So you don’t want to spend Christmas at home. Here are 7 ideas for different Christmases you can do instead.
#1 Traditional Christmas: Germany
The yuletide culture of decorating a lush conifer tree during the season is said to have been modernised in Germany. The folk song O Tannenbaum is in German, but it is not a direct translation of the popular carol, O Christmas Tree. ‘Tannenbaum’ actually means fir tree. Head to smaller cities like Nuremberg for the perfect festive atmosphere, and to visit the famous market (Christkindlesmarkt) on Hauptmarkt square.
#2 Ski Christmas: Niseko, Japan
The ski town has already gotten its first major sprinkling of snow on Mount Yōtei, and come December, the whole region will be dazzling white. Japan may not have celebrations as big as those you may be familiar with, but the four major resorts and local hotels in Niseko will definitely be decking the halls and getting Santa to entertain the kids. Which leaves us with only one question: do you wanna build a snowman?
#3 City Christmas: London, United Kingdom
What to look forward to: extravagant lights on major London streets, ice-skating next to the Natural History Museum, fruitcake, the magnificent tree on Trafalgar Square, and the landmark Claridge’s tree – this year’s is being designed by Diane Von Furstenberg. On that note, we can’t wait for the family Christmas card from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – it’s their youngest child Prince Louis’ first Christmas!
#4 Adventure Christmas: Queenstown, New Zealand
This scenic Kiwi town is home to many of the world’s best extreme sports facilities. It’s also summer in the region at this time of the year, so it’s a good time to be shouting greetings as you paraglide over the beautiful landscape.
#5 Romantic Christmas: Reykjavik, Iceland
You can’t really holiday in the North Pole, so we’re picking a destination not too far from it: Iceland! Any destination can be romantic if it’s the right setting, but in this case, we’re thinking freezing temperatures here will get you snuggling up a little more than usual. It also helps that Iceland loves Christmas, and the Northern Lights are expected to appear during the holiday season. You don’t get a lot of daylight hours here in December, but Christmas lights all over town turn it into a winter wonderland.
#6 Shopping Christmas: New York City, United States
Fifth Avenue isn’t a famous shopping district for nothing. In the lead-up to Christmas, holiday sales draw the craziest gift shoppers to New York City, where you can make trips to outdoor skating rinks and see giant tree lighting ceremonies (Rockefeller Center’s lights up this 28 November) in between sprees.
#7 Beach Christmas: Koh Samui, Thailand
Don’t like the snow? Get a big dose of Vitamin D this Christmas sprawled out on the beach in Samui. There’s plenty to do on the island that’s got to do with adventure, shopping and eating, and the villas there are very beautiful. If that’s not enough, you could take ferry rides to its picturesque neighbouring islands. You’ll get your holiday tan just in time for the new year!
Read also: A guide to Koh Samui’s top neighbourhoods
#8 Safari Christmas: the African wilderness
Part romantic, part adventure, all wanderlust. Christmas looks different in the beautiful safaris of Africa – don’t count on Santa Claus to be donning his thick coat – and can be a refreshing change for your year-end holiday. Activities range from tours around the safari to see wildlife, bush walks and hot air balloon rides to more relaxing things like spa treatments and gourmet dining. Be sure to take the chance to go stargazing on clear nights!
#9 Foodie Christmas: Singapore
But, of course. With the amount of attention Singapore has gotten for its world-class food, it’s only natural that we’d head here for Christmas eats. You’ll find your archetypal fancy feasts of turkey and roasts at many of the top hotels and restaurants, but in Singapore, you get to balance that out with hearty street food and snacks. To complete the experience, a visit to Orchard Road is a must (it will be lit up with Disney-themed decorations this year).
#10 Spa Christmas: the Himalayas
So Christmas isn’t really your thing – we all know that one person, and it’s okay! To each their own! – but you just want to get away from all the commercial buzz and wind down properly before the new year. Pick a spa retreat far away from it all, like in the Himalayas, where you’re not likely to be bombarded with that Mariah Carey song every 5 minutes. It’s going to be really cold, but it’s nothing heated pools, hot spa baths and the warmest beds can’t treat.