It’s that time of year again: carol singing in the streets; department stores and neighbours homes lit up with shades of gold, red and green; and – depending on where in the world you live – mulled wine, delicious puddings and if your lucky a little bit of snow, or days spent lazing by the beach with a beer in hand and a platter of seafood. Who doesn’t love Christmas?
To get involved in the festive share, Pilot Productions is sharing our top 13 places to spend our favourite holiday.
1. New York
New York sure knows how to do Christmas right: with the always fabulous tree erected at the Rockefeller Center, the Nutcracker Ballet, Radio City’s Christmas Spectacular, holiday windows at your favourite department stores, ice skating rinks in Central Park… this list goes on and on! Read our Globe Trekker guide here.
2. Whistler, Canada
Truly a winder wonderland with all the winter snow fun you can imagine and twinkling lights adorning the streets – all nestled in one of the most picturesque places in the world. Read about Canada here, and Whistler here.
- A Whistler Christmas, image courtesy of Ruth Hartnup, Flickr creative commons
3. London, England
What’s better than shopping in London? Shopping in London under the Christmas lights of Oxford Street! And London’s a little like New York – it’s always a good idea (especially if your favourite Christmas movie is ‘Love Actually’) and also puts on a spectacular show for the holidays. Ice skating rinks appear at Somerset House, the Natural History Museum, Hampton Court Palace, the Tower of London and Hyde Park. And let’s not forget to mention London’s most famous of festivities: the Winter Wonderland. Here’s a city guide, if you’re on your way soon.
- Ice skating rink at the Natural History Museum, image courtesy of Visit London
4. Bruges, Belgium
A medieval gem brimming with Christmas markets and chocolaty delights – Bruges is Christmas at its most cosy. A perfect choice if you want a Christmas that feels like a home away from home – with a little European magic thrown in. Want to go? Read our guide.
- Bruges Market Square at Christmas, image courtesy of Ricardo Samaniego, Flickr creative commons
5. San Juan, Puerto Rico
If you want to spice up your festive holidays with a bit of Caribbean flair then San Juan is the perfect choice. Here, they have one big festive party from early December until well into the New Year – no scarves or jackets (or Santa) in sight – Puerto Rico has its own traditions when celebrating this holiday. Go travelling – read more.
- San Juan, image courtesy of Gabriel Saldana, Flickr creative commons
6. Sydney, Australia
For those of you dreaming of a Christmas in the sun, or rather, summer; imagine enjoying some wine with a Harbour Bridge view or a cold beer sitting on the sands of Bondi Beach – it’s Christmas, but not as you know it. Aussies typically enjoy an outside barbecue of seafood and salads (and a game of cricket or two!). Here’s our city guide.
- City skyline, image courtesy of Anthony Kernich, Flickr creative commons
7. Anywhere in Germany with Christmas markets
Our favourite is Cologne, which boasts traditional Christmas markets lining either side of the oh-so-romantic Rhine, but the list of cities to visit is long: Nuremburg, Berlin, Dresden, Munich, Stuttgart… shop for traditional, hand-crafted decorations, sip some mulled wine and nibble on some gingerbread. Read more on this delightful destination.
- Cologne Christmas Market, image courtesy of Daxis, Flickr creative commons
8. Rome, Italy
Where faith and tradition take centre stage at this time of year; even if you care little for organised religion, a Christmas-time mass here can be especially moving, and Rome is always a wonderful place to get lost in at any time of year. Gain further insight – read here.
- Christmas at the Colosseum, image courtesy of Victoria Reay, Flickr creative commons
9. Paris, France
With its romantic streets and boulevards strewn with fairy lights and pretty pop-up markets: Christmas here is love. Think seasonal carousels, pony rides, chocolate shopping, twinkling lights lighting up Arc de Triumphe and the Eiffel Tower, and… pastries, pastries, pastries! Get lost in Paris here.
- Arc de Triomphe lit up during the holidays, image courtesy of Hernán Piñera, Flickr creative commons
10. Lapland, Finland
Where Christmas fantasies abound. Reindeer, snowy backdrops, the Northern Lights… there are even towns here with Santa villages where you can go and meet the man in red himself! Now that’s magic. Read here to learn more about this fairytale location.
- Meet Santa! Image courtesy of Visit Finland
… Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!