Christmas is a magical time around the world. From the frigid north to the steamy south, east and west there are Yuletide celebrations that can bring the spirit of the season to life. Christmas is celebrated in many ways and in many places. If you want to get away, these are just a few of the places that are extra special at this time of year.
New York City
There is no place more magical at Christmas than New York City. The Christmas season begins with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and goes on until the ball drops on New Year’s Eve. Not be to be missed: The Christmas Tree Lighting at Rockefeller Center is a star filled event. This is a great time to try ice skating at the rink. The department stores in New York City compete to provide the best display and whether it is on Fifth Avenue or at Macy’s, it is guaranteed to impress. Of course shopping is always a big attraction and Christmas time is no exception.
|photo by petercruise CC license|
As the birthplace of Jesus, there is no place where Christmas is more meaningful. Many religions are represented here and it is revered by all of them. Not to be missed are the religious services all over the city. The Church of the Nativity has Mass almost nonstop and there are processions and gatherings in Manger Square and Shepherd’s Grotto.
Due to its location in the Southern Hemisphere, Buenos Aires is warm during the holiday season. This in no way diminishes the joy and celebration in the city. Shopping is always great in Buenos Aires and the addition of the lights and the festive feeling of the Christmas season makes it an unforgettable experience. The local malls compete to see who can have the largest and best decorated Christmas tree. The fireworks display on Christmas Eve is sure to be a highlight of any visit.
Christmas is London is all about the sights and smells of Christmas. It brings to mind the stories of Charles Dickens and the days of Queen Victoria. There might even be snow. But there definitely will be terrific shopping and shows. Not to be missed: The Christmas Tree in Trafalgar Square and the lights on Regents Street and at Covent Garden are part of the appeal of London. Ice skating rinks open all over London including one at Somerset House and at the Tower of London. Be sure to look for hot chestnuts roasting on an open fire or a grill, they are located all over the city and be sure to have at east one serving of Christmas Pudding.
It may be warm in Melbourne for Christmas but there is plenty of Christmas spirit in the city. It is the place to be down under during the holidays. Not to be missed: Carols by Candlelight at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl is the place to be on Christmas Eve in Melbourne. Top notch entertainment and all for a good cause make it one of the most popular places to be not only in Australia but the world. Since 1937 this has been a family tradition and a must for visitors.
San Antonio combines Mexican and American traditions and the Christmas season is celebrated with a great deal of spirit in this city. Not to be missed: The Riverwalk is decorated with 40 Christmas trees and almost 200,000 lights. It evokes all the best of the holiday season. The weather may be warm enough to enjoy dining outdoors along the Riverwalk. Shopping is at its best at this time of year and everything from designers to crafts is offered.
Vancouver is blessed with some of Canada’s finest weather and Christmas time can be quite comfortable for outdoor activities. Not to be missed: Van Dusen Botanical Garden offers a spectacular light show for Christmas. Festival of Lights runs in the park from December through January. Expect to see 1.4 million lights glowing throughout the garden. Another big attraction is the Christmas Market.
Munich is known for its Oktoberfest but the Christmas season brings out another side of this fascinating city. Not to be missed: One of Germany’s largest Christmas Markets is located in Munich’s Marienplatz and offers more than just the traditional shopping experience. There will be music and even visits from Santa. The Market is open from late November to right before Christmas.
As one of the few Christian countries in Asia, the Philippines are a great place to experience the Christmas season. Not to be missed: There are an abundance of Christmas trees and lights on display throughout the city. There is a tradition of markets that pop up all over town during the holidays. These markets known as Tiangges offer inexpensive gifts as well as Christmas food items. There is also a parade. The UP Parade will take place in mid-December.
As one of the most popular destinations in the world, Walt Disney World in Orlando is also one of the top ten places to spend Christmas. Not to be missed: The Candlelight Processional at Epcot is an amazing display that every member if the family will enjoy. It is offered from Thanksgiving through the end of December.
Christmas is celebrated in many ways and in many places. If you want to get away, these are just a few of the places that are extra special at this time of year.