Wanting to spend Christmas in some foreign port, enjoying sights and sounds slightly different than home?
Well, you’re a little late I think. But alas, you can embrace where you are now and mark your diaries for one of these great places to spend Christmas next year.
Why wouldn’t you want to be in Hawaii for Christmas? The classic song really says it all.
In all seriousness, Hawaii is a great place to be for the holidays; it’s warm, sunny and yet there are Christmas trees (not exactly the same, but close) and a whole new set of traditions for you to explore. Being an American state, there is of course plenty of shopping and food as well, so… mele kalikimaka!
At one point in history, Christmas was removed from the calendar. Hard to believe, but true. However, worry not, as in 1997 the Christmas holiday was restored, and now this season is one of the most festive all year long. Cuba is a very religious country so many families and locals will be attended Mass, but even if you aren’t interested in the religious aspects, you’ll find a surprising amount of Christmas lights and cheery good will. And a lot of good food as well!
The City of Romance is a charmer at any time of year, but Paris truly is something special come Christmas time. My favourite Christmastime memory is seeing an empty square at the Notre Dame, strange and unusual for the time of day, the massive building balanced out by a small, lonely Christmas tree next door. It was a very poignant setting, and so is much of Paris, from the lights lining the boulevards to the department stores which take “deck the halls” to a new standard.
Being a mostly Islamic country, Egypt is decidedly less of a commercial experience at Christmas than would be any of our other countries mentioned. Don’t worry, you’ll be able to find a santa hat if you left yours at home and there are a few Christmas trees floating about. Otherwise, relax and enjoy Egypt’s local attractions and tasty food. You’re abroad for a unique Christmas experience, and that’s exactly what you’ll get.
There’s never a bad time to go to Sicily, but Christmas can be especially fun. You’ll have a decent shot at warmer weather (better than Blighty, for sure), but Sicily has plenty of Christmas traditions to enjoy. Every little village and town usually has a nativity scene or some sort of decoration. And the food! Don’t miss out on Sicilian egg nog (zabaglione), bits of the torrone candy, and the classic Christmas cake, panettone – though many say that this is purely a commerical invention, so when in Sicily, also try a buccellato, which is more like a Christmas cookie.
Last but certainly not least on our list is India. With 25 million people and a sprawling mix of religions and lifestyles, pinning down any one type of experience in India is difficult at best. So, what you get is dependent on where you are. The resorts along the southwest coast will be a nice, relaxed way to enjoy the holidays. If you head to Mumbai, walk around town – almost every home has a mini nativity scene in the windows, and you’ll see lots of lights and families enjoying their own traditions at home. In other states there will be caroling, and in the south some villages have oil lamps up on their roofs (not to help Santa find his way, but to symbolise the eternal light of their spirituality). This might be one of the most unique and exciting places to spend Christmas.
Posted : Monday, December 20th, 2010 at 12:56
Andy Hayes is a travel journalist currently based in Seattle, Washington. When not soaking up the Pacific Northwest lifestyle or enjoying life on the road, he is spending time hanging out on his own travel lifestyle magazine, Sharing Travel Experiences.