Christmas is the time when most of the holiday destinations witness a massive tourist onslaught. There are plenty of options like Snowy Christmas, Beach Christmas, or Desert Christmas destination to choose from.
Paris, the city of lights, and a strong contender to the title of ‘fashion capital of the world’, makes for glamorous Christmas holidays. Crazy shopping during the day and sipping French wine during the evenings as fireworks light up the night sky are all part and parcel of a Christmas vacation in Paris. The celebrations at Notre Dame Cathedral and the lights displays on the Champs Elysees are two of the major Christmas highlights of Paris.
The Big Apple exudes electrifying energy at any time of the year and on Christmas Eve, it becomes a palpably active dynamo of excitement. Shopping at Fifth Avenue and ice skating in the backdrop of the gigantic tree of the Rockefeller Centre remain indelible memories. Riding on a carriage around Central Park and Saint Patrick’s Cathedral mass are a couple of other Christmas joys that New York has on offer. One has to visit New York to know, why it is one of the hottest Christmas holiday destinations.
Las Vegas is another US destination for a terrific Christmas. The gleaming ‘Strip’ area impossibly manages to deck itself still further and the whole atmosphere almost screams, ‘its Christmas time’. After all, with every casino coming up with outlandish Christmas holiday ideas, this is what one can expect in the Sin City. Some of the most happening Christmas hot spots of Las Vegas are the shopping malls, Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Cactus Garden, Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Cactus Garden, and the Fremont Street Experience.
This charming Indian beach destination is the favourite place for planning Christmas holiday breaks amongst countless travellers from across the world. Although, offering some of the best sea side Christmas celebrations, Goa remains a remarkably cheap destination. Scrumptious sea food, wild all night beach parties, and excellent booze in this erstwhile Portuguese settlement gives new meaning to the greeting ‘Merry Christmas’.
Rio de Janeiro
Famed the world over for its spectacular beauty, Rio de Janeiro is another Christmas destination topping the popularity polls. Besides numerous colourful Christmas fairs, markets, music concerts, and craft shows, Rio de Janeiro also heralds the advent of Christmas with a plethora of fascinating religious practices. Worshipping the Goddess of the Sea, floating of the gigantic Christmas tree on Lake Lagoa, and washing of the church steps with perfumed water are amongst the key ingredients of Christmas celebrations in Rio de Janeiro.
Denmark truly outdoes itself and many other countries in celebrating Christmas. Late December is synonymous with hearty eating, drinking, and an overall boisterous merry making fervour. Not to be missed is the Julefrokost, the Danish Christmas lunch. An all time favourite Christmas Eve venue is the Tivoli Gardens. In short, Copenhagen remains a big name in the circuit of Christmas holiday tours.
Christmas here is an exotic blend of ethnic Maori and English traditions and is celebrated twice a year. While 25th December is summer and offers the usual gala trappings of Christmas Eve, quite a few establishments also celebrate Christmas in June. This is mid winter in New Zealand and the purpose is to make the expat community feel at home. As with any other destination, it is recommended that those desirous of netting cheap tickets should be done with the booking of their flights to New Zealand well before the holiday season.
Like New Zealand, Christmas is somewhat of a similar affair in Sydney, Australia’s largest city. There is no snow and reindeers, but Father Christmas shows up without fail. The entire city comes alive with an overwhelming milieu of festivities, which can be felt right from the pristine beaches to the landmark shopping malls. Besides Christmas, Sydney is an anytime favourite travel destination of millions.
Bethlehem and Jerusalem
Those looking for a more religious and earth shattering experience would do well to visit Bethlehem and Jerusalem. Different denominations of the faith like Catholics, Protestants, Greek Orthodox, Ethiopian, Armenian, and others all celebrate Christmas in their own special way. As a result, Christmas is a long drawn affair. While Roman Catholics and Protestants celebrate on 25th December, Syrian, Greek, and other Orthodox Christians celebrate on 6th January. Similarly, Armenians celebrate on 18th January.