When many people think of Christmas, they think of snow, bright lights, Santa and reindeer. Here at I Love Christmas we've rounded up 10 great spots to spend the Christmas Season this year that emulate the idyllic version of Christmas that everyone dreams of.
1. LAPLAND, FINLAND
For those who want to go to the North Pole and visit Santa Claus in his home, then a visit to Lapland is where you need to go. In Lapland, people can visit Santa's Village and meet the man himself. There are husky and reindeer rides, sledding, and opportunities to see the elves in action. This is certainly a magical experience for both children and those who are still children at heart.
2. NEW YORK CITY, USA
When many people think of Christmas, they think of New York City. It is true, New York city really does put on quite a show during the holiday season. There are so many wonderful things to see and activities to participate in, it is difficult to not get captured by the "Christmas Spirit" when you're in New York City during the holiday time. For ideas of all the fun and festive activities that you can do in NYC this season, check out our article on the Top 10 Classic NYC Christmas Activities.
3. MUNICH, GERMANY
Take a step back in time and head to Munich, Germany - home to one of the world's oldest Christmas Markets, which dates back to the 14th Century. Currently there are over 20 different Christmas Markets throughout the city of Munich. Visitors can spend days going from one market to the next, marveling at all of the traditional handicrafts that they have to offer. Bring your appetite too when you go because there is plenty of delicious food - savory and sweet to imbibe while you're there.
To get a feel for it, check out this tour through the Munich Christmas Markets:
4. AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS
They really know how to celebrate the winter holidays in the Netherlands! Each November, Amsterdam welcomes the arrival of Sinterklaas. Historically, Sinterklaas (or St. Nicholas) has had close ties with Amsterdam since 343 AD when he first came to the Netherlands via Turkey. He then went on to live in Spain, but he returns to Amsterday every year for the holiday season. Amsterdam hosts the largest Saint Nicholas parade in the world. Sinterklaas sails into town on a Sunday mid-November with plenty of treats for everyone and he is welcomed by upwards of 400,000 spectators who line the canals. Then on December 5 every year, the eve of Saint Nicholas Day, Children put out their shoes for Sinterklaas to fill with sweets and goodies overnight before he heads back to Spain the next day. Amsterdam is definitely a magical place to spend the holidays. To learn more about how Amsterdam celebrate's the holidays, click here.
5. COLOGNE, GERMANY
Germany really takes the Christmas holidays seriously. Cologne, Germany offers another wonderful, medieval town filled with gorgeous Christmas lights, displays and Christmas markets a plenty. What more do you need?
6. CHICAGO, USA
Chicago has a great tradition of celebrating Christmas as well! Inspired by the Christmas Markets in Germany, Chicago holds the famous Christkindlmarket every year that features an assortment of traditional German handicrafts and gastronomical delights alike. If you can't make it to Germany, Chicago is a great alternative. The Christmas fun in Chicago doesn't stop there. Every year since since 1992, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has run a holiday train on all of the Chicago "L" lines. Even some of the buses get into the Christmas Spirit! It's grown so much in popularity that now you can eve find Santa Claus riding on a flat car on some of the Holiday Trains. Chicago sure knows how to celebrate! For an inside look at the experience of riding the holiday trains and buses, check out this video:
And if you're looking for an active way to celebrate - Chicago also hosts an annual "Ugly Sweater Run"!! They really have a fun, unique take on the holidays in Chi-town!
7. PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
Take a step back in time as you walk around the streets of Prague that are lined with incredible Gothic and Baroque architecture. Prague is a gorgeous backdrop for some dazzling Christmas decorations. Like some other cities on this list, Prague hosts a variety of notable holiday markets in Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square. The combination of gorgeous architecture, lights, Christmas Markets means that a trip to Prague for the Christmas will offer many memories to last a lifetime.
8. TRøMSO, NORWAY
Head to Norway if you're interested in seeing beautiful, natural lights! With daylight only lasting a few hours a day, the main attraction at this time of year is the stunning Aurora Borealis. That said, there are plenty of fun and magical christmas activities to participate in while you're visiting. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, Tromso hosts several Christmas markets, strings up abundant christmas lights and Christmas Music concerts abound.
9. REYKJAVIK, ICELAND
Crowned with the Northern Lights, Reykjavik is also an increasingly popular destination for Christmas activities. Since 2010, Reykjavik has celebrated it's storytelling roots and incorporates the Christmas Creatures into the holiday festivities. The Christmas Creatures promote Icelandic folklore and connect locals and visitors through their storytelling. The City Hall even gets in on the fun and turns into a Winter Woods, which is open in December for people to come and enjoy music, cookies and hot cocoa in a festive atmosphere. This is just a small peek into all of the amazing Christmas Activities that abound in Reykjavik during the month of December!
10. QUEBEC CITY, CANADA
The holiday season in Quebec City, Canada is enchanting! When you walk down the picturesque streets in the old city, you can't help but feel overcome by Christmas Spirit. Starting in early December, Old Québec transforms into a real Christmas village, just like out of Charles Dickens's novel: "A Chrismas Carol".
Article by Rajmani Sinclair
October 21, 2016