Christmas holidaysEnjoy a Christmas like no other in 2013
We all know Christmas is a time for family, but uniting one’s brood in the same place can often prove an onerous task! Do you go to them or do they come to you? Do you book a table and have Christmas turkey in style, or opt for home comforts? Questions swirl like the snowflakes we hope come shimmering out of the sky, but wherever you are, whatever you do, Christmas is when you should, by rights, be most happy. How you celebrate the festivities in 2013 is up to you, but we’ve compiled a handy guide to some unforgettable Christmas holiday destinations. Sunshine and sand, or snow and sleds: our shortlist has something for everyone.
Some people would consider it sacrilege to book a holiday at Christmas. If you’ve found your way to this page, I assume you’re not one of them! In truth, the festive season marks a splendid opportunity for a break; many of us enjoy time off work, and the fierce British winter - while promising the romance of snow on Christmas morning - can become intolerable by late December. At HomeAway, we appreciate that restless hearts seek far-flung adventures. As such, we have a host of holiday cottages, villas, chateaus and chalets in just about every corner of the globe. Why not treat you and your loved ones to an unforgettable Christmas in 2013?
Top five Christmas holiday destinations
Christmas holidays in New York
It’s not just that the tree at Rockerfeller Center is the world’s most famous Christmas tree; nor that a carriage ride through a snowy Central Park epitomises the fairytale aspect Yuletide is so known for. The Big Apple embraces Christmas right across board. Department stores are tinsel-studded, laden with baubles and lights, carollers sing on the sidewalk and families don their skates for an afternoon ice skating in Central Park. For something different, head down to Dyker Heights in Brooklyn, which becomes a veritable winter wonderland; an unofficial and fiercely contested decoration competition sees residents from 11th to 13th Avenue, and from 83rd to 86th
Christmas holidays in England
You could just as easily say London, but there are plenty of towns and cities throughout the country that make splendorous Christmas destinations. What about the Lake District, with its snow-capped mountains, or Rochester, with its Dickensian Christmas festival and castle tours? The museums, markets and countryside of Yorkshire make it another good bet for a winter sojourn. The limited travel time, and absence of seasonally-hiked airfares, also means a Christmas break in the UK won’t break the bank. London will naturally be a little crueller on the purse strings - favouring a rental property is easily the best value option - but the nation’s capital buzzes at Christmas. Take in the Nut Cracker Ballet at the Royal Opera House, or pick your way through the lively Christmas market at Hyde Park. Holiday cheer reaches its zenith in and around Trafalgar Square.
Christmas holidays in Iceland
It stands to reason that Christmas in Iceland is one you’ll never forget: for starters, you’re unlikely to have ever been so cold. Christmas is celebrated on December 24 here, but besides that one custom, you can expect a quintessential white Christmas. The streets are strung with fairy-lights and a sense of seasonal magic envelops all. Head for the Golden Circle for natural wonders - geysers, glaciers and waterfalls - or the centre of Reykjavik for an array of cathedrals, galleries and museums. Who knows, you might even get a glimpse of the glowing, liquid-green aurora borealis, or Northern Lights.
Christmas holidays in San Juan, Puerto Rico
A Christmas party like no other awaits you in Old San Juan. The celebrations get under way in November, and don’t subside till January 6 (Three Kings Day). A packed programme of parties, parades and massive, everyone-is-invited cook-outs is laid out over December, and eggnog is supplanted by the considerably more potent coquito - a rum and coconut-based beverage popular with locals. Come to think of it, turkey also gets the cold shoulder - and once you’ve devoured the roasted, seasoned pork shoulder at a San Juan Christmas table, you’ll have an idea why. Sipping a coquito and gazing out over the surfer’s paradise of Rincon, something tells me you won’t be ruing the lack of a white Christmas.
Christmas holidays in Scotland
There’s no end of things to do in Scotland over Christmas. The capital of Edinburgh erupts with festive cheer, and the Princess Street Gardens ice rink is abuzz with activity in the run up to December 25. Elsewhere, there’s a German market, parties of carollers and a gamut of seasonal dining options. In Glasgow, the Gallery of Modern Art is bookended by twin Christmas trees, and a veil of star-like lights stretch between the adjacent buildings: there’s also an ice rink at George Square, and a large tent supplies a steady stream of live music. Further north, the lochs and snow-encrusted mountains of the Highlands - not to mention the cosy local pubs with roaring log-fires - provide a perfect setting for a winter break.