A lot of travel goes on around Christmas and New Year’s – people head home to spend time with family, or meet friends somewhere in their own country. But Christmas is also a great time to experience the wider world. See our winter holiday/vacation travel guide for tips on how to stay sane.
So, why travel at Christmas?
Visit family far far away
Most people have family living abroad – what better time to catch up with them than at Christmas? Or perhaps you’re the person far far away – you could arrange to meet your family in some random location for a family Christmas you’ll never forget.
Get away from family
By the same token, most of us have spent many, many Christmases at home, having the same arguments and eating the same overcooked turkey (or other, culturally appropriate meal). Give yourself a year off the treadmill and do something completely different.
See the Christmas markets and nativity scenes
If you’re wondering where to head, Europe is a good starting place. Many cities have Christmas markets (I like the ones in Vienna and Prague), and others celebrate by building nativity scenes everywhere (Malta is especially prone to this). Or just choose a location and find out when you get there how Christmas is celebrated.
Get some sun
You might have noticed, if you live in the Northern Hemisphere, that Christmas is usually quite cold. But it doesn’t have to be. Christmas means summer in the Southern Hemisphere, and beach barbecues and picnics are normal Christmas meals. You know you need some Vitamin D – so head to Australia and New Zealand with a suitcase full of shorts.
Experience a completely different Christmas
If at all possible, join a local family somewhere overseas. They’ll know all the Christmas traditions and will probably be more than happy to teach you all about them. One of our most memorable Christmases was Christmas 2007, spent in Wustrow, Germany, with an ex-student and her non-English-speaking family. We were adopted for a week, showered with gifts and plied with traditional German Christmas food. It was amazing.
If you can’t get in with a family, celebrate with old or new friends – get a group of expats together for a meal or travel with your best mates.
French Canadians tend to celebrate on the eve & through the night: & eat tourtiere (meat pie), yule log cake, pig’s feet stew, and lots more goodies. cultoftravel
Skip Christmas altogether
Sometimes Christmas can be a bit much. If you’re feeling a bit Scroogey, it’s easier to avoid Christmas if you’re not constantly surrounded by it. Head to Asia – you can find some celebration if you look for it, but it’s a lot more low-key.
In Korea, I was told Christmas is just a day to take your girlfriend out. Not a real family holiday. In Thailand, I’ve only noticed stuff at tourist hotels. Other than that, it is a non event. Gary
It’s similar in China; Christmas there sounded like Valentine’s Day in the US. Only with different decor.Italylogue
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Passports with Purpose
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Please let us know how you celebrate Christmas in the comments. What’s normal in your part of the world or what “foreign” Christmases have you experienced?