While we love the traditional family get-togethers with presents and more food than could feed a small army, we also think there are a few Christmas trips that everybody should take at least once in their lives
Perhaps the most Christmassy place in the whole world, Saariselka is situated in Lapland, Northern Finland. You will need to take a flight to Helsinki, and then another short flight to Saariselka, where you will be immersed in a world full of snow and reindeer, where your best transport option is pulled by huskies and the ‘real’ Santa is waiting to meet you and your family. It’s the perfect place for traditional winter activities like skiing, tobogganing and ice fishing, and on a clear night you might get to experience the incredible Northern Lights – a fascinating phenomenon that is not to be missed!
When it comes to big events, New York is renowned for its over-the-top celebrations, and Christmas is no exception! The whole city gets dressed up to the nines, with giant Christmas trees and extravagant shop window displays. Even a short trip down some of the residential areas will provide you with enough Christmas spirit to last a lifetime! Ice skating in Central Park is an essential, but very popular activity, and there are a number of Christmas parades and markets to be seen. There are tours for everything, but if you must only choose one, we recommend the Christmas Movies Tour, where you will see some of the famous sites used in films such as Elf, Miracle on 34th Street, Home Alone 2 and Scrooged, to name a few! If it is tradition that you are looking for, the New York City Ballet performs the Nutcracker every year to the original music created by Tchaikovsky.
If you would prefer to stay a little closer to home, Europe has a number of Christmas markets and events worth visiting. However, nobody celebrates the festive period quite like the Parisians. The City of Lights brings a colourful cheer to the winter months, with an incredible number of light-soaked trees lining the Champs Elysées and surrounding areas. You will get an amazing view of it all from the Eiffel Tower in the evening, while you can spend your days browsing the many Christmas markets and enjoying the free pop-up rides and ice-skating rinks that are set up alongside them. The Christmas Eve service at the Notre Dame Cathedral is a lovely traditional activity and, of course, whether you have kids or are just a big kid at heart, Disneyland Paris is a truly magical place to spend some time during the festive season.
Whether you are travelling alone, with friends, or with family, every one of these destinations is sure to leave you with a warm, festive glow in your heart.