Iceland has its own Christmas traditions along with those it shares with us and Icelanders are big on Christmas celebrations. The charming capital Reykjavik has plenty to do this time of year including visiting Iceland’s famous geothermal pools, whale watching and of course the famous aurora borealis. As well as this, be sure to catch an Icelandic Christmas market, as they’re some of the best in the world, and take advantage of the beautiful wintry surroundings.
If you can’t bear the winter weather, Australia is a fantastic place to spend the Christmas season. For those of us from the northern hemisphere it can be jarring seeing the Santas in big red coats and fake snow everywhere when it’s 35 degrees outside but, if you can cope with this, nothing can beat barbequed turkey on the beach on Christmas day.
A perfect place for couples, Japan might seem an unusual choice for Christmas as less than 1% of Japan’s population is Christian. However, Christmas is slowly becoming popular as a secular festival in Japan and Christmas eve is celebrated as a time for couples to be together and exchange gifts. The country holds huge New Year celebrations with lights up all over the big cities to celebrate the national holiday.
For something totally different, spending Christmas volunteering in Nepal is a real eye opener. 40% of people in Nepal live in poverty and volunteering is a great way to give back. Christmas is Nepal is extremely non-commercial and was only recognised as an official celebration in 2008. The surrounding greenery is like no other country and the views alone are worth a visit.
We’ve seen enough Christmas movies to know what New York is like this time of year, but experiencing it for yourself is something very different. The snow covered streets of Manhattan, the colossal department stores filled with children’s toys, the enchanting windows of 5th Avenue. Obviously seeing one of the world’s biggest Christmas trees in Rockefeller Plaza is a must, as is ice skating in Central Park.
Wherever you go for Christmas, make sure you book hotels, flights and airport parking in advance to keep costs down and avoid disappointment.