Ah, Christmas. The season of goodwill, chestnuts roasting on an open fire, soggy Brussels sprouts, arguments over the Radio Times; Let’s face it, Christmas at home runs the risk of leaving you feeling more wound up than cockles warmed.
So plan a Christmas break and build up your reserves before the festivities kick off, relax after the seasonal stresses, or just treat your favourite people to Christmas day somewhere exotic.
Stock up on Christmas cheer in one of these places:
- Christmas shopping in Dubai
We can’t think of anywhere better for Christmas shopping than Dubai. After all, this shiny metropolis in UAE is known as the city of a thousand shopping malls. Head to The Dubai Mall and see the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest free-standing structure, at the same time. Or stick to a Christmassy theme, with the Mall of the Emirates and its indoor snow park with real, live penguins, or the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre, which transforms into a winter wonderland for a Dubai Christmas Fest. But our top tip is to venture beyond the glossy malls into Dubai’s souks, especially the atmospheric textile and gold souks.
- Have a traditional Christmas in Munich
Did you know that many British Christmas traditions are from Germany? We can thank Bavarian-born Prince Albert for introducing us to the Christmas tree, for example. Come the end of November, Christmas markets spring up all over Munich making it one of the most Christmassy places in the world. The oldest market is in Marienplatz in the heart of the old town, where a 100ft Christmas tree twinkles over a nativity scene, as live carol singing comes from the Town Hall balcony, and lots of wooden stalls sell Bavarian woodcarvings, handmade toys, hot spiced wine and gingerbread.
- Treat the family to Christmas in the Caribbean
If your ideal white Christmas is more warm white sand than icy white snow, the Caribbean could be your ultimate Christmas destination. Opt for an all-inclusive with great kids clubs and facilities and you’ll have every member of the family glowing with the Christmas spirit; or it could be the sun. Try Antigua for scuba diving, zip lines and the historic Nelson’s Dockyard. St Lucia has rainforest hikes and amazing snorkelling just off the beach. Barbados is home to a healthy population of hawksbill and leatherback turtles, and you can also swim with these ancient, graceful creatures. Now that’s a magical Christmas.
- Celebrate Christmas in the New Zealand Summer
While we’re shivering, New Zealand is bathing in summer. So we thought, what could be better than Christmas and all its trimmings in New Zealand? It’s Christmas, but not as we know it. You’ll hear semi-recognisable Christmas carols sung in Maori, see New Zealand’s national bird, the kiwi, jostling with the Christmas fairy for the top of the tree, and eat a BBQ for Christmas dinner. Added bonus; after the Chatham Islands, daylight saving and New Zealand’s position as the first place in the world to see the sun each day, gives you the maximum possible number of daylight hours to enjoy Christmas.
- Super-size Christmas in NYC
New York City has a raft of its own Christmas traditions, from the Rockefeller Centre’s super-sized tree, and the ice-rink in the beautiful Plaza, to awesome themed window displays. Also worth travelling for is the Radio City Christmas Spectacular at the legendary Radio City Music Hall. It’s a thrilling Broadway-style show staged by the high-kicking Rockettes. While not guaranteed, a white Christmas in New York is a ‘proper’ white Christmas; think magical carriage rides through Central Park, and the lights of Times Square smudged by snow. And we haven’t even mentioned the shopping.