Christmas is a great time to spend with your family or it could be a good time to head away! If you long for a stress-free non-traditional break here are some great alternatives to spending your Christmas at home. This is our guide to the Top 10 Alternative Christmas Holidays in 2014…
Hanging out with Santa in Lapland, Finland
Keep the kids happy and spend Christmas in Lapland in Finland. Instead of sitting at home and fighting the boredom, Lapland is a place where Christmas can truly be a fairytale experience. Ride husky or reindeer driven sleighs, try a snowmobile, snowshoe walk to your cosy log cabin and of course meet Santa in a personal one-to-one. Lapland is cheaper and easier to get to than ever before, so now there really is no excuse.
Shop until you drop in New York
New Yorkers really know how to celebrate Christmas and as expected the city pulls out all the stops this time of year. The Christmas trees, the lights, the shows on Broadway and the world-famous shopping are just a few reasons why so many people visit the city during the seasonal holidays. Ride a horse-drawn carriage through Central Park, ice-skate at the Rockefeller center, spend a fortune in Macys and then stop for an eggnog latte in Bloomingdales – a perfect Christmas break.
A country cottage in Ireland
Book a cottage in the Irish countryside and you could be relaxing by a log fire and sipping whiskey on Christmas day. Christmas is a very important time of year in Ireland and if you like your seasonal break to be traditional and spiritual, the Emerald Isle wouldn’t disappoint. Join the congregation at midnight mass, try out your vocal talents at the local carol concert and the day after Christmas walk off all your excesses in the beautiful Irish countryside.
A grand hotel in Edinburgh
Edinburgh is another place where Christmas is taken very seriously. The city holds a six week programme of events (from late November until early January) and festivities include a fun fair with Scotland’s largest ferris wheel, Christmas markets, carol concerts, shows and plenty of pantomimes. Book into a grand hotel like the Caledonian Hilton or The Balmoral during your break and instead of turkey for your Christmas dinner you could be tucking into heather-fed lamb or pheasant terrine. Of course you’ll have to stay for the legendary Hogmanay, one of the best new years eve celebrations in the world.
Working on a tan in Sydney, Australia
If you can’t stand the cold and would rather spend your Christmas with bronzed hunks or bikini babes then book a flight to Sydney. December is the first month of summer in Australia and the cosmopolitan city regularly attracts 40,000 international visitors this time of year. For a true Aussie Christmas head down to Bondi or Manly Beach and dine on barbecued shrimps, seafood and salads washed down with plenty of chilled beer.
With the beautiful people in Aspen, Colorado
Aspen, the mountain resort playground of the rich and famous would make a very stylish Christmas break. Celebrity spot on the slopes, spend Christmas Eve in a nightclub and enjoy your Christmas Day staying in a luxurious hotel or romantic ski lodge. Not really a place to bring the kids but if you’re young and beautiful this might be your ideal Christmas holiday location.
With the American Danes in Solvang, California
Spending your Christmas in a Danish town in California may sound a bit bizarre but the kitsch town of Solvang offers charming, atmospheric and traditional festivities. People travel for miles to visit the annual Solvang Winterfest and most love the carol singers, festive music and the hundreds of twinkling lights which illuminate this old-world style town. When visiting also make sure you stop by the family run Jule Hus (Danish for Christmas House) to stock up on all your Christmas decorations.
With furry friends in Anchorage, Alaska
Animal lovers should consider a Christmas break in Anchorage, Alaska. As well as enjoying a true snowy winter you can also visit the popular tourist attraction, the local reindeer farm (located off the Old Glen Highway just north of Anchorage). Here can you can feed and pet reindeer as well as other animals such as elk, moose and blacktail deer. Although if you’re a sensitive individual, be warned you might end up being served poor Rudolph in the restaurant at the end of your tour.
A country music Christmas in Nashville, Tennessee
It might not be an obvious choice but if you fancy experiencing a very extreme Christmas try Nashville and it’s famous Gaylord Opryland Hotel. This popular hotel was voted “The most Christmassy hotel in the nation” and has also been named as one of the top ten places to spend Christmas in the world (Travel & Leisure magazine). If you sign up for the hotel’s Country Christmas package you’ll see more than a dozen music shows and about 2 million twinkling lights. There are also plenty of other seasonal events taking place in Nashville this time of year, ranging from a Christmas tree auction to interactive ice sculptures displays.
With cocktails and cigars in Cuba
If family Christmas celebrations at home really bring out the worst in you then the Caribbean island of Cuba might be the perfect antidote. Leave the cold behind and smoke cigars, sip mojitos and salsa dance the night away on a white sandy beach. The next day hire a 1950′s Cadillac and spend your Christmas touring the main sites of Havana, Varadero and Jardines del Rey (a cluster of coral reef islands located off Cuba’s north coast). Surely the ultimate alternative Christmas holiday?