Looking for the best places to spend Christmas in with your family? Maybe you always go to your parents’ house, or perhaps your family does that “rotation” thing where everyone takes it in turns to host the whole crew – with some kitchens better adapted to cooking large feasts than others. There’s a knack to stacking up those little M&S food trays in a tiny oven! Instead of yet another cramped compromise, why not all go away together and spend Christmas somewhere that’s big enough for everyone to relax together for a few days, with a kitchen to match? There are hundreds of perfect Christmas destinations within a couple of hours by air, and if you book now you can get cheap air tickets for the whole family. Pick the right country and you can even guarantee a white Christmas – if you want to. Hot and sunny Christmases are on the festive menu, too.
Hamburg Christmas Markets
Germany’s Christmas markets are famous, with hundreds held throughout the country during December. Hamburg, with its mix of historic architecture and chic modern amenities, is easy to enjoy and to relax in – and the city does Christmas with style. You’ll find old-fashioned fairgrounds, regional artisans selling their crafts in the historic town hall, traditional food and drink, Christmas markets a-plenty, a Christmas parade every Saturday during Advent, and even daily flybys from Santa.
The Swedes do winter in comfortable style, with excellent, hearty food, plenty of warm spiced wine (known, appropriately enough, as “glogg”), with Christmas markets and traditional Christmas buffets laid on throughout the city. The historic village on Skansen (on an island in Stockholm’s centre) is an ideal place to visit with kids, who’ll enjoy meeting the forest animals – including the enormous moose! – as well as exploring the old wooden buildings. You’ll find ample self-catering apartments and large detached homes throughout the city, which is very likely to be covered in snow.
With special deals for families, under-7’s staying for free, and guaranteed delight from your kids, a Christmas at Disneyland is all about the festive frolics, with a few hair-raising rides thrown in for good measure! Special Christmas-themed shows and parades take place every day, and Sleeping Beauty’s castle transforms into a magical ice palace throughout the festive season. Meet Santa as he prepares toys in his workshop, and there’ll be plenty of opportunity to meet the Disney characters, too. It will certainly be action-packed, so you might want to go elsewhere if your idea of a relaxing Christmas involves hiding from the world – but Disneyland certainly makes a Christmas for kids to remember.
Hot, sunny Christmas
Fed up with the grotty weather? Desperate for some Vitamin D? Tenerife is the perfect spot to escape the gloomy English climate, not to mention its supermarket frenzy, and just relax with your family, on the beach or on your balcony. With year-round balmy temperatures that hover between 30 and 40 degrees C during the festive season, Tenerife guarantees sunshine and warmth. It’s relatively inexpensive, for a sunny winter break destination, and caters for everyone from resort-bunnies who just want fun on the sand and fuss-free dining, to adventurous types who fancy a bit of volcano climbing, or sauntering round the relatively tourist-free and very Spanish capital, Santa Cruz.
Hamburg Xmas market photo from flickr user salmiac