This Christmas, we wanted to spread some festive cheer by sharing with you the destinations which we believe are simply amazing to visit at Christmas time. Keep reading to find out more!
For most Chinese people Christmas is a chance to get together with friends and relatives, without any religious attachment. Visit the Christmas Market in River Mall, Shanghai where you can join in on Christmas activities, eat foods and buy novelty Christmas items.
About two weeks before Christmas Day, Fijians gather at the community's largest house and celebrate there until two weeks after New Year's Day. Visit a local Fijian Church for a Christmas Service led in English and Fijian and experience christmas songs sung by locals.
In the Netherlands, “SinterKlaas” (Santa Claus) delivers presents on 5 December. The night before, children will leave a shoe out for Santa and fill them with hay and carrots for his horse, in exchange for sweets. Spend an afternoon on the ice skating at one of the outdoor ice rinks in Amsterdam and then warm up with hot chocolate from the Christmas Markets.
In the UK, children write letters to Santa and occasionally toss them into the fire place instead of posting them, and Santa finds out what the children would like by reading the smoke. Visit the popular Oxford Street Christmas Lights in London for a festive evening!
French families always display an "une crèche" (a nativity scene). The figurines surround the Christmas crib, welcoming the Christmas season. Look out for the extravagant window displays in the Grands Magasins, including Galeries Lafayettes and Bon Marché.
Depending on which state you’re from in Germany will depend on whether you believe that Santa Claus or the “Christkind” (Christ Child) delivers your presents on Christmas Eve. Take a walk in Tiergarten in the snow and experience the serenity of the park in December.
In some villages in Switzerland, people participate in real life advent calendars where they decorate a window of their house with christmas decorations. On Christmas Day in central Switzerland, there is a procession where people dress up with masks and giant bells and bang on drums to ward off evil spirits.
In 1913 the tradition of the Santa Claus Parade was started in the city of Toronto and happens there every year. As well as watching the parade on TV, people take to the streets to watch the floats and 2000 participants taking part. Visit Niagara Falls and see the Winter Festival of Lights. This year marks the 35th Anniversary and is a must-see in Winter time in Canada.
In America, there are some shops which only sell Christmas - themed memorabilia all year round! Visit the New York Botanical Gardens and see the Holiday Train Show; where model trains drive past miniature landmarks- all made from plant materials.
Most people in Spain attend Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, and eat their main Christmas Meal on Christmas Eve before attending the mass. After the mass, festivities continue with people walking the streets playing guitars and holding torches. If you’re in Barcelona over Christmas, at noon on Christmas Day there is a Harbour Swim in Barcelona, also known as the Copa Nadal, where people swim the 200m across the harbour.
The Pōhutukawa is a Christmas Tree associated with Christmas in New Zealand and is very important in Maori culture. The tree has bright red flowers which are often on Christmas cards. As Christmas takes place in the Summer in New Zealand, many festivities take place outside. Summer In The Square takes place in Aotea Square and is home to many live performances and food trucks.
In Australia, a very popular tradition is going to the beach with the whole family, and no table is complete without Mangoes, Cherries, Pavlova and Prawns! Visit the Christmas Wonderland at Sydney Showground where there is an ice rink, snowy area and a Christmas Village.
Head over to our Instagram page @student_horizons to see a small video about the destination of the day!