The Christmas season is nearly upon us and we’ve taken it upon ourselves to scour the globe for some of the best places to spend Christmas holidays this year. Fancy building a snowman? Eager to try the Christmas eggnog? Or how about those legendary Christmas markets? Let’s check out where to go.
Best Places to go for Magical Christmas Holidays
1) Christmas Holidays in Prague, Czech Republic
There’s nothing like a Christmas market to put you into the holiday mood, and the ones in Prague are certainly the country’s most impressive.
During this time of year, temperatures may plummet but there’s a magical air in Prague as it prepares to celebrate Christmas. Browse through a host of festive goodies, while the city glows in a blaze of twinkling lights, and Czech carols are sung around the markets at Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square.
There’re no shortage of gifts to take home, from handcrafted glassware, scented candles and jewelry, to traditional costumed puppets and dolls. When tummies start growling, sample seasonal fare such as the very tasty spit-roasted hams and sausages, washed down with a cup of mulled wine.
Be sure to catch one of the many concerts, opera or ballet performances in the city’s ancient churches and grand concert halls too!
2) Christmas Holidays in Stockholm, Sweden
With the city blanketed in snow, it’s as close as you can get to a postcard-perfect Winter Wonderland Christmas in Stockholm. There’s much to see and do in Stockholm during this time of year.
Start with one of the oldest and most traditional weekend Christmas markets in quaint Skansen, the world’s oldest open-air museum on the island of Djurgården. In historic houses and farmsteads, you get to discover festive traditions, shop for Swedish craft products, and try your hand at crafts in the Christmas workshop.
It’s a good time to feast on the julbord too, an age-old Swedish Christmas buffet. It’s essentially a smorgasbord of delicacies such as pickled herring, gravlax (cured salmon), knäckebröd (crisp bread), and meatballs with beetroot salad. It’s available at various Swedish restaurants around town. It’s a well-loved tradition for Swedes to eat out at Christmas time, so it’s best to book ahead if you’re keen on trying julbord!
3) Christmas Holidays in Barcelona, Spain
In Barcelona, you may not get the pretty white Christmas of its Scandinavian counterparts, but you will get to experience some very unique (and interestingly odd) Catalonian Christmas practices. One of these is the Tio de Nadal, which means Christmas log in Catalan, but more commonly referred to as – wait for it – the “shitting log.”
According to custom, children feed the smiley faced log Tio in the days leading up to Christmas, in the hope that he “poops” plenty of sweet treats when they beat him with a stick on Christmas.
You can get your very own Christmas “poop” log in Barcelona’s most well-known Fira de Santa Llucia Christmas market, or just gawk at the giant one on display there.
4) Christmas Holidays in Mexico City, Mexico
If spending Christmas in minus-degree temperatures really isn’t your idea of fun, take a trip to Mexico, where sunny days and relaxing beaches await.
The highlight in the month of December s the Posadas, a series of celebratory street processions reenacting Mary and Joseph’s biblical search for a stay in Bethlehem. It happens on each of the 9 nights before Christmas. There’ll be songs sung, house parties, piñatas and definitely lots of colour and entertainment!
Look out for other festive fiestas and events, street markets selling gifts and decorations, and elaborately set up nativity scenes around the city as well.
5) Christmas Holidays in Melbourne, Australia
Christmas in Melbourne tends to be dictated by its weather. While it’s summer come Christmas time, there have been years when it hailed and also years when the temperature hit a scorching 40 degrees celcius!
No matter the weather, locals throng the Bourke Street Mall to check out at the Myer Department Store’s Christmas window displays. This tradition dates back almost 60 years and each year, kids and adults alike get a kick out of the story-driven scenes encased behind the glass windows.
When the clock ticks down towards Christmas, the shopping starts to get manic. Malls such as Highpoint and Chadstone are open for 24 hours leading up towards Christmas. Be sure to stick around on Boxing Day (26 Dec) for the start of some serious sales.
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