Wherever in the world you happen to celebrate the festive season, Christmas is cause for merry-making across the globe. But, depending on where you happen to be, whether the sun is shining or snow is drifting in, the traditions can vary quite dramatically.
Luckily, from cheap Lapland holidays to all-inclusive winter breaks to Mexico, there are a sack full of destinations perfect for those who feel like spreading their wings during December. So along with the usual yuletide cheer, find out how other cultures celebrate the season this year with these suggestions…
For an alternative take on Christmas dinner, pack your winter woolies and snow boots and jet off to Greenland. Rather than the traditional turkey dinner, they serve up something called ‘kiviak’. The flesh of an auk is wrapped in seal skin and placed under a rock to ferment for months before it’s ready to serve. Forget the usual side helpings of goose-fat encrusted roast potatoes and crispy parsnips smothered in gravy; the trimmings here come in the form of whale skin with a strip of blubber.
If cheap Lapland holidays sound more like your ultimate Christmas getaway, head to Napapiiri where The Santa Claus Village and Santa Park offer prime locations for getting the whole family in the Christmas spirit. Complete with real reindeer and snowy backdrops to rival anywhere in the globe, Finland is possibly the ultimate Christmas destination.
The festive season isn’t restricted to colder climes, however. Many of the world’s biggest Christian strongholds can be found within striking distance of the equator. Perhaps a touch less affordable than European Christmas breaks, Latin America offers a heartwarming opportunity to enjoy Christmas while experiencing different cultural traditions. In Venezuela, for example, they celebrate Christmas in style: think crowds of roller skaters on their way to mass. Mexico is home to the tradition of displaying pretty red poinsettia plants at Christmas time, while Brazil knows how to throw a party with gatherings of several families coming together to share gifts and good times.
For a true Christmas getaway, try Japan. With a fairly small Christian contingent among its population, this mind-blowing Asian country has been exposed to so much Christmas-themed media that they now celebrate it in their own way. The traditional dinner here consists of bucket loads of fried chicken followed by slabs of cake. If you still require a winter wonderland as part of the festivities in Japan, hit one of the ski resorts, such as Nagano or Hokkaido.
Whether your idea of a perfect Christmas means embracing all the usual traditions or escaping the same old rituals, there are a wealth of great travel options to suit just about every preference.
Image by Kure, used under Creative Comms license