Contributed by Rebecca Brown
Christmas time – the most important holiday season in the western world – offers a myriad of great travel destinations all with their own authentic Christmas moods. Some are classics, some are cosmopolitan, some are even tropical; also, there may be a destination which enables you to spend some time with Santa in his very own homeland.
Which one is which? Let’s find out.
Vienna’s more than a month-long celebration of Christmas looks like a scene from an old holiday postcard. Lush decorations and monumental baroque architecture make Christmas-time Vienna an experience between a fairy-tale and time travel to European imperial times. By the middle of November, all the main squares of the Austrian artsy capital get packed with charming wooden stands offering souvenirs, amazing sweets, and perhaps the best, warm fruit punch. Concerts of choirs and similar outfits are sure to remind you that it’s Christmas time in case your mind wanders off through time while you’re sipping the sweet and spicy warm drink (from a souvenir cup which you get to take home) and gazing at some of the examples of the astonishing architecture, such as the beautiful Rathaus.
If you would like to go on a Christmas holiday, there is no excuse not to visit Santa himself in his homeland at least once. Yes, that’s right – if you choose to spend your holidays in Lapland, you can go right to Santa’s doorstep and say Hi (or Ho Ho Ho). Even better, your family and you get to be a part of an elaborate fairy-tale-like quest for Santa, which lasts for days. When not looking for the bearded man, you can ride reindeer sleighs, or enjoy one of the numerous kid-friendly activities offered at and around Santa’s Village. If you like the idea of the true-to-the-tale, very snowy and well-decorated Christmas, Lapland might be the cherry on the top of all of your past Christmas holiday experiences. You can look into great holidays in Lapland here.
Gran Canaria, the Canary Islands
Although snow and frost around Christmas is an essential part of the heart-warming Christmas atmosphere, that metaphorical warmth might not be enough for some people. That’s why they can opt to spend their Christmas holidays at an exotic winter sun destination. The only problem might be that the local population at some really popular winter sun destinations is not really into celebrating Christmas. So if you want a warm, but still very Christmas-y holiday experience, perhaps it is wiser to opt for locations such as the Canary Islands. The Canaries are located just off the coast of Morocco, and administratively belong to Spain. They’re probably the most popular island destination in the Atlantic. And Christmas is celebrated all the way. At the island of the Gran Canaria Playa de Las Canteras for example, you’ll be able to enjoy the magnificent display of a huge, lush, well-lit and lavishly decorated Christmas conifer surrounded by palm trees and the blue seas of the Atlantic.
New York, the United States
To get an experience of the “American way” of celebrating Christmas, there’s probably no better place than New York – all American, and yet cosmopolitan. NYC is an idyllic and sassy place in December – with bright lights and displays, a great skating rink in famous Central Park and awesome Christmas special Broadway plays. Also, you probably won’t be able to miss the giant Rockefeller Centre Christmas tree sparkling with around 50,000 Christmas lights. And if you decide to stick around until New Year’s Eve, you’ll get to experience New York’s famous countdown at Times Square, with an astonishing number of 1 million fellow spectators around you.
Whether you choose to be surrounded by thousands on thousands of people this holiday season, or just with your nearest and dearest on a more intimate journey, don’t forget one thing – an essential part of Christmas are joy and love. So try to make sure that you carry them, nurture them and spread them wherever you choose to go. And it will surely be reflected back to you.