply visit the page, like it, and post your tip—help is on the way!

Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia: Virginia Snowmotion Sweepstakes
Enter now - January 16th, 2012

Virginia is for ski lovers! Participants who enter at could win a four-day ski trip for four to Wintergreen Resort including airfare, car rental, ski or snowboarding lessons, and a $200 resort credit.

Charlotte Savino is the online listings editor at Travel + Leisure.