Christmas is a global festival and despite people’s religion or race, most people welcome and celebrate this holiday alongside their own heritage. This opens up plenty of options of places to visit for those keen on travelling overseas for this Christmas! Here’s our top 10 list of places you must consider going to if you are planning to join in the yuletide spirit abroad.
New York, United States of America
Most of us already have a good impression of how Christmas would look like in America, especially in New York, due to the countless movies which have depicted this scene quite clearly. New York, nevertheless, lives up to this reputation and has many Christmas-special attractions for you to catch year on year without fail.
New York has the world’s tallest Christmas tree and it is lie at the Rockefeller Center during the start of December. This has been a feature in the state for years, as many of us would have heard from television series and movies all the way from a few decades before.
Ice skating below the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center has just become a tradition, and is a must-do for seasonal visitors. It is also a to-do to catch the gorgeous Christmas displays at the largest shopping centers and departmental stores in New York. Don’t forget to end your trip with a New York Ballet performance of “The Nutcracker” especially if you are a theatre fan!
Santa Claus Village, Finland
Are you a big fan of Santa Claus, or do you have children in your family who are? Finland is the perfect place to go if so, because nowhere else can you get enough of this man. Santa Claus Village is up north in Finland’s Arctic Circle. Santa Claus, without doubt, is the most famous resident in this town. Filled with beautiful forests flaked with snow, there’s also a popular theme park called Santa Park to occupy the kids.
This place might be on the higher end of the scale of expenses to visit, but if you and your family have never been there before, it is definitely going to be worth every penny. Also, it’s quite difficult to leave this fantasy land without a smile!
Bondi Beach, Australia
Want a sunny Christmas instead of a snowy one? Head down to Bondi Beach in Australia and savour some turkey with great social interaction with all the fellow tourists. Instead of snuggling up with snow, Christmas lights and wine, you can get your beach gear and have some fun under the sun with the Australian summer.
Bondi Beach in Australia attracts countless tourists from all over the world especially during Christmas. Collectively known as “Christmas Orphans”, the locals have an enchanting line of events just for the tourists who drop by.
As the name suggests, this small town in United Kingdom is filled with old-school English buildings and castles. This sight is further enhanced during Christmas where they dot the whole street with plenty of lit Christmas trees to welcome the holiday spirit.
Castleton has a very unique tradition of doing Candlelight Carolling in their caves during the nights before Christmas. This is a long living tradition, and is something you must not miss if you are in Europe or England this December!
Have you ever seen the Aurora Borealis in person? If not, catching the Northern Lights this Christmas might be the highlight of your year. Tromso in Norway is a great spot to do so, plus the additional advantage is that you will also be at the North Pole and the Arctic Circle – the true home of Christmas. Along with the treat to the eyes, you can also engage in Christmas-y activities like dog sledding, going on mountain-top cable cars and savouring the food filled with Christmas love.
It is also going to be a great place to unwind with daylight only serving you for a couple of hours every day, leaving you with calm blue night for most of the time.
The Vatican, Italy
The main reason we suggest this place is for it’s Midnight Mass. The Vatican has a strong Catholic pious spirit that lasts all time of the year, but you can expect a special feel to it as Christmas draws close in December. All around the city, you can see roasted Chestnuts being sold, city filled with props of scenes from the Bible for Christmas and of course plenty of carolling and lights everywhere.
Places you must go if you’re around in Italy for Christmas are: St Peter’s Square, Piazza Navona and The Church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli situated in the Capitoline Hill. The Midnight Mass we were talking about is held at the St Peter’s Basilica on the 24th of December for Christmas Eve, and on the noon of Christmas day itself. Without a doubt, The Vatican is the only place in the world which attracts most of the pilgrims for Christmas every year.
The scottish humour serves as an interesting change in spirit for Christmas but it is still definitely uplifting with how staunch Catholics they are. The Catholic Irish have their own traditions and rituals to practice for Christmas and one of them is to carry out a swim in the morning of Christmas at a 45-foot sea water pool. And this is during the cold winter of December!
Alongside such unique traditions, they are no short of Christmas treats to the eye and stomach lining across all their streets. They have special Christmas markets that last for 12 days for you to feast and shop over and over again this December. Also, don’t miss out the Christmas activities like ice skating, carolling and drinking at Dublin.
If you love Christmas markets, Germany has the largest and most magical market across all countries for this joyous occasion. Named Christkindlesmarkt, Nuremberg’s Christmas market is at this small town called Hauptmarkt. They host close to 200 stalls selling gifts, toys, candles, trinkets, gingerbread, sweets, wine and so many other goodies no one can say no to. Drop by their market after sunset and you’ll rejoice with the coloured Christmas lights put up for decoration too, which makes this place look truly enchanting.
All the famous chocolate boxes we see lined up here for Christmas are mostly from Switzerland, and what can beat getting them right from where they are made? Switzerland is a scenic place for any season, and winter is just the icing on the cake with how fairytale-like it can look. After Germany, Zurich takes the next spot for hosting the best Christmas markets. (Make sure you do not miss the best one which is inside the train station!)
Zurich has also other different Christmas specials like Christmas-themed city walking tours, singing Christmas trees lined up at Werdmuhleplatz and Christmas carollers lined up in stages with the scenic Swiss view acting as their backdrop.
We definitely did not want to flood our list with countries from the Western world and not give an option for those of you who simply want to go somewhere near. If we were to pick a spot from our continent, our choice would be to celebrate Christmas at Tokyo in Japan. This is another fairytale-like city, lit to its maximum for Christmas, and wonderfully celebrated by both Christians and those who are of a different faith.
Although celebrating New Years might be more important in Japan, Christmas acts as a opener for the set of holidays ahead and everyone celebrates it impartially as well. Christmas Eve in Tokyo is surprisingly a lot similar to Valentine’s Day, with couples taking a night out for romance. Celebrating your Christmas in Japan also opens up a whole new level of Asian delights for your Christmas feast!
Narrowing down 10 different countries you can go for your Christmas holidays was no easy task on our part – but we picked the best out of the best for you to make your choice! There are always plenty of other options available to spend a short holiday at for Christmas this year, but if all else fails, celebrating it in our homeland Singapore would definitely be as pleasurable as well!