Christmas tends to be a time of year that we strongly associate with home. It’s when we spend more time within our homes and visiting our nearest and dearest in their homes. But you don’t necessarily have to always spend every year seated around the dinner table eating sprouts and gravy. This is just as good a time of year to go away as any other if you have been struck by a sense of wanderlust, and it can be exciting to see how other countries around the world celebrate this occasion too! So, if you’re considering heading overseas this festive season, here are a few steps that you should incorporate into your planning process!
Choose Your Destination
The first step that you need to do when planning Christmas away from home is to choose your destination. This will cement your plans and help you to make further steps ahead when it comes to planning what you will be doing over the festive season. The location that you choose will fall entirely down to personal preference. Choosing somewhere hot can allow you to escape from cold winters back home and embrace sun, sea, and sand rather than shivering and having to wrap up in multiple layers just to leave the house. Heading somewhere even colder and with more prominent festive associations or ties can help to enhance the festive feel and send Christmas spirit levels skyrocketing through the roof.
Particularly Festive Friendly Destinations
There are, of course, various destinations that prove extremely popular during the festive season. They tend to have links to traditional Christmas folklore or have frosty weather conditions that make for the perfect winter wonderland. Here are a few to consider.
Let’s start with the most obvious place that you might like to visit – Lapland. As legend goes, this is Santa’s home, and you can really get into the Christmas spirit by visiting from November right through till January. You can be greeted at the local airport by “Santa’s helpers”, will get to frolic and play in the snow, and can even visit the big man himself! Alongside this, you could incorporate trips to see the Northern Lights and even stay in an igloo.
Iceland is another chilly destination that can offer some real winter time magic. Alongside seeing the Northern Lights and traversing the Golden Circle with its icy landscapes, you can check out Christmas markets and learn a little more about the rebellious Yule Lads. If you want a touch of luxury, you could slip in a trip to the Blue Lagoon – a geothermal spa.
Familiarise Yourself with Alternative Local Customs and Traditions
While Christmas isn’t necessarily a huge occasion around the entire world, many countries do have their own Christmas customs and traditions, and you might want to engage with these while you are away. Familiarising yourself with other culture’s way of celebrating is definitely an opportunity worth embracing when it comes to broadening your perspective and understanding of the world beyond your doorstep. Here are a few different traditions from countries around the world that you might be interested in testing out yourself while you are away.
Christmas falls in Australian summertime, so while other countries around the world will embrace cosy festivities indoors, Australians tend to spend more time outdoors and are topping up their sunscreen rather than throwing extra layers on and huddling up in blankets. You’ll find that many Australians will indulge in a beach BBQ on Christmas Day itself. You can learn more about the perfect way to spend Christmas down under at Bondi 38.
Every year on the Saturday before Christmas Eve, masses of individuals in the Philippines celebrate with the Giant Lantern Festival (otherwise referred to as “Ligligan Parul Sampernandu”). This is usually held in the city of San Fernando, which is renowned for being one of the most festive places in the region. There is competition to build the most attractive and eye catching lantern.
Sweden’s best-known Christmas tradition is probably the Yule Goat. This is a goat that measures thirteen metres tall that has been built and placed in Gavle’s Castle Square on an annual basis since 1966. This may sound odd. But what’s more odd is another tradition that has come hand in hand with the presence of the goat – a tradition of trying to burn it down. While it is illegal to burn the goat down and there is now tight security surrounding the goat, it has been successfully burnt down a grand total of 29 times.
Wherever you are heading, you need to make sure that you pack appropriately for the weather. Never just assume that what you are used to wearing at home will do. If you are heading to a hot destination, you will still need your swimwear and sun protection. If you are heading to a particularly cold destination, you will want to stock up on layers, waterproofs, and insulated jackets.
Sure, spending Christmas away from home isn’t going to be the most appealing idea for everyone out there. But it is a great option for those of us who fancy a bit of an escape over the festive period. What’s more? Your work are likely to offer you a little gratuitous holiday during this time too, so you don’t have to worry about booking quite so much time off work to head away!