For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, you should consider spending your Christmas in another country.
The cultural experience will change your life, and you will be mesmerized by how other countries celebrate such an important holiday.
Each has distinct ways of decorating, different meals and traditions, so here are some of the best locations in the world where you should spend your next Christmas!
Starting with a colder region, Iceland is known for one of the most beautiful sights in the world, from natural geothermal attractions to geysers. But what makes Iceland unique is the aurora borealis which can be seen as large circles of natural light in the sky.
But while the cold weather might scare you to visit it, Iceland has some remarkable Christmas traditions. The multitude of colorful lights overpowers the darkness of December.
Since Christmas lasts 26 days and 13 Santa Clauses will wait for you to visit, you may notice that Icelanders make a big deal of this holiday. It all starts on the 11th of December when the first Yule Lad comes to town.
The last one arrives on the 6th of January, and that’s where Christmas truly ends.
If you plan to visit Iceland during this period, be sure you’ll have plenty of things to do. You can have a two-day Yuletide adventure in the Highlands or try some of the following activities:
- Drink craft beers at local bars;
- Warm up with a soak in one of the geothermal swimming baths;
- Eat traditional food at a Yule buffet;
- Visit the Christmas markets
Christmas in Germany is spectacular, mainly because of the impressive markets where you’ll need to try the mullet wine while looking at the Christmas lights. There’s also a high chance of snowing, so make sure you dress up accordingly.
Germany celebrates Christmas only on the 25th and 26th of December, so you may expect a lot of people to roam around the city. The average German will prepare on the 24th by making food and cleaning the house to welcome the guests. So, most people spend their time next to their families.
Between the 11th of November and the 24th of December, most people fast symbolically, so they eat simple dishes and avoid meat except fish.
Then, on Christmas Eve, Germans like to eat potato salad with sausages, and then, on the first Christmas day, the feast begins, and everyone can eat as they please.
Christmas vacations are fascinating in Germany, so you may consider visiting:
- The Düsseldorf Christmas Market;
- The Christmas Market in Berlin;
- Braunschweig Christmas Market;
- Baden-Baden Christmas Market;
An unconventional Christmas location is in the Eastern Caribbean Island, Barbados, where the warm weather and fun activities will offer you the best holiday ever. From December to January, the Christmas lights will be on, and artists will be performing quite often.
Given that most people on the island are Christian, you may attend some of the traditional events, such as:
- Midnight Mass, which usually takes place on Christmas Eve, is when people go to church and sing carols;
- Carols by Candlelight is a live open-air concert with young performers, artists and icons, where families gather and have a late-night picnic while enjoying the show;
The food in Barbados is what will make the visit most impressive. The Bajan’s cuisine is made of delicious meals, and the Christmas holiday is when specialities are on the table for everyone.
A classic Christmas feast usually includes Great cake (similar to Christmas pudding), Jug Jug (Scottish haggis with pigeon peas and minced pork) and glazed ham.
Next, we recommend a luxurious French Christmas holiday in Courchevel, a winter sports resort. It’s a pretty expensive trip, but the five-star accommodations, Michelin-starred restaurants and skiing trails will make you feel pampered by the lavish French lifestyle.
Besides, if you’re new to skiing, you can have a few lessons provided by the New Generation Ski School to discover the beautiful trails around the resort.
One of the fanciest events in Courchevel occurs on Boxing Day (26th of December), where everyone gathers for a sumptuous party with champagne and refined meals.
After that, there’ll be a continuous social buzz around the resort until New Year’s Eve, so it would be best to prolong your stay in France.
Or, if you only wish to celebrate those holidays in the heart of France, you could get to Paris with NS International from many other European countries to not miss Christmas at Disneyland or the spectacular city lights.
If you want a more laid-back Christmas, we encourage you to go to Scotland, where Santa is a regular man, the food is delicious, and the fire tradition is mandatory in every Scottish House.
The Christmas meals you’ll probably have include:
- Haggis Bon Bons, a classic appetizer/side dish;
- Scotch broth made of vegetables and mutton stock;
- Cook-a-Leekie, a chicken soup with leek and pearl barley;
- Black bun, a dark fruit cake wrapped in pastry and served in slices
Regarding Scotland’s Christmas traditions, the most important of them is called Yule Log, which requires families to always have a fire burning in their chimneys to “keep evil spirits away”. In the past, people used to burn a branch of a rowan tree to start the year with a clean slate.
But the fire is kept alive outdoors, too, at the traditional torchlight parade in Edinburgh on the 30th of December and the Fireballs Ceremony, where people swing giant fireballs over their heads. The ceremonies end with a symbolic burning of a replica Viking longship on the Shetland Islands.
What about you?
Where do you plan to spend your Christmas this year?
We believe that no matter where you are, as long as you have your family and friends next to you, and Christmas is filled with joy and laughter, if you want to try something new this year, we encourage you to have a trip in one of these cities and have a mystical holiday!