The thought of Christmas can bring both dread and delight depending on who you ask. These mixed feelings can stem from people’s attitudes on the weather or from the fact that they have too much to do. If you are looking to get away during this time of year and experience a new atmosphere or culture take a vacation to any of these locations.
Republic of Malta
This time of year holds a special significance to the large Roman Catholic population in this European country. Residents will create advent-themed displays in their homes and garages. If you are looking to see your own in person, the Bethlehem f’Ghajnsielem is a massive nativity scene on a 20,000-square meter lot. Actors and families celebrate the 2,000-year Judea tradition with carols and parading around with oil lamps and grazing animals.
Since 1931, millions of people flock to the Big Apple to gawk at the enormous Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. Participate in timeless traditions like ice skating, carriage rides and store holiday displays. Visitors will also appreciate a performance of the Nutcracker at the Lincoln Center and watching the Rockettes kick-off the annual Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall.
Santa Claus, Indiana
No town fills the air with festive cheer better than Santa Claus, Indiana. With the giver of gifts in its name, Christmas is a year-round event. Most establishment bear the name of Old Saint Nick and streets have designations like Christmas Boulevard, Mistletoe Drive, and Candy Cane Lane. Visitors to the town enjoy a drive through the Land of Lights and roasting chestnuts on an open fire.
With the Northern Lights shining down on a snow-covered landscape, Reykjavik, Iceland resembles a winter wonderland. What makes this location so distinctive is the traditions that it offers. Instead of Santa, children look for Yuletide Lads, who bring good children gifts for the 13 nights before Christmas. Visit the Yule Town Christmas market on Ingolfstorg which offers a variety of Christmas treats and gifts for shoppers. What makes this market so unique is that the products change day-to-day. Many of the stall owners only open for one day.
If you are looking to buy only traditional hand-created toys for your friends and family, then you need to visit the Nuremberg Christmas market. The fair attracts over 2 million visitors every year and is known for its steam train and wooden Ferris wheel. When strolling through the 200 Christmas themed stalls, you can also enjoy mulled wine or gingerbread.