Christmas holiday ideas

Alternative Christmas holiday ideas

From around the world

We all know that Christmas is a time for family, for good food, and most of all for traditions, whether they be decorating a Christmas tree or listening to your great Aunt snoring through the Queen’s Speech! But traditions and festivities are as varied as the places and people who celebrate them.

Christmas partying is no new invention; it seems that mid-winter has been seen as the perfect time for a shindig since forever. Across the globe, from Europeans to Incas, Yuletide festivities usually centred around the sun, or rather its disappearance and then reappearance after the 21st of December, giving everyone something to cheer about

Christmas holiday ideas for a white Christmas

While most of us in the UK only dream of a white Christmas, there are some areas where Santa can guarantee he won’t have a problem getting around on a sleigh; his homeland of Lapland, for example.

Christmas is celebrated on the 24th December with food and family gatherings, and in Finland, it all starts with a trip to the sauna after the first star appears in the night sky. In Norway, the evening of the 26th is party night as well, with bars opening late and groups of friends hitting the town.

Food is important to most of these festivities, with each country and people cooking up their own special recipes for the feast. In Romania, far from the blood-sucking legends of Transylvania, you’ll find stuffed cabbage top of the menu. It’s so good it’s often eaten on the 24th and then for several days afterwards. Once everyone’s finished eating, the singing of carols is also very important, seen as a way to help “surpass life’s obstacles”.

Christmas holiday ideas for sunshine

If you never did like eating your greens however, or if all those chilly, wintry conditions are not for you, then you need to head south for Christmas holiday ideas down under. In Australia and New Zealand, Christmas falls at the height of the summer season, so you won’t find anyone sitting around a fire toasting chestnuts here, although you'll still find wintry scenes on a Christmas card or two!

For Aussies, carol concerts are something to be held outside (the best ones being found in Melbourne) and Christmas dinner involves a meaty barbie on the beach. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of a surfing Santa (he’s been known to take to the waves around Bondi Beach).

Breaking with tradition

If you fancy something even more exotic, no one does Christmas holiday ideas like they do in Kenya. From the 24th onwards it’s a non-stop party with home-made delicacies, plenty of local moonshine and a Christmas goat all on the menu, while musicians entertain the crowds, who are all dressed in their finest, for three whole days at least.

Or, if it’s winter sun and a touch of magic you’re after, then head to Mexico, with Christmas markets (or puestos), processions and piñatas all on offer. Legend has it that the poinsettia flower became an integral part of Christmas imagery when a young Mexican boy had nothing to offer one Christmas except a green branch he found on the ground. The other children laughed, but when he placed it near the manger in the nativity scene, a big red star-shaped poinsettia flower bloomed out of the branch.

So if you fancy a change of scenery one Christmas, or even a break with tradition, why not check out one of Responsible Travel’s inspiring Christmas holiday ideas and experience one to remember.

Written by: Jenny Hurst

Photo credits: [Christmas in New York: Anthony Quintano] [Chrismas on Aus beach: Barney Moss] [Christmas BBQ: Dan Goodwin] [Australia surfing: Kyle Taylor] [Feliz Navidad: Bud Ellison]
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