Christmas always gives you a sense of warmth inside. Nothing can be more precious than spending the Christmas holidays with your family. The tradition that follows with Christmas can also be fruitful since you get to spend a lot of time with your close friends and family. While some opt to stay in and enjoy a nicely cooked meal, others would prefer to spend this time visiting somewhere else. Traditions can be daunting especially when you have a nine to five job which is gruelling in itself. So, pack your bags and decide the family trip that you’ve always been looking forward to. This comprehensive list of places mentioned down below will give you a head start that you’ll be needing to plan ahead for your future trips.
1. French Alps, France
People often are confused with the Alps since it is a stretch that covers almost a major portion of Europe. So, with a countless number of options at hand, you can now plan your first Christmas skiing in the alps where you can experience exciting activities, culture, history and languages. Few worthy towns from the French Alps belt which must be mentioned specifically are Chamonix, Val d’Isère, Morzine, Tignes and Les Gets. These are some of the most sought-after places that you can choose from.
2. Salzburg, Austria
If you are one for music, then you would recognize this place. This place is like a box full of surprises. The occasional scene from this place includes the snow-laden mountains, architectural splendours and Christmas markets. This is not only the birthplace of Mozart but also the place where “Silent Night”, the popular hymn came into being. This town has rich traditional festivals where people across Bavaria and Austria would dress up as Alpine beasts and go through the streets to find naughty children. Krampus, the beasts they dress up as have a history of punishing naughty children, as far as the lore goes. This Krampus run Is one of the most unconventional things that you can come across.
3. Santa Claus, Indiana
With having a population of fewer than 3000 people, this place celebrates Christmas throughout the year. Santa Claus, Indiana is often being flooded with letters by children who write to reach out to St. Nick. A voluntary group called Santa’s Elves was established so that they can write back to these children. This is the ultimate Christmas themed place to be in. Nostalgia surrounds this place as you take a 1.2-mile drive around the Lake Rudolph Campgrounds. You can also be a part of the buffet dinner hosted at Santa’s Lodge during the weeks of December, first three weeks
4. Queenstown, New Zealand
I think we are all aware of the traditional Christmas colours i.e. red, green, white but this has an entirely different meaning for the people of New Zealand. The red here represents the ruby red flowering tree called “pohutukawa”, white represents the white sands on the beach, and the green is obviously the kiwi. If you want to spend the Christmas holidays at someplace warm, then this might the right destination for you since Queenstown is where the activities are. Take a ride on a jetboat or surf the river. Camp along the lakeshore and celebrate Christmas while having a pristine view in front you and your family.
5. Rovaniemi, Lapland. Finland
As far as the story goes, the North Pole is the official home of our favourite Santa Claus. The headquarter for where all the gifts that are being made seem to have their establishment over there. But for the Finns, Rovaniemi is where the actual HQ is. Here the children can participate in bread making with Claus or be enrolled in Elf school. They can either make wish lists for themselves or learn to write with the help of a quill. Apparently, there are seven available positions in the Santa’s post office.
Other attractions may also include the Ranua Zoo where you can see furry little polar bears baby, moose and even wolverines. Don’t forget to unveil the mystery of northern lights as the science centre at Arktikum will give you a scientific background of how it happens. If you are looking to stay at some specially themed hotel then Arctic Snow Hotel is where you might want to house yourself in. Don’t worry they have hot tubs and saunas to compensate for the cold.
6. Barcelona, Spain
For those who can extend their holidays in Barcelona till the Three King’s Day can definitely catch up with Gasper, Balthazar and Melchior. On the eve of 5th January, the king arrives after traversing on their own ship. Their attire smells of kingly manner and as they enter the City port, Cannons and Fireworks accompany them as a part of their welcoming tradition. Soon after that, the Mayor will hand them over the keys and thus the magic officially starts. Parades flood the street with performers and floats of animals. You’ll definitely feel the dazzle of this parade and how big of an event it actually is.
7. Bath, England
Have you ever wondered how you can celebrate the birth of Jane Austen and Jesus, that too at the same time? Well, you don’t have to since Bath has been doing this for several years. The main event happens during September at the Jane Austen Centre. The Theatre Royal as mentioned in some of her novels has programs ranging from dramas to musicals. The Christmas markets of Bath, on the other hand, sell handmade crafts. This market even offers a festive way to let us discover this beautiful city. In fact, Bath has been the only city to have the designation of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During January, you can skate on the frozen ice or take a steamy tour of the Thermae Bath Spa.
8. Valkenburg, Netherlands
This is a very small town which is the hub for Dutch Christmas festivities. The velvet cave of Valkenburg is transformed into a market during the time of Christmas. You can also peek inside Santa’s room which is filled with presents and the sleigh of course.
9. San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Christmas is a very important affair here as this Mexican city host festivities that can be summed up with Piñatas, Ponche, and Posadas. On the eve of 24th December, the locals visit every door asking for shelter and reenacting the journey while dressed up as Mary and Joseph. But most importantly, you get to have the finest drink I.e. Piñatas and Ponche. This place has some of the best architectural splendours which include grand churches.
10. New York City, USA
New York is one of the busiest cities in the world and sleep is something that the city has never been associated with. As you have seen in movies, New York highlights Christmas with festivities that light up the entire city with warmth and colour. Visit the Rockefeller Centre which you can witness the towering Christmas tree, do some Christmas shopping at the Union Square market or take a dig at skating while failing miserably.
This list has been compiled with places that have the highest of viewer or tourist rating. While it definitely gives you a head start, it isn’t a compilation of absolute choices. But rest assured that these places do have respective significances making them somewhat special.