by Sara Jane Crane —
Festive destinations to celebrate Christmas
While many holidays reconnected to certain regions or religions, Christmas has become a secular event celebrated worldwide. They may not celebrate it like you do–in Finland they spend Christmas Eve at the cemetery, and in Belgium, St. Nick has a partner known as Pere Noel–but they welcome all to join in the merriment.
Make this a Christmas to remember for your family by taking a break from your traditional festivities to experience how another country celebrates.
Here are several destinations that truly get into the Christmas spirit, making them a joy to visit for all.
Germany becomes transformed during December, as Christmas Markets spring up across the country. At Munich’s celebrated Christmas market, held in Marienplatz (St. Mary’s Square) since the 14th century, you’ll find all manner of crafts, sweets, cakes and other delights. Christmas in Munich is also a time for music, when you will hear churches echo with carols and Bach’s “Christmas Oratorio” throughout town.
Beautiful throughout the year, Scotland’s capital becomes magical around Christmastime when winter festivals celebrate with fairground rides, ferris wheels, outdoor ice rinks, hot food stands and traditional Christmas markets. Other Christmas events include Reindeer Gardens, where you can meet and mingle with them, and the unique Santa Run, Edinburgh’s record breading attempt for the largest gathering of Santas.
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
In Prague, four separate Christmas markets converge in the city center-at Old Town Square, Wenceslas Square, Havelske Trziste and Namesti Republikly–filling the air with the sound of Czech carols and the scent of milled wine. Each market features brightly colored wooden huts selling local handicrafts, handmade jewelry, hot sausages and warm drinks, which you can often enjoy while listening to school children dressed in traditional costume dance and sing for the crowd.
ISLAND HOPPING AROUND THE CARIBBEAN
Gather the whole family for an extra special holiday voyage through the tropics. No one pushes the Christmas card envelope further than Royal Caribbean. Onboard their innovative ships, Santa’s elves jon forces with DreamWorks characters during a holiday parade, main thoroughfares are transformed into winter wonderlands, and classic movies are screened next to the pool.
No matter what holiday you’re celebrating Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Years’ or Festivus (for the rest of us, courtesy of Seinfeld) – there’s a holiday cruise that’s perfect for you.
An enriching holiday cruise will offer different cultural experiences, traditional celebrations, and quality family time where your memories of the holiday season will be changed forever.