Five Places I’d Love to Spend Christmas

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Christmas at Home

A few days ago I shared an old post about the five reasons I love to celebrate Christmas in Australia, and it got me thinking about other countries I’d like to celebrate Christmas in some day. After all, many countries do it differently than I’m used to as a born and bred Aussie.

Doing a little research, I found an article on the Scenic Tours blog discussing some of the most desirable Christmas destinations in the world, and I was surprised to see that an Australian Christmas didn’t make the cut.

While a boozy, beachside fortnight of festivities in San Juan, Puerto Rico did make the cut – sinking beers and sunbathing on Bondi was a noticeable omission. With that in mind, I thought I’d compile my own list of countries I’d love to someday celebrate the big day in.

Five Fascinating Places to Spend Christmas

You may notice that all five of my picks hail from the northern hemisphere. While the experience of spending Christmas someplace warm and sunny is pretty familiar to me, that didn’t stop me from spending Christmas in Hainan a few years ago rather than shiver it away in the brutal cold of Nanjing.

Celebrating Christmas on the beach in Hainan, China.
Celebrating Christmas on the beach in Hainan, China.

But until I have an honest to goodness White Christmas, I’m going to pine for Christmas someplace where it snows and where Santa’s outfit makes sense.

Bath, England

I was lucky enough to visit beautiful Bath while I was in the United Kingdom earlier this year for my friend’s wedding, and I fell in love with the quaint city and its imposing architecture. I can only imagine how stunning the Roman Baths or the Bath Abbey would look dusted with snow and surrounded by the over 150 wooden market ‘chalets’ that fill the streets during the city’s 18 day Bath Christmas Market.

Maybe it’s my unabashed fandom of Love, Actually that makes a British Christmas seem so appealing; but I’d love to someday spend the Christmas season trekking up to London for Christmas shopping, sitting by a crackling fire listening to carols, and perhaps re-enacting some of my favourite scenes from the movie with a likely British lass.

Admit it, this gets you every time!
Admit it, this gets you every time!

Bethlehem, Palestine

Having been raised Roman Catholic, I’ve grown up with the stories of the nativity. Just this past Sunday, attending the annual Christmas Service at the village church, I again heard the stories of Mary & Joseph’s fruitless search for shelter, the coming of the Three Wise Men, and the birth of Jesus Christ.

While my own religious beliefs have faded considerably over the years, I still think it would be a transcendent moment to celebrate Christmas in Bethlehem where it all started some 2000 years ago.

When the region is safer, I'd love to visit Bethlehem over Christmas.
When the region is safer, I’d love to visit Bethlehem over Christmas.

Christmas in the Holy Land is understandably a predominantly religious affair, with multiple processions and Church services to mark the occasion in suitably solemn fashion. My own religious beliefs notwithstanding, I can only imagine what a moving experience it would be.

Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh is another city I visited while in the United Kingdom this year that I absolutely adored. Not being quite as cluttered and busy as London made it really stand out for me, and the Royal Mile may be one of my favourite stretches of road I’ve ever had the pleasure of wandering along. The sheer weight of Edinburgh’s storied history is evident in its cobbled streets, abundant pubs, and the great castle that looms over it all – and I can think of few places that would be quite so festive as Scotland’s Christmas capital.

A six week Christmas festival overflowing with performances, markets, rides, ice skating, and more transforms the already endearing city into a veritable winter wonderland in the weeks leading up to the big day.

My being a sucker for redheads certainly doesn’t hurt Scotland’s chances either, let’s be honest.

Nuremberg, Germany

The home of Germany’s most famous Christmas Market, Nuremberg draws millions of people each year who want to celebrate the Christmas season in German style. Mulled wine, gingerbread, and other delicious delicacies abound midst the beautifully decorated streets and stalls that transform the city each year.

The colours, smells, and sounds of the Nuremberg Christmas Market are intoxicating.
The colours, smells, and sounds of the Nuremberg Christmas Market are intoxicating.

After playing Santa at a German Christmas party last year, I’ve had a taste for how the Germans like to celebrate the holiday, so I can only imagine how infectious the festivity of the Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt must be.

New York City, USA

Is there any Christmas image more iconic than the towering Christmas Tree that dominates New York’s Rockefeller Center? Images of couples and kids skating around that famous skating rink have become near synonymous with Christmas movies out of the United States, and no country does holidays quite like the country that invented commercializing holidays.

The most famous Christmas tree in the world? Photo by newyork808
The most famous Christmas tree in the world? Photo by newyork808

The window displays along Fifth Avenue, the decorated buildings and homes, festive shows, and some of the best shopping in the world are just a few of the reasons why an NYC Christmas is one I’d love to have someday.

Lonely Planet has even been kind enough to put together a few do’s and don’t’s for a New York Christmas for your consideration.

Your Say

Where is the most memorable, magnificent, or memorable place you have celebrated Christmas?

What are some of the places you’d love to spend the holiday someday?

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