Christmas is here and this is the right time to pack your bags and head to that special destination to spend the much awaited holidays. Christmas is celebrated all around the globe and is one of the most “looked-forward-to” events of the year. This is the beginning of the holiday season till the New Year Eve and a majority of the vacation deprived work force waits for this time of the year to take a break to enjoy with family and friends. The enjoyment of vacation can be doubled if clubbed with the quintessential Christmas festivities too. Therefore, here’s bringing you the top ten hot spots to celebrate Christmas in.
Santa Claus Village and Santa Park, Finland
Napapiiri, Europe’s Christmas capital, located on the extreme north of Finland, at the foot of the Arctic Circle, is the hot spot of all of Santa Clause’s actions, the “true base of operations”. Every year it draws thousands of visitors from all over Europe to observe the décor at its two Santa-themed attractions – the Santa Claus Village and Santa Park. The two attractions offer fun-filled encounters with real reindeers, opportunity to buy some Santa’s merchandise, tours of Santa’s workshop, visits with the jolly adorable big man dressed in red suite and so on. The deep snow covered decorated Christmas trees; enchanting carols, nativity sceneries, and the amazing brilliance of Aurora Borealis (especially in Rovaniemi a.k.a. the World Capital of Christmas) are the perfect ingredients of a dream Christmas vacation, especially when it is in the homeland of Santa.
New York, USA
Your Christmas destination list is utterly incomplete if the name of one of the iconic cities of the world, New York, is not included. This is because the world’s tallest Christmas tree, illuminated beautifully by eight kilometres of light is displayed brilliantly at the centre of the Rockefeller Centre. An exciting Ice-skating around the Rock’s outdoor rink; a joyous ride in the carriage through Central Park, as well as skiing at the same venue; Macy’s ever-changing window displays; Sixth Avenue spectacular decorations make it the ideal Christmas destination. Moreover, the city’s cosy, family-like ambience acts as the icing on the cake.
If you believe in the phrase ‘shop till you drop’, the Christmas markets of Cologne, Germany would definitely be the places to be in. Beat the bite of the chill with the hot and spicy shot of Gluhwein in the good spirit of celebrating the birth of the blessed one. Afterwards, join in the queue of festiveness in any of the city’s eight fabulous Christmas markets where surprising varieties of holiday gifts and decorations wait to gain your friends’ and family’s appreciation. The city’s iconic Cathedral Kolner Dom being lightened to the brim, even the river Rhine reflects the lights of the joyous festivity.
The glamorous and dazzling décor in Tokyo during Christmas is a sight to behold. The street Keyakizaka in Roppongi Hills is superbly illuminated with solar-powered lights and LED lights giving it a fairyland kind of appearance. Traditional Japanese light shows are remarkable. The romance filled aura and over-the-top decorations and Japanese-styled feasting make Christmas time a fiesta of sorts.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
The little island offers you not-so-authentic but a distinctly eye-catching Christmas, where on one hand you ogle at the dazzling, multi-coloured decorative arches and lights hung down from tall palm trees and on the other, you join the crowd tapping your feet to the beats of salsa. The festivities though start early, reach its peak on the big day, and rolls down till Three Kings Day on January 6. The churches conduct Christmas carols, while ebullient carollers visit neighbour’s door to make merriment. City Hall on the Plaza de Armas and the fairy-lit mall, Paseo de la Princesa will definitely amaze you with its awe-struck features. Do not forget to enjoy the local delicacies here.
The exotic blend of old-world ambience and New-England cosiness wrapped in heart-filling wonderful sights of Christmas decorations, a Christmas vacation cannot be better than this. Saunter around the historic length of the city, and notice the 18th century New England Christmas around Beacon Hill’s every cobblestoned street corner. More than 2,800 gas lamps stranded-to-glow on the snow dusted streets to light up the town. Coloured light-wrapped trees decorated along the shopping zones create sparkling canopies. The impressive snow-covered Christmas tree in front of the Faneuil Hall becomes the centre piece of all Boston decor and festivities.
Quebec City, Canada
The streets of Quebec City may well be confused, as the setting of a fairy tale theatre or a fantasy land during Christmas. Christmas here is characterised by patches of snow on the building walls and narrow streets lined with enchanted lights apart from the regular Christmas decor. The Marche de Noel (Christmas Market) fulfils all the necessities of Christmas gifting. The variety available in the market makes this the smartest place to shop in for visitors. The occasional live street theatres and rides on the horse-driven caleche instill form some of the main attractions in this informal Christmas retreat.
Bent more on aristocracy, Vienna is the lavish destination to celebrate Christmas the big way. Your eyes hover over the enchanting Christmas tree decorations in front of the Schonbrunn Palace as classical concerts in the luxurious City Hall building join in to sing Christmas carols. Wooden shops in one of the Europe’s best Christmas markets is sure to thrill you in the sea of other cheerful faces. In the shopping spree, as you drown yourself buying more Christmas goodies, be sure to enjoy a spicy mulled wine to savour in the chilling weather conditions.
The dazzle of the yesteryears is the inescapable Christmas flavour that pulls visitors every year among the relics of the middle ages in Nuremberg. Spellbinding world of toys in the spectacular Toy Museum is a heavenly retreat for any child as well it is for adults. When it comes to quality time spending with the family, the German Railway Museum is the place to be. Recreations like the Nuremberg Christ Child are also there to pep up the holiday mood where a young woman between 16 to 19 years is elected from online voting to inaugurate the grand Christmas market in the city. The Christmas market houses over 180 wooden stalls. Indulge in some Christmas delicacies like sticky buns, fritters and other season’s delicacies to complete the celebration.
Bethlehem, West Bank, Israel
How about doing the best thing on Christmas? The provenance of Christianity dwells in the sacred land of Jerusalem, the birth place of Jesus. The heart of Christian pilgrimage, Bethlehem, even today has a spell-bounding effect on the minds of the pilgrims with its mystical anciently civilized appearance. The enthusiasm and spark at Manger Square and in the Old City is just enough to light up a forest of Christmas trees! The spectacular colours and lightings at St. Cathedral’s Church and the striking of the clock at midnight are some of the mesmerizing experiences.
Get ready for the holiday season, pack your bags and head to be a part of the celebrations in any of your favourite destinations. Whatever is the name of the venue, a fun-loving heart, filled with excitement and cheerfulness can spread a tint of brightness and colour into the “black n white”, dull backdrop of winter. This season of festivity is a pleasurable time not only for the little ones but also for the grown-ups. Christmas is no more confined to only Christianity. It has become a universal occasion to celebrate the holiday season too! Happy holidays!