Christmas is around the corner and I’m sure you’re all ready and set to celebrate another wonderful Christmas. Christmas reminds me of hot summer days on the beach or in the pool. I love Christmas and have always enjoyed that time of year when I can stop working and just allow myself to relax, just a little. Ever since I can remember, I’ve always had a warm-climate Christmas chilling out at home in a tropical environment. Now, I’ve been thinking about spending Christmas somewhere else in the world next year and have made a list of Christmas destinations to consider. After all, the way time seems to fly by, next Christmas is around the corner….
1- Christmas in Lapland
Having a snooze in an igloo or snow hotel at Christmas, after whooshing down the slopes rugged up in a reindeer-drawn sleigh sounds like my kind of Christmas fun.
Christmas in Lapland, near the Arctic Circle, in Finland is a joy for families and it’s also a fun way to meet Santa.
Rovaniemi’s Santa Claus Village is home to Santa Claus’ Main Post Office. The village is manned by an army of Christmas elves. I’ve been there in summer but would love to visit in winter.
You can mail your family and friends a Christmas postcard with the Arctic Circle postmark as a unique Christmas present.
2- European Christmas markets
Europe’s cobblestone streets are filled with Christmas markets straight out of a Grimm’s Brother’s fairy tale. Yuletide cheer floats the cool air.
I’m sure it would be really special to be in Europe and Christmas time as Europe is the land where many Christmas traditions began.
Imagine singing carols as the aroma of roasting chestnuts fills the air. Hunt for gifts. Drink gluhwein and taste home-made gingerbread.
You will find plenty of lovely hand-crafted gifts, such as Bavarian Christmas decorations, schnapps and Babushka dolls (they also come in the Santa version).
A fabulous way of seeing Europe is a European Christmas river cruise, which stops at a different port almost every day. But the Christmas cruise would be something really special.
3- Disney Fantasy cruise
Christmas with your favourite Disney characters will surely please the kids and the grandkids. The little ones will have a ball on a Christmas cruise aboard a Disney cruise sailing from Port Canaveral in Florida.
There are plenty of Christmas activities, such as making Christmas cards and listening goggle-eyed to Christmas stories. Lighting of the glittering three-deck-high King Triton’s Tree is quite a spectacle.
On Christmas morning, Santa and his elves dish out cookies, milk and other surprises for the kiddies. There are onboard services on Christmas Day and midnight mass on Christmas Eve.
4- Christmas in the Canadian Rockies
Dreaming of a white Christmas? The Canadian Rockies is just the place. It’s a winter wonderland of glaciers and alpine lakes.
Of course, there are sleigh rides and bonfires. But Christmas is the most popular time of the year. Make sure you book early.
Christmas celebrations at the Fairmont resorts in Alberta (Jasper, Lake Louise and Banff) are legendary.
There’s a fabulous programme of Christmas concerts, parades, carolling and parties. And lots of Christmassy extras like in-room Christmas trees and Christmas cookie bakes.
5- Christmas in Bethlehem
Christmas in Bethlehem, where Jesus was born, draws Christians from around the world. There’s something special about celebrating Christmas at the Church of Nativity, which was built over the spot where Christ was born.
At Christmas time, Bethlehem is decked out with Christmas lights, markets and plays. Christmas services are conducted in churches for various Christian denominations.
There’s a big Christmas party in Manger Square, which is the centre of Christmas Eve festivities and where you can listen to folk music and Christmas music along with popular European music.
6- Christmas in New York City
Christmas in the Big Apple is an exhilarating experience. It may be freezing in winter in New York but think about the ice-skating rinks, Christmas carols and pretty department store decorations.
There’s so much happening at Christmas time, including the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony held at the Rockefeller Center.
I’d love to do a walking tour of the window decorations at New York City’s biggest department stores.
7- Christmas in Asia
For dazzling shopping-mall festivities, Singapore and Hong Kong are impressive. There are also lots of Christmas packages in luxury hotels.
Christmas In Manila, where 83% of the population is Roman Catholic, yuletide traditions run strong. Celebrations begin with carolling in September and streets are lit up with ornamental Christmas lanterns. Misa de Gallo (mass) is held at 4am while on Bisperas ng Pasko (Christmas Eve) midnight mass is followed by Noche Nuena (Christmas Eve feast).
The food in the Philippines has a distinct Spanish flavour and the feast consists of local food like queso de bola (cheese) and hamon (ham).
The end of Christmas is marked by the Feast of the Epiphany. The celebration is held on the first Sunday of the New Year.
There’s much merrymaking and kids leave their shoes out for the Three Kings to fill with sweet treats and small gifts.
8- Christmas in Italy
Food is the highlight of Christmas in Italy. There are lots of gourmet escapes with a Christmas slant.
You can join a gourmet food and wine tour in Tuscany or head off on a fun truffle hunting tour in Piedmont. Learn to cook parmigiana or make Christmas cakes while on a Christmas cooking tour staying at a farm in Umbria.
Lake Como is a lovely spot to relax and enjoy the history and majesty of a scenic part of Italy.
9- Christmas for volunteers
Christmas is a wonderful time of the year to help those who are less fortunate. There’s a world of volunteering opportunities, from running holiday programmes for orphans in Vietnam to building community halls in Thailand to working with wildlife in South Africa.
10- Christmas in Antarctica
One corner of the world where you can be guaranteed of a white Christmas is Antarctica. A cruise to the frozen continent offers amazing wildlife and spectacular scenery. There’s the thrill of visiting a pristine wilderness and Christmas time is when the weather is at its best.