Alternative Christmas holiday ideas

Have you ever thought about taking yourself out of the whole jolly holly Christmas thing and doing something slightly more exciting instead? Our alternative Christmas holidays ideas include opportunities to escape to Sri Lanka, Vietnam or Jordan, as well as Lapland, where a sack-full of animal encounters and cultural adventures await.
Swap stuffed stockings and sage stuffing for salsa dancing in Cuba or wildlife watching in Costa Rica – why not ask for something you really want at Christmas?
Escape with your family on a tailor made tour or sneak off solo - small group holidays offer a ready-made group of mates to explore off the tinsel-draped track at Christmas. All those dark, damp days off in December offer a great excuse to get away; after all, it would be a shame to waste them all on re-runs of Only Fools and Horses. From safari expeditions in Southern Africa to walking the Inca Trail in Peru, our alternative Christmas holiday ideas are the perfect addition to your festive wish list.

Alternative Christmas holiday ideas are…

a great way to escape traditional celebrations in favour of extraordinary experiences.

Alternative Christmas holiday ideas aren't…

about seeing Santa or carving up the slopes of expensive, environmentally damaging ski resorts.

Things to do on an alternative Christmas holiday

Things to do on an alternative Christmas holiday…

Observing animals in their natural environment is incredibly rewarding. National parks and wildlife reserves in countries like Costa Rica, Botswana and Ecuador offer the chance to watch wildlife in some spectacular settings. Although Christmas holidays aren’t usually associated with animals, other than reindeer and turkeys, we think it’s about time travellers considered alternatives to ensure December 25th is all wrapped up for some really wild adventures. Christmas doesn’t get everyone excited and planning a holiday to take you away from the merry madness is a great way to alleviate the, often, forced feeling of festive fun. Small group tours offer an excellent escape route for travellers who find themselves alone in their less-than-enthusiastic appreciation of Christmas. Group trips are great for making friends, having solo adventures and generally swerving the ‘spirit of Christmas’ until it’s blown back up the chimney. Christmas can too often be about materialism and TV schedules, but a fulfilling alternative is to celebrate the spirituality and culture of another country in locations like Sri Lanka, Jordan and Cuba. Temple tours, archaeological sites and just enjoying the food, rhythm and language of street corners and open markets is enlightening, and bound to expand cultural horizons.

Things not  to do on an alternative Christmas holiday…

Although it can be tempting to avoid chestnuts roasting on open fires and winter wonderlands, that doesn't mean you have to steer clear of snow, . Families, especially, will find Finnish Lapland covered in white on December 25th. But think well beyond the ski resorts and Santa-centric theme parks. Our alternative Christmas holidays in Lapland offer something far more authentic and fun, too, including Northern Lights watching, snowshoe shuffling and thrilling husky sledding. Although it can be tempting to sneak a bit of tinsel into your luggage or hunt down a turkey dinner, complete with crackers, on 25th December, you’re better off celebrating with friends before or after you’ve set off on holiday. Throwing yourself into local traditions and enjoying regional cuisine is what travelling at this time of year is all about. Ring home and raise a glass, by all means, but don’t get downhearted if Christmas Day in Cuba or the Amazon just isn’t the same as back home. Don’t leave it last minute – booking early is the best way to grab a Christmas holiday bargain before prices rocket like Santa’s sleigh. Tour operators will often have much more affordable options available between the New Year and the end of August so best advice is to plan in advance. Small group tours also tend to get booked up fast so, again, it’s a good idea to plan your alternative Christmas before the clocks go back.

Our top Alternative Christmas Holiday

Finland winter activity holiday & Northern Lights

Finland winter activity holiday & Northern Lights

Discover this Finnish winter activity wilderness week

From £2049 to £2549 8 days inc UK flights
Small group travel:
2021: 19 Dec, 26 Dec
2022: 2 Jan, 9 Jan, 23 Jan, 30 Jan, 6 Feb, 13 Feb, 20 Feb, 27 Feb, 6 Mar, 13 Mar, 20 Mar, 27 Mar, 3 Apr, 10 Apr, 17 Apr, 9 Dec, 16 Dec, 30 Dec
2023: 8 Jan
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Alternative Christmas or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
Written by Chris Owen
Photo credits: [Page banner: Vaida Tamošauskait?] [Intro: Jan Hazevoet] [Is/Isn't: Rad Dougall] [Things to do: Jacob Wodzynski]